Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle Consultations
An Ayurvedic Health Practitioner is an educator. Ayurveda is not a secret; it is an intuitive, artful, long-practiced system that provides a simple, practical way of living in balance with your environment. The practitioner’s role is to lead the client on his or her journey toward optimum health by providing the information necessary and the encouragement needed to achieve personal goals. Since each individual has a unique constitution, each person’s recommendations are unique. There is no “one diet fits all” in Ayurveda.
After assessing the client’s constitution and areas of imbalance through an extensive questionnaire and 2-hour personal meeting, the practitioner develops the plan most suitable for that individual. Some people may begin with a few dietary recommendations, while others may need to simply try to eat one meal a day sitting down at a table (simple- yes, easy- not necessarily). The practitioner then sets up a series of recurring appointments. These are usually weekly to begin, then bi-weekly as changes are incorporated into the individual’s life. Since Ayurveda encompasses the entire way we live (and think about, and experience) our lives, from brushing our teeth to choosing the constitutionally correct beverages, everything cannot be learned in a single meeting. The pace of this process is again, dependent on the individual. The practitioner responds to the needs of the client, as this is their journey: we are here to guide. Ideally, we would like to be able to impart the necessary tools to the client, so that they can continue to work on their own, with perhaps semi-annual, seasonal, or annual check-ins.
Photo Credit: California College of Ayurveda
Through the process of digestion and metabolism, the foods we eat create the cells in our bodies, the muscles, bones, nervous system, hair, teeth, reproductive system, circulatory systems, etc. We really ARE WHAT WE EAT. Right? What if you understood why you had burning indigestion and knew how to eliminate it without pharmaceuticals? What if you understood why you were always constipated, or cold, or anxious? What if you found out that simple changes in your diet could correct these imbalances? With Ayurveda, you learn the basic qualities of all food (and all of nature in fact), and how to understand the way those qualities affect your individual system.
According to Ayurveda, a daily routine for sleep, meals, work, play, time in nature, and creativity helps provide the environment the body needs to keep us in balance and heal. Pretty much every choice you make is either harmonious or dis-harmonious with your constitution, and leads you to health, or dis-ease. We help you see why certain choices are beneficial… or not.
Guidelines for Healthy Eating
In Ayurveda, how we eat is as important as what we eat. During the consultation process, you will begin to understand that taking in the highest quality foods in the proper environment helps to create the highest quality cells and optimum health.
Dinacharya (Personal Body Care)
Taking care of the physical body is so important in your Ayurvedic and Yogic life. Tongue scraping, eyewash, massaging the body with constitutionally appropriate oils and essential oils, neti pot nasal rinsing, and other practices, cleanse and protect the physical body.
Plants are medicine. In Ayurveda we use the healing qualities of plants to work with the imbalances in each person. This is not scary or complicated. Some of the herbs used in teas or digestive formulas include familiar cooking herbs and spices such as cinnamon, fennel, cumin, licorice, and turmeric. We also use plants from India that may not be as familiar sounding such as ashwaganda, shatavari, or jatamamsi. They are all just plants. Just plants, but plants with amazing ability to heal and tonify our body’s systems. As a certified Ayurvedic Health Pactitioner, Shakti has been trained to determine which herbs and what delivery method is the best for the individual (tea, capsule, medicated ghee, etc.)
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and Ayurveda are inseparable, like two sides of the same coin. While we are learning the more tangible practices of Ayurveda for physical and emotional healing, we can also begin the journey of spiritual investigation and healing. Although this is not a necessary direction for every client, usually, a client has come to Ayurveda via Yoga, and is very interested in deepening their practice. Remember, Yoga is not a religion; it is a philosophical journey that people of every religion can practice and use to deepen their own faith.
Yoga postures are practiced to strengthen and tonify the body, stimulate the nervous, adrenal, and lymphatic systems, and prepare the body to be able sit in a meditation state comfortably. The postures, or asanas, in Yoga all have direct action on the body’s systems, and whether you realize it or not during a yoga class, your entire body is receiving incredible benefits.
Shakti is a Sivananda trained yoga teacher as well as an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist. She has taught all levels of yoga classes, including work with her sweet 92 year old student, Avis, in Brighton, Colorado. She can assess if, when, and which asanas are appropriate for each individual. Just as each food or activity affects each individual’s constitution in a different way, each asana does as well. Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy applies the principles of Ayurveda to yoga postures, meaning every person has a proper set of postures to promote the highest benefits.
In our busy, pulsing, fast-paced world, it seems we just don’t take the time to sit and just be present, calm the nervous system, calm the mind, and allow the body to rest in a relaxed and peaceful state. Meditation can seem an impossible or frustrating task. There are simple ways to still the mind using breath work and mantra that Shakti can suggest to help the client understand the process of meditation.
There is a range of traditional body therapies that are used in Ayurvedic healing, but one of the most common treatments today is called a Bliss Therapy. Bliss therapy takes your mind, body, and spirit on an inner journey of relaxation and mental purification. This 2 ½ hour treatment includes meditation and rest. By creating deep relaxation, promoting energy flow, and purifying the body/mind, Ayurvedic Bliss Therapy encourages a deep remembering of well-being and peace that supports the healing process and connection to Spirit. The process includes Abhyanga, Shirodhara, and Swedana. Abhyanga is a two-person choreographed warm herbal oil massage that is designed to bring nourishment to the tissues, deep relaxation to the muscles and calmness to the mind. Because each body type is unique, the oil combinations are blended with specific herbs or essential oils to meet your special needs. Shirodhara is a simple, yet profound treatment that works specifically on balancing and stabilizing the activity of the mind. Warm, constitution-specific oils and herbs are beautifully streamed over the Ajna Chakra or third eye taking you on a journey deep within. Following your warm oil massage you will receive an exquisite herbal steam treatment, Swedana, that will leave you feeling clear, rejuvenated and deeply moisturized. Medicinal herbs like Lavender, Chamomile, Bay Leaf, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Lemongrass help to clear the channels, relax the muscles and nurture the senses. Shakti can recommend a trained Pancha Karma specialist to assist your healing journey.
Shopping for an Ayurvedic Pantry and Vegetarian Cooking Classes
OK, so now you know what items will bring you into balance, but what is quinoa and how do you cook it so it tastes good? Shakti can take you on a trip to the local natural (or conventional) food store, and introduce you to unfamiliar but exciting new fruits, vegetables, grains, and more! Recipes are provided when new items are introduced. Recipes that are simple, with few ingredients, and fairly quick to prepare. Cooking classes are a great way to learn different preparation techniques, how to combine several dishes, and lots of fun. Not only has Shakti always had a love and flair for cooking and sharing recipes, she also completed the Ayurvedic Vegetarian Cooking Course at Sivananda Yoga Farm.
How to Get Started
One of the best ways to incorporate Ayurveda and Yoga into your life is through an immersion course. When you can spend an entire week, waking with meditation and gentle asana, eat amazing vegetarian meals, learn Ayurvedic principles and practices through hands-on workshops, and sleep to the sounds of whales calling in the beautiful remote rainforest of Puna Hawaii, you can truly feel the changes occur, and return home with a new routine already in place. Please see the upcoming event description here.
If you have a group you’d like to share Ayurveda with, Shakti can lead an informative, creative, fun, workshop anywhere from a half-day to five days. Programs can be held in your home, your yoga studio, a yoga retreat, or community center. Several levels can be presented, as Ayurveda is such a huge field, one could literally spend the rest of their life in study.
Costs for Services
Shakti allows for a sliding scale for services, and has packages available. Please contact her for pricing.
More information to come! Check back with us soon.