I started my spiritual journey at age 16, when I went to the nearest bookstore and found myself wanting to purchase a beginner’s yoga DVD along with another DVD on how to meditate. I remember waking up early in the morning before high school to practice yoga in my bedroom, and subsequently learning how to meditate at night when others in the house were asleep. I was desperate for any solution to my perpetually unsettling emotions and my fear of the world around me, which unbeknownst to me was my emotional response to childhood trauma I had repressed at the time. I thought to myself, “What was wrong with me? Why can’t I just be a normal teenager?” I felt like a misfit from a young age, always being drawn to all things spiritual, psychological, and mystical instead of what I thought kids my age were supposed to be into. Rules, rules, rules. I didn’t know at the time that I was starting a powerful healing journey that would continue well into adulthood, ultimately leading me to pursue my passion and find my purpose: to help others begin and continue their own personal healing journeys. My journey hasn’t been a straight line and has been windy with plenty of ups and downs, but I am grateful for everything and everyone that has brought me to where I am today.
To this day, Friday, August 31, 2012, is the day that changed my whole life and was the first of many Friday evenings where I attended my favorite hot vinyasa class with my spiritual guru of a teacher, Allison. Allison expanded my world in so many ways by introducing ancient yogic philosophies in her classes: chakras and the subtle energetics, Ashtanga, Sanskrit chanting, various styles of meditation, ecstatic dance, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and so much more. I was a graduate student in biology at the time, and was going down a career path that I wasn’t sure, deep down, was truly right for me. Going to Allison’s class every Friday night was what got me through some of the hardest times I’ve experienced in life: battling to survive against my deteriorating mental health, feeling a lack of direction, dealing with imposter syndrome, and constantly questioning if I was truly on the right path for me or if I was on the path that I thought others would want for me to be on. Once again, like my 16-year old self, I was struggling with setting rules and expectations for myself. The amazing mind-body healing and empowerment I experienced in Allison’s classes led me to gain trust in listening to my inner voice, practice self-love and self-compassion, and start following my own true path. I formed a consistent yoga and meditation practice for 3 years before I enrolled in and completed Charm City Yoga’s 200-hour teacher training program in 2015.
Practicing yoga and meditation has helped me heal through difficult times by strengthening my intuition and mind-body connection, building trust towards hearing my inner voice, and helping me feel empowered and comfortable in my own body. I want to help others heal in whatever way they need through their personal yoga and meditation practice, whether that’s to heal from trauma, to develop inner and outer strength, to decrease stress, depression, or anxiety, or to help them reconnect with their spirituality. I will forever be a yoga student and have learned that yoga is a never-ending journey of learning about all the layers of yourself, a journey that continues once you leave your yoga mat. Yoga helps you feel compassion towards the various sensations you feel in your body that make you human. Becoming more aware of your mind-body connection helps you learn to let go of the tension you unconsciously hold in your day-to-day life, and refrain from judging the thoughts that enter your mind—all aspects I emphasize for my students to notice in their own minds and bodies when I teach yoga classes.
In 2018, in addition to deepening my yoga practice as a yoga teacher, I started learning more about Ayurveda, the ancient sister science to yoga, as I noticed my body struggling to function properly and energy levels declining rapidly. I didn’t have energy to do the things I loved to normally do, including enjoying my own yoga and meditation practice. I started noticing the link between my levels of stress and the physical symptoms that were manifesting in my body, and found that no amount of Western medicine was helping me feel better. Little did I know that these physical symptoms were actually masking core emotional work that needed to be done: healing from resurfacing trauma, becoming aware of and making changes regarding my unhappiness with my career direction in life, and the drowning out of my inner voice by rules I was setting on myself for how I should be living my life. I was desperate for a solution to start feeling like myself again, and started researching Ayurveda as a holistic healing modality since I knew that it was an ancient form of medicine that has been around for over 5000 years. After incorporating specific Ayurvedic diet, emotional, and lifestyle changes that were tailored towards my imbalanced dosha, I found my mind and body restoring balance and found that I was starting to become myself again—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
As a second-generation Indian-American born to parents that immigrated from India, I reflected back on how Ayurveda had a very early presence in my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but my parents were living an Ayurvedic lifestyle and had incorporated it into my own upbringing. When I had a headache, instead of handing me a Tylenol or Advil, my mom would rub eucalyptus oil on my forehead and suggest I inhale it to make my pain go away, which miraculously worked. I also felt that it calmed me down and helped me become grounded. When I had a stomachache, my mom would make tea for me consisting of specific herbs to help soothe my stomach pain, which also miraculously worked. My dad would use a tongue scraper every morning to remove his Ama, while my mom insisted sesame oil was the solution to everything. I used to think these habits of theirs were silly—you could just take a pill to solve everything, right? Little did I know that my parents were slowly teaching me about a very powerful and natural healing modality that doesn’t just mask our issues, but gets to the underlying core behind why disease may be occurring in the first place.
Disease is more than just the manifestation of symptoms we experience on a physical level. The origin of the word disease stems from the Old French word of desaise, which means lack of ease. Our lack of ease that we feel when physical symptoms occur may actually be stemming from an imbalance in other areas of our lives, including the spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects. Until we get to the root of what is causing our disease in the first place, like stress in many cases, the disease will continue to manifest physically (or emotionally if you’re in tune with those symptoms). Unresolved trauma, chronic stress, not speaking up for yourself, and not living your life in alignment with what brings you joy can all manifest into muscle aches, stomach issues, headaches, and other physical symptoms. Can you remember times in your life when you were under a lot of stress and kept going to the doctor for various ailments you experienced, only for him or her to tell you that nothing was wrong and your tests were normal? Chronic stress can wreak more havoc on our minds and bodies than we think, proof that emotional and mental turmoil can manifest into physical symptoms we experience.
Ayurveda helps us to prevent and get to the root of existing disease in a way that helps us make lasting changes to our well-being by peeling away our layers and healing ourselves from the inside out. I’m excited to teach you more about the powerful healing medicine of Ayurveda as I embark on my current journey of training to become an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor at the Kerala Ayurveda Institute in Milpitas, CA. ***I am in no way making any disclaimer that Western medicine should not be used. It definitely has its place and purpose in healing us, and as a trained research scientist, I absolutely support medical advancements and treatments!***
I am so excited to start this healing journey with you! Namaste and be well.