Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: December 23, 2023

Ayurveda reigns in India. More than 75 percent of the country’s population uses some form of the ancient science of medicine, which proves its deep roots continue to grow in the collective culture—even after its origins more than 5000 years ago. This loyalty extends to the Western world. In the United States, Ayurveda “is considered a complementary healthcare option, with many Americans employing Ayurvedic elements such as massage, meditation, or cleansing therapies,” according to the University of Minnesota.

For UMA’s founder, Shrankhla Holecek, Ayurveda has been a pillar in her life since she was born. As a child growing up in India she would watch her parents perform ayurvedic rituals and prepare healthy food with the utmost intention. Shrankhla learned from her parents to foster a deep connection to herself. In witnessing even the most simple, quotidian moments—as she describes below—she learned there are endless opportunities for reflection, care, and pleasure. This holistic approach helps to maintain mind-body balance by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit. It is the ethos of Ayurveda—and what makes it so beautifully compelling.


Truth #1: Fresh Food Is Nourishing Food

“Fresh seasonal food has always been paramount for my family. My parents always prepare fresh meals for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Vegetables are bought daily. There was always fresh yogurt when I was growing up. There are never any leftovers or frozen meals served.”

Truth #2: Know Your Dairy

“Milk is always fresh—ideally straight from a cow (a free-roaming, hormone-free, beloved cow). It always arrived every morning at my home growing up. We then pasteurized it to use for yogurt and any leftover milk went to make ghee (clarified butter).” 

Truth #3: There’s Beauty In Herbs, Pastes, And Botanicals

“I never saw my mother use soap on her face or shampoo in her hair. She often used sandalwood masks and uptans (pastes of chickpea, oat, walnut powders) for facial cleansers. Twice a week she used a combination of reetha (Sapindus mukorossi), cypriol, and hibiscus to wash her hair, sometimes adding in fresh yogurt for additional conditioning. I’ve never seen my mom get a zit, and she didn’t have a single grey until her late forties.” 

Truth #4: Massage Is A Powerful Health Tool

“My parents both get a full Abhyanga massage with mustard oil every day (my mother has recently paused). It’s a self-care practice that they were both very committed to—ironically, not for relaxation or indulgence but because they strongly believe in its health benefits.”

Truth #5: Giving Is Receiving

“The Vedic texts suggest dedications in your life should be segmented in four parts: the first twenty-five years to academia and strengthening professional pursuits; the second twenty-five years to domestic pursuits like marriage, family and children; the third to giving back, transition away from wealth and tradition pursuits, and the fourth to renunciation of traditional material and emotional afflictions and a general reflection on life overall.

I have seen my parents become more and more philanthropic over the years. I love all that my parents do but by far my favorite is the sanctuary for abandoned cows where they rescue and rehabilitate abandoned cows from the streets of India.”