Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: March 1, 2024

Shrankhla Holecek 00:01
Hello, I’m Shrankhla Holecek, the founder and CEO of UMA, an Ayurvedic beauty and wellness collection. This is the UMA Elements podcast. Each week I’ll be having a conversation with someone I greatly admire on the topics of Ayurveda, Holistic Healing, Spirit well -being and alternative health. By sharing wisdom, together we will unlock a secret. that as ancient as they are, Ayurveda and other ancient modalities are as modern and relevant today as ever.

Shrankhla Holecek 00:37
Today’s guest on the Uma Ayurveda podcast is Salila Sukumaran. Salila has deep Ayurvedic roots that span generations. Her life’s mission is to help individuals overcome their unconscious bad habits and bridge the gap between the life they desire and the life they currently live, one Ayurveda ritual at a time.

Shrankhla Holecek 01:01
She firmly believes that Ayurveda should be everyone’s secret weapon as life lacks flavor without a sprinkle of ancient wisdom. In her pursuit to enrich lives through Ayurveda, she established Ayur Gamaya, a wellness travel concierge offering bespoke volunteer needs to clients.

Shrankhla Holecek 01:23
Salila, it is such a pleasure to welcome you to the podcast. I’m such a huge fan. I’m so glad we are connected and I’m so excited about sharing all your wisdom, all your experience and your entire journey with Ayurveda, how it has evolved over the years with our audience.

Shrankhla Holecek 01:44
So without further ado, I’d love to kick things off. Welcome. We’re so happy you’re here.

Salila Sukumaran 01:50
Thank you so much, Shrankhla. You are such an inspiration for me as well. And your uma oils are just divine. So thank you for having me on the podcast.

Shrankhla Holecek 01:59
Thank you for being here. And this is a question that I think I’ve asked a hundred times, but what I love is I get the answer in a hundred different personalized ways with some common themes of self -discovery across those answers.

Shrankhla Holecek 02:16
So I will ask you that right question I ask everyone. What drew you to Ayurveda as a system of medicine and how it differs from other forms of medicine?

Salila Sukumaran 02:29
Beautiful question. I come from an Ayurveda lineage, so I was born into an Ayurvedic sort of life. My mother, my grandmother, my great -grandparents, grandparents, everybody practiced Ayurveda in some form or the other.

Salila Sukumaran 02:45
And Ayurvedic rituals and patya -apatya, unique ways of doing diet, during important times of your life like childbirth, during periods, during fevers, all this was practiced in my home. So you’re not going to believe it. One of the first things my mother would do is take me out into the garden and then show me the herbs and tell me that this is musta. This is what you do with it. You boil this in milk and you drink it if you have any kind of stomachache.

Salila Sukumaran 03:14
So things like that was very common for my parents, my grandparents, to share with me. And I just did not know that it is called Ayurveda or that this is a specific way of living or taking care of yourself. I just thought this is how everybody else was also living. So when I grew up, I grew up in different defense bases all over India in eight different regions of India. And you know, Indian Air Force is very much influenced by the British way of living and the Western way of living.

Salila Sukumaran 03:51
So as children, we would shun anything that was traditional and we felt that it was a little backwards. So we were all in our Levi jeans and our Nikes and trying to pretend like we lived in America. And we would look down upon these oiling rituals and these ways of having khichdi and kanji and take some herbs, you know, to maintain our health.

Salila Sukumaran 04:16
We would look down upon all that. So I moved quite far away from all that as I became a young woman and moved to America. And then life started to happen. And I became quite sick about eight years ago.

Salila Sukumaran 04:31
And at that time, when I went back home to my mother and I was at my lowest point, it was Ayurveda, a Panchakarma that restored my health completely back. And not only did it restore my health, it made me feel like how I used to feel as a five year old, excited about life, curious about everything, ready to give all of what I had and ready to receive the gifts from the world and be of service to the world.

Salila Sukumaran 05:00
So once I regained my full health in mind, body, spirit, I was like, what is this Ayurveda? And then I started to retrace my steps, reconnect with my roots, learn more about the history of my grandparents, and then it became my own journey.

Salila Sukumaran 05:19
So I won’t be able to tell you exactly how Ayurveda differs from other medical, medical sciences, because I don’t know other medical sciences in depth. All I know is Ayurveda. All I know is that Ayurveda is about harmony between the mind, body and the spirit. And not just the mind, body and the spirit, but the different koshas, all the different parts that make up this body, some visible, some invisible, like the Anamaya kosha, which is the sheath of the body, which is created by food.

Salila Sukumaran 05:54
But there is the Pranamaya kosha, the Manomaya kosha, the Gyanamaya kosha, the Anandamaya kosha, our ability to be happy. These are all parts of our body as well. And Ayurveda says that these all should be in harmony for us to be in complete contentment.

Speaker 3 06:12
And the mind is not just the mind, it’s also mano, buddhi, ahankara, chitta, our ego, our intellect, and our consciousness. So all this also has to be in alignment. So I don’t know any other medical science that looks at our, all the aspects, all those little fractal pieces of our human being that makes up the whole of us in such detail and says all this has to be harmonized before we can call ourselves healthy.

Shrankhla Holecek 06:46
I think that makes a ton of sense. And I love how you tied in the essence of Ayurveda so beautifully while subtly pointing out differences from traditional Western medicine as we know it in terms of how wholesome, how balanced, how integrative it is.

Shrankhla Holecek 07:09
And of course, the part about some dissonance between the Eastern and the Western sides of us really does resonate with me having been born and raised in India and having moved to the West just like you. So there’s definitely sort of a personal chuckle I have as I hear you say those words. And in terms of this beautiful rich history with Ayurveda that you have that must inform your intuition alongside all your study of Ayurveda.

Shrankhla Holecek 07:48
I’ll ask another question that so many people ask which is how do you start with assessing someone’s prakriti and dominant doshas? Because that is fairly confusing part of an Ayurvedic immersion many of us grapple with when we first get started. And so I’d love to hear your thoughts about that.

Salila Sukumaran 08:11
So after having worked with hundreds of clients from around the world now for nearly eight, nine years now, I can kind of guess people’s property the moment I see them. However, as a good health advisor, I cannot jump to that conclusion by simply looking at somebody’s physique.

Salila Sukumaran 08:34
I have to ask questions that will uncover their deeper details. So I have a thorough questionnaire on my blog and I also share it as part of my intake form so that I have all the information in front of me.

Salila Sukumaran 08:50
And then I ask more clarifying questions to understand what state is their body in? What is their prakriti? What is the prakriti meaning what they were born with? What is the vikriti? What are the acquired imbalances in their life due to their diet and lifestyle? Or if they are facing a health concern, then also what is the state of mind? Is their mind in a more kapha state? Is it in a more dense downward pulling state? Is it in a more pitta state? Is it in a more rajasic, a more action -oriented?

Salila Sukumaran 09:27
Or is it in an imbalanced, anger -prone, irritation -prone, upset -prone state of mind, rage -prone state of mind? Is it in a vata state of mind which is spaced out, anxious, unable to focus, going from one thought to another?

Salila Sukumaran 09:43
So understanding all this begins to create a fuller picture for me to then look at it and say, okay, this is going to be the treatment protocol.

Shrankhla Holecek 09:53
makes a ton of sense. And I wanted to push on something that is a thematic between the first response as well as this one, especially since feeling unwell drove you to go back to your roots and actually explore a punchy karma, which really goes to the heart of both a disease and an imbalance in the body.

Shrankhla Holecek 10:16
And I love that, you know, rather than just trying to deal with symptoms, you went back and went back to explore what really was causing that imbalance at the root. And that is Ayurveda. So tell me more about how Ayurveda focuses on this beautiful elimination of the root cause rather than just simply treating symptoms.

Salila Sukumaran 10:42
Right. So the time when I was really sick, what was happening was that I had gained a lot of weight and I was trying for a second child and I had gone through five miscarriages in a span of three short years.

Salila Sukumaran 10:57
So my body was completely, I had lost all kinds of, you know, the will to continue. My body had lost its luster. My hair was looking really stringy and awful constantly in pain. I had gained weight because I was put on progesterone to keep my pregnancies.

Salila Sukumaran 11:19
So when all this was happening, Western science did not have an answer for me because I was still within the BMI for my short five foot, you know, five foot one inch frame. And there was no response from my general physician. So I went to Chinese medicine. However, Chinese medicine helped me a little, but I was still feeling all that despair and discontent and that complete breaking down of my life. I needed something more than that.

Salila Sukumaran 11:51
So when I went back home, when I checked into an Ayurveda retreat and when I started to do my yoga in the morning and meditation in the morning and sunbathing and being massaged with these beautiful, luxurious herbal oils.

Salila Sukumaran 12:07
When I started to be among people who actually cared about me, who reflected a loving message back to me that I was worthy that my life had meaning and purpose and that I deserved full health and that I deserved this time and space to come back to my own self to restore my health back in my body.

Salila Sukumaran 12:30
It began to really bring me back into the center. It began to bring me back into the center of I would go for as far as saying my own divinity. I started to have prophetic dreams and visions. I started to get strong messages from my intuition.

Salila Sukumaran 12:51
So what the retreat and the wonderful therapists and physicians were doing were, they were addressing the root cause of my health issue, which was lack of fertility at that time. And how did that lack of fertility happen?

Salila Sukumaran 13:08
Because of increased vata, because of increased dryness in the body, because I was not sitting down to rest. I was living that very typical Western style life where I was go, go, go. I was doing these boot camps to lose weight.

Salila Sukumaran 13:26
I was running every day. I was eating constantly thinking that this is going to give me energy. So I was putting a load on my system and I was simply not resting deeply enough. I was not oiling. I was not bathing with Abhanga massages.

Salila Sukumaran 13:45
I was not sleeping on time. I was constantly in a state of anxiety and panic and fear. So all this was increasing my vata. And as the physician, then the therapists were applying oils to my body. Oil is unctuous, oil is softening, oil is hydrating, and it is the antidote to the dryness of vata.

Salila Sukumaran 14:10
They were now addressing the root cause of all this increased vata by more oils on my body, oils internally as ghee, as sneh pana, which is a therapy where you drink consecutively, progressively increased amounts of ghee. And then you have vastis with different kinds of oil. These are enemas with oil and you do oil nasyas. So you’re applying oil on the body internally, externally to calm that vata down. And once the vata is calm, the body starts to naturally come back to balance because now the pitta and the kapha can also come and come to balance. Does that make sense?

Shrankhla Holecek 14:54
Absolutely. And I’m sorry, Salila, that sounds like a really difficult period. And I appreciate your sharing that with us because all of us endure periods in our life, in our physical as well as our mental health, which seemed like really dark places.

Shrankhla Holecek 15:12
And I appreciate your sharing that, especially since it gives, I like to think so many of us hope about emerging from these dark places and starting over. And to that end, I’d love to explore more about how did your personal experience as well as your experience over the years as an Ayurvedic practitioner impacted your understanding of this mind -body connection.

Shrankhla Holecek 15:40
And how do you recommend people try to integrate it in their treatment protocols as well as their day -to -day life, even before they’ve started a treatment protocol in Ayurveda?

Salila Sukumaran 15:52
Yeah, the mind is a powerful force over the body and the body is a powerful force over the mind. We can heal the mind through the body and we can heal the body through the mind. This feedback loop exists.

Salila Sukumaran 16:06
We all know this now. And the spirit, our consciousness, is something that is integrally connected to our body and our mind. I would say this is all three are in a feedback loop, right? And as we nourish our body, we develop self -respect.

Salila Sukumaran 16:25
We care for ourselves deeply. We hold ourselves as valuable. And that inner child in our mind, that ego part of our mind, starts to calm down. It knows that it’s being cared for. It’s going to survive.

Salila Sukumaran 16:39
Once the ego calms down, now the intellect and the consciousness and the mind itself can work towards achieving the highest potential that our soul is set out for. Otherwise, the ego, the ahankara that we call in Vedic sign terminology, the ahankara just throws tantrums all day long and our energy is expended in managing our ahankara’s tantrums.

Salila Sukumaran 17:06
But when we are nourishing our body, when we are walking on the path set by our soul, our consciousness, our chitta, then we are able to pacify this ahankara and move forward with the least of hindrances, the least of obstacles. That’s when we are at our vital best. That’s when we are living like we are meant to live with enthusiasm and curiosity.

Shrankhla Holecek 17:34
Love that. And I know the answer to my next question is likely highly subjective based on everyone’s own journey. But I’d love for you to paint a picture of what an Ayurvedic journey under your care might look like for someone who’s looking for that balance, looking to maybe fix either the root cause of some disease or mental ailments and bring their body back into that balance and that state of thriving, as you beautifully put it.

Salila Sukumaran 18:11
I love to work with very committed individuals who want to come on board for at least a three -month journey. Initially, I assess them and then I see in what ways can I improve their diet, their lifestyle to make it more aligned to the Ayurvedic way of living because everybody comes from a different point of place, right?

Salila Sukumaran 18:35
They’re all different points in the spectrum of where they are. They are in different countries, different upbringings, different professions, different diet and lifestyle, different ways of looking at health.

Salila Sukumaran 18:47
So bringing them to somewhat in alignment to the Ayurvedic way of diet and living and lifestyle and way of looking at the world sets the foundation. Then we begin to incorporate herbs and into healing protocols, like maybe a seven -day cleanse or a 14 -day cleanse or a 21 -day cleanse.

Salila Sukumaran 19:12
And while they are going through this cleanse, I would love to handhold them and take them through it. Some of them are independent and do it by themselves. Some require more handholding. Irrespective, I love to be of service while they are doing this.

Salila Sukumaran 19:28
So that itself requires about a two -month of preparing and then going through it. And then the third month would be setting those habits down, increasing the frequency of the good habits and reducing any bad habits that are still lingering.

Salila Sukumaran 19:48
I wouldn’t say bad as in bad habits, but things that are not in alignment with Ayurvedic way of living. For example, somebody who loves to work out. I have a client right now who’s just ended her 21 -day at -home Panchakarma protocol. She’s feeling a lot of energy and now she’s like, oh, I want to go for my gym. I want to go work out. I’m feeling so good. And I tell her, not now. You just finished your protocol yesterday. Yes, your body is feeling great, but you still have to be careful for the next one week at least before you go out there and do that bootcamp kind of a session.

Salila Sukumaran 20:32
So these are the kind of habits we are talking about. So it takes a good two to three months to set the habits because once you’ve set these habits, they are yours for life. That’s the way I like to work with clients.

Shrankhla Holecek 20:47
I’d love to hear some success stories in as much as you can share, because I know they will provide inspiration for many of us who, you know, are feeling a little blue or worse sometimes. Oh, could you share some experiences people have had with you in their journey?

Shrankhla Holecek 21:09
The one you just shared sounds fantastic too. I’d love a few more if you’re able to.

Salila Sukumaran 21:16
Yeah, I have great success with wonderful women who go through hormonal issues. So I’ve had clients who come to me because they have PCOS, PCOD, their periods are irregular, and then they work with me over these two to three months.

Salila Sukumaran 21:33
And at the end of the month, they are so good at intermittent fasting. They are so good at deciding what food works for them and what doesn’t. They are able to keep their relatives and friends at bay, their well -wishers at bay, and say, I’m not going to take something that does not align for me.

Salila Sukumaran 21:54
For example, go to a Western gynecologist and take a medication. And I want to clarify that I’m not against it, but if somebody personally feels that it’s not for them, I honor their wish. And then at the end of this two to three month protocol, they are able to stabilize their periods.

Salila Sukumaran 22:13
They are excited about life. They have come back to their full vitality. So I had a lovely client who was struggling to find a job in the beginning. When she came to me, she was struggling to find a job.

Salila Sukumaran 22:25
Her periods were all over the place. She was gaining weight. She was unhappy. And then towards the end of three months, her periods had regularized. She had found a job. She knew exactly what made her happy, what kind of foods and diet and lifestyle made her happy.

Salila Sukumaran 22:42
And then she gained this confidence that I got this. I can live my life the way I feel is aligned to my values. So that is the most beautiful thing. Now the knowledge that she has, she can pass that on to her own daughter.

Salila Sukumaran 22:57
I’ve had clients who’ve had difficulty conceiving come to me in the beginning. And at the end of three months, they have conceived and they have told me that this was so easy. Once I removed everything from my life that was not working for me, my body naturally became healthy and fertile. And it was so easy. First try, I got pregnant after trying. I mean, this after trying unsuccessfully for nearly a year. There are clients who come to me with emotional struggles with their partner. They’re not able to connect with their partner.

Salila Sukumaran 23:35
They and their partner are having difficulty. They’re two high -powered executives, single household, not able to gel together. And the lady wants to have a child. She’s not even able to have a conversation with her husband.

Salila Sukumaran 23:49
And the two of them come to me. They have consultations, they work with me. And then a couple of months later, I know the wonderful woman’s pregnant. And then they have consultations with me during pregnancy. And when the baby’s born, while the mother is lactating. So I have a good year, year and a half of working with them. So all these kind of interactions make me deeply gratified that what I have to offer is so, so nourishing for not just for my clients, but for me. well.

Shrankhla Holecek 24:27
Of course and the synchronicity of it all is just such a reminder of how the universe, our bodies, our emotions, our relationships all work in this harmony and when you find that balance everything seems to just work and I know it can seem daunting at first but it’s lovely to hear that you know steps there can get you to the place of that harmony, bliss, joy, having things in your life that you desire and having them work for you in a wholesome way.

Shrankhla Holecek 25:05
So thank you for sharing those and maybe a flip side of this would be when you start out with skeptics maybe, maybe the husband of the son that you were first consulting with to bring things into balance.

Shrankhla Holecek 25:23
What are some of the biggest misconceptions that you hear about Ayurveda either when you meet people or you know you’re scrolling through social media or when you’re you know reading an article about Ayurveda. I think it would be helpful for us to hear from an expert as yourself what some of those might be.

Salila Sukumaran 25:46
Yeah. So Shankla, first of all, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at all. I just cringe every time I get called an expert. I will only remain a lifelong student of Ayurveda. And the more I study Ayurveda, I’m just humbled by the ocean, the immense treasure that Ayurveda is.

Salila Sukumaran 26:06
Yeah. So, you know, I’m smiling as you brought up this husband of this wonderful woman that I consulted when I started to understand his body type and I started to tell him how he was showing up in this relationship. He was almost like, did my wife snitch on me? But I had to tell him that, no, no, this is just me telling you about how you show up in your relationship based on your body type that we both determined and your Prakriti and your Vikriti, your acquired imbalances.

Salila Sukumaran 26:41
So one thing that is a myth about Ayurveda is that there are just too many restrictions that when you come into this way of living and looking at diet and lifestyle, you’ll have to just give up so many things. And then I am going to inject all these new things in there you might not be familiar with. That is a very lazy way of doing Ayurveda and I don’t subscribe to it. I work with the person’s existing diet.

Salila Sukumaran 27:13
I work with whatever they are having right now and then we together tweak it into, you know, we add more ingredients or we remove certain ingredients to make sure that their existing recipes are more Ayurveda aligned.

Salila Sukumaran 27:30
Then the second thing what we hear about is that Ayurveda means going completely vegetarian. It depends. I have clients who cannot digest lentils or legumes so they have to have soups and broths. They have to eat meats. So I work with clients like that as well.

Salila Sukumaran 27:49
And the third myth that we hear about is that Ayurveda is a pseudoscience that I have no words to counter that because that just is such a, it’s just not done. You know, it’s Vedas, it’s a Vedic science. It’s very malicious when people try to paint Ayurveda as that without understanding that Ayurveda is the mother science of all medicine. Ayurveda is that ancient glacier that has fed all these systems from around the world.

Salila Sukumaran 28:30
Then another myth that comes up often is that Ayurvedic medicines have heavy metals in them. Yes, Ayurveda does use a lot of Rasayanas, create Rasayanas with metals, but if you’re buying it from a GMP certified organization, you’re good.

Salila Sukumaran 28:49
You have to also take these medicines under care from a licensed practitioner. So if you’re taking care in all those aspects, your bases are covered. Then the other thing I hear about Ayurveda is that you have to continue to take medicines.

Salila Sukumaran 29:08
So if you’re working with an Ayurveda physicians, yes, they will put you on medicine for the duration that you have an illness. However, when you’re working with an Ayurveda diet and lifestyle coach like me, an advisor like me, they work with you during your healthy days so that you know how to eat best for your profession, for your energy needs, for your lifestyle needs, for the various demands that are placed on you.

Salila Sukumaran 29:38
So working with me involves least amount of medications. However, if you have any health concerns, then yes, I will bring in a few over -the -counter medicines that are generic and that do not need prescriptions.

Salila Sukumaran 29:53
Does that help?

Shrankhla Holecek 29:56
It helps hugely and I don’t love going on a soapbox about this but can’t help myself in this moment when you talked about sort of the pseudoscience nature of it. It is a little bit hurtful because I come from a very hardcore science background, engineering, both my parents are PhDs in physics and chemistry.

Shrankhla Holecek 30:23
And the first thing one must acknowledge is a lot of the science and research as we traditionally know it about medicine exists in part because of the pharmaceutical model in this country where you invest billions to put something behind a patent.

Shrankhla Holecek 30:42
And that has just not been the nature of Ayurveda. It has been shared freely with the world to learn from and benefit from and give back to. But the fundamental idea behind it is that in some senses it’s not monetizable so commercially, nobody would put the five or $10 million studies that typically goes behind it up behind a patented product.

Shrankhla Holecek 31:11
And it’s very simple to see that but to call Ayurveda a pseudoscience just because there’s no avarice around patenting medication and conducting the studies to undergo a formal FDA approval is a little bit myopic, in my opinion.

Shrankhla Holecek 31:36
So, you know, rant over but I can’t help myself when I hear that and felt like there is a need to sort of demystify that process when many of us look at how the West works in terms of getting a medicine cleared through FDA channels.

Salila Sukumaran 32:00
Right, right. Ayurveda is based on physics, you know, physics is what is the underlying principle of Ayurveda. Vata, pitta, kava are literally physical terms. Totally makes sense. Inertia, motion, velocity, acceleration, it’s all physics.

Shrankhla Holecek 32:17
So Salila, one of the things that you touched on during this video podcast recording, rather, and I’d love to dig deeper into is spirituality, mindfulness, and how Ayurveda plays into all of that, the power of intuition.

Shrankhla Holecek 32:39
You talked about some of that sharpening as you immersed yourself back into Ayurveda. And I know that’s sometimes health -related, but sometimes can be so much more, impacts relationships, impacts work, impacts leadership, impacts our relationship with money.

Shrankhla Holecek 33:00
And I do want to dig into that a little bit with you.

Salila Sukumaran 33:05
How does Ayurveda look at spirituality or does Ayurveda?

Shrankhla Holecek 33:10
know all of the above but many people I have talked with have talked about how immersing themselves into Ayurveda has strengthened their spiritual self, strengthened their you know communication almost with cosmic powers and the environment and really helped them trust themselves not just when it comes to knowing what to put in one’s body from a health perspective but also how to lead, how to set boundaries, how to thrive in relationships.

Salila Sukumaran 33:45
Yeah, yeah. I feel like in the West, we are so disconnected from our body that when we are brought back into the body, there’s almost like a spiritual evolution along with it because of the force with which we are brought back.

Salila Sukumaran 34:01
Ayurveda in itself is not so heavily spiritual discipline because traditionally India’s heavy spiritual disciplines have been the yogic sciences. Ayurveda does have many, you know, there cannot be an Indian way of living, a Vedic way of living without surrendering to the divine, without being grateful for the body, without saying a prayer before eating or initiating any kind of activity.

Salila Sukumaran 34:36
There are prayers and mantras associated with anything. However, when we talk about spirituality in the Indian context, deep spirituality is saying no to society and moving away from society into a yogic kind of way.

Salila Sukumaran 34:51
What happens in the West is that a lot of us are already steeped in yoga, and then we find our way into Ayurveda. And once these two disciplines come together, we kind of forcefully come back into alignment with our body, with nature, with cosmos, with the sun, the moon, the stars, the planet.

Salila Sukumaran 35:12
And a lot of us experience this spiritual evolution, which can be quite explosive, and it’s shaking for many of us. And all of our voices, because we are the ones who are vocal about it, it feels like doing Ayurveda will make you really deeply spiritual.

Salila Sukumaran 35:35
However, there is space in Ayurveda for a very non -spiritual person to also try, because Ayurveda is about the koshas, the body, the vata -pitta kapha, elimination, the agni, the tissues, the seven different tissues of the body harmonizing.

Salila Sukumaran 35:55
So there is that very corporal part of Ayurveda, and then there is that very spiritual part of Ayurveda as well.

Shrankhla Holecek 36:03
Makes a ton of sense. And this journey that usually, at least in the West, indeed does get started often with people taking their yoga practice to the next level, taking it beyond the physical aspects of yoga and then trying to understand where it comes from.

Shrankhla Holecek 36:26
In terms of that Ayurvedic journey, if one is to start, and I know it looks different for everybody, what would be some of your top suggestions in how people can bring Ayurveda into their life short of finding a practitioner?

Salila Sukumaran 36:46
Yeah. One of the first steps that I share with my clients is to wake up with the sun, eat your biggest meal when the sun is at its highest, and start to wind down when the sun sets so that you’re not stimulating your mind, you’re not stimulating your body by doing any strenuous exercise after the sun is setting, you’re not reading any thrillers, you’re not watching any shows that are like intellectually stimulating, start to wind down, start to become prayerful, meditative as the day is setting.

Salila Sukumaran 37:24
Start to get ready to go to sleep a couple of hours after dinner. So just setting these two little bookends of our day will start to align us now to the solar cycle. And then the other thing I share with my clients is that living in the modern world, in the constantly bombarded with information, we’re constantly stressed out, our nerves are jangled.

Salila Sukumaran 37:52
This is a very drying vata provoking state. This puts our vata, the energy of circulation out of balance constantly. So we have to bring in that lovely, unctuous antidote, which is oiling, literally called Sneh in Ayurveda, literally love.

Salila Sukumaran 38:11
So the antidote to dryness is love. And love, how do we introduce love into our daily routine? By oil massages, by applying a little, nourishing oil on our scalp, by making sure we’re cooking with adequate fats, there is quite a fad among a lot of people to not use oils while cooking.

Salila Sukumaran 38:34
They saute with water and things like that. They do not use adequate oils when they are grilling vegetables or sauteing meat or making a soup because they feel like, oh, too much oil is going to make them fat.

Salila Sukumaran 38:48
That’s totally anti Ayurveda. And the third way I bring in Ayurveda is taking some kind of a Rasayana at the end of the day, an adaptogen like Srifala with a little bit of honey and a little bit of ghee, which will bring our vata, the energy of circulation, our pitta, the energy of metabolism, and kapha, the energy of grounding, the energy of structure and construction.

Salila Sukumaran 39:21
So when these three energies are brought back into balance at night, then our body can take care of all of its detoxification throughout the night, and in the morning, we wake up with a lot more energy.

Salila Sukumaran 39:35
So these are basically the three ways that I like to bring in a little bit of Ayurveda and then add a sprinkling of Ayurveda within the diet and the lifestyle and see what the person can handle.

Shrankhla Holecek 39:47
Thank you for sharing that. And the next thing I’d like to ask is as one pursues this journey further and is looking for an Ayurvedic guide, an Ayurvedic practitioner to work with, how does one find the right person so that they can have a successful journey with their evolution in Ayurveda?

Salila Sukumaran 40:17
It’s good to go and look at the Ayurvedic practitioners’ social media or talk to people who’ve already worked with them prior and hear about their philosophy, learn more about their personality, read the captions and the comments on their social media profile.

Salila Sukumaran 40:41
Are they fear mongering? Are they positioning themselves as the one and only expert? Are they willing to empower? A lot of Ayurveda practitioners are very rigid in themselves. They are very restrictive and prescriptive.

Salila Sukumaran 40:59
I personally like to be more free flowing and empowering and give a wide berth for interpretation and for people to do things by their own. My ultimate goal is to help someone become self -sufficient for the rest of their life.

Salila Sukumaran 41:18
For them to have gained so much from Ayurveda that they should be passing on those Ayurvedic rituals to their next generation. That’s my goal. I’m looking at the long -term vision. Looking at someone who is empowering versus looking at someone who is extremely restrictive.

Salila Sukumaran 41:39
Now, some people want those restrictions. They want to be shown a finger and they want to be said, no, you shape up and do this exactly at the time I tell you. And if I say eat those five things, that’s all you got to eat.

Salila Sukumaran 41:54
Some people thrive in that. Perhaps an ideal client for someone like me is somebody who wants that space to play, who wants to develop their own muscle strength.

Shrankhla Holecek 42:09
I appreciate your sharing that. I know we are at time and you’ve shared a world of wisdom with us already. Before you go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience about Ayurveda, about yourself, about your journey?

Salila Sukumaran 42:30
I would love for everyone to give Ayurveda a try. I really feel that for the disconnect that we all feel Ayurveda has these beautiful, delicious remedies. And there’s not one ritual or remedy or diet or advice or guideline that is not nourishing on all three levels, all at once.

Salila Sukumaran 42:54
So just give Ayurveda a chance. You are connecting not with a South Asian way of looking at life. You are connecting with your own ancestral wisdom because Ayurveda is all pervasive. Ayurveda was followed by almost all people.

Salila Sukumaran 43:11
You know, I don’t know any people who did not follow the Ayurveda of their region. And once you have learned to bring your health back using these beautiful South Asian ways of doing Ayurveda, the Indian way of doing Ayurveda, then study about your own ancestry. Talk to your own elders. Talk to how it used to be pre -industrial civilization, you know, pre -industrial revolution. What were certain practices people did? And then see if there are anything that can be adapted to the modern lifestyle.

Salila Sukumaran 43:42
That would help each person just root themselves in their own ancestral wisdom. And that is the goal of Ayurveda.

Shrankhla Holecek 43:53
What a beautiful thought to end with. Thank you again, Salila. It’s been such a pleasure conversing and I look forward to sharing more of you with our audiences. Thanks again for being here.

Salila Sukumaran 44:06
an absolute pleasure. Namaste.

Shrankhla Holecek 44:10
To learn more about Salilah’s work with Ayurveda, please visit ayurgamaya .com, that’s A -Y -U -R -G -A -M -A -Y -Z, and follow her on Instagram at salila.ayurveda, that is S -A -L -I -L -A .ayurveda for daily Ayurveda tips.

Shrankhla Holecek 44:33
As we conclude this episode, we invite you to delve deeper into the world of Ayurveda with Uma. Please subscribe to the Uma Ayurveda Podcast to continue this transformative journey with our series of conversations that we hope you’ll find enlightening.

Shrankhla Holecek 44:51
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