Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: January 19, 2024

Shrankhla Holecek:[0:00 – 0:42] 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, spiritual well being,and alternative help. 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:[0:43 – 1:08] Today’s guest on the podcast is Dr. Varalakshmi.

Dr. Varalakshmi is a qualified Ayurvedic doctor and practitioner from India with 11 years of experience practicing Ayurveda in the UK. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with both women and men suffering from chronic digestive and hormonal ailments.

Shrankhla Holecek:[1:08 – 1:52]By implementing Ayurvedic principles and practices into their lives, these individuals have experienced profound healing under the care of Dr. Varalakshmi.

Dr. Vara Lakshmi firmly believes that our bodies possess innate intelligence and are capable of self-healing.

The key lies in creating an ideal environment that stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Join us on this episode of the Uma podcast as we delve into Dr. Vara Lakshmi’s personal journey with Ayurveda and discover how this ancient science can empower all of us to embark on a path of self-healing and well-being.

Shrankhla Holecek:[1:53 – 2:21] Hi Dr. Vara Lakshmi, it’s such an absolute pleasure to connect with you on this podcast and I’m having a bit of a fangirl moment. I’ve long followed you on your Instagram and absolutely love the wisdom and the insight you share on Ayurveda with audiences across the world. So thank you again for taking the time to be with us today and sharing all your wisdom.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[2:22 – 2:26] Thank you so much for having me, Shrankhla, right?

Shrankhla Holecek:[2:27] Yes, yes.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[2:28] Did I pronounce it right?

Shrankhla Holecek:[2:29 – 2:41]You did, you did. No worries at all with these many consonants in my name. I never take it personally where it takes someone, one try or like 20 tries to get it right. So no worries at all. 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[2:42 – 3:12] I’m really glad to be here and excited to have this conversation. I don’t believe that even though I did, I’ve done a couple of podcast in the past every time I’m doing it and talking about Ayurveda, it always makes me jump with excitement even though some of the conversations can be basic ranging to very much deep conversations but I’m really excited for what we are going to be talking today and to be here today.

Shrankhla Holecek:[3:13 – 3:42] Thank you so much again. And I know you’ve answered this question 50 different ways, 500 different times but it’s always interesting to our listeners and me personally as to what one’s personal journey into Ayurveda was. So I’ll start with that basic question, what drew you to Ayurveda as a system of medicine? And personally, how do you think it differs from other forms of medicine that exists? 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[3:43 – 4:49] I do agree that I have answered this many times before but it’s one of those things where your men do end up doing maybe. I do that. I growing up I was such a science girl. Like I used to love everything that is modern medicine, everything is modern science. I used to just when I’m studying biology is my favorite subject and I grew up dreaming to become a doctor. But when I was around 16 years old, I had like when I was like that hormonal phase of like every girl has problems with periods and stuff. At that time I used to suffer a lot with my cut as well as hormonal imbalances and issues. So I have seen many modern doctors in my hometown, I grew up in this very small town or in south India and it’s a very small and quiet place but 

Shrankhla Holecek:[4:50] Whereabouts if you don’t mind my asking

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[4:51 – 5:19] I’m from Andhra Pradesh and the town is called Kakinada so I grew up there and my dad had took me to so many gynecologists at that time and then I have seen so many normal doctors as well. None of them could actually help me to resolve any of the health concerns that I’m going through at that phase and then my dad one day told me that I know this Ayurvedic doctor who is a government Ayurvedic doctor.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[5:20 – 5:54]He has this small private practice at his home. Let’s go see him. He may give you some powders, you may not like it. You know how it goes for him as well as some powders.I was like very much like a critical like oh Ayurveda, what is this?

I don’t believe in this alternative medicine. It’s just plausible. This is literally what I used to believe when I was that age I used to think like this as ironic it may sound that I ended up becoming like or practicing it But

Shrankhla Holecek:[5:55 – 6:12 ] You know, isn’t that the beauty of life having some of our core assumptions challenged and totally turned around with more information  you know it’s a great reminder every day to be more tolerant and accepting and open. But I love that you say that but please go on.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[6:12 – 7:16]Yeah so then he took me there and then there was this huge line and outside his home it’s a very small Indian house you know where we have like a roof not like a big building or anything but there are all these new mothers who are carrying their newborn babies who are just crying and then it was Indian summer because like you have holidays only time that my dad can take me and I have free time with all the studying and everything was during my holidays so he thought that it’s good so we went there and nobody is actually caring that it’s a Indian hot summer afternoon and then they’re all having little babies new mothers and a huge line waiting till like end of that street because my dad knows the doctor and a personal friend he asked us to come so that I can go sit while he is checking other patients and everything and because he know that I’m keen in studying biology at that time the doctor was very nice and he asked me to come around and sit.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[7:16 – 8:50] Then the first thing you know one of the very first things that shifted my perspective into health medicine and everything until that point in my life the only thing I know a doctor will do when someone comes to see them is to give them medicine or he will use his stethoscope to check and then hardly he may say like oh go get this blood test done these are the only things that I understood until that point because my knowledge and depth when it comes to health these like oh doctor will just ask you for questions check you on with the stethoscope maybe sometime check blood pressure and then he will give you some medicine this is what but then it that day when I sat there for for that maybe half an

hour or so I started noticing the way that doctor is actually checking someone and one of

the fascinating things is he checked the pulse their pulse and then he asked this he said this weird things at that time they sounded really like oh what did you eat last night did you eat some pickle and then he will also say like you’re not sleeping at night are you why are you not sleeping at night and then he will also say like are you going toilet like you know are you going toilet first thing in the morning and all these question sounded me and he will be more inquiring about what they were eating for two days three days and then he will also be talking to the breastfeeding mothers most of them who came to him or breastfeeding mothers with little babies having problems. 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[8:51 – 11:16 ] So the main focus is on the mother because mother is the main one who is giving them nourishment so he used to talk about all the different aspects of that mother whether she’s sleeping whether what she is eating what she done throughout

that day so it was like I was like why is he caring about all these things why can’t he just check the baby and give them medicine and send them away this is what I was thinking in that moment until actually my turn came and then when my turn came he checkered my pulse and

he actually guessed everything that I am doing wrong like as a growing up teenager you have exams to read and then you have all these odd times that you are you know doing different things you eat when you are like when you don’t have any other exam stress or something or some days you’re not eating so he pointed out everything that I’m doing wrong in my routine and then also he very nicely pointed out all the food that I’m doing nutrition wise what I’m doing wrong at first I was very skeptical but then he gave me some Ayurvedic medicine which is and made by his assistant who is sitting over there and she’s just grinding he will sit there and tell like oh mix this to two powders two churnums together and grind and give this to this lady or like that you know every patient that comes in he will immediately tell her what to what she need to grind and then she used to grind and give it to them same way he told me one medicine and he gave it to me so this problem of health or whatever I’m thinking like it’s never going to get solved for me I was feeling better within two weeks to three weeks I was even though I was very skeptical teenager with a lot of other perspective or rather you know not having any positive thinking towards Ayurveda I ended up getting fascinated and I ended up being very enthusiastic like you know curiosity you can say it spike in my curiosity level so much that I decided to spend my entire summer with him just observing him and then just you know grinding those medicines for him and then learning those Ayurvedic herbs and just few things that he can teach me without actually having a proper degree or something. 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[11:16 – 11:25 ]So after that I went on and did an Ayurvedic degree and yeah I think this is where we are right now. 

Shrankhla Holecek:[11:25 – 12:57 ]You know it’s amazing a few things really stood out about that story specifically how you started about you know the journey is supposed to bring you where you’re at and I love that there is a parallel in Ayurveda about sort of you know trusting your body and in a little bit your environment to always be leading you interactions that you’re meant to thrive in so I love that you started the story with saying that this is where I was supposed to you know sort of end up without knowing it and I think there is something lovely about that leap of faith and positivity in trusting that you know our bodies and sometimes our environments want the best for us at the end and also something about you know the personalized aspect of Ayurveda and it’s hold some nature in that it’s all of you it’s all of your environment it’s all of your mother and father and more and to me there’s just something so vast and magnificent about about trusting that about Ayurveda that that I love it you know the parallel between the individuality and at the same time the relatedness of us all is is quite profound to me so to me that story has so much resonance across so many tenets and facets of Ayurveda that it plays very nicely.

Shrankhla Holecek:[12:58 – 13:40 ] And now that you know you have all this knowledge experience expertise I’d love to share a little bit about how you many years later go about assessing and individual many people struggle with the idea of doshas and I’ll be the first to admit you know these online dosha quizzes are a decent place to start in the absence of having a practitioner or having access to a good practitioner but it can be confusing so you as a veteran doctor how do you assess someone’s individual constitution or dosha or prakriti when you meet with them. 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[13:41 – 15:20 ] So with the increasing knowledge and then accessibility of a practitioner or online about like before covid my own I never used to do any of these online consultations and stuff but I think covid has changed people’s perspective people are more actually open towards having that online consultations and stuff but normally if I see a person face to face this is what or this is what I was doing for years together and I am still doing in my practice you know here in Birmingham in UK. So the first thing is always about like you know to understand one’s constitution Ayurveda says that it all begins when your mother you know like the first conception is when your prakriti is decided and the major part of the prakriti means like the qualities and characteristics that we are inheriting some of it comes from our father and some of it comes from our mother so the father and mother cellys where we inherit all of that same thing like modern science says we get you know our genetic characteristic some of them we get from mother and some of them from father so Ayurveda says talks in the similar manner saying that the prakriti is decided at the time of conception and then when the genome originally the cell everything is formed that’s when it’s all actually is decided like oh this person will have this and this person will have that.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[15:21 – 18:11 ]So one of the first thing I ask someone when they come to understand the constitution or prakriti is to do things like you know checking their pulse nadi but in their tongue and also the history of it their mother’s health their mothers if they were able to tell us anything about their mother’s pregnancy and if she phased any kind of abnormalities or imbalances during that period how her mental state is emotional state is when she was pregnant this is where it all starts basically that is a very important factor it’s not just about what is happening with you currently but it is more or less about what you’re carrying as that internally the genetic characteristics and your mother so for us for me most of the things as a person I if someone wants to know my constitution they should also understand about me but also make it a priority to know about my mother and her journey as well her health as well because that has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being. 

Ayurveda also clearly says like what the pregnant mother pregnant women does with her mental state emotional state nutrition everything can have a long lasting impact on the baby for the years to come and how good the babies or once the child is born their immunity is going to be and this has been recently actually even also agreed by modern science there are so many things you know which are studies that are showing us telling about the same concept as well so the prakriti is many things but it is it all starts at a very much primitive level than we actually understand so I do take that much of history to understand their mother maternal history and everything but also check their pulse tongue and for women it’s important to know when their first menstrual period started that also gives us an understanding of when the hormonal stage in someone has initiated the age of you know first menstrual cycle also gives us a clue of whether someone is having vata characteristic source or someone is having pitta or someone is having kapha because in general a person with heat or pitta a predominance in their body they have earlier menstrual cycle first menstrual cycle tend to be early and then kapha usually have like moderately depending upon their metabolic state and stuff like that but vatas can have a late period you know so these are some of the important things that I would actually pay attention to along with all the other things.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[18:12 -18:47 ] Yeah I would also like to highlight that prakriti  is not just one of the assessment factor that we consider as a Ayurvedic practitioner we have like dashavidha pareeksha means 10 different aspects that we need to check about a person and prakriti is just one of it so for us to assess someone to understand their health state we need to assess 9 other different factors you know Sarah, Bala, Ayu so like that there are 9 other different things like you know mala, mutra so we need to check all of those things.

 Shrankhla Holecek:[18:48 – 19:31] gosh I this is been so informative even for me and I like to think I have a little bit of an early emotion into ayurveda but I know that audience will love hearing about this and since you’ve already started us off dr. varalakshmi I’d love to hear about the journey of ayurveda that a patient or someone who’s consulting with you will go through in terms of what you would like to address first, what supplements, when they check in with you, when they can start to expect results I’d love it if you could paint a picture of that for us.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[19:32 – 23:09] um yeah sure like normally I believe or ayurvedic how we actually help someone heal unlike modern medicine or other kinds of forms of medicine and stuff the most important aspect when it comes to healing is the person’s diet like a diet when I say it may sound like we are just talking about the solid and liquid food but it’s not just that it’s about what you are consuming in the form of information as well because the three main causes of disease that ayurveda describes one of them is keen mithya atiyoga of you know sense organs which is like the improper usage of sensory organs is one of the main reason for us to get sick so you have to understand that whenever we are talking to me as a practitioner I give a huge importance to diet but that diet just doesn’t mean that we are just focusing on the what you’re eating as a physical form of food but it also includes like what you’re consuming how how is your mental state how you are able to are you carrying any trauma from your past are you able to release your emotions properly you know in a safe as well as and you’re not withholding any of them because that plays a huge role in in our healing when we are not able to address emotions and then carry them excessive emotions you call it or unwanted emotions or even the past anything that you’re carrying around when you’re supposed to let go that is one of the reason for you know having problems like especially kapha related imbalances like someone feels heavy all that time you know that heaviness while they may be having some physical abnormality to do with the heaviness they may be also are not actually able to address or release their emotions but that is also important so the diet both physical and emotional aspect of what you are observing and eating nutrition taking it in and as well as the lifestyle like the routine is the very important aspect what you’re doing in a once you wake up in a given day that is the second most important thing that I address like helping them or encouraging them to understand that every single thing that we do can either overload our system or can actually help us to move or flow with life you know

I saw amazing in such a way that it’s not so complex as we think you know in the West we think like all this you Sanskrit names can make people scared like oh dohas, vata, pitta, kapha I need to understand the food combining some of these concepts can seem like too much for someone but actually a very simple way to incorporate Ayurveda in your life is to is to just let life flow or let the seasons flow and you just adapt with with regards to what is changing in your life with regards to what is happening inside your life as well as same time what is happening around you so it’s pretty much about like how you whether you have the capability to adapt to the changing circumstances changing seasons changing internal season so this this is all Ayurveda is about.

 Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[23:10 – 23:46] So if we can if someone can understand that basic simple thing it’s as simple as just waking up and wearing like in summer we are wearing when it’s hot you are wearing simple clothes which are like not so much you’re not wearing the cool clothes or anything right you’re wearing simple ones cotton clothes and stuff but it when it’s winter you’re wearing things which are made with wool or which are thick so that you don’t feel cold Ayurveda is so simple like that but you need to have that knowledge or understanding that it’s that easy or simple.

Shrankhla Holecek:[23:47 – 25:00] that is so well put I love that and I will come back to asking in terms more of you know a journey slash protocol with you what that might look like because I know so many people would be fascinated and also wanting to go on this journey so to understand you know after the initial assessment and understanding how this beautiful science of life works how certain modalities might function but what is a protocol with you how often are they checking in what supplements are they going on and really I know that this is a somewhat terrible question to ask within the context of Ayurveda but we’re also dealing with a lot of people in the West that want results early so I’d love to hear from your perspective when can they start seeing results what their follow-up cadence looks like how the results start changing with time you know just painting that picture of going from a disease to a disease pre-state.

 Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[25:01 – 26:55 ]it’s different the time period is different for each and every one of us someone’s healing it’s not like because Ayurveda is purely a individualized and personalized form of medicine it’s patient centric medicine we look at a person and their illness and then decide a protocol with me the 80% or 85% is based on diet what they’re eating is going to be the most important aspect physically and mentally what they’re consuming and then the 15 percent is medicine I normally don’t give any Ayurvedic medicine more than one or two at any given stage I also like to understand it’s like a protocol means when someone comes and see me first time or when I do an online consultation when we are doing assessment when I do the assessment I come up or I bring a protocol on the plate and then I discuss this with the patient on the same day and tell them that these are the next steps that we are going to be following it’s very much detailed it’s all defined before even they start taking the medicine everything is pre-defined and we just follow those steps and I will be with them throughout the journey generally nowadays the communication is quite easy unlike you know you don’t have to wait for 10 days to go see your doctor or two to three weeks to go see your doctor we can actually use our phone I support the patient’s journey through WhatsApp a lot I keep checking upon them normally but the main thing is to focus on helping them change their diet and lifestyle with digestion as the most important center piece of it because it is my understanding and Ayurveda also says that digestion or if your agni is not well nothing else in your body can function well.

 Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[26:55 – 27:41]even our dosha’s imbalances also can the first thing the dosha if vata gets imbalanced the first thing it affects the ease of our agni same thing if pitta gets imbalances the first thing it can affect ease of our agni so if we can actually strengthen the agni and then clear any imbalances for the person everything else is much more easier to address afterwards so yeah I think that is what I do and yeah we have usually checking for every four weeks normally I do have a call or I ask them to come and see me within four weeks but the general protocol is defined for every four weeks and every day conversations and support is via WhatsApp or phone as well.

Shrankhla Holecek:[27:42 – 28:15] that makes so much sense thank you for sharing that and I think you started with this in your story and I do want to revisit this because Ayurveda does face some misconceptions in the West and in your experience what is what are some of the most common instances of skepticism or resistance you’ve seen either in your patients or others you might talk to about Ayurveda and how do you try to sort of dispel some of those myths.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[28:15 – 31:34 ] one of the thing that I commonly see is that people are eager there is a lot of eagerness as well as enthusiasm to try Ayurveda given that you know nowadays people are looking towards other sciences rather than just modern medicine and stuff but I think there is this it’s not just one person or two people but I think over this past hundred years or so maybe fifty years or so we as humans have become more or more accustomed to wanting or believing that things can be very instant and there is this lack of awareness when it comes to understanding that our routine and basic simple things like waking up in the morning and then making just preparing fresh food or taking time to eat fresh food can make a huge difference in our overall health I do see that people can find it hard to do due to many reasons like due to the busy life that some people are leading due to the practicality in their life or so but initially there is this resistance when I tell them that please try to eat fresh made food this is because once you break that barrier and actually accept the reality that you have to invest time to become healthy that is the perspective shift because right now many people are thinking or even we have that I think as humans also we thinking problem solution like problem you have headache you take a painkiller and you forget about it next time also you have a headache you take the painkiller but you are never actually stopping taking a step back to understand why am I getting headache every week if I am taking that medicine if actually the medicine that I took or whatever I took if it actually helped me to get rid of the problem why I keep getting it back or if you have acidity then you are taking antacid or something so it’s almost like you have problem then you are looking for solution then and there and then you don’t want to take anything you don’t want to go beyond the surface to understand why you have headache why you keep feeling tired all the time why you feel like drain down before period why you have pain even though you are a healthy person you know you are doing everything what is it that one thing so we there is no curiosity that you would expect or there is some there is no awareness let’s not security I would say awareness to go beyond that basic thing of just you know assuming that pill is the only answer I do see that that is the perspective shift that even in my practice I this is what even through my Instagram I do do that work and help people to bring the awareness the whole point of this social media or all this information even though there is loads and loads of information out there idea is to change that perspective of a person so

 Shrankhla Holecek:[31:35 – 33:02] you know I agree that awareness is very important I also actually like the word curiosity because is it kind of sad that we’re not more curious about our own bodies it struck me as very interesting when you said that because yes there is this temptation to say let me just fix this but yes there should be a natural curiosity about this beautiful body that serves you day in day out every day and is your vehicle into this world for all intents and purposes and that we’re not curious about why it’s acting up or reacting a certain way so I kind of also take that away as I want to be more aware but I also want to be more curious about my body and you also touched on two areas that I know are very fundamental to your current practice digestion and women’s health so let’s talk a little bit more about that and let’s start with women’s health I want to hear more about what you are seeing in your world and then how you’re helping people navigate these stuff waters or women feeling quite unhealthy as I can attest to myself in having some of those quote unquote diseases if you will within that domain so please

 Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[33:03 – 34:41]absolutely so I think when it comes to us women you know I would like to say that once I finished my degree as soon as I finished my degree I ended up being in UK got married and then with my husband I came here and I started my practice as soon as I came and I did had a very hectic lifestyle to be honest and I used to work rather I do have that energy at that time also a little bit less now but there is more awareness to me to actually I grown up my I understood and I had this I developed this humbleness when it comes to not overworking or tiring myself so why I am sharing my example is that all of us women who are modern who want to do something with their professional life who want to achieve and all these things for all of you who are with me or you know who are in the same stage what I would like to say is like it’s important for us to understand that our bodies are very special especially our bodies are meant to give birth we are like it’s amazing thing to give life right so we are meant to nurture  ourselves it’s more or less nurturing these what we are lacking in modern day we are thriving we want to achieve yes that is also great and amazing but it is also important to take a step back and rest

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[34:42 – 35:31]because our womb is where all that you know of a grandmother or all that past trauma that we are carrying from generations it goes into our womb and it is important that we actually rest during period and that simple understanding about the phases that we go through at different phases of our menstrual cycle where to rest and where to jump around and do you know to super exciting things and all should be the beginning should be taught in schools should be made aware in every family where there is a girl they should be thought how they should take care of their bodies I think we are lacking rest if that made sense I may have gone deeper into it.

Shrankhla Holecek:[35:31 – 36:48] no I love a lot of the stuff you touched on including what the real definition of the buzzword self-care might look like particularly for me I think I take it back to basically tweaking your life to respond better to the changing environment within you and outside you and that is what I or you read the journey of life the teaching of life the science of life looks like and that to me is a potent way of self-care which is I need to respond to this change in my internal environment by taking it as a cue to rest and I love that framing so Dr. Varalakshmi in terms of areas that you see women’s health digestion issues what are some of the biggest complaints you are hearing and I’d also love to hear about what are some of the biggest successes you have seen and are hoping to see in these domains with the use of Ayurveda.

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[36:49 – 37:54 ]So I work with a wide range of cases actually that can range from in digestion normally I work with clients who have simple issues like ibs to or bloating in digestion to you know inflammatory bowel syndrome colitis you know even with ulcerative colitis so and Ayurveda is amazing to be honest for most of the digested abnormalities and where you think like modern science actually lacks some of these autoimmune disorders and stuff the protocols that I use are very fast normally people feel much better with their digestion within you know one one week to 10 days they can feel like very very lighter and much better and as well as their symptoms starts to improve within the first few weeks of working with me

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[37:55 – 39:13]when it comes to hormonal imbalances actually I work from I work with women mainly or having problems to do with their periods especially period pain and the regular period like conditions like PCOS is one of the very common conditions that I work with and then infertility associated with PCOS and endometriosis these are some of the main health problems that I’m working with and I can say with like you know I can say with confidence that Ayurveda can actually help regularizing periods to reduce the period pain or to result no period no rather pain-free periods because women with conditions like endometriosis can have excruciating pain during their period and often the diagnosis is one of the most difficult for them because unless there is something like laparoscopy or so you will not know why whether someone has really endometriosis that is the reason why they’re having that much pain or something else is going on 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[39:13 – 41:07]so in these kind of conditions I’m seeing a huge you know I’m seeing a very good prognosis when it comes to these conditions with the help of Ayurveda and I follow like pure Ayurvedic protocols I don’t like to mix Ayurveda with anything else normally when you come on board with me anybody I like to actually deal with just Ayurveda and then diet and lifestyle and it actually simplifies a lot of what’s going on with someone’s health because nowadays people are taking like tons and tons of supplements and some of it is very helpful actually for some people with a good digestion if you take supplements like let’s say like you take calcium supplement or maybe vitamin D supplement or B12 or even just like some of the other holistic things like Ashwagandha, Shatavari all of these things have become so accessible nowadays that people are consuming them but more or less often we don’t we many of them don’t understand that if you don’t have the ability to digest you know and absorb the value of the supplement or nutrition no matter what you’re taking it doesn’t it may not actually help you to fix whatever the problem that you have or the lack nutritional lack that you are having so it’s very important to have that understanding when it comes to working with someone so that is why I try to keep it as simple as possible with my protocols and with my work with digestion or whether it is hormonal issues that I’m working with women so

Shrankhla Holecek:[41:08 – 41:44] you know this is the point that I should remind our users to all definitely follow you on Instagram because you share so many great tips about improving Agni which you know helps digestion but I might push you for a few free B tips for people who may not be as familiar with your Instagram what do you think are some of the things people might be able to do to improve their Agni I understand it will differ person by person but are there some universal tips you would give to people to improve their digestion 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[41:44 – 45:39] absolutely so earlier I did talk about it briefly one of the very important thing that Ayurveda recommends us to to enhance our Agni’s to eat lighter so when I say lighter there is this Western aspect too that salads are being considered lighter but we are not talking about salads because Ayurveda says that any food that is cold and raw like a solid food even if it is a leaf or something like salad it is still considered as a little bit difficult for our body to absorb when you’re eating it versus something that is pre-cooked because internal the fire is what Agni means literally means fire right but this fire you have to imagine it’s inside of a stomach and think of like something very cold you know like if you have count fire or something going on then if you are adding a cold water on it versus you are actually using something like a fuel but it is not cold like something like some wood which is warm which is actually dried in sun you know when they when before you make the fire or so generally if it has wetness inside it it doesn’t properly ensure the fire goes on for longer right so same thing with our body you should understand that something that is warm can help or it’s easier to quickly burn that thing inside of us come up same thing here so the digestive juices and the Agni needs something that is warm something that is lighter for example like Moong dal I think it’s the most famous thing that you can see in the western world as well and many people are including that which is a very good thing and there is Red Rice which is one of the best form of rice that Ayurveda recommends that one should include like Sat Nya means something that is so Sat Nya what is the word like something that is so suitable universally suitable or wholesome this kind of lighter foods are said to be wholesome so a very simple rule to follow to improve your Agni is to eat lighter food that is cookered means warm means temperature of the food should be warm if that is not there at least by adding if you still want to eat salads and stuff then on a hot sunny day it’s easier to actually digest them because the sun is hot so externally you are getting that heat even if internally you have low Agni it’s easier to digest something like a salad when the sun is you know warm and you are in a warm place like a tropical country or so so adding some spices like some cumin on the top and maybe a little bit of olive oil or sesame oil or if you love ghee then adding a bit of ghee can actually make that salad more easier for us to digest or simply steaming those greens can actually help us to digest them better and the second most important thing is to eat when you feel hungry this is like the this may sound very basic right but many people that come to me for fixing their digestion have no clue whether they feel really feel hungry or they’re just eating because it’s 12 o’clock or whether it’s nine o’clock so that you have to eat breakfast we are so at some point we lost that connection with our body to know okay I’m really feeling hungry now versus my schedule is so tight that I have to eat breakfast now otherwise I will not have time so this reality aspect of knowing actually your feeling hungry is very very important so that awareness is what is important but at least starting to become aware

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[45:39 – 46:29]so eating when you feel hungry and then the third most important thing is having some form of moment but doing that exercise on empty stomach completely empty so Ayurveda doesn’t recommend us that we eat something and then go do exercise it does not help our body in any way and it could be the number one reason for us having in digestion and all those problems so you should exercise on completely empty stomach that helps our agni to actually start our metabolism and to help us digest better through the day so these are the three simple things I would advise anybody and they don’t cost anything so I think yeah

Shrankhla Holecek:[46:29 – 47:13]that is so incredible and you know just going through this podcast taping the importance of finding a good practitioner to work with when you are ready is so important and it just underscores that to me I’d love your advice on how someone like me or our audience can identify the right practitioner for them because I’ll be the first to admit within the realm of Ayurveda that’s not easy to find so Dr. Varalakshmi how does someone find great doctor like yourself and what are some of the things we should look for when we research who we should work with 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[46:14 – 48:55]one of the very first things I would say is to actually follow their journey because in the world of information and social media if you look at the quality versus quantity it’s difficult he will become overwhelmed with not knowing whether someone is the right fit for you or not so it’s important to know whether they have credibility that I’m guessing everybody will check like a real degree and the second thing is to know whether they are actually experienced in what you are having currently like you know what health problems that you are having versus the person actually worked with the similar kind of health problems so it’s important to first do that basic research before contacting anybody and then following them following the journey means checking at the credibility how deeply they are talking about when they are talking about something and also connecting to them through maybe if you are talk if you are looking on Instagram then talking to them just like you know messaging them and seeing how they are responding and then if possible talking to them beforehand on a phone or something and only if you feel comfortable then you should go for them I would say but also important to see the case studies to you know like if someone is having digest two problems like IBS then understanding whether this particular practitioner actually worked with IBS and whether they were able to help someone else heal that problem 

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[48:55 – 49:35]and also like how many years of experience this you know practitioner has in that field yeah and how much authentic they are so I think these are all important questions that we need to be asking because like you said it’s very difficult to find and trust someone with our health and it is important that we do thorough carry such before you know giving our health or putting our trust in someone right so I think these are the few things I would advise talking to them is very important and connecting to them beforehand

Shrankhla Holecek:[49:35 – 49:55]love that thank you for summarizing that so beautifully and I realize we’ve taken up a fair amount of your time but before I let you go I’d love to hear about any resources that you might recommend our users listen to and anything we might have missed that’s important in our Ayurveda

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[49:56 – 50:51 ]resources wise I find it very hard to recommend something like a book or so it’s I would say one of the it’s a little bit diluted in the west the way Ayurveda is described and put forward so I don’t tend to recommend any particular book or something but one of the simplest Vedic scriptures that anybody can read and understand or to start Ayurvedic journey would be Ashtanga Hridaya which is like a Ayurvedic book there are many English translations that are available that one can actually buy and read there are so many contemporary and modern authors who have fairly tried to put forward or explain Ayurveda in a simpler form like Dr. Vasant Lad I think he has a couple of books which are like for general books which are okay to get started with yeah I think

Shrankhla Holecek:[50:52 – 51:37]I agree Dr. Vasant Lord is usually a good place to start in my experience that simplifies the information especially for you know Western audience and I do love the tip to around Astanga hridaya and trying to read that of course I’ll you know I do love that you’re sharing so selflessly and copiously on your Instagram and that’s where I first fell in love with your work and have since been wanting to have a conversation with you and have you on our podcast so that’s another resource I will throw out if there’s anything else you’d like to add before we let you go

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[51:38 – 53:53]yeah I think one thing I would say is that call it my kind of like learning personal learning through practicing Ayurveda and then trying to make myself a better person and my own personal journey I would say Ayurveda is very vast like a ocean and it’s and it is a Vedic scripture for that reason I guess but begin Ayurveda to actually start incorporating Ayurveda we don’t need to know or have all this knowledge at all what I understood over all these years is that it can be as simple as you just becoming aware about a simple thing like how you feel when you wake up first thing in the morning do you feel energetic how you feel after going after releasing balls do you feel lighter and whether are you actually feeling hungry and the eating food or is it your emotion that is driving you to eat food and how well do you understand yourself like if you are especially this question is for women how well can you understand what phase of the cycle you are not about it’s not about the names of the cycle that you are in but about you do you know how your energy can change at different phases like before period how is your mold how is your physical energy do you have a clue of what is happening internally without the jagran of knowing this terms and terminology and stuff I think these are some of the important questions that we should ask ourselves and that’s all that is where that is what Ayurveda wanted us to do so to just to become to start somewhere to become aware and to pay attention to our body and the subtle signs that it gives us at any given moment because health is second to second changing

 Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[53:54 – 54:28]I can quickly become say if I go and now eat like you know or drink some ice water for the next you know one or two hours or eat something or like even now I’m talking continuously which can increase water right so there is no guarantee for your health is going to stay forever in a similar way but the only guarantee that we have is if you are conscious enough to notice those changes and if you’re conscious enough to adapt to whatever things that are happening in your life so that is what Ayurveda is all about it’s just that simple 

Shrankhla Holecek:[54:28 – 55:03]beautiful sentiment and reminder to end on once again I cannot thank you enough for making the time to speak with me today I know I have personally learned so much from this conversation and I think I’m safe in saying that as will so many people who follow our journey with Ayurveda so thank you again and I look forward to bringing more of you to our audience via various formats so more to come and talk to you soon thank you Dr. Varalakshmi

Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:[55:03 – 55:07] thank you for having me it was a pleasure to speak with you

 Shrankhla Holecek:[55:07 – 55:28]please visit drvaralakshmi.com to learn more about Dr. Varalakshmi’s work in Ayurveda and follow her on Instagram for insightful wellness tips that is drvaralakshmi for both website and instagram

Shrankhla Holecek:[55:28 – 56:09]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 the transformative journey with a series of conversations that we hope you’ll find enlightening 

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