Ever spending time in India in 2016, I’ve had a growing fixation with Ayurvedic everything. As opposed to other blanket theories on nutrition or beauty, I prefer the concept of living according to your personal energy type or dosha. After returning from India, I ventured to Surya Spa in the Pacific Palisades north of Los Angeles on a crusade for an authentic experience. This year my Ayurvedic obsession was renewed, one snowy night after a Marma Point massage at Yoga 216 in New York City. The “Marma points” or 107 secret pressure points, are said to stimulate body, mind and consciousness while unlocking one’s vital energy. Um, yes please. 90 minutes of sesame oiled massaging later, I emerged a new woman with renewed curiosity about the principles of Ayurveda.
The next night I had dinner with my dear friend Rebecca Parekh, who along with being half Indian also happens to the former COO of Deepak Chopra, founder and CEO of soon-to-be epic wellness center, The Well. Over nourishing Ayurvedic meals at Divya’s Kitchen, I spent the evening picking her brain and decided to share her wisdom here. I also insisted she go get her Marmas poked at Yoga 216. As should all of you. ;-)
What is your experience/history with Ayurveda?
I first learned about Ayurveda during my summers in India as a child. I'm half Indian so although I grew up in the US, we would visit my relatives in Mumbai. Ayurveda was part of our day to day from the foods we ate to the doctors we visited. There were always interesting "kits" around the house like my grandfather's box of pickled turmeric, pickled ginger & homemade coriander chutney that accompanied every meal or my grandmother's "get well" kit of honey, ginger, gold & other concoctions. My great grandfather was an Ayurvedic doctor so his knowledge heavily influenced our home.
Why does Ayurveda makes sense to you?
For starters, Ayurveda looks at the world holistically and believes the mind and body are inextricably linked. This makes sense to me on a very basic level. Ayurveda also believes that our mental state can heal and transform the body. The quality of our emotions - not just what we eat but how we feel when we eat - these things are all important.
Do you think beauty should be tailored to your dosha? Does it matter?
I guess it depends on how you define beauty. I believe so much of beauty is a reflection of your inner state. It's like the Roald Dahl quote "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." So yes, I think if you focus on the foods and activities and routines that support your dosha, it will benefit you inside & out. Also, we apply beauty products to our skin and since our skin is our largest organ, I think the ingredients we choose matter. Some of my favorite Ayurvedic beauty activities include dry brushing and oil pulling with coconut oil. These are both part of my morning routine and I look forward to the little ritual each day.
When you follow the principles of Ayurveda, does it work for you?
Yes yes yes. So much. It's been a really intense few months for me professionally as I'm starting a new company and working all the time. The irony is that while founding a wellness business, one of my biggest challenges is actually staying well! I spent two weeks in India last fall and visited the Ananda Ashram in the Himalayas. I was all-in on Vata everything - food, yoga, bodywork etc. I cannot explain how amazing I felt when I came home.
Besides beauty and eating, what else can be Ayurvedic?
Everything! Ayurveda translates literally to the Science of Life. It’s all encompassing.
What’s on your Ayurvedic “Must Read” list?
1. My go to Ayurveda bible is Vasant Lad’s “The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.”
2. The very first Ayurveda book I bought about 20 years ago is “Ayurvedic Cure for Common Diseases” by Dr N.A. Murthy D.P. Pandey.
3. I’m currently reading and OBSESSED with “Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life” by Dr Suhas Kshirsagar. It just came out this year. I started it last night and could not put it down. It’s basically about sleep & circadian rhythms.
4. Lastly, I think a must read for everyone is Deepak’s “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success". I had never read any of his books before I started working for him. This was my first one and now I’ve read it several times. It’s so simple yet so profound. It’s not about Ayurveda per se but it’s all about the power of our minds which we know affects everything else!
Any products you’re digging at the moment?
I’m currently obsessed with two products from the Chopra Center; Vata Tea and Vata Candle. I honestly believe both of these make a really big impact!! I also have this golden milk concoction I drink when I need a little extra love before bed.
Oh. Also. Pratima. I’ve never used her products but I’ve heard they’re amazing and want to start! She does consultations too and spa treatments.