Recently I wrote a blog post about my consultation with our resident Ayurvedic practitioner, Carla Levy. It was such an enlightening experience and gave me some great insight into my own health. You can read the post here. Carla was sweet enough to let me interview her as well about the many benefits of Ayurveda, how it’s helped her clients and how it’s changed her own life.
Kate Bello: For those who don’t know what Ayurveda is, how would you explain it in its most basic form?
Carla Levy: Ayurveda has been practiced for over 5000 years and is said to be the oldest healing system in the world. Ayurveda means the “science of life” and it embodies and conveys the deep knowledge given to us by the ancient rishis (sages) of India. It is based on a profound understanding of nature and the elements that nature encompasses: ether, air, fire, water and earth. By understanding how we are a part of nature and how its elements coexist within us, we come to understand our own true nature.
A state of health and balance is our natural state. The practice of Ayurveda creates the optimal environment where the body is able to heal itself of disease and imbalances. Through knowledge of the principles of Ayurveda, you will be empowered to take charge of your own health. You will understand your unique constitution and achieve the skills to know how to create and maintain balance and therefore health in your life.
KB: How does Ayurveda work?
CL: Ayurveda is truly a holistic healing system working on body, mind and spirit. It works differently from western medicine, which tends to focus on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Ayurveda, although compatible with western medicine, focuses on prevention, healing and maintaining health by achieving balance. Instead of simply treating the symptoms, the system of Ayurveda can both prevent and treat disease by eradicating it at its roots before it has a chance to manifest. Each one of us has a unique balance called our prakruti. Your prakruti was established at the moment of your conception and will never change. During a thorough examination, I will assess your prakruti and also determine your vikruti. Your vikruti is your constitution at the present time and it will show where you have strayed from your natural balance. Together we will create a plan, which will address body, mind and spirit to bring you back in to balance, your own prakruti . When you are in balance with your own true nature disease cannot penetrate. Healing modalities will include a food program, customized herbal formulas, and lifestyle adjustments. Further suggestions may include asana, pranayama and meditation practices as well as other subtle therapies including sound, color and aromatherapy. I support, educate and guide people on their road to health
KB: How old is Ayurveda and what’s been its history in medicine? When did you first get interested in practicing Ayurveda and what was your path to teaching others about it?
CL: I have been an Iyengar Yoga instructor for thirty years. Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga. They both originated from the Vedas which are considered by many the oldest books on the planet! When I started studying Ayurveda I fell in love with it. Ayurveda makes so much sense. It is truly intuitive knowledge.
The aim of Yoga and Ayurveda is the same, to connect to your own true nature as spirit. Ayurveda works to heal the physical body and Yoga is the spiritual side of Ayurveda. Yoga and Ayurveda compliment, support and strengthen the practice of each other.
KB: What are some examples of how Ayurveda has changed the lives of some of your patients?
CL: The disease process starts in the mind and the digestive system. So many people are suffering from digestive disorders and many don’t even recognize this. If imbalance is not treated here, it will spread into other bodily tissues. People become confused about what is the right thing for them to eat. We really have”trendy” foods in this country. Certain foods go in and out of popularity. So many people tell me they are not eating this or that and I ask them why. Their reply quite often is, “I heard it’s not good for you.”
“One mans medicine is another mans poison” is a famous Ayurvedic saying. Ayurveda makes it clear what is good for you to eat. We also look closely at people’s eating habits and have wonderful herbs to help people with digestive problems. Ayurveda teaches us to love and care for ourselves and gives us specific practices for this. These practices are the path to healing and balancing the mind.
KB: How does someone figure out what their doshas are? As well as their Prakruti and Vikruti?
CL: Your doshas are the same thing as your prakruti and vikruti. To figure out what your Prakruti and Vikruti are one needs to see a qualified practitioner. This is not something one can figure out on their own. Find a practitioner that has had at least several years of schooling in Ayurveda. You can check the National Ayurvedic Medical Association for their list of certified practitioners. http://ayurvedanama.org/
KB: How has Ayurveda helped you in your own life?
CL: Ayurveda has completely changed my life. Ayurveda is a way of life! I live life with the knowledge of my nature. When I go out of balance it is easy for me to see the cause and know how to get back into balance. I also pay close attention to nature around me and change my life to be in harmony with her. With each season we must make changes. Health is not only staying in balance with our own nature, but nature around us as well.
KB: Where can our readers get more information about Ayurveda and your practice?
CL: Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have some handouts including a great reading list on the Ranch website:www.rancholapuerta.com/handouts. Best of all, come to the Ranch, listen to my talks and have a consultation. May all beings be happy and healthy!