How, where and when did you first get introduced to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda runs in my family. Both of my parents are vaidyas, so basic rules of Ayurveda were always followed at home. I grew up watching my father teach students of Ayurveda how to read sanhitas and understand the true meaning of Ayurveda.
What is your constitution?
My constitution is dual: Vata-Pitta!
Which of your Doshas is most likely to go out of balance and what herbal medicines and practices do you use to bring it back into harmony?
I have to always keep a check on my Vata. I include ghee in my diet, never skip meals and get plenty of sleep. I take Dadimashtaka Churnam whenever I experience indigestion. I use Sariva, Ushira cold infusions or Praval Bhasma to balance my Pitta in the summer.
What motivated you to become a certified practitioner?
My motivation is Ayurveda. I have been fascinated with it since childhood. I wanted to spread the word and help people with Ayurveda. Becoming a certified practitioner was a way to do so!
There is so much in-depth information in the system of Ayurveda. Can you share some of your studying techniques that helped you remember information?
I am fortunate to be educated through a traditional as well as a modern education system. The traditional system emphasized knowing the shlokas by heart. Knowing slokas by heart has helped me a lot.
If I don’t know something by heart, I make it a point to read the original texts. Reading the verses from the actual classical books is crucial if you want to keep the science pure. When you read from the translations there is always a possibility of misinterpretations. I have been learning Sanskrit since my school days to aid in my Ayurvedic studies.
Whenever I am unsure of a health issue with myself or a client, I go to the original texts and read them. This way I keep on refreshing my knowledge and also understand the concepts better. I do not stick to only one! I read all the possible originals like Charak Sanhita, Sushruta Sanhita, Ashtanghridayam, etc. Different viewpoints make one problem easy to understand.
What are your top three favorite books on Ayurveda?
Ashtang Hridayam is my favorite of them all. It is like the handbook of practitioners. Then comes Charak Sanhita. Charakastu Chikitsite! Charak Sanhita is the best when it comes to herbal treatments of diseases. It also has detailed descriptions about Panchakarma. Sharngdhara Sanhita is like the pharmacopia of Ayurvedic herbal products. I love to make my own medicine. Sharangadhar Sanhita guides me in handcrafting pure, Ayurvedic, herbal products at our little pharmacy in India.
Have you ever felt discouraged on your journey with Ayurveda with health problems or your Ayurvedic education? If so, how did you overcome it?
The treatment process of Ayurveda requires more effort from the patient like following a specfici diet, modifying their lifestyle (sometimes dramatically) and making fresh decoctions or juices at home. These days people want results sooner and easier. I have seen impatient clients getting anxious after only a few weeks of Ayurvedic treatment. I feel discouraged myself sometimes in these scenarios because I want them to keep going and be patient.
There are two things we can do in this situation as a practitioner.
What is the first thing you focus on when working with a new client who doesn’t know anything about Ayurveda?
I focus on getting to know the client with a thorough review of their health history and the development of any diseases they may have. I explain to the client what hereditary, lifestyle and diet choices are affecting their health. When they understand how I came to my diagnosis, I schedule a healing program for them which includes lifestyle changes and Ayurvedic herbal medicines as needed.
I use pure and fresh herbs from an authentic source like Kottakkal Ayurveda. I know that only positive results can boost clients’ faith in Ayurveda so I take extra care to give advice and supplements that will promote the maximum results.
When a client becomes discouraged about slow results or difficulty breaking old habits, how do you help them stay focused and positive?
I always make it a point to recommend step-by-step lifestyle changes that are achievable for the client. Ayurveda says that unhealthy habits, if stopped at once, create unpleasant withdrawal effects. I give my clients a clear plan for how to change their lifestyle bit-by-bit to avoid withdrawal. This makes it easier for them to follow the suggested changes. I believe if my diagnosis is perfect and the client follows the advice, results can come quickly.
If one of my clients feels discouraged, we compare the symptoms that they experienced on day one to how they feel today. It helps them understand that they have actually come a long way since they started and it builds positivity to continue propeling them through the healing process.
What do you think is the most important duty of an Ayurvedic doctor/practitioner?
Focusing all of my efforts in the best interest of the client!
What is your mission as an Ayurvedic practitioner?
Modern medical science is concentrating all of its efforts on curing diseases through antibiotics, pain killers, chemotherapy, synthetic drugs and vaccinations. Modern medical science often neglects to look into why these diseases are proliferating so quickly and so often. Modern medical science largely neglects the prevention aspect of healing.
Ayurveda has two aims: the maintenance of good health and the treatment of diseases. My mission is to spread the science of prevention of diseases through Ayurvedic lifestyle practices and the use of herbal medicines. With Ayurvedic perspectives on diet, sleep and celibacy we can achieve a world where we will not be threatened by diseases.
What is your favorite part about being an Ayurvedic practitioner?
My favorite part is seeing the glow of wellness on healthy clients’ face and hearing them say that Ayurveda has enriched their lives.
How would you like to see your practice grow in the next 5 years?
I want to formulate educational programs that will teach people the philosophy of Ayurveda and how to live a disease-free life. People will learn to successfully change their lifestyle and diet per their specific constitutional, professional and geographical. This will be the first steps to accomplish my mission of a healthy world through healthy individuals!
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The purpose of this article is to provide information about Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health problems please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with our affiliated practitioners. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.
We're very happy to welcome Shivani Chase of Balanced Life Ayurveda to our incredible team of affiliates! To introduce her to our community read more to learn all about her background, experience, approaches to healing and hopes for her growing Ayurvedic business!
Regardless of how I was introduced to Ayurveda, here’s the thing: I was introduced to Ayurveda at just the right time in my life. Only five years earlier I was on another trajectory studying Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, WA when my father was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. I knew instinctually that there had to be “another way” to access health and wholeness in mind, body, and spirit, but at the time I was not ready for the depth and breadth of self-care and purification practices offered by Ayurveda. It took the deeper work of finding stillness (sthira) and single pointed concentration (dhārana) on the yoga mat to be prepare me for my introduction to the Elements (mahabhutani) as Beings with whom I could enter into relationship. That was the shift that occurred that led me to study the science of Ayurveda as a healing practice.