KA: How, where and when did you first get introduced to Ayurveda?
CN: Over a dozen years ago, I was introduced to the concept of Ayurveda during my first series of Yoga classes. I loved the approach of following your true nature and using food and lifestyle to be well and not just relying on alopathic medicines.
I didn’t just jump into the practice when I heard about it. Instead, about a year after hearing about Ayurveda, I fell ill with a number of mental and physical ailements. I immediately returned to Ayurveda. After a full consultation and evalauation of my prakriti (true nature) and vikriti (imbalanced state), I received a completely new (to me) nutrition plan, lifestyle routine and herbal formulas.
After the first 30 days, the results were amazing and I was hooked!
This is a very common question asked of me, so here is a blog post I wrote with even more details about my story.KA: What is your constitution?
CN: This is another question I’m often asked. My clients are curious about more than just their own constitution! I am a Pitta-Kapha. Specifically, I am mostly Pitta in my mind and inner functioning, but Kapha in my physical build.
I am happy when my clients ask this question. It gives me a chance to help them understand their constitution and recognize their current imbalances. I often find that people can identify so strongly with their imbalances, that they think it is their constitution. In the beginning I did this too and learning otherwise was empowering.KA: Which of your Doshas is most likely to go out of balance and what herbal medicines and practices do you do to bring it back into balance?
CN: My experience is that Vata Dosha tends to be what I have to spend the most time and effort managing in myself. This usually happens when I overbook my schedule and am unable to stick to a routine, which is a very important part of balancing Vata Dosha. To keep my schedule from getting too full, I block out time in my calendar for self care and downtime, allowing time for my own self-care routine of abhyanga, Yoga and meditation. In addition, I use herbs such as Ashwaghanda and Jatamansi to help relieve the anxiety that can often be associated with Vata imbalance.KA: What motivated you to become a certified practitioner?
CN: As I learned and incorporated more Ayurveda into my life, I found that I was talking and sharing my experiences with everyone who would listen. They mirrored my passion and over time I realized that I could help others as well. One of the 5 Yamas of Yoga is Asteya, non-stealing. I felt to learn Ayurveda and not share it would be to steal it from others. Now I am practicing full time and sharing my knoweldge, experiences and passion with a growing community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.KA: 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?
CN: Yes, the knowledge of Ayurveda is a deep as the oceans and it can be easy to become overwhelmed with everything you can read and research. My techniques over the years have developed and my most recent practices include being focused on one or two lineages of Ayurveda (Vaidya RK Mishra and Dr. Lad) and writing what I learn into my own words.KA: What are your top three favorite books on Ayurveda?
CN: Wow, I’m not sure I can limit it to three! I have shelves of books on Ayurveda, including many from India as well as from western authors. I own many classics like the Charak Samhita and modern books too. Depending on what I am studying or what I am researching for a client, this list changes.
Right now, I find that I pick up these three books the most:
Ayurvedic Recipes for Balance and Bliss Cookbook by Vaidya RK Mishra and Rick Talcott
Weight Loss and Wellness the SV Ayurveda Way: Step Up Your Sugar and Fat Metabolism by Vaidya RK Mishra and Lisa Coffey
Marma Points of Ayurveda: The Energy Pathways for Healing Body, Mind, and Consciousness with a Comparison to Traditional Chinese Medicine by Dr. Vasant Lad and Anisha Durve
KA: Have you ever felt discouraged on your journey with Ayurveda? With health problems and with your Ayurvedic education? If so, how did you overcome it?
CN: I experienced two buldging disks in my back during my second year of school which required a leave of disability from work. Instead of being discouraged by Ayurveda, I embraced it even further and deeper. I was able to manage my back pain then and still do today using Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation. Without the focus on the root cause, hetu, of my condition that Ayurveda promotes so well, I was likely on a path to pain medications, cortisone shots and even surgery.
It was during those days that I first envisioned my practice, Bodhi Ayurveda, and was divinely inspired to enlighten wellness within others.
KA: What is the first thing you focus on when working with a new client who doesn’t know anything about Ayurveda?
CN: I ask new clients about their wellness goals, first and foremost. Regardless of how much they know about Ayurveda, their goals are important. From there, I will ask about their knowledge of Ayurveda and base the rest of my conversation around this, interweaving knowledge as needed to support guiding the person to meet their goals and interest in Ayurveda.KA: When a client becomes discouraged about slow results or difficulty breaking old habits, how do you help them stay focused and positive?
CN: During consultations, I remind clients that Ayurveda is not a quick approach to change. I share with them that success comes with consistency, courage and confidence. It takes compliance to the recommendations made, consistency over time (sometimes months or even years for severe or chronic conditions), courage and faith in yourself and your ability to heal and confidence in the science of Ayurveda.
In my practice, I offer clients a series of consultation sessions in a package. This helps with accountability and acts as an incentive to stay engaged in the process. Even when clients sign up for the package of sessions, my follow up is key.
My approach with clients is to be transparent and real. When appropriate, I share personal experiences and show that I too can struggle on the path. I share real life examples and tips. I also encourage them to track their progress and celebrate even the baby steps.KA: What do you think is the most important duty of an Ayurvedic doctor/practitioner?
CN: As practitioners and doctors, I feel it is our responsibility to understand our scope of practice in the United States and be mindful of how we address our clients. We need to be consistent in guiding clients from the Ayurveda perspective of self care and wellness.KA: What is your mission as an Ayurvedic practitioner?
CN: My practice is named Bodhi Ayurveda. The word Bodhi means "enlightenment" or "to know the nature of things". This is true about our own wellness - when we know our true nature and can express ourselves through our true nature - we are happy and healthy. My mission is to enlighten wellness within my clients.KA: What is your favorite part about being an Ayurvedic practitioner?
CN: I truly love working with clients one on one. In just one session, whether it be a bodywork session or a consultation, it is a joy to see transformations in my clients into a place of inner peace and contentment. This is the start of true wellness for many people.KA: How would you like to see your practice grow in the next 5 years?
CN: Over the next 5 years, I see my practice growing to bring on additional practitioners. In addition to this type of growth, I look to expand into teaching Ayurveda to massage therapists and clients during my retreats.
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You may live in a place where not many people know about Ayurveda. It's a common issue among practitioners. But to build a successful practice, a mind shift is necessary. Instead of trying to educate people on Ayurveda who may have no initial interest in alternative health, it's more effective to focus your practice on people who already have an interest in Ayurveda. That way you can serve your niche deeply, instead of trying to serve "everyone."
When you do this, your business can really start to thrive and referrals will start pouring in.