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NL: Hi everyone, my name is Natalie Ledwell and this is The Inspiration Show. Today i\on the show, my special guest is a master when it comes to Ayurveda which is an ancient Indian healing modality. We're going to be talking a lot about that today and her new book that's come out and how you can use this this beautiful modality to be able to heal yourself and to live a life of joy and vitality. But before we get into the content of our show today, I'd like to just remind if you are watching this show on YouTube, don't forget that when you finish watching the show, just click the link below this video to take my 30-second quiz so we can figure out what is holding you back from success. So now let's get into the show, so please welcome Acharya Shunya. How are you?
AS: I’m wonderful, couldn't be better.
NL: Now, I have been looking through this beautiful book of yours this morning and I actually have some friends that practice Ayurveda, they've been using oils and I know that there's a lot to do with temperature and time of day and there are so many different aspects to this, and do we call it a healing modality? What would we call Ayurveda?
AS: I would call it a health and healing modality. It is first and foremost a way of health and then if you missed that original bus, then probably we could heal ourselves.
NL: Yes, absolutely. Now as I was mentioning earlier, you are a master. You are considered a master in this area, so tell us a little bit about your background and your story and how you got to be living this life and teaching this work.
AS: I think I'm Karma’s favorite child because I was born in a lineage of masters and my own grandfather in India was renowned in his community. He was a yogi, a saint and a healer and I was for some reason really attracted to him not only because he was affectionate and kind and he loved animals and just was a special person, but I loved when he talked to his students. So when I was really young, I would sit there and pretend like I'm all grown up and then of course he accepted me as a student and I formally studied with him along with the regular mainstream schooling. And then it so happened that you know life and situations and my overcoming a genetic condition and really being the best I can, re-convinced me that I am indeed very fortunate. And then I studied in a traditional school and graduated as a master teacher. And then for several decades now I have been here in America and I have a school of Ayurveda and yoga in Vedanta in California near Berkeley and that's what I do day in and day out; teach more people to become teachers and Ayurveda physicians.
NL: Right. So from my understanding, we have different types, there’s different body types or temperature types. How can we figure out what ours is?
AS: Oh really simple but of course for that you'll have to go through my book.
AS: To give something simple and exciting for our viewers and listeners is that energy in Ayurveda is huge and there are three body types or mind types based on the type of dominant energy we have. So if you have dominant air energy or wind energy, which is known as Vata-type, then we would be like a breeze of fresh air. We would be open to ideas, we would move quickly, think quickly, get impatient quickly, but you know mostly thanks to people like us, this world has a lot of change and newness, right? And I think we would also be good speakers, communicators, good meditators and would love to be on the move. So if in excess, it can cause pain, anxiety, sleeplessness because it's just too much motion.
AS: And there's the other energy type which is Pitta, P-I-T-T-A, which is fiery, and when it's in balance or if its dominant within us, we would be like problem solvers, excellent thinkers, intellectuals, sharp metabolism; we could eat a lot of food and look pretty good. Nobody would know how much we ate because we could burn it away. But in excess, it could cause heartburn, acidity, irritability, overwhelm, controlling behavior, and we feel like really sad because people would think we are just too sharp. But really what we need is Ayurveda lifestyle to eat the right diet and nutrition to balance it out and connect with a cooling moon and find a real inner fire which is meant to actually take us through difficulties and help us and not burn us. And the final body-mind type is Kapha, K-A-P-H-A which is like the solid, sturdy farmer-oak type and in this, we have beautiful strong body, well-developed limbs and joints, smooth skin, large eyes. You can see there's some Kapha going here. Lots of hair. And even when a new couple of babies are born, it’s like where did you eat? You look so well. It doesn't necessarily mean heavy or fat or obese or anything, but in excess it can cause that. It can also cause depression, sadness, grief, excessive loyalty to the wrong person. Well you know in balance again, Ayurveda lifestyle comes to the rescue. You know the spring, which is coming up, is a season of cough aggravation so we love watery, lemon springs, so eat these foods, take turmeric as a spice, eat more greens. Here is a recipe that can help you. These are the yoga postures. And we find the balance. So fire, water and air - they are not just cosmetic ingredients outside, they actually live in us, the microcosm of the macrocosm. And so it's a beautiful poetry, we can create our own poetry, Natalie, every day.
NL: Yeah, and that's what I love about Ayurveda. It's very simple solutions. And I know like you've been saying that you've been working for decades in this, in this area - are there common themes or are there common illnesses or things that you see that pop up in people that you've been working with?
AS: Just about everything! That's why in my book I have mentioned people recovering from just weight gain or hives and cholesterol to multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis. And I mean I didn't bring up such a case study in my book, but even people with terminal conditions like cancer, when they start using the Ayurvedic lifestyle - along with everything they may be doing like chemo, radiation - they actually have less side effects, they feel happier and I think their immune response just tremendously improves because they are living in alignment with nature's chronobiological rhythms. They are becoming like the animals and birds, and they're waking up at a certain time. They're changing their palate based on seasons, they're not just eating a mono diet based on preferences or cultural biases. We’re just really coming back to nature. So I have seen across the spectrum from infertility to acne to sadness to anorexia, and I just want to say not sure if Ayurveda is a “cure-all”, I don't want to juxtapose it like that, I would just say that health is everybody's birthright and no matter where you are, go ahead and making it with this ancient times invested wisdom.
NL: Yeah and I think what this does is it helps us to tap in and check in with our own bodies and take a little responsibility back for our own health, other than just being at the whim and looking at what is it outside of me that's being this issue and look within for answers.
NL: So if someone wanted to adopt an Ayurvedic lifestyle, is it like a big change that they have to make?
AS: Oh no. I mean I would never, first of all, buy into anything like that, because I'm a naturally free-flowing person from childhood. When I was young, I was called a reformer and now I’m called a visionary. So I lead my life on my terms and my time, but Ayurvedic lifestyle and my book is like a resource. So if you have sleep issues, you can turn to the sleep chapter and pick one or two things and then try it for a month, it's going to help you, then you feel motivated to go back. I mean we have our whole life to dot it with this sacred spirit effusive rituals and practices like putting oil on your body or taking a marigold bath, you would think marigold just look pretty, well no, they are actually antiseptic, they reduce redness, hey improve the skin color and they have the seers and the sages who studied nature and gave us this knowledge. So no overwhelm here, little bite sizes, it's all there. We got many reviews, many impressive reviews and you just keep going back and they all said you can keep going back to this book and make it as a life resource for you.
NL: Yeah, I agree it's like you go to any kind of ailment, illness or condition and you can go to that part of this book and like I said, they’re all simple solutions, which I love. So the other thing that I know from my friends that practice Ayurveda is something to do with the temperature of our food, how does that play out in our health?
AS: So you know there is the hot and the cooling, it's amazing how much physics has informed Ayurveda, and so people who are physics buffs and physicists and Nobel laureates, talk about Vedic medicine and consciousness and understanding of food at a very basic level, so when heat in our stomach or a hydrochloric acid or our enzymes, chemical heat, solar heat, nuclear heat, heat is heat. So they help each other. So when we eat hot cooked food or drink hot water first thing in the morning or with our meals, warm water like a lot of it has been done all over Asia - actually not just in India or Ayurvedic medicine - it actually works in cooperation with the kind of heat that we want to generate in our stomach, which can be considered like a test tube or a cauldron where food is cooking in really simplistic terms. But it's being processed and so then when we drink this huge gallon of iced water or cold water, it actually dampens it. So it's like do you want the foods and drinks you eat to add to the metabolic efficiency or you want it to distract? Because if you put a lot of ice and cold and chilled water, a lot of your internal heat will have to spend time in bringing it to an equilibrium. And that is why the first rule to lose weight is to drink warm water and to get up first thing in the morning, go release yourself and then drink a big cup of hot water, even now I'm drinking it. I'm helping myself constantly and boosting my metabolism by just taking sips of hot water, not all day but when you feel thirsty. I even have a little thermos because I don't want to just keep walking from my office to my kitchen to heat water. I work from my home so I actually filled myself this little thing, and when I feel thirsty I pour myself some warm water. These simple things make such a difference and you saw the case studies of people losing hundreds of pounds of weight and whatnot.
NL: Yeah, yeah and again it's just kind of just tapping in and figuring out what your body type is so that you can do that. And even like the exercise that you prescribe, I know there's a lot of yoga out there, but you don't really prescribe going out there and killing yourself when it comes to exercise as well. Right?
AS: Well, that's why I wrote a subheading in my book as the “yoga more”. Just like when we walk, we go to these McDonald's or some of these fast-food restaurants, and then they say “now more” like more meat on your bun. It's like, hey I still have to eat that food, or big size soda. So it just is the same thing like you go to a yoga studio and somebody's offering 50 for ten dollars, somebody's offering 70 poses for ten dollars, but in the ancient tradition, maybe you just needed two or three postures, and the nice comfortable relaxation and you are done. So I think it's just doing everything. So I kind of wanted to not dumb down my book or delude it or follow the “herd”, I wanted to give the authentic knowledge but in an accessible manner for the people I work with and live with and I know their needs. I've been living here and teaching in America for three decades almost now, so I knew what I needed to address.
NL: Yeah, the simplicity of the book is just fantastic. So, like you said three decades, so has there been anyone that you've worked with that is completely so memorable, that’s such an amazing story that you can share with us that had such an incredible change in their life by applying Ayurveda?
AS: Well, I have about five to seven stories that I've shared which were memorable, but one of them is like this beautiful tender 20 year old who came to me, I was giving a lecture in the bookshop and she started crying and she was so beautiful and so vulnerable, I remembered her and I dreamt of her that night, I dreamt that I was taking her with me to my ancient home in India to my master and teaching her Ayurveda. And then I found out that I was leading a retreat a few days later and she'd “signed up”, but I found out she's only 20 something and she dealt with bleeding ulcers in her colon and she was on 18 pills including an antidepressant prescription to cover it all. And when she came to me and I just gave her five things to do and nothing medical here including: put fresh flowers in your home every day, create a sacred space where you can be still, drink buttermilk homemade with one part yogurt, four parts milk, and this following spices which are in the book, and a few more things. Five really simple things including a recipe of a lentil that made the green gram that you can find at natural food stores and that's it. I didn't even tell her what not to do because I didn't want to overwhelm her. I just wanted to awaken. And within a few weeks, her bowel movement went from 22 to 8 a day, the blood reduced, and then she felt more energetic, then she joined a two month course that I teach, Awaken Health, and within a year she was having what she called beautiful bowel movements of every drug and now she's like a diva teaching cooking on television and telling the world about Ayurveda and her own wellness. So this woman like so beautiful that I never really had to sit there and figure out a natural drug for her, we never even had a five-minute conversation on her bleeding ulcers in her colon and the pain in her stomach. Instead we talked about plucking fresh flowers and gifting them to herself or meditating every day for five minutes. It was lovely. So now when she's a practitioner, she writes five things for people to do and she's creating those miracles and not countless sad stories, that make me feel glad that this changed my life and I can change others’ lives.
NL: Yeah and you are a gift to the world, Shunya. I'm so glad that you got to spend some time with us today and thank you for everything that you do. Like I said, it doesn't have to be complicated and this book - so where can we send people if they want to get their hands on the book?
AS: The book is everywhere - in your local pharmica, food stores, Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, you just type in my name Acharya Shunya or Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom and you shall be led to this book.
NL: Wonderful! And make sure that if you are watching this online, just click the banner to the side, that'll go straight through to Shunya’s site or if you're watching this on the app click the banner underneath. Thank you again, Shunya, such a pleasure.
AS: Thank you.
NL: Now guys, I encourage you to share this video. Please let's get the word out there. You can do that by clicking the Facebook and the Twitter share buttons on this page. Also don't forget, you can take the 30-second quiz which is underneath here by clicking on the link, or if you're watching this online what you can do is just this leave your email and then we'll send you the Manifesting with the Master's video e-course for free. So until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We'll see you soon.