SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
Q & A with Bahareh Hosseini
Posted on March 5th, 2016
Learn about Bahareh Hosseini and her connection with Wise Earth Ayurveda. Barhareh will be leading the Women’s Ayurveda: Womb Shakti Medicine weekend on April 9-10.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Iran but have been living, studying and working in Toronto, Canada for over 15 years. I absolutely love New York, and so glad to be 1 hour away so I’m planning on visiting more often.
What is Wise Earth Ayurveda?
Wise Earth Ayurveda is a distinct sadhana based education of Inner Medicine Healing, employing a unique learning model that informs that you have the power to heal yourself. This is different from other contemporary schools in Ayurveda which are largely based in clinical and prescriptive methodology.
One can work towards healing and inner harmony by recognizing and employing the following:
Wholeness: Realizing the true Self to be one with nature
Simplicity: Practicing humility through surrender to nature’s intelligence
Ahimsa: Harmony: Committing to inner harmony
Memory: Restoring cosmic, cognitive, and ancestral memory
Rhythm: Honoring nature’s nourishers: Food, Breath & Sound
Sadhana – Sacred Practice: Aligning every activity in accord with nature’s rhythms
Consciousness: Cultivating inner awareness and knowingness
You have worked closely with Maya Tiwari. How did you get connected with her?
I connected with Maya through her books years ago, ever since I began my Yoga Teacher Training and when I seriously started studying Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. In person however, I connected with her when she visited Toronto on Tour a few years ago, where I was volunteering at the event. We kept in touch after that event and for me this relationship has brought the teachings in the books alive in a way I couldn’t have ever imagined. I am deeply grateful that I have been able to continue to study and work with Maya.
When did you become interested in Ayurveda? How long have you been practicing?
I became interested in Ayurveda when I first heard about it through my Yoga Teacher Training in 2007. At the time I was working as an engineer and my lifestyle of working in corporate offices and a nuclear power plant though sacred in it’s own way felt very foreign and non-feminine to me. I started experiencing health issues in my 20’s and I knew that wasn’t right. After I finished the Yoga Teacher training I immediately started reading more and then studying through books and in-person locally in Toronto with Matthew Remski (http://matthewremski.com/) , in his home studio which really helped me see the world in a different way. I recognized even early on that for me the gift of Ayurveda is in self healing and wellness education and not necessarily in clinical practice and in prescribing medicines. At the same time I felt the need to explore the world of healing and art of medicine in a more diverse way so I delved into studying Shiatsu Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture) for 5 years full time, which meant I had to quit my lucrative engineering career path, and I gladly did so.
I have always continued on learning and practicing Ayurveda alongside the other modalities I’ve learned, in specific currently teaching other yoga teachers and my Acupuncture/Shiatsu patients and incorporating it in my treatments.
What is a women’s Shakti powers?
We all have Shakti powers, men and women. But of course as women we have a special relationship with it.
Shakti is the primordial feminine power that moves within the body and psyche of every female through a specific prana that circulates within the two lower chakras. Manifested as the pro-creative energy, shakti-prana flows within the genitals, womb and belly of a woman. It allows us the maternal and creative powers that we have as women, this is not limited to physical procreation or mothering, but creating and manifesting of ideas, art of medicine itself. It allows us to be natural nurturers of our communities, our men, our children.
What are signs that a woman’s Shakti prana is disturbed?
This may manifest in emotional imbalance, as well as physical…a prime example is our menstrual cycle that is not in line with our regular rhythm, or fertility issues. But in general our very creative and maternal powers as women gets disturbed, which in turn affects our work, families, our relationships and our health. In our modern lives, it is almost a given that our shakti prana is disturbed, as we live so much of our daily lives away from Mother Earth.
How has Wise Earth Ayurveda changed you as a person?
Wise Earth Ayurveda has definitely changed me as a person; meaning it has really improved my faith and confidence that I along with other women have the shakti, and the inner medicine healing powers that sustain us and will protect us, and that all of that does not require any extravagant or expensive tools or supplements but rather in our daily rituals of living we can celebrate our being-ness and maintain good health and vitality. In addition, For me, as an Iranian woman raised in a society where the feminine has been oppressed, abused and violated against for so long, I re-gained the confidence and power naturally inherent in me to continue with my dharma and duty in life without fear.
How can Wise Earth Ayurveda practices help women?
Ayurveda in itself is a more feminine form of medicine, Wise Earth in specific, founded by a woman, is really focused on bringing that healing power which is ours back into our own hands, especially as women and inspired by Mother Earth. We are guardians of the Mother Earth as Women and most closely related to her. By coming back to our roots, we can then very naturally and intuitively flow with that energy which has created us and continues to support us.
I am so happy to be visiting and exploring Ayurveda with NYC’s Yoginis, I am sure it will be an encouraging and fulfilling weekend as we bring these teachings alive together as a group.
Join Barhareh for her transformative workshop Women’s Ayurveda: Womb Shakti Medicine weekend on April 9-10.
Q & A with Annie Kunjappy
Posted on October 14th, 2015
Annie Kunjappy was born and raised in Malaysia by immigrant parents from Kerala, India. She has been in New York since 2004, spreading her knowledge and love for food and conscious eating. Annie will be leading the food portion of our Seasonal Self-Care workshops on November 1 (Winter Wellness) and April 3 (Spring Detox).
How do you know Leigh?
Leigh was my first yoga teacher! She started teaching her first yoga class at the warehouse loft space where I lived in San Francisco in 1990. I feel that her amazing teaching laid a strong foundation for my yoga practice in the years to come. We were both artists in the theater/dance/ performance world and have collaborated on several projects over the years.
Have you always been interested in food? When did you realize you would have a career as a chef?
My mother was a fabulous cook, so I had the good fortune of growing up eating very good food! I have always loved delicious, creative food, but my specific interest in food and healing came about from my own investigations into healing myself from eczema and other sensitivities that had plagued me since childhood. Western doctors at that time offered very little beyond steroids and cortisol creams as salves for the symptoms. My “return” to Eastern medicine and particularly to discovering the power of the daily practice of conscious eating was what finally healed me. This lead me to getting trained as a chef specializing in food and healing.
You studied and taught at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. How did you decide on that specific program? What was it like going from student to instructor?
The Natural Gourmet Institute offered a program that included the study of Ayurveda, Chinese 5-phase Theory, Macrobiotics, etc. Their approach to gourmet cooking had, at its heart, a devotion to health and healing.
Your approach to to nutrition and self-care is based on Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and western nutritional science. Can you explain how you integrate all of these “systems” into one?
Each tradition has fine-tuned it’s approach based on the truths of their environment, culture, history and value system. They have their differences and underlying similarities. I do not integrate all these systems into one by any means. Each person, under their specific set of conditions will ideally learn to address their own physical and spiritual needs informed and aided by the richness offered by these various approaches.
What can people expect from your upcoming seasonal attunement workshops? Is it accessible to people who have not been exposed to ayurevda, chinese medicine and seasonal practices?
It is designed to be accessible to the newcomer with plenty of inspiration for further study and investigation. There will be very do-able recipes and easy to follow charts, etc. to take home and start your own practice.
New Yorkers tend to be perfectionists. Is there a way to eat “perfectly” for the seasons? How would you suggest people approach a seasonal diet?
With a keen sense of listening to your own body, curiosity, and flexibility.
When you eat in alignment with the seasons, how do you feel?
Vital, energetic, strong, healthy. Not suffering from overheating in the summer, nor freezing in the winter. There is a sense of flow and ease.
You are also a performer. Do your two passions ever intermingle?
There have been a few shows that included the eating of cupcakes, the cooking and consuming of food on stage, and recipes… And I try to bring my performance background into my workshops, with the hope of making them fun and inspiring…
What do you like to do in your free time?
Hmmm….. “free time”? Time is time for me… I write and paint and read and do fun things with my family and friends….
If you could go anyplace in the world, right now, where would it be and why?
Right now, not always, it might be Tibet, as it used to be… I am curious to experience what a country whose governmental mission was the research into spiritual life would have been like….. Also the thin air, the high plateau the vista…
Q & A with Jo Brill
Posted on September 2nd, 2015
We are delighted to present the Introduction to Sanskrit, with Jo Brill Sept 12, 13 through our Yoga Sukhavati: Art of Sound Module. Jo is a gifted and generous teacher and we are very excited to share her with you! We talked to Jo about her love of Sanskrit, how it enhances the teaching of yoga, and the many wonderful people she has met on her journey.
Where are you from originally? How long have you lived in NYC?
I was born upstate, in Troy, but grew up “in the middle” — Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa. I’ve lived in New York State since 1980 when I started grad school, the first time, and I’ve lived in Peekskill (commuting distance!) since 1987.
How did you find yoga?
I started taking yoga after my first baby. Lucked into a wonderful teacher, Mia Azcue, the very first class and I have been her student since then!
How long have you practiced yoga? How long have you been teaching yoga?
I started practicing in 1988 or so — but casually. I got much more interested after a mid-life crisis in my 40s (I schedule one each decade!) and that’s when I sought out training, with Fran Ubertini, and began to teach — in 2004. Fran gave us several assignments to reflect on various yoga sutras, and I got frustrated with the variances in translation and interpretation! That’s what led me to Sanskrit.
How do you know Leigh?
I met Leigh when she signed up for a one-week intro intensive. That class was full of bright and loving people!! Of course Leigh was a ringleader!
Who is your sanskrit teacher?
I’ve studied with many wonderful teachers. My first teacher, Vyaas Houston, gave me invaluable tools for learning and focus — and his love of the Sanskrit theory of grammar proved contagious! I have had amazing opportunities to study with marvelous teachers at the University of Chicago, Oxford, Columbia, and Penn — some of the finest Sanskritists in the world. I must also mention Prof. Ramkaran Sharma, with whom I studied seven summers; his sweetness and brilliance as a teacher and a person is unparalleled.
What got you interested in Sanskrit? At what point did you decide you wanted to teach it yourself?
It was not the sound, though that attracts so many people. It was the philosophy. I wanted clarification! And I wanted it straight from the source, not distorted by commentary. Yes, I was a little naive!
Vyaas had us start teaching early. When I started in 2007, I’d been studying for just 18 months, and really didn’t know much! — but I was able to teach the alphabet using his wonderful method.
What is the most rewarding part of learning sanskrit?
Sanskrit continues to teach me about the incredibly complicated texture of human learning and culture. For a while I loved the neatness — you know, like math. Turns out, as with math, when you go far enough, things get less neat! I’m just grateful that somehow I found this language, so elegant and powerful, as well as the astoundingly huge multitude of texts it opens up for the reader.
As a yoga instructor, how does learning sanskrit beyond the names of asanas enhance ones teaching?
More and more, I feel that it’s important for westerners, many of us from variously privileged backgrounds, to remember that we are choosing to spend our time with cultural phenomena that are not ours by heritage. For our students’ sake too, it’s important not to be a jerk. Even inadvertently! While we may love the “exotic” for its power to show us truths about ourselves (more clearly perhaps than our own cultural practices do) — we should keep in mind that symbols, and certainly utterances, have religious and political implications we are almost certainly not fully aware of. It’s important to keep firmly in mind that we don’t know everything — on the contrary! Sanskrit has been for me a never-ending onion. Its layers and layers of meaning and significance are truly humbling.
What are you looking forward to most about being a part of Yoga Sukhavati’s Art of Sound module?
I absolutely love teaching this workshop. For one thing, I have met so many lovely people through Sanskrit. So when I walk in and see your faces, and hear your voices, I know that there are warm and precious connections to be made. For another — well, any time you spend hours with these sounds, you will have fun and you will go deep! Last, I know I will learn something. It’s through Sanskrit that I finally learned how grateful teachers are for students. I will love meeting each person!
You just returned from India. Any take-aways from this most recent trip that you would like to share?
It was only my second trip. I’m still processing, but again, I must emphasize the people. Brilliant and caring teachers, a warm and wonderful host family, and awesome fellow students who broadened my mind with their wide range of interests. Such generosity!
What is your favorite activity to do in NYC?
Hmmm, that’s difficult! Theater, maybe? But I also love to eat! Recently my two sons that live in Brooklyn have been showing me some great new restaurants. My third son has also treated me, but you didn’t ask about Boston!
Please add anything else you would like to share!
Until we meet, भद्रं ते !