What inspired you to study Ayurvedic Medicine?
I have always been passionate about the connection between food and health, both physical and mental. After years of exploration and experimentation, I decided to study Ayurveda because of the potency and specificity of the application of just the right food and medicine for just the right person. It can be hard to wade through all of the various diets and health fads of the current day with their varying degrees of efficacy and value. Ayurveda is based in deeper principles which have stood the test of time and which bring real results. Over time I have found that both for myself and my clients less optimal habits have fallen away and more beneficial ones have replaced them. This is good news! There is so much positive reinforcement and feedback on this path. The better you feel the more you want to align with the deeper principles.
What do you think makes Ayurveda attractive to the public?
I think now more than ever the public is keen to the idea that thinking and being are biological functions which run on fuel – food – and that what we eat matters. There is now also an unprecedented awareness of the health problems associated with stress. In Ayurveda, everything is considered food, not only what we eat and drink but also what we absorb through the senses. So it’s a comprehensive approach to the human condition. Many people are tired and stressed by the demands of modern day life, by the different pulls on our attention and energy. People want a clearer, stable energy wherever and whenever possible. The wisdom of Ayurveda is here to help with that and to teach us how to use food and sensory input as medicine.
What do you think about the future of Ayurveda in the U.S. or in your country?
It’s an exciting time on the planet for Ayurveda and all the people it has helped and will continue to help. Ayurveda has the depth and the breadth to support anyone wherever they happen to be on their health journey—as a compliment to other health and maintenance routines or as a way of life. Little changes can have big impact and big changes are utterly transformative.
What is your favorite therapy in this traditional system of medicine from India?
My favorite therapy is abhyanga. This is the practice of daily self-massage with herbal oils designed specifically for one’s constitution. It supports the lymphatic system and provides moisture to the skin enabling deeper tissues of the body to retain their moisture as well. It’s like a soft blanket of protection that insulates me throughout my day. I can’t start my day without it!
Leah is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda. She lives in Washington, DC where she is a mother of two and a yoga teacher. She did her undergraduate work at Kenyon College in Ohio and directed and taught a K-3 art program in DC after graduation and before having children. She has been studying yoga since 1992 and has been lucky enough to study extensively with many preeminent yoga scholars and teachers. Her love of yogic philosophy and practice conspired with her passion for health and wellness to bring her to serious study of Ayurveda. She is very excited to bring her offerings to Pekoe!