I am delighted to present to you a guest interview with Dr Deepa Apté: Ayurvedic Practitioner, Doctor of Medicine, Yoga Teacher, Executive Director of the APA’s (Ayurvedic Practitioners Association) co- founder, director and lead Lecturer at Ayurveda Pura. http://www.ayurvedapura.com/

Q. You have been an inspiration to me and to so many students you have taught.  What or who inspires you?

A. In simple words Ayurveda inspires me the most.  As the word goes, science of life, so when I look at life around me it automatically becomes my inspiration.  My late mum was my greatest teacher.  I learnt a lot from her.

Q. Was there a defining moment in your life that made you follow Ayurveda?

“The best way I can describe Ayurveda is through an onion”

A. Ayurveda has been named as the mother of all medicines.  Having studied general medicine, I was always taught about a disease free body.  But unfortunately, not much importance was given to a disease free mind.  But Ayurveda stresses a lot upon the mind too.  A person may wake up one day saying “I don’t feel very well”.  The doctor may do all the tests and if the tests come back negative, the same doctor would say  “there is nothing wrong with you”.  But the person may still say “but I don’t feel well”.  That “not feeling well” may be something to do with the mind.  And if the mind is not healthy or happy, automatically the body is also not healthy or happy.

Ayurveda considers body and mind as important elements towards a healthy life.  I find Ayurveda, yoga and many other complementary therapies far more complete.

Even though Ayurveda is an ancient science, I find it much more scientific and advanced.  Research shows that the first evidence of surgery was seen in Ayurveda at least 2000 years ago.  The best way I can describe Ayurveda is through an onion; every time you peel one layer away there are several more layers that intrigue and excite your mind.

Q. You are a mum and a wife, lecturer in the UK and abroad, write articles for health magazines and the press, appear on TV, guest speaker, director of Ayurveda Pura Health & Beauty Spa and Academy and oversee their products and production, as well as a teacher and Practitioner of Ayurveda and Yoga. You work tirelessly teaching and promoting Ayurveda.  How do you incorporate Ayurveda into your daily routine when you are on the move?  Is it possible to incorporate Ayurveda into our busy daily lives?

“Instead of breakfast I usually have five soaked and peeled almonds.”

A. Ayurveda believes that everyone has a different body constitutions, made up of vata (air), kapha (fire) and pitta (earth) energies, or doshas.  One or more doshas naturally predominate in each of us, but if the doshas become imbalanced, disease can result.  I am tridoshic, a rare combination which means that I have all three doshas in equal quantities.  Instead of breakfast I usually have five soaked and peeled almonds.  These are known to strengthen the immune system and to have anti-ageing properties. I haven’t had a full breakfast for many years now – not everyone needs to eat first thing in the morning.  I also take Ayurvedic herbs regularly. These herbs help me cope with a busy lifestyle.

Cold drinks aren’t really recommended for my constitution, so I drink herbal teas through the day instead.  And I will always have a cappuccino at some point in the day.  I relish it – and it helps to keep excess kapha in check!

I end the day by giving myself a warm sesame seed oil massage.  This is followed with a hot shower to get rid of any toxins that may have built up during the day.  I also practise tratak – a candle light meditation – every other day to get rid of any excess heat from the body.  Finally, I end my day watching a little television while sipping on a relaxing de-stress herbal tea.

Yes, it is very much possible to incorporate this great science in our everyday lives. The aim of Ayurveda is not to completely change our lifestyles but to incorporate bits and pieces of Ayurveda into our daily lives.  Simply finding out your body type according to Ayurveda and following foods, herbs, massages, physical practice or daily routine accordingly will help hugely.

Q. Ama and Agni are important indicators of health.  Please would you explain Ama and Agni?

“Have you ever wondered why certain problems never seem to be treated or cured?”

A. In my busy practice I get many clients suffering from conditions like chronic constipation, IBS, certain auto immune conditions, various types of acne and arthritis etc., who say the following: “I have tried various remedies for my problem.  I often find that there is relief for the first few days but after a while no matter what I do, I appear to be standing at a dead end.  Nothing works and the problem never seems to go away.”  Have you ever wondered why certain problems never seem to be treated or cured?  No amount of medicines, remedies, massages etc. seem to be effective.  Modern medicine may not have an answer for this but Ayurveda certainly has an explanation.  It describes this inability to treat certain diseases through the presence of a peculiar toxin called “Ama” in the body.

The most important concept in Ayurveda is that of Ama or also called toxins.  Ama is believed to be the root cause of all the diseases.  It is believed that first Ama is formed in the body. If one doesn’t get rid of this Ama it will then progress to form an illness in the body.

Ayurvedic saying: “Just the way the earth revolves around the sun, our own lives revolve around our digestive fires”.

If our digestive fire or capacity is strong then no Ama is formed.  This would then mean no disease and therefore a long life.  But if the digestive fire becomes weak then Ama is formed which then in turn leads to disease formation and therefore a shorter life.  One of the aims of the Ayurvedic approach is to get rid of the toxins on a daily basis.

Q. Is there an age limit (too young or too old) to bring Ayurveda into our lives?

A. There is no age limit.  Ayurveda is a science for everyone.  Not only human beings, but there are specials subjects in Ayurveda for animals or Ayurveda for plants.

Q. You have attained many awards for your work.  Is there one that takes pride of place?

 A. I have been very fortunate that my company and I have won several awards.  I cannot take complete credit for them as my company as a team has worked towards them all.  But among all of them the one award that I am most grateful for is the “Excellence in Education” Awards by the FHT – Tutor of the Year Award.  As an Ayurvedic Practitioner my duty is to spread the knowledge of Ayurveda and receiving this award has shown me that I am on the right path!

 Q. I hear you are writing a book about Ayurveda.  Will this be aimed at people who have lots of knowledge of Ayurveda?

A. I am very excited about the book. It’s more about practical Ayurveda for everyday life.  So, anyone who is really interested in Ayurveda and doesn’t know much about it, to anyone who is studying Ayurveda and wants to integrate it in their practice, this book should really help.

Q. What are your wishes for Ayurveda in the future? – it’s considered an “alternative medicine” in some parts of the world.

 “Ayurveda has a great future, even though we may not realise it. It’s all about people becoming aware of their environment and following a life accordingly.”

A. Everyone knows Ayurveda as the ancient holistic system from India and it is believed that it is approximately 4000 years old. When we say that it is solely from India in a way that is not correct because it is not solely an Indian system of science.  As we know the word Ayurveda means Science of Life.  Therefore, it is believed that wherever there is life this particular science of Ayurveda exists.  Life exists in India and so does it exist in America. It also exists in Europe and the Arctic region.  This means Ayurveda as a science exists all over the globe.  So, rather than solely calling it an Indian system of medicine, it is a more global system of science. This is the first thing I talk about to anyone.  To follow Ayurveda does not mean that one has to eat Indian food. In fact Indian food is not necessarily Ayurvedic food.

Ayurveda says that one should follow their lifestyle based on the geography, season weather and environment that they live in. Likewise it also talks about eating foods that are locally available and grown in the same environment.  This is what I talk about mostly, how to follow Ayurveda in the country or region that we live in which may be India, UK, Spain or America.  Ayurveda has a great future, even though we may not realise it. It’s all about people becoming aware of their environment and following a life accordingly.

My hope is that Ayurveda becomes a part of everyone’s life but in a more conscious way whereby they not only enjoy Ayurveda but also have fun with it.

So, there you have it! Words of wisdom from one of the very best Ayurvedic Practitioners in the UK today.