Founder of Geeta Vara Ayurveda and author of Ayurveda – Ancient Wisdom for Modern Wellbeing (2018), Geeta is a London-based expert practitioner with a passion for preventative healthcare. She encourages the awareness of Ayurveda through her workshops, writings, international retreats and clinical practice.
After setting up her practice in 2008, Geeta has been working globally with clients to help them manage and heal from a variety of health complaints. Her vision is to make the profound science of Ayurveda accessible and understandable for all whilst maintaining its authenticity. In her clinic, Geeta focuses on restoring gut health and managing stress at the root-level as she believes they are often responsible for many lifestyle-related health conditions.
We chatted to Geeta after her exciting book launch to find out more about Ayurveda as a practise and hear some top tips for those looking to get started.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old system of medicine and a profound way of life. Through balancing the three energy forces in the body known as ‘doshas’ and diving deep into gut health, Ayurveda goes far beyond a pill for your ill. Your unique physical, emotional, and mental make up can dictate your health vulnerabilities but the good news is, we can prevent them from manifesting by staying aligned to our mind-body type and maintaining a strong digestion.
How did you first get involved with Ayurveda?
I had many daily rituals as part of my childhood but just didn’t know it was ‘Ayurvedic’. During my early spiritual development and exploration of natural healing modalities back in the early noughties, nothing felt as all encompassing, scientific and practical as Ayurveda.
As cliché as it sounds, Ayurveda really felt like ‘my calling’.
I fell in love with the truly ‘whole-istic’ approach to health and the beautiful marriage of science and spirituality. I haven’t looked back since.
Are there any misconceptions about Ayurveda as a practice?
Over the years I’ve come across quite a few, here are a couple of classics:
‘Ayurvedic medicine is a herbal substitute for conventional medicines’.
Well it’s really not. Ayurveda takes a holistic approach using diet and lifestyle adjustments, cleansing processes where necessary and uses food, sleep, movement, breathing, meditation, treatments and herbs as preventative and curative medication.
‘Ayurveda is unsophisticated and unscientific’.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a complete healing system. It is a person-centred rather than a disease-centred approach to health. We can’t always analyse the ancient arts in modern scientific paradigm. Having faith in our body’s ability to heal is essential, no matter which medical path you choose.
How is medicine and spirituality linked through Ayurveda?
Ayurveda teaches us to be kind to ourself with daily health rituals, wholesome foods and natural medicines as a way to take care of our physical, mental and emotional ‘self’ so that we can evolve our ‘SELF’ at the universal level. Ayurveda, yoga and various spiritual philosophies are born from the same vedic scriptures and so they share the same roots.
How does food affect different mind-body types? (pitta, vata, kapha)
There is no such thing as a good food or bad food.
We need to understand our relationship with food and our capacity to digest the food and this varies according to our body type. I believe that food is medicine and there is no one right diet. We need to adjust our diet according to our dosha (mind-body) type, seasonal changes and what is going on for us in that present moment. Food in Ayurveda is not measured by calories but balanced through taste and it’s qualities right for our unique dosha type.
As an Ayurvedic practitioner, what could we expect to find in your kitchen cupboards?
I’m a foodie and I love variety in my overall diet but most of my meal compositions at home are quite simple. My store cupboard staples include a variety of grains and legumes which includes rice (basmati, red, brown and wild), quinoa, millet, wheat, amaranth, mung beans, green/red and black lentils, chick peas and more, as well as the full bredth of vegetables including the plenty of strange looking Indian ones. I’m partial to root vegetables and love a variety of leafy greens. Lots of nuts and seeds and I don’t shy away from having healthy fats. I can barely get through a few days without avocado. Dairy and fruits tend not to feature too heavily in my daily diet. But dark chocolate definitely does so you’ll find a hearty selection! It’s all about moderation and balance.
What’s the best way to discover your body type? (pitta, vata, kapha)
My new book has a comprehensive questionnaire to help you establish your natural and current dosha state and then there are a whole host of online quizzes that can give you an indication. However the most personalised and accurate way is to get a consultation with a qualified practitioner. You can seek one out via the Ayurvedic Professionals Association.
What can we expect to find in your new book?
I have written this book with the intention to give a comprehensive introduction to Ayurveda as preventative and personalised approach to health and wellness.
The book focuses on getting to know your unique mind/body type, restoring gut health, food, sleep, movement, breathing and meditation techniques as medicine, holistic cleansing processes, store cupboard remedies, and daily health rituals. There really is something for everyone.
How can someone get started with Ayurvedic medicine?
Don’t be overwhelmed. Once you become familiar with your mind-body type you can start to tailor your diet and routines to be more balanced.
My top 3 super simple tips to get started are:
- Eat ONLY when you feel genuine hunger
- Make lunch the main meal of the day
- Have a cleansing drink first thing in the morning (lemon, ginger or turmeric tea)
Why do you think Ayurveda is now becoming part of the mainstream health and wellness conversation?
We have come a long way since our primitive ancestors in so many ways but the truth is we have somehow lost the art of living.
Ayurveda teaches us to reconnect with being human again, to connect with nature, listen to our own body and to use nature as a mirror.
I believe that people are slowly starting to realise that the quick fix pill has it’s limitation and flaws. People are starting to accept that our diet and lifestyle hugely impacts our health. Ayurveda may be viewed as the next ‘health trend’, but given its 5000 year history, this 360 degree science is set to pave the way for true wellness.