“Yoga is the soul of Ayurveda”, says Dr Khushdil. Interview with a wise Vata Ayurvedic physician and yoga teacher.
Dr Khushdil is a very inspiring Ayurvedic physician, born and raised in India, she is now living in Melbourne, Australia, with her family. She has adopted somehow the Westerners lifestyle while remaining really rooted in her traditions.
As I arrived at her humble home, the smell of her mommy’s delicious chapattis hit me. She was cooking like a dancer: gracefully focused.
Dr Khushdil is the most balanced Vata Dosha I have ever met; she’s giving me hope for my own sake.
How did you get into Ayurvedic Medicine?
Dr K: My mother fell very ill at the age of 30 years old. And, modern science failed to diagnose her disease. It was pretty serious, she could not walk but there was no reasonable explanation for it. Only after meeting an Ayurvedic Doctor and following a specific way of life, she recovered, and now at 62 years old, she is perfectly healthy.
I was only 6 years old when all this happened, but the recovering already amazed me.
To tell you the truth, my Mom was suffering from a mental issue that was the root cause of her problem. She was following family duties instead of following her own path, her own Dharma (mission of Life).
What is your definition of Ayurveda?
Dr K: For me Ayurveda is related to everything. It’s not only a science that means “Knowledge of Life”; it’s also holistic.
Yoga and Ayurveda, what is their relationship?
Dr K: Without Soul, there is no meaning of the body, so “Yoga is the soul of Ayurveda.” Not only body can do, not only soul can do anything.
A bit like Purusha and Prakriti? Shiva and Shakti?
Dr K: Yes
I see lots of yoga teachers not knowing about Ayurveda. It’s a bit of none sense for you?
Dr K: Not really, the teachers know at least the notion of “Purusha and Praktriti”. They are also finding the way to Ayurveda through philosophical questions.
To cure someone, can we say that Yoga is more helping the Spirit and the mind; while Ayurveda is helping the body?
Dr K: No both ways. Ayurveda says, any problems coming from the mind will go to the body, and vice versa. For instance, if we have acidity in the body, aren’t we prone to irritation or mental tension straight away? Yes. So it’s a correlation. The mind and the body are both working together.
So when you prescribe Ayurvedic drugs, we will add to it Yoga postures (Asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama)?
Dr K: If you want to control your mind, there is only one way. It is described in Bagavad Gita as well. Vayu is Air and it is related to the mind. Controlling “air” is quite impossible, isn’t it? Just like the Air element, it is rather impossible to control your mind. Good news, there is a way you can: It’s called “pranayama” (yogic breathing exercises).
I wanted to discuss shortly the Australian diets habits with Coffee and Milk beverages (cappuccino, café latte…) and Ice cream. Melbourne is rather cold city however it does not stop Melbournians eating ice cream in the middle of winter.
Dr K: When Ayurveda started, there was no coffee there I think (laughs).
However, I d like to remind that Yoga and Ayurveda come from high-level states of meditation. Yogis and Ayurveda sages had certain knowledge at a time where there was no technology (Ex: the Atom was already known 5000 years ago). All this wisdom and sciences come from beyond the mind.
Ayurveda always deals with a way of life: anything related to machines is not near to Nature. Ayurveda is all about the union with Nature. Whatever procedure we do, it is preferred to be connected to Nature.
To be clear, using a coffee machine to make our coffee is not the best we can do for our health.
Dr K: Exactly. It is pulling us out of Nature and our own Nature.
Ice cream is not advisable.
Can you explain to those who are new to Ayurveda the reason why this is?
Dr K: Our body temperature is near 37 degrees all the time. And it needs to be maintained as such all the time to be healthy. When our body temperature is low, we can say that we are near death.
Cold drinks, refrigerated food, ice cream, there are all like dead food. It is advised not to put fruits and veggies in the fridge and to consume them within 7 days after their purchase. Otherwise, the Vital force of the food will be gone. Avoid supermarkets and prefer local stores, as it is easier to trace the products’ origins. And also, any cut vegetables should be eaten straight up. And Never ever, eat a cooked food from the fridge. Again, it will be cause problem in your Prana and Vayu (Air element).
And this cold food impairs the digestive fire, right?
Dr K: Absolutely. It takes one to three hours to get that fire back at its normal temperature. During that time, if you eat anything it’s not going to be digested properly and it will create toxins in the body.
How about coffee?
Dr K: To make a café latte, the milk is heated with a hot steamed machine. It’s a total different way than using the fire element. Air (steamed) vs Fire (stove), make your own conclusions (smile).
Coffee increases a lot Vata and Pitta also with acidity.
Dr Khushdil is doing seasonally Ayurvedic workshop to help us the Ayurvedic way related to food. While we are discussing, her children are eating their meal leg crossed on the floor.
Can you explain why your children and Indians in general eat on the floor with a cross legged posture?
Dr K: It’s not always easy to pass on this tradition, this generation is always questioning and it’s important to give them a good and logical reason why this is. Earth is where we get our energy, while we are eating on the floor we are connecting to it. And the posture (asana) is very important. Sukhasana (easy pose), we are creating a lock with our leg that block the blood circulation and the energy in the navel. The energy and the blood circulation will concentrate on that part of the body and help to digest easily. Good digestion prevents us from creating toxins in the body; therefore we become free from diseases.
I finished the interview by eating delicious Chappati and some khir (Indian rice pudding).
Yummy. What a beneficial day for me! Gain of knowledge and energy.
For more info on Dr Khushdil, visit her site: aumyoganayurveda.com