IF THE WISEST INDIVIDUALS OF OUR SOCIETY were to meditate on the very essential question of our existence "What does it mean to be alive?," couldn't you imagine that they would reflect answers back to us that help us understand ourselves? That help us be better people? That help us live a life that is more fulfilling, more joyful, and more present? This understanding is the basis of both health and healing in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a traditional healing system and wisdom science with historical roots in India dating back at least 5,000 years and has been practiced by many historical figures, including the Buddha. Ayurveda is still practiced as a growing medical system, with hospitals and wellness centers throughout India. Though Ayurveda is not as prominent as Western Medicine, there are many Vaidyas, or Ayurvedic doctors, keeping this science alive. Ayurvedic practice is rooted in three main Sanskrit texts written thousands of years ago.
This living body of knowledge uses many different modalities for healing: food as medicine, lifestyle change, yoga & meditation, herbal medicine, and bodywork. In the West, Ayurveda is most known for its theory of the Doshas (constitutions or humors): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. By understanding Vata (air + space), Pitta (fire + water), and Kapha (earth + water) and their individual expressions in our constitution we can better align our decision-making. Our Doshas also give us roadmaps to follow when we find ourselves out of balance and often affected by stress and poor digestion.
Ayurveda seeks to assist you in developing a relationship with the natural world so you can better understand yourself. Our health is an ecosystem of multiple factors: sleep, nutrition, relationships, stress. Patterns in these factors can be understood through the Doshas to make our path to healing more whole. Ayurveda teaches you to live in harmony — a balanced state for your mind, body and spirit where all aspects of your being are accounted and cared for.
My Journey of Healing
AYURVEDA FOUND ME THROUGH my father, Arun Deva, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner. I spent most of my young life not aware of the practices of Ayurveda because as a first-generation American, my main intention was to fit in. Fitting in meant eating poorly, running on stress, and not sleeping or exercising regularly. Many years of this lifestyle left me with anxiety, digestive issues, and eczema. There was something deep within me that kept suggesting they were interrelated, but no doctor could tell me how or why.
This began my journey back into Ayurveda and it’s three pillars: food, sleep, and energy regulation. I began changing the way I ate and lived and could feel immediate change, but it wasn’t enough. I had to do something more. I left college and attended Kerala Ayurveda Academy to study this art and science on a deeper level. This journey has taken me to India and all over the US to study with different doctors, practitioners, and healers.
Through these years of study, I found the most impactful change was in the art of using food as medicine. Our guts are our second brain, an enormous part of our nervous system called the enteric nervous system, and are deeply interrelated with every process in the body — including immunity, inflammation, stress, mood, and emotion. If we learn to eat mindfully, eat whole and plant-based foods, and eat for our individual constitution (because we are all unique expressions), much of our imbalance will be healed. We are given chances on a daily basis to heal our bodies with the food we eat, making our kitchens medicine cabinets. Ayurveda gives us a language to help us understand taste (rasa), digestion (agni), and undigested food (ama) so the process of digestion becomes less complicated and more identifiable. I grew up in a family that loved to cook and it is my passion to help others find joy and innovation in their kitchens.
In addition to food, Ayurveda promotes dinacharya (daily routines) to help us sleep and regulate energy more efficiently. I have found regular bedtimes, morning routines, daily yoga, and meditation practice to be integral to the process of healing. In my personal journey, dietary changes aided in changing my digestion and eczema, but anxiety was still a daily enemy. Through learning more about integrative mental health and Buddhism, I have found practices and understandings that have deepened my knowledge of well-being.
Why Rooted Rasa?
I CREATED ROOTED RASA as a place to share what I have learned on my journey of healing, because I believe the more people an action benefits, the stronger it becomes. Rooted Rasa is a synthesis of my studies of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, cooking, eating, and herbal medicine. I specialize in women's health, digestive issues like IBS and GERD, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, inflammation, candida overgrowth, and stress.
It is difficult to deny that we are living in a time when stress is an epidemic. The busyness of our modern lifestyles is difficult to maintain and can lead to issues like societal isolation, lack of family structure, reliance on technology, poor food options, and overall fatigue. Stress is a natural reaction to living in this state. However, when the cycle of stress becomes chronic rather an acute, we find ourselves living and functioning from a place of surviving rather than thriving. We rely on adrenaline response or fight-flight-freeze to move through our days and in turn tax our hormonal bodies and digestive systems in order to function.
Women are most affected by these difficulties. Studies show that women are twice as likely as men to develop major depression, and a large majority are on some form of psychiatric medication, including antidepressants. We then end up with diagnoses like irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, depression, leaky gut, hormonal imbalance, and PTSD.
I believe that if we can re-establish safety in our bodies and minds with self-care practices, will we see these rates of disorder decrease. I believe we can change our relationship to digestion and stress to better serve ourselves and our relationships. I believe Ayurveda is a beautiful system that can teach us the importance of self-care for preventative measures. I believe in your ability to take control over your own health with proper education and guidance. I believe in an innate healing capacity.
Who is Anjali Deva?
I am greatly fortunate to have been introduced to Ayurveda and Yoga at a young age by my father, Arun Deva. I have since gone on to train with Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Loyola Marymount’s Yoga and the Healing Sciences Program, and many influential teachers both here in the United States and in India. My passion began in the kitchen with a desire to understand how the food we eat influences our bodies and minds in order to better understand why I was not feeling well. This passion has now grown to include helping people find their inner wisdom, clarity and health through the wisdom of Ayurveda, which has helped me heal. Through self-care practices I hope to help people find their inner harmony and resilience. My dream is to create greater consciousness and community in all practices of wellness.
You can learn more about me through articles and podcasts I've been featured in, favorite recipes of mine, and photos from my trips, all on the blog.
La Maida Institute
SITUATED IN A BEAUTIFUL 1920’s farmhouse, La Maida’s mission is to offer a new way of approaching health, where the human experience, communal support, and spiritual development are central to the healing process. Rooted in both ancient wisdom traditions and evidence-based practices, we are committed to delivering participatory and integrative programs that empower transformation and restore wholeness. La Maida Institute’s vision is to become the leading preventive model of integrative community-based healthcare and to pioneer a cultural shift away from isolation and disconnection to promote conscious connection as the foundation for the health of the individual, family, and community.
La Maida was founded by Psychiatrist Omid Naim M.D., and is also home to the practice he leads, Hope Integrative Psychiatry. I work with a team at Hope Integrative Psychiatry that understands the importance of whole well-being and understands that the recent rise in mental health diagnoses is in reaction to a society that is isolated, stressed and out of balance. We recognize the importance of self-care to become the best participant in your community. I work closely with Omid, who can monitor psychotropic medication you are on, as well as therapists who understand that emotions are stored in the body and can teach you to work with mindfulness and compassion towards a greater connection with yourself.