Rediscovering Ayurveda x Dr Shilpa Thengil

In this week’s article of our Rediscovering Ayurveda series, we interviewed Dr Shilpa Thengil.

Having only recently completed her BAMS, Dr Shilpa offers general Ayurvedic consultations with a focus on metabolic syndromes and women’s health. In her master’s she hopes to explore the areas of Prasuti Tantra, Agnee Roga or Salya Tantra.

A gradual fascination

For Shilpa, treading on the path of Ayurveda was the most organic decision. Reminiscing her journey first as an Ayurveda practicing person and later, as an Ayurvedic doctor, she tells us how she remembers having decoctions and concocted preparations during her childhood and early adolescence. “Even though I didn’t know much about it back then, it could pacify a bunch of illnesses,” she explains. Slowly, she learned that those preparations were “Ayurvedic medicines” which really fascinated her. So when she found herself at the junction of choosing a career path, Ayurveda presented itself unequivocally. At first, Shilpa was skeptical about pursuing Ayurveda, however, she was eventually drawn towards the subject when she began with her undergraduate course on Ayurvedic medicine and surgery.

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“I was conditioned by a certain way of science before I entered college, but Ayurveda opened me up to an entirely different language of science which made so much sense as I gradually kept learning and understanding each subject and the eight divisions of it. The way the science slowly seeps into my headspace is unlike anything I've experienced. Interacting with patients and taking their cases gave me a certain sense of high because the whole process involved multiple levels like Prakriti, nature of both patient and disease, the constitution of the patient and above all, helping them.  And then there was no looking back.”

Not only was being able to help and heal people became a persistent source of motivation for Shilpa, the teachings of Ayurvedic texts itself made her become more mindful about her lifestyle choices. The fact that the texts were written centuries ago, and still stay relevant in its entirety today shows us that mankind’s common nature and health prospects do not change with passing decades. Shilpa admits that it indeed becomes a bit difficult to stay motivated to continue to pursue an unconventional system of medicine amongst a crowd of prejudiced people. But what keeps her going is the sheer potential of this system which is even more evident in these trying times!

Importance of a routine

Shilpa’s typical workday involves a lot of patient interactions, examinations, devising treatment protocols, along with doing treatment procedures. She is also one of our brilliant experts at Amrutam.Global, you can check out her profile here!

Amrutam.Global is a platform for holistic living. Read on to learn more about it!

“Even though I rush through my morning routines on a busy day, a habit I follow religiously is Abhyanga or the oil massage. The luster, strength and glow it imparts to the skin sort of made me addicted to the whole practice. And people with dry skin like mine should incorporate this into their daily routine. Another habit is mindful eating. I think in times like now, where people are extremely ignorant about most things about their health, being aware of what one eats and how they eat is very important. Just like studying or working, eating also requires maximum focus for receiving the best results of the food we ate.”

When asked what are the changes she has experienced after starting her practice with Ayurveda, Shilpa tells us that the biggest influence has been to put in efforts to lead a healthier life. “Many veterans in the field of Ayurveda like Dr PK Warrier, managing trustee, Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, have imparted huge wisdom regarding leading a healthier lifestyle and I feel lucky to have done my undergrad in such an institution.”

On mindful eating

One tip that Dr Shilpa would like to share with us is to “eat right and include all locally available fruits and vegetables and less junk” in your diet. While we can’t really implement a hard-and-fast rule on one’s diet today, we can always try staying in the middle ground. “In Ayurveda, it is termed as Samashana or balanced eating where there is an equal amount of the wrong and the right food,” says Shilpa.

“Gut health is another significant key to attaining your best physical and mental state of being. Avoiding gut irritants and high gluten could be a one-stop solution to most health issues. Incorporating herbal teas and pure turmeric in moderation can help withstand most seasonal fevers. Also, the practice of mild purificatory therapies with physician supervision at Ritu Sandhi (junction between 2 seasons) prepares our bodies and help increase our natural resistance.”

Shilpa believes that Yoga is an independent mode of practice alongside being part of Ayurveda. It is not just about physical workout but more about the body being in tune with the mind. The various postures help us attain a state of meditation and align the internal organs in a state of their best functioning. The postures assigned for each Doshas like Vata, Pitta and Kapha also imply the pacifying nature of the yogic practice. Regarding the spread of information, Shilpa thinks that it is by putting out the science in such a way that it can be deciphered to the most common public can we enhance awareness.

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Embracing the power of words

A shortcoming of the Ayurveda community might be the difficulty in conveying the Sanskrit terminologies and ideas to a layman. “It’s progressing positively these days with the participation of more enthusiasts and physicians of the millennial generation. And that’s how I slipped into the field of article writing and blogging,” she tells us. Words when conveyed right have immense power they say, hence that alone should be used to propagate the science irrespective of the mediums used.

You can check out Shilpa’s blog here.

“In the times that we live in, alternative or traditional medicine and healthy practices like Yoga are our treasured possessions. Irrespective of boundless pandemics in the future, the idea to be in our best state of health stands tall. The ability to resist any external pathogen or minimize its invasion to the vital organs of the body is attained through the formulations and practices of Ayurveda.”

Even if Ayurveda and yoga might come across as old school and tedious, the result of even a minor shift in our living and lifestyle choices makes a huge impact in our overall health a few years from now. Shilpa sincerely believes that Ayurveda and Yoga are not just for the elderly, but we can incorporate it right from childhood and even during the antenatal period. Hence her suggestion to all enthusiasts will be to take up small steps and keep it going!

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On being part of #AmrutamFamily

“Amrutam is a brand which I trust for its principles and also for the purity in its formulations. The Kuntal Care range is a personal favorite and the single use churnas have been prescribed to patients for various health issues. The Skinkey Body Oil and the DIY Herbal Ubtan are some of the products I would love to try because of its ingredients and its positive benefits on the skin,” says Dr Shilpa.

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