In this week’s article of our Rediscovering Ayurveda series, we interviewed Maria Jose Perez.
Meet Maria Jose Perez
Maria is an alternative and holistic health coach currently based out of Canada. She shares valuable Ayurvedic concepts by breaking them down into simpler and understandable ideas alongside her journey of integrating Yoga and Ayurveda into her life.
“Ayurveda came into my life when I needed it the most. It was a divine gift,” begins Maria. Back then, she was struggling with a health crisis, going through burnouts accompanied with panic and inexplicable fear. Exhaustion took over her most days and she was unable to find ways to cope with her depleting health and state of mind.
“I lived in constant fear but the only place where fear was forgotten was at the Yoga Asana class. At the time I was practicing Iyengar Yoga Therapy so I bought Iyengar’s books including his daughter Geeta’s. I learned she was an Ayurveda Practitioner and so my fascination with Ayurveda as a form of lifestyle and school of medicine began.”
Introduction to Yoga & Ayurveda
Soon after, Maria found her nose buried in books. She began attending workshops on Ayurveda & Anxiety and suddenly, everything started to make sense. After that moment of epiphany, Maria has been following an Ayurvedic lifestyle. “Only good things have happened to me since them. Ayurveda gave me back my self-confidence,” she explains.
After experiencing the benefits of leading an Ayurvedic Dinacharya, Maria switched careers in order to learn how to help herself and others like her who were missing out on this way of life. In the process, what has inspired her the most was the peaceful and humble quality of Ayurvedic doctors and Vaidyas. To expand her learning, she would watch YouTube videos of experts talking about Ayurveda and it was only by watching and listening to them did she feel safe.
“In the beginning, the changes I experienced were mostly internal. My digestion improved. I wasn’t craving sweet all the time. There was less bloating, less abdominal pain. Then it slowly started reflecting externally. My acne disappeared and my skin wasn’t itchy. The shine and strength of my hair came back. I could go on and on.”
Enlightenment through Empowerment
There is nothing more empowering than being a guide that bridges the gap between ignorance and enlightenment. And Maria sincerely believes that helping people find ways to achieve optimal health is her true calling. She wants to help people who, like her, are in search for answers.
Speaking for herself, the health crisis Maria had was not because she wasn’t trying to be healthy. It is quite literally the opposite of that! She was intently fasting, detoxing, and eating “healthy”. However, the most important part of the process was missing – being aware of her “self”. While it was Maria’s teachers who helped her come back to her true nature and self, she hopes to do that for others. She is also working to make Ayurveda a more accessible alternative because where she’s living right now, practices like Yoga, Pranayama, and Ayurveda are quite expensive and heavy on the pocket.
A typical day in Maria’s life involves starting her day with the morning Dinacharya and some Sadhana which include practices like meditation, pooja, and Yoga Asana. This is then followed by tongue-scraping, drinking lukewarm water, Abhyanga, Aditya Hrdayam chanting or/and Gayatri Pranayama. It is them time for her to study, prepare her social media posts for the day, scheduling time to interact with her online community and walking her pet. As the day progresses, she slows down and retires early to begin afresh the next day.
Tips for health and wellness
Maria’s three favourite healthy habits that she practices regularly are:
- Waking before Brahma Muhurta
- Double arrow attention
- Considering everything you do is food to your senses, so be aware of what you’re feeding them
When asked who has impacted her the most, Maria is quick to respond – “My teachers!” Experts and doctors like Vaidya Hemant Gupta, her teachers at Kaivalyadhama College – Shantala Sriramaiah, Robert Moses, Harshvardhan Jhaveri, Eddie Stern, and Dylan Smith have all served as a source of immense inspiration to her.
Here are some tips that Maria shares for good skin, health and immunity:
- Switch to sipping lukewarm water instead of ice cold.
- Start your day by connecting to yourself: journaling, meditation, Asana, Abhyanga. Doing it even for 5-10 mins consistently will help you a lot.
- Try to include the 6 tastes at lunchtime.
- Search for the right oils and spices to cook. Most of them can be useful as beauty products as well.
- Your body as any other living being needs to adapt to the seasons. Eat as local and fresh as possible!
Understanding the mind, body and soul
From Amrutam’s list of authentic Ayurvedic recipes, Maria would love to have the Amrutam Herbs Combo as well the Brainkey Gold Malt in her pantry.
“The combo because it’s so useful for any kind of aim. When you’re not feeling your 100% it is because of Vikruti. Implementing some lifestyle changes accompanies with these herbs should be an easy way to go back on track. However, it is always recommended to consult an Ayurveda doctor first. I’d like to try the Brainkey Gold Malt because as a Pitta-Vata Prakriti, some stress peaks can be experienced, and this product will be very helpful.”
As someone who relates to both Ayurveda & Yoga, Maria believes that one needs Ayurveda to be healthy alongside putting Yoga into practice. Both of these practices come from the same source: the Vedas, which ultimately means that even though they may be different in practice, they essentially capture the essence of attaining optimal health.
These traditional sciences can be applied anywhere, anytime. In the contemporary world one of the most relevant teachings will be: we’re all the same, we come from the same source & we’re all going back there. If we were all aware of this, the kind of divisions we’re experiencing like racism, ideologies, politics would not even be happening.
“I think that awareness relies on ourselves. If we seek a traditional teaching method & we see both sciences for what they actually are, we will start embodying the life philosophy they teach us & others will be inspired by that.”
Maria’s message to the readers is – “Keep doing what you’re doing, be consistent, be coherent, study continuously, and more importantly, try to acknowledge the land & ancestors from where these sciences originated & have been preserved for us to learn.” We are beyond grateful to have Maria as part of our #AmrutamFamily!