In this week’s article of our Rediscovering Ayurveda series, we interviewed Monika Rai.
Meet Monika Rai
Monika is a certified Yoga Instructor who specializes in Hatha & Yin Yoga. She believes the essence of any activity lies in the process of being mindful of it. Having found Yoga at a fairly young age, Monika has made it her life’s mission to share her knowledge with the world. Her Instagram profile is full of informative content and a platform for her to share her stories!
“I was first introduced to Yoga when I was 12 or 13 years old by my father, who was an ardent practitioner of pranayama,” begins Monika. Recalling the tale of how she found Yoga early in life, she tells us how she discovered Yoga through meditation. Generally, people begin Yoga by practicing different asanas first. But with Monika, it was different. She started meditating in her school days which went on for a few months. However, an emotionally challenging phase in her life led her to restart meditation during her college days. “It really helped me rediscover my true self,” she adds.
Gravitating Against the Odds
Though Monika was well aware of the life-altering power of Yoga, she only resorted to it in fragments for 2-3 years. But it was only in the years 2016 that she realized how badly she needed to get in touch with her inner self again.
“I was suffering from severe depression and hormonal imbalance. And nothing seemed to make me feel better. So, I started practicing again. This time I decided to keep it regular. Every day, same time. That helped me create a routine in life. And having a routine is extremely important as per Ayurveda. Soon, I started to experience improvement in my mental health.”
Within a few months of regular practice, Monika started to feel better than ever! The bodily movements helped her rejuvenate. Even her hormones started to balance, though that took a fairly long time. After experiencing the revitalizing benefits of a simple lifestyle and regular practice of Yoga, Monika felt a natural desire to share this knowledge with others. Soon after, she completed her Teachers’ Training Course and has been teaching Yoga professionally ever since.
Finding a Balance
The endless changes that Monika has witnessed have become crucial to her well-being. For starters, she has found a certain balance both mentally and physically. Her skin has become clearer and flawless! And of course, a calmed and composed sense of self with better immunity and meaningful interpersonal relationships.
“Initially it was my deteriorating mental and physical health that inspired me to take up Yoga. But over the years, I have built a beautiful relationship with my practice. The health reason is still very much there but my practice has now become an integral part of my spiritual journey. It allows me to connect with my inner-self and the higher power.”
To be honest, says Monika, I don’t really need any motivation to practice Yoga. In fact, on days she is unable to practice, she feels incomplete! For her, it is not a hobby or simply a profession. It is her way of living. The way it balances her mind, body & soul is enough motivation for her to do what she does.
A typical day in Monika’s life looks like this – consuming 1-2 glasses of warm water upon waking up. Her mornings are the busiest filled with morning classes and cooking for the day! Lunch for her is the biggest meal of the day, as instructed under Ayurveda. She prefers to practice in the evening by herself. After taking her evening classes, she spends her time cooking dinner with her husband and retires to bed early after taking her warm turmeric latte (haldi dhoodh).
A Way of Living
When asked about what are her favourite healthy habits she has taken from Ayurveda & Yoga, she says, “When we eat, we must always leave some space in our stomach.” Not that once has to starve themselves, but it is important to be mindful while eating. Ever since she started following this, her digestive issues have vanished! Her other favourite habits are pranayama & meditation.
“Ayurveda & Yoga are sister science rooted in India. Both of which endorse healthy ways of living. Many principles of Ayurveda are used in Yoga. For example, different doshas or body types in Ayurveda are also considered in Yoga, pranayama & meditation practice. In both sciences, it is believed that everyone is different as per their doshas and one rule doesn’t apply on everyone.”
Both Ayurveda & Yoga help in improving one’s physical and mental health in the most natural ways. “I think in recent times the awareness has increased magnificently,” adds Monika Rai. More Yogis & Ayurveda practitioners have started sharing their lifestyles & insights. And surely, the internet & social media is playing a very significant role in it.
On the significance of Yoga & Ayurveda in the contemporary world, Monika says –
“I think now in the modern world, Yoga & Ayurveda are more important than ever. In this fast-paced & multitasking world, lifestyle diseases have become very common. An Ayurvedic lifestyle – having a routine, following right sleeping & eating habits combined with regular & mindful practice will help make powerful and huge difference!”
Monika’s favorite immunity-boosting tips include sound sleep, staying hydrated, and active! Practicing pranayamas like Vashishtha Pranayama & Nadi Shodhana can also be immensely beneficial to boost immunity! It is no secret that what we eat reflects on our skin, so Monika makes sure to eat clean and nutritious food to keep her body and skin healthy!
Her message to natural lifestyle enthusiasts is to practice “regularly, mindfully & patiently.” There is a lot of information on the internet regarding both Yoga & Ayurveda. It is important to distinguish between right and wrong information. She goes on, “Stay safe, don’t force or strain yourself. If you are a beginner, practice Yoga only under the guidance of an experienced teacher.”
From Amrutam’s holistic list of products, Monika is excited to try the most famous Kuntal Care Hair Spa to nourish and pamper her hair!
We are grateful to have Monika as part of our #AmrutamFamily!