In this week’s article of our Rediscovering Ayurveda series, we interviewed Nidhi Pandya.
Nidhi Pandya is an Ayurvedic Health & Lifestyle Consultant and Educator. Along with writing columns for the Ayurveda Health & Tourism Magazine, India’s number one and most acclaimed magazine on Ayurveda, she also teaches at the Shakti School of Ayurveda. She describes her relationship with the Ayurvedic regime and tells us how being the grand-daughter of an Ayurveda practitioner and healer led her to develop bouts of curiosity about this lifestyle. At a tender age, she developed a will to understand how the human mind worked and the places it could travel to if its depths were fully explored.
“I was indoctrinated in Ayurveda at birth as my grandfather was an ardent Ayurvedic practitioner. I was raised with the principles of Ayurveda which included regimes like Dincharya (daily regimen) and Ritucharya (seasonal regimen) and so for me, Ayurveda was really the only way of living.”
Reminiscing her childhood days, she talks about how she was introduced to Yoga-asana and Pranayama at a young age of 8 where a senior Yoga teacher would come to her home every weekend. Her parents also made a point to practice Asanas every day which further piqued Nidhi’s interest in the natural and organic lifestyle.
While still at a brink of passionate curiosity and mindful living, Nidhi truly felt the need to get back to her roots when she started working for a pharmaceutical company after moving to the US about 15 years ago. “I briefly worked for a pharmaceutical company and was shocked to the core to see how it worked. All the fallacies of the current medical system and its misalignment with the laws of nature truly left me baffled,” recalls Nidhi, who by then had made up her mind to delve deeper into the Ayurvedic Philosophy.
After this life-changing instance, she decided to receive a formal education in Ayurveda from Shubham Ayurveda where she got the opportunity to study the ancient Sanskrit texts like Charak Samhita and Ashtanga Hrudayam. Nidhi also went on to study Naturopathy and Holistic Nutrition at the Global College of Natural Medicine that equipped her with much-needed knowledge before she entered the field professionally.
“I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment that encouraged the Ayurvedic lifestyle, however, I really took it one notch up when I had my first child 12 years ago. I religiously practiced Ayurvedic pregnancy regimes as well as strict Ayurvedic post-partum. I had incredible labor and delivered healthy children.”
It is important to remain close to your roots because they help you understand your inner constitution. Everything you engage in affects your relationship with the self and Ayurveda helps you strengthen that relationship by keeping your mind and body healthy. No wonder, at 38 Nidhi feels younger and healthier than she did at 20! Even her children seem to be fond of this lifestyle that is not fabricated or involves adulterated or processed foods. You will not find even Children’s Tylenol in my home, let alone any other medication, says Nidhi.
“I love what I do. Truly, madly, and deeply, so. To be able to spread the wisdom of Ayurveda and witness people transform their lives and health is a gift I never take for granted, I am so grateful to be able to practice this life-altering philosophy.”
A good day in Nidhi’s life looks something like this – waking up around 6 in the morning to meditate and practice some Pranayamas and eat a small Ayurvedic breakfast. Her breakfast usually comprises of 20 or so soaked and peeled almonds and a cup of milk or tea. After checking her mails, she likes to practice Zumba or Yoga for about an hour which is followed by a quick shower and off to her work she goes!
Lunch is her biggest meal where all her indulgences happen. She prefers to have her dinner between 4 PM to 7 PM. Two big meals a day with no restrictions whatsoever is her style of consuming food. One will also find her sipping her cup of herbal tea pretty much all day long and her day concludes with her spending time with her daughters and reading a bit before diving into a full night’s sleep.
“Abhyanga, Nasya & Pranayama – essentially Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) are my three favorite habits I practice regularly that help me channel my energies.”
Back in the day, Ayurveda was used as a means to preserve the body which is an essential tool for a person to be on their spiritual path. Yoga was considered to be that Yogic path. It won’t be wrong to say that today these two have integrated very well. While Yoga helps the conscious individual start their journey inwards by using the breath to find the connection between mind and body, Ayurveda helps in channeling the forces and giving a direction to that inner connection. Asanas or certain postures give external strength and flexibility so that the body can support the soul to pursue its path, says Nidhi.
In recent years, the Yogic community all over the world has developed a curiosity about Ayurveda and its principles. But unfortunately, like most Indian Sciences, the study of Ayurveda can take lifetimes. The original ancient texts are numerous, detailed and lengthy and authentic information is often lost in translation.
“My goal is to be able to communicate this timeless science in a way that appeals to our current intellectual generation. We must understand that modern biology is not taught in the ‘nadis’ or ‘dhatus’ language. If we communicate this science in a way that appeals to the masses without compromising its authenticity, I would say we have won the battle.”
Nidhi believes this is an amazing time in history as this generation is most equipped to understand the nuances of health, parenting, and spirituality. She goes on, “It is important that Ayurveda and Yoga practitioners must keep at it and continue their practice. You may at times feel alone in pursuance of your goals but soon you will realize that magic happens inside, not outside and then, the outside won’t matter much anyway.”