"Ayurveda keeps surprising me at different levels. The most unique observations stem from just simple Ayurvedic lifestyle routines which I carry out myself to the clinical observations of my own practice. I never can stop admiring very simple things that I practise myself on a daily basis, such as moderating my spices and herbs in my cooking according to how I feel or the sudden seasonal changes. This allows a very effective maintenance of digestion, which is the key to everything."
Zane Zalite, an Ayurvedic practitioner and founder of Shakti Veda Spa, was born in the family of two Allopathic doctors, her mother and father, who dedicated their lives to saving children’s lives in the hospital. She became interested in the traditional art of healing of yoga and Ayurveda at the age of fourteen. In 1994, she met her Guru, Shiva Vaakya Sidha Baba, in her hometown of Riga, Latvia, and learned the deepest knowledge of Vedic sciences, including Ayurveda. She graduated as a physiotherapist from the University of East London in 2010, then from Ayurveda Pura Academy as an Ayurvedic therapist. She continued her Ayurvedic Medicine degree with Middlesex University in London and Ayurvedic Clinical practice placement in the Ayurvedic Hospital, India, as well as in Western Herbal Medicine with Anne McIntyre. She is also qualified in Ayurvedic Purification. She continuously replenishes her practice of Ayurveda with Dr. Vasant Lad seminars, and with National and International Ayurveda conferences. Her Shakti Veda Spa in London welcomes you to benefit from the healing power of Ayurvedic beauty, body and health treatments.
“My work in Ayurveda is my mission. I bring the healing from outside in and inside out, by incorporating beautiful Ayurvedic principles”
What does Ayurveda mean to you?
My work in Ayurveda is my mission. I bring the healing from outside in and inside out, by incorporating beautiful Ayurvedic principles.
When did you discover it? How long have you been practising it?
My first discovery of Vedic sciences was when I was 14 years old and I was walking back from my dance classes through our old town in Riga. I accidentally stumbled upon a book of Jnyana Yoga in one of our first esoteric book shops. It answered all the questions I had in my mind as a child, the answers to which I couldn’t obtain at school or from my parents. As a young child, I was always asking: what’s the purpose of my life? Why was I given this particular name and does it have any meaning and so on... Later in my life ,when my daughter was born in the mid ’90’s, I was fortunate to meet my Guru in Latvia. I studied everything Vedic sciences had to offer, starting from yoga, Vedic chants and meditation, Tantra, Vaastu Shastra (Vedic architecture and design), Mukha Samudrika Shastra (Vedic science of face reading), Jyotish Veda (Vedic astrology), Vedic Numerology, Ayurvedic lifestyle, nutrition and therapies, just to name a few. Through the study and practice of Vedic sciences, I reached an understanding of myself and my mission, which is to carry the light of Vedic sciences through the Ayurveda to the human civilisation. My Ayurveda self-care and professional practice is now 23 years old.
Has it helped you with anything major?
Ayurveda has helped me to recover from joint problems.
Is Ayurveda part of your everyday life or just for your medicine cabinet or fall-back routine?
Ayurveda is part of my daily and seasonal routines. It contributes as a very effective medicine cabinet as and when needed.
What surprised you most about Ayurveda?
Ayurveda keeps surprising me at different levels. The most unique observations stem from just simple Ayurvedic lifestyle routines which I carry out myself to the clinical observations of my own practice. I never can stop admiring very simple things that I practise myself on a daily basis, such as moderating my spices and herbs in my cooking according to how I feel or the sudden seasonal changes. We get those in UK very often :) This allows a very effective maintenance of digestion, which is the key to everything, and you feel the effects within less than thirty minutes or within three hours at most. The most unique aspect of clinical practice in Ayurveda has been the observation of people undergoing Ayurvedic purification treatments. When I was undergoing my clinical training in one of the Ayurvedic hospitals in India, I saw people being admitted with the most acute conditions affecting their ability to move walking out in seven days totally pain- and symptom-free, with restored functional ability and able to return to their work and family. These effects of the nutrition and spices have a subtle effect on our mind and emotions. This is something that is often very much neglected about the Ayurvedic perspective. When I was undergoing my own Ayurvedic purification, I experienced the most incredible effects of herbs on my mental state. It is something that is very hard to explain in words.
Did you integrate it gradually or overnight for any particular reason?
I integrated Ayurvedic dietary and lifestyle principles gradually as I was learning. It was a whole new world, but it made so much sense, as it is based on the principles of nature.
Do your children/family eat an Ayurvedic diet? And if they do, do they know it’s Ayurveda or do they just think of it as home cooking?
I learned Ayurvedic cooking at the age of nineteen. I have always incorporated this in my home cooking. Since my daughter had always eaten Ayurvedically cooked food, she thought it was traditional home cooking. It was just when she went to school and had to face school lunches that she faced current world food principles — we kept packing her lunches. She is now all grown up and runs her own household, incorporating some of her favourite recipes that we had at home.
What is your favourite Ayurvedic recipe or go-to ingredient?
My favourite day-to-day ingredients are everything in the ginger family: turmeric, galangal, ginger, mustard seeds and black pepper. I also use a lot of garlic and onions as these help to maintain my gut health.
How does Ayurveda fit into your day-to-day routines?
Running my own salon makes my life very busy, but I do not neglect my top five lifestyle and nutrition principles:
- Early waking, breathing exercise and meditation.
- Tongue scraping and Jala Neti, nasal irrigation.
- Following my Ayurvedic food compatibility even if eating out, to avoid toxin (Ama) formation.
- Morning and seasonal self-care body routines and cleanses to allow my body to transition into the season and keep up daily stamina.
- Early night's sleep.
What do you wish was easier in our society to make an Ayurvedic lifestyle more accessible?
The general public would greatly benefit if Ayurvedic lifestyle were more accessible to them. There are several aspects for which I believe changes have to take place. Firstly, the barrier around Ayurveda has to be removed for people to understand that this science is not a cult or witchcraft, and that it is has sustained more than 5,000 years of applied practice and is still practised according to the same principles. This is more than research can prove, although research as such is required to test herbal medicine ingredients and their efficacy in the West. This is mainly dependent upon the government. We need recognition of Ayurveda as a safe complementary medicine, obtaining a statutory regulation by the HCPC. This will allow Ayurveda to become accessible to the general public and to be studied at the academic level and subsequently practised by practitioners and used by consumers. It potentially will enable a quality control of the herbs and accessibility of the herbs for Ayurvedic practitioners to practise effectively. It will also prompt the product industry to allow the production of necessary products. Another massive topic is the food industry and knowledge of the food, spices and herb properties, and how to use the food as your medicine.
Do people around you/in your circle of friends know about Ayurveda?
My circle of friends know about Ayurveda as we are connected through Ayurveda and if I meet new friends they get to know about it from me :)
What’s the one thing you would encourage everyone to try or you think would benefit the majority of people’s health for the better?
I would encourage everyone to learn Ayurvedic nutrition principles, as the food will serve as their medicine. It will maintain their digestion, which is the basis of our good health, mentally and physically.