DR. DEEPA APTE
“Thanks to Ayurveda I have never suffered from any illness or diseases so far. The credit for this goes to my mum and of course family members who followed this great science ever since I was born, be it baby massages, everyday foods or activities.”
Dr Deepa Apté is a medical doctor, Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher. She is the founder of Ayurveda Pura.
Dr. Deepa lectures widely on Ayurveda and yoga (both in the UK and Germany) and regularly writes articles for magazines and the press (e.g. Health & Fitness magazine, She magazine, Holland and Barrett’s Healthy magazine and Today’s Therapist magazine). After having run successful practices in India and Germany, she now runs her practice from The Ayurveda Pura Health Spa & Beauty Centre in London, where she offers Ayurvedic consultations, individual yoga sessions and workshops.
Having previously run many workshops and courses, she lectures as a guest speaker at numerous international health and wellbeing exhibitions and events and is the lead lecturer of the Ayurveda Pura Academy. Dr Deepa Apté is one of the directors and founders of Ayurveda Pura and is in charge of Ayurveda Pura’s products, their production and ingredients.
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“Ayurveda is the air we breathe in, Ayurveda is our reactions and thought processes, Ayurveda is mindfulness, Ayurveda is self-awareness. Ayurveda is life.”
What does Ayurveda mean to you?
As the word goes, and everyone talks about it, Ayurveda literally means “science of life.” Hence for me Ayurveda is the life that we live. Everything is all-inclusive within Ayurveda, and that’s what makes it unique. One may not have heard of the word “Ayurveda” but all our everyday reactions and activities are Ayurvedic. Hence it’s all about discovering our true self and applying principles of foods, herbs, massages, yoga and everyday routine to go back to our true essence.
Ayurveda is everyday foods, Ayurveda is the air we breathe in, Ayurveda is our reactions and thought processes, Ayurveda is mindfulness, Ayurveda is self-awareness. Ayurveda is life.
When did you discover it? How long have you been practising it?
I come from a family and background in India where Ayurveda has been followed as a tradition. Be it the festivals or various ceremonies that take place at home, for example weddings etc, they were all followed according to Ayurvedic principles. Therefore I was introduced to this great science as a child. Growing up, I studied general medicine to become a medical doctor. After I completed my medical studies I went back to studying Ayurveda, as it was the one science that intrigued me the most because it’s not just a science or philosophy; it’s a way of life aiming towards true health balance and harmony.
I have been practising Ayurveda or rather integrating it into my everyday life ever since I remember, but I became an Ayurvedic practitioner approximately 18 years ago.
What drew you to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda has been named as the mother of all medicines. Having studied general medicine, I was always taught about a disease-free body. But unfortunately not much importance was given to a disease-free mind.
But Ayurveda stresses a lot upon the mind too. A person may wake up one day saying, “I don’t feel very well.” The doctor may do all the tests and if the tests come back negative, the same doctor would say “There is nothing wrong with you.” The person may still say, “But I don’t feel well.” That “not feeling well” may be something to do with the mind. And if the mind is not healthy or happy, automatically the body is also not healthy or happy.
Ayurveda considers body and mind as important elements towards a healthy life. I find Ayurveda and yoga far more complete.
Even though Ayurveda is an ancient science, I find it much more scientific and advanced [than Western medicine]. Research shows that the first evidence of surgery was seen in Ayurveda at least 2,000 years ago.
The best way I can describe Ayurveda is through an onion. Every time you peel one layer away there are several more layers that intrigue and excite your mind.
Has it helped you with anything major?
Every time I meet people, they are always amazed at the way my skin looks or my hair is or even something as simple as energy and enthusiasm. And I credit everything to Ayurveda.
Thanks to Ayurveda I have never suffered from any illness or diseases so far. The credit for this goes to my mum and of course family members who followed this great science ever since I was born, be it baby massages, everyday foods or activities.
The kind of work I do, I sometimes end up working 7 days a week, 6 weeks in a row, and thanks to Ayurveda I never ever feel exhausted or tired or (touch wood) ill.
Is Ayurveda part of your everyday life or just for your medicine cabinet or fall-back routine?
Ayurveda is very much a part of my everyday life. Its not about changing one’s whole life to suit Ayurveda but it’s all about integrating simple Ayurvedic principles into our everyday life.
Ayurveda talks about listening to the body and choosing our approach accordingly. That’s exactly what I do, be it based on the local geography or changing seasons or everyday activities.
What are your top 3 Ayurvedic tips that have worked for you?
Due to my ever busy and hectic schedule, it may not always be possible to eat the food I would love to or rest when I want to. Hence to balance any such external factors changing the internal physiology, I follow a few basic approaches:
I always make sure I have a mug or glass or 200 ml of hot or warm water on an empty stomach every morning.
I make sure that I eat only when I am truly hungry. According to Ayurveda true hunger shows from the stomach. It’s literally when the stomach talks to you or makes those rumbling noises. Hunger out of desire is false hunger. When one talks about food, or sees food or smells food, and if this is what makes one hungry, it’s not true hunger. And at such times one should avoid eating.
The three herbs I will take every day without fail are: Triphala, Turmeric and Brahmi. Overall these three herbs help to balance all the various organ systems in the body, help to remove any toxins and most importantly keep the nervous system, immune system and endocrine system strong.
What surprised you most about Ayurveda?
Having grown up in an Ayurvedic environment, Ayurveda has been second nature to me and my life. Hence on one hand I could say nothing about Ayurveda surprises me. But that would be wrong because every time I have seen a client for an Ayurvedic medical consultation, and when they return with honest and sincere positive feedback, it always pleasantly surprises me. It’s even got up to the point where many of my clients who have hugely benefitted from Ayurvedic principles have gone on to study Ayurveda with me to become practitioners or consultants so that they are able to help others with this great science. That is definitely a surprise that I come across very often!
Did you integrate it gradually or overnight for any particular reason?
I can’t remember any phase of my life without Ayurveda, as I was born into such a family. I am quite fortunate to have had my aunts/uncles and especially my mum as my teachers in this great journey, which has been a great part of my life.
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?
My family including my son who is now 13 years old have been introduced to Ayurveda from a very early age. I followed Ayurvedic principles during my pregnancy. After childbirth, I followed Ayurvedic postpartum principles including regular Ayurvedic oil massages to my son, Ayurvedic immunisation techniques for him and of course Ayurvedic foods at home on a regular basis.
They are aware that these are Ayurvedic principles and very much enjoy being a part of it all.
What is your favourite Ayurvedic recipe or go-to ingredient?
My favourite Ayurvedic recipe is a Ginger and Honey Chutney. This is something anyone and everyone can take on a regular basis. The combination of various ingredients helps to stimulate the digestive fire (Agni) and the immune system (Ojas), the two most important components of Ayurveda. In turn this prevents any illnesses and diseases. And most importantly it tastes great! Ayurveda stresses the fact that the foods we consume should have a pleasant taste too. The recipe is as follows:
Ginger – Honey Chutney ©
Fresh grated ginger – ½ cup
Lemon juice - ½ lemon
Honey - 2 tbsp
Crushed black pepper – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste - pinchful
Make the Ginger - Honey Chutney ® and take ½ teaspoonful of it mixed in a cup of hot water after every meal including breakfast. The combination once again helps to regulate the digestive fire hence giving a feeling of lightness.
How does Ayurveda fit into your day-to-day routines?
From the time I wake up to the point I go to sleep I am subconsciously following this science.
Something that I have followed ever since I was a child is taking five almonds (soaked overnight in water and peeled) on an empty stomach after a glass of hot water. This I do religiously as soaked almonds are Sattvic and high in Ojas.
And then the most essential part is the herbs of Triphala, Turmeric and Brahmi.
Thereafter when the working day gets busy everything is up in the air. I also follow the rule of eating just once a day to suit my basic body type of being Tridoshic. Many people who are not familiar with Ayurveda find this odd, but I know based on Ayurveda this is the most best thing for me. And of course, I usually finish the day by doing Tratak – the candlelight meditation which helps to get rid of excess heat from the body hence ensuring a good night’s sleep!
What do you wish was easier in our society to make an Ayurvedic lifestyle more accessible?
Actually it is very easy and practical to integrate an Ayurvedic lifestyle in our society. As mentioned earlier it’s not about changing your life completely to suit Ayurvedic principles, but it’s more about integrating small elements of Ayurveda into our everyday lives.
Self-awareness and mindfulness are Ayurvedic principles too. It’s all about becoming aware of our bodies and the changes they go through.
Ayurveda stresses the word “Desa”: your local geography, weather and season. Living a life to suit that local environment is essential.
Do people around you/in your circle of friends know about Ayurveda?
Yes, everyone who knows me knows about Ayurveda. Starting from my family, to friends including professional colleagues (these include medical doctors too, as my background is that of general medicine – gastroenterology). Ayurveda and yoga are my main professions, so even if I were to meet someone new, an explanation of Ayurveda would follow.
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?
In today’s day and age of Kalyuga (age of darkness according to yoga) what one lacks the most, is love, attention and care. Hence in my opinion, one should definitely try an Ayurvedic massage. The word given to applying oil to the body and massaging is called “Snehana,” which is divided into two words: Sneha – love, Ana — to apply. Hence every time we apply oil and massage we are actually giving that love and attention to the individual (or even to ourselves). And what better way to get introduced to Ayurveda? According to Ayurveda everything begins from the kitchen which means all foods can be turned into various oils and used in manual therapies.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If one hasn’t tried Ayurveda they will never know what they are missing out on!