"I feel that a combination of an Ayurvedic and paleo diet has helped me overcome lupus, arthritis and scleroderma. Eating completely organic foods and adding healthy fats and a very small amount of dairy and animal protein has helped balance the inflammation in my system. Also the daily use of herbs and spices like turmeric, cumin, fennel seed and coriander has helped my system rebound."
Shiva Rose is the founder of the holistic lifestyle blog The Local Rose, and the creator of the natural skin care line Shiva Rose Beauty.
After being diagnosed with life-threatening autoimmune diseases, she began her journey on the path to wellness and spirituality.
Her book Whole Beauty (published by artisan) encompasses various modalities that have enhanced her health. The book touches upon Ayurvedic practices, DIY beauty recipes, spiritual practices, Kundalini meditations, tonic recipes, guidance for crystals, and more.
She lives near the Santa Monica Mountains with her daughter Charlotte, their menagerie of animals, where they grow their own food and live close to the land.
"Once you begin to implement a few AYURVEDIC practices, you realise that they are all intuitive and make complete sense."
What does Ayurveda mean to you?
To me, Ayurveda is a way of life, a way of being in harmony with your physical, mental and spiritual self, as well as being in harmony with your environment. It isn’t just about what we eat, and our Doshas; it is also a connection to the energetic forces that create our very essences.
When did you discover it? How long have you been practising it?
Elements of the Ayurvedic way of living were shown to me over many years, but it wasn't until around 9 years ago that I began to implement the practices more on a daily basis. When I was 26, after the birth of my first daughter, I was told I had a year to live due to some detrimental autoimmune conditions. A friend who knew what I was dealing with sent me to her doctor, a Sikh named Dr. Soram Khalsa, who said my health could improve within a year. His more holistic protocol was based on more Eastern philosophies, and the Sikh traditions follow the Ayurvedic path.
What drew you to Ayurveda?
I was drawn to the Kundalini/Sikh practices which follow the Ayurvedic ideas of being in rhythm with the natural cycles of the sun and moon.
Has it helped you with anything major?
Once I began adding more healthy fats to my diet, and following the naturally detoxing protocols of the Ayurvedic ways, my health began to improve drastically. I was also drawn to the delicious recipes, and watching how my skin and hair began to improve once I began to enhance Ojas in my system. Ojas in Sanskrit means "vigour" and this basically means life force.
I feel that a combination of an Ayurvedic and paleo diet has helped me overcome lupus, arthritis and scleroderma. Eating completely organic foods and adding healthy fats and a very small amount of dairy and animal protein has helped balance the inflammation in my system. Also the daily use of herbs and spices like turmeric, cumin, fennel seed and coriander has helped my system rebound.
Is Ayurveda part of your everyday life or just for your medicine cabinet or fall-back routine?
I use some Ayurvedic practices on a daily basis. Everything from dry brushing my skin, to oil pulling, drinking turmeric rich drinks like Golden Milk, adding herbs like Shatavari and alma fruit, has been really crucial in my wellbeing. At times, I will go off my regime and when I begin to feel my system going off balance, I will again start using hot water with lemon in the morning and making a kitchari for my meal. My Vata nature will sometimes need the calm, slow and quiet rhythms, so then I will go off the grid to the mountains, in nature.
What are your top 3 Ayurvedic tips that have worked for you?
1) I would say eating healthy fats like ghee and coconut oil has helped lower inflammation in my body, and has made my skin feel fuller and healthier.
2) Shatavari, the herb called the "woman with a thousand husbands" or "queen of the herbs," has been excellent in helping with hormones, and feeling more juicy. It comes from the asparagus family and is wonderful for balancing hormones. I love it so much I use it in my saffron rose facial scrub that is an Ayurvedic formula for creating luminous skin.
3) Abyhanga or self-massage has also been a wonderful way to bring support to my system. Massaging your skin with sesame or sunflower seed oil is wonderful for calming the nervous system.
What surprised you most about Ayurveda?
I think the most surprising thing about these practices is that they are all easy to do, affordable, and feel harmonious. Once you begin to implement a few practices, you realise that they are all intuitive and make complete sense. The idea of assisting your body to naturally detox on a daily basis to prevent disease is completely rational and more affordable in the long run! You realise why this way of living has been practised for over 5,000 years.
Did you integrate it gradually or overnight for any particular reason?
I think I began to integrate parts of the practice over time. It’s almost like once you realise one element works, you want to begin adding another.
Once I began practising Kundalini yoga on a daily basis, the Ayurvedic philosophies were easier to add to my regime. I also started creating beauty rituals around these practices and that enhanced self-love and self-nurturing.
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 children absolutely love my dahl. I never thought it would be a standard in their menu, but the comforting factors of the dahl dish translates over to children and their sensibilities. My youngest daughter’s friend requests the dahl dish when she comes over, which we think is interesting since she is mostly used to fast food.
How does Ayurveda fit into your day-to-day routines?
By oil pulling, dry brushing, or simply drinking warm water with lemon during my daily rituals, Ayurveda has become a part of my life without effort.
What do you wish was easier in our society to make an Ayurvedic lifestyle more accessible?
I feel we could eliminate so much disease in our society if we began to implement more holistic and intuitive practices like these. One wonderful thing about living in these times is the access we have to all this informative material. The crucial basics to being our most vibrant are clean, organic foods, clean, pure water, access to the natural world, and a spiritual connection to the source. Once we can find a way to make these elements a necessity, our lives begin to shift.
Do people around you/in your circle of friends know about Ayurveda?
I am blessed to have friends who are also on the same path. People do email me on the my site about how to regain vigour and vitality, and then I suggest these practices.
I began my holistic lifestyle website 10 years ago when I was searching for ways to live a more holistic and balanced life.
A decade ago, it wasn't as chic and glamorous to be living this way, but now it seems the world has awoken to these ancient traditions.
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 say we need to support our local farmers who grow organic produce. We need to constantly be informed about how the big agro-corporations want to rape our lands and our health with their toxic chemicals and GMO seeds. I also would say that one cannot eat healthy, and then slather on chemicals on their skin. Our skin is our largest organ, therefore beauty treatments that follow along the Ayurvedic beliefs are also crucial to our health and wellbeing.