“Given I am very active during the day eating the right amount proportionate to my activities and hunger is essential. Not too much and not too little, a bit like in Goldilocks and the three bears, finding the bowl that is the perfect size.”
Since 2007, Anne Heigham has been working as a full-time Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher. She currently runs a successful practice in Norwich and holds a monthly clinic in Hertfordshire too. She also teaches yoga and runs workshops. For many years Anne has written for local and national magazines on Ayurveda such as Hertfordshire Life and Om Yoga magazine. In the last few years she has furthered her skill set by training in Amnanda and Moksha Ayurvedic therapies.
“In essence many of the messages [of Ayurveda] are incredibly simple and logical.”
What does Ayurveda mean to you?
Ayurveda provides me with a framework for how to lead a long and happy life. The teachings from it permeate through all my thought processes and actions. Ayurveda is the “science of life” so the teachings are all-encompassing to my life and how I choose to live it.
When did you discover it? How long have you been practising it?
I discovered Ayurveda in 2001 after completing a degree in management and German. At that time, I was looking for a masters when I stumbled upon the full-time degree programme in Ayurveda and was intrigued. After attending my first lecture I was hooked. Instantly, I knew that I had discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I began practising elements of Ayurveda after my first year of study. Each year we graduated in something: from Ayurvedic massage to health counselling, and then finally in 2007, I graduated with my masters in Ayurvedic medicine. Since then I have been a full time practitioner. That said, I love to learn and am constantly still deepening my knowledge of Ayurveda. In the last few years I have completed further trainings in Amnanda and Moksha, ancient treatments from a particular Ayurvedic lineage.
Has it helped you with anything major?
Ayurveda has helped me to find physical, mental and emotional balance in my life. Coupled with this, my scope for compassion and love is constantly expanding as my inner blocks are released. All of this enables to me to live a healthy, long and fulfilled life.
What are your top 3 Ayurvedic tips that have worked for you?
The importance and significance of a good daily routine. It is important to note that not everyone’s daily routines will look the same. For me, I know I feel best when I wake up early, meditate, do a little yoga and then eat a seasonally suited breakfast.
Given I am very active during the day eating the right amount proportionate to my activities and hunger is essential. Not too much and not too little, a bit like in Goldilocks and the three bears, finding the bowl that is the perfect size.
Only doing what brings me joy — which is why I am a full-time practitioner, yoga teacher and mother. Often, we can fill our days with activities that don’t have a purpose or bring us happiness. Over the long term this can create a lot of inner stress, which can ultimately translate into illness. It can take a while to adjust life to this way of being but it is so fantastic when you are able to.
What surprised you most about Ayurveda?
This is an easy question for me. It’s simplicity. Behind this lies a lot of complexity but in essence many of the messages are incredibly simple and logical.
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?
Yes and no. In the main yes, when the children were very small this was easy and they had a very Ayurvedic diet. However, as they got older things like school, parties, treats etc. mean that it is not always possible. Years ago, I tried to control this slightly and then I realised this pursuit in itself was not that balanced. So, I let go a bit and realised that if in the main they are well nourished and happy then this is all that is required. What is really important is what the children feel about the food that is placed in front of them, then educating them to make good choices for themselves as they get older, whilst feeding their inner taste desires.
What is your favourite Ayurvedic recipe?
As I am so busy with my clinical practice, teaching yoga and enjoying family life I love quick nourishing recipes that keep my Agni (digestive fire) in check. My protein power pot (recipe coming soon here!) is a good example of what I will take to work with me in a thermos ready for lunch.
What do you wish was easier in our society to make an Ayurvedic lifestyle more accessible?
Luckily times are changing and a shift in eating habits is developing. In many cities like Norwich across the UK, there are now many awesome diverse food options available. This means on some days I can treat myself to picking lunch up instead of making it and know that I will be well nourished. However, this isn’t the case everywhere and white carbs and white refined sugar are still the mainstay option available. This makes it harder for people to make good choices and live a more Ayurvedic and healthy lifestyle.
Do people around you/in your circle of friends know about Ayurveda?
For sure — all my friends know about Ayurveda and I am finding increasingly that when I meet people for the first time, the initial response is no longer “Ayur-what?!” A lot of this is down to people like Jasmine making Ayurveda approachable, contemporary, and recognised. For this I am personally very grateful!
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?
To focus on developing their own inner peace and harmony. By doing this, this can translate to outer peace and harmony. By each individual making positive choices for themselves, collectively this creates positive choices in the world at large. Long term, this then improves everyone’s state of health and experience of this precious planet.