Neelam Singh – A Look at Ayurveda, Nutrition, and the Breath

The Shelly Story explores various methods for optimizing one’s health beyond surgery, medication, and other “tried and true” modalities. One of these is Ayurveda, which originated in India thousands of years ago, and has shown great promise in managing numerous health conditions.

We were fortunate to speak with Neelam Singh, who offered several insights on this fascinating, yet sometimes misunderstood approach to health.

Neelam is a certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Expert on Eastern Nutrition, and Breath Work Coach. She was raised in an Indian household that incorporated many aspects of this approach to health. After turning to Ayurveda for healing of her health complications in 2012, Neelam decided to dedicate her life to teaching Ayurveda from a more practical, hands-on approach. She was trained and certified in Ayurveda in both India and the US.

For more information on Neelam please visit enlightliving.com.

The video, audio, and transcript from our discussion our available below for your reference.

 

Nikhil

Hi everyone, this is Nikhil Torsekar coming to you from Chicago with The Shelly Story. As you know, my wife Shelly and I have written a book. And we have been doing podcasts and blog posts and all kinds of content related to our journeys as South Asian first generation immigrants talking about our journeys with mental health, with careers, with parenting, with physical health.

And one of the things that has come across as being very worthy of discussing further is different approaches to managing one’s health, beyond just the tried-and-true tactics of like medication and surgery. And one of those topics is Ayurveda and yoga. It’s something that as an Indian, I have had exposure to as a child, but it’s really been fascinating to me, just in terms of filling in those gaps that a lot of people face, you know, in terms of managing their different conditions, and just living a healthier, happier life.

And so we’re very excited to cross paths with today’s guest, Neelam Singh, who is a practitioner of Ayurveda and yoga. And so I was very excited that she was able to offer some of her times to discuss her journey talk about her experience with Ayurveda. And yeah, we’re really just very excited to speak to her today. So Neelam, thanks so much for joining us.

Neelam

Thank you for having me. And I love this platform. I love the concept of it. So I’m very excited to be here today. 

Nikhil

Yeah, absolutely. Very glad to have you. So Neelam has been an intentional and conscious eater for most of her life, starting with turning vegetarian in 2003. As her journey continued, she’s acquired more understanding of cooking medicinally with intention and purpose, and either vertically to restore balance, heal and detoxify.

This has also empowered her to address health issues first with food, teas, herbs, rest and meditation and breathing, rather than immediately turning to allopathic medicine, which may alleviate the symptoms but masks the root of the issue. After turning to Ayurveda for healing after facing health complications in 2012, she realized that it was part of her journey to share the ancient wisdom Ayurveda and yoga.

Because the power to heal recenter restore balance, detoxify, expand or elevate your consciousness is too beautiful not to share.

She decided to formalize her Ayurvedic knowledge by becoming a certified Ayurvedic health counselor in 2015. She has a practice in New York City where she works with clients and addressing their mind body constitution makeup, identifying any imbalances and working with them to restore balance through diet, herbs, meditation, yoga, pranayama, and other lifestyle changes. She hosts a variety of workshops that share principles of pranayama and Ayurveda, and how they can benefit and enhance their life. She also runs an Ayurvedic cooking immersion retreats in Costa Rica, which is where I’m sure we both rather be right now.

So Neelam, again, very excited to have you here. And if you want to maybe add a little bit to what I just talked about, and just if you could share a little bit more about your background and your story.

Neelam

Sure. So I, I am a first generation Indian, alright, and my parents were Punjabi. They met in America and they came in their 30s. And racing, my sister and I write they often leveraged off what we what I would know call now are you paid, but at the time, they never use the term Ayurveda. Right. So you have a stomachache, it gives you Khichuri right, you have a tummy ache and they rub asafetida or hing on your belly, right for toothache he’d make me have a clove.

Nikhil

Turmeric was that? Was that a big part of it? Also?

Neelam

Yeah. However, what’s interesting, Nikhil, is my mom, she’s been using haldi forever, And weeks ago, she calls me up and she says, okay, every time I use turmeric, am I supposed to use black pepper? Right, because now the research is showing, right that the compound and black pepper that activates the curcumin and turmeric, so when you come together, So it’s almost like she was used to using healthy and Indian food, right, just without the black pepper. And now based kind of on this western research, right, that’s catching up on the benefits of healthy for your joints in your body. She’s now incorporating black pepper in that right. So I like to say what we do is kind of a combination of Ayurveda plus, you know, we are very blessed with modern science and knowledge. Right.

Neelam

So yeah, so my family always incorporated Indian practices that their parents share with them, but my parents were very in the know with scientific research as well. So they would kind of use a combination of that.

Like most people who are listening, they may not have an in depth knowledge of Ayurveda. But perhaps they heard of the doshas.

Neelam

My parents never used that language with me as a child. They never said, Oh, your vata is very aggravated today. So I’m going to do this. Right. So I think it’s important to make that distinction. Because it’s not like I grew up in an environment that was Ayurvedic language based. It was always my parents using these practices that their parents did to them that they knew, or some sort of intuitive wisdom, or they knew they worked, right. So in that respect, I was raised in a sort of Ayurvedic way without realizing this? Are you late? So I go through life, and I’m pretty mainstream. I go to college, I decide, you know, my father gave me a choice. But I think a lot of Indian parents give their children What do you want to be? Engineer? Doctor lawyer?

Nikhil

Right, broad and broad menu of options.

Neelam

Four! So I picked law. So in my, in my teens, and in my 20s, I was a traditional corporate lawyer where I worked for a law firm, I was a little different, because as a vegetarian at the time. I became a vegetarian at 22. And I remember really sticking out in the firm culture.

So from that perspective, you know, I’m kind of living my life through my 20s. And then later in my 20s, is when I went through a very difficult external circumstance, right, and a long-term relationship. I had all these visions and dreams. And you know, I realized that’s not how my life is panning out. And what I am starting to know realize now with New York City is we don’t do well, because that’s where I’m from. We don’t do well, when we have free time on our hands. There’s an anxiety that sits with a lot of people.

Neelam

It’s not their fault. They’re immersed in a culture, New York City, that’s all about doing, right. So why people having anxiety when they have time on their hands, and they take a pause. In my 20s, I took lots of pauses in life. And I started to realize that I was very anxious is very helpful as very worried. It was very difficult for me to sit and pause with my own mind. I didn’t like my mind. I didn’t like where my mind was taking me. Right. So out of desperation, I started to I’m a Sikh. So out of desperation, I used to do lots of Simran which is sitting there lotus position and just chanting our God’s name like Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru.

Nikhil

Could you repeat that concept. Again? What is it called?

Neelam

So we call it Simran. And basically, our God, our energy, we refer to this energies white guru, And so the kind of focus is if you focus on white good, whose name you always have white good heart, in your mind, you will achieve peace. So anytime a Sikh is in a hard situation, a lot of times, they may not externally but internally, they’re doing what we call Simran, which is why you Waheguru Waheguru Waheguru. Because we have a connection to that word brings a lot of us peace. It’s like saying Om Shanti kind of that type of interaction. Okay, thanks.

Neelam

Exactly. So I started to because I had this connection with food, I started to also analyze my diet. Right and I started to look into how foods could affect me, because on some level, I knew when the mornings that I went a little bit longer in eating breakfast, I noticed I had more anxiety, right, so searching these internal connections, then I start going on Google and researching.

And I noticed of all the systems out there, Ayurveda has a very strong philosophy about eating for your mind. Yep. So that I changed my diet a little bit. And I remember at the same time that this is happening, I would go for very long walks at the park in Brooklyn, Prospect Park. And every time I would notice an older Indian woman sitting there with a younger Indian woman, and they’re always in lotus position, gyan mudra. Always met him and I wanted to approach them but how do you approach someone in meditation stance so I never approach especially in New York City.

Neelam

But I remember observing them for about three weeks. And one day, the younger woman comes up to me and she says, Santosh Ji, the older woman wants you to come sit with her tomorrow. Now, any other person said that, I would say, heck no, you’re

Nikhil

Right, get out your pepper spray. Right.

Neelam

But something maybe curiosity. So I show up the next morning, and I sit. And at this point, she’s pretty fluent in Hindi. And I’m going to be honest, I understand Hindi. But I don’t speak Hindi. Right.

Neelam

So she just starts speaking to me in Hindi for about five minutes. And just tells me to sit there and breathe with her. Right?

Neelam

So for six months, every day, we met in the park, and I would breathe with her. And the most amazing thing is just looking at energetically how everything happened. So first, I’m like, at the bottom, low milk. That’s where my mindset I’m feeling very low. I start doing this Simran right. So I’m getting a different type of energy around me, I start focusing on my food, So I’m trying to calm my mind that way. I then manifest an energy that I don’t realize I’m manifesting in the external world. And then my Guruji finds me. Wow, It’s amazing. And it’s almost like she knew I needed pranayama. She knew I needed work. She knew, like I needed something from her.

Neelam

And she was so generous and sharing with me that to day, like years later, I still do the practice she originally gave me. And they always say…I don’t know, if you’ve read, you know, like Autobiography of a Yogi

Nikhil

Oh, my God. Yeah, yeah, I have a funny story to tell you about that. But yeah, go ahead.

Neelam

I was just gonna say they always say right, that it’s not you finding your guru. It’s your guru finding you.

Neelam

Right. And so all of this happened in like, a year period from when I was feeling very low. And I’m not saying it was instantaneous, where I started to feel better is a very slow kind of movement. But I started to recognize the pranayama works, the eating works. And within maybe eight months from when I started, I started to notice dramatic shifts in my mind. And that’s when I’m like, “there is something to this. And I’m a corporate attorney, I can support myself in New York, I do not need to go to school.”

But at that point, it became very clear that this one, because I’m Indian, I felt like I felt like I needed to embrace this. Yes, for sure. If you don’t want to squander it, I feel the same way. Yeah, for sure. Right. And I think we talked about this before, but it’s in ourselves. It’s in our it’s in our DNA, right. But why aren’t we returning to these things that are connected to our ancestry? Why aren’t we looking for something else? Because there’s so much beauty and knowledge in the Vedas. Right. And I’m saying this as a Sikh; there’s so much beauty and knowledge, right. And it’s important, collectively to nurture that and share it.

Nikhil

You know, that’s a that’s an amazing journey. It’s just amazing about, you know, this convergence between sort of when you’re thinking about certain things, and then somehow the universe sort of present somebody in your path or some concept.

Neelam

Have you ever had the experience where you’re thinking of someone and they call, you know, yeah, absolutely, all the time. And I’m not trying to be hokey dopey with that, it could just very well be a coincidence, but at the time, I needed this practice. And it came to me in this person.

Nikhil

Yeah, absolutely. Maybe if you can give a little bit of a walkthrough about Ayurveda, just so that we can sort of anchor the discussion.

Neelam

So I will back up a bit. So “Ayurveda” is comprised of two words, “ayur” and “veda.” And the translation – “the knowledge or wisdom of life” – is just so point on.

So Ayurveda believes in the concept of macro and microcosm, so essentially, the elements that make up the universe also make up ourselves? The elements that they’re talking about are usually our five elements. It’s ether, which you can think of ether as a space, then that’s how you think of ether for purposes of this discussion.

Neelam

Then there’s air. And then there’s fire. And then there’s water. And then there’s ether. Right. So these five elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth, manifest and everything in the universe, but it also manifest in humans.

Neelam

We’re all comprised of these five elements. But what makes us unique? What makes me unique from you, or me unique from my mom, is a proportion of these elements that we come into this world with. Right, right. And the elements, these five elements, they divide in what’s called these biological constitutions, otherwise known as doshas, There’s three doshas, there’s Vata, Pitta and Kapha. So Vata is the elements of ether. Remember that space, plus, that’s not the right, fit the is fire, mostly fire, and then some water. Kapha is more water, and then Earth, right. So if you look at Vata, at the Kapha on this scale, you may notice that Vata which is ether and air is kind of this very subtle, intangible type of thing, where when you get to kapha, which is earthen water, it’s, it’s more tangible.

Nikhil

You think of like, when I think of Vata, I always think of the term ethereal, and that just seems to be spot on. Because it’s ether based, so it’s very transitory very sort of on the go.

Neelam

Yeah, you kind of nailed it on the head. Because I think about this wind, right, whenever when? Because the thing is, Ayurveda is a beautiful thing, they gave us basically 20 qualities, or 10 opposing pairs

Neelam

20 qualities to help us identify the characteristics of thought that fit that kappa. Right. So you and I, we both have thought that that the Kappa in our bodies, but I came into this world with more Vata in my body and more fit, in my mind. Right. So when we talk about what does that mean? What does it mean to have a Vata body and about the mind? What does that even mean? We can now leverage on these gunas or properties that Ayurveda has provided us.

So and some of these properties are okay, hot or cold. So if you think of wind, usually it’s cold, Is it heavy or light? If you think of wind or Vata, it’s light. Is it what you identified one of the most important properties about the is it stagnant or mobile?

Neelam

Is it dry or moist? Like when you’re when burn on your face? It’s kind of dry and rough. So that’s Vata. So when you think of the properties of Vasa and how it manifests in our bodies, using light using mobiles, right using

Neelam

it’s usually, you know, cold, dry, rough, That’s how it manifests in our bodies. So people come into this world with more bottom their bodies, they tend to have drier skin, They tend to have drier hair to have. And that’s the beauty of our evade.

Neelam

It’s very preventative that it can almost predict if you don’t manage the, the original balance of dosha. So you’re brought into this world you can, it can lead to serious issues down the road, right, so too much Vata in the body, right, too much dryness in the body can lead to issues down the road, right.

So it’s almost like someone who has more who has more often their body has to take more measures to check the Vata than someone who comes into this world with Pitta and has less fat than their body. Right. But what I do think is super important to focus on because the beauty with Ayurveda is, it is focused on the mind.

So now let’s talk about how Vata would manifest in the mind. And I feel like you’re kind of getting this. So I’m gonna throw this back at you like that mobile nature of Vata that we were talking about. How do you think that would manifest in the mind? Like would someone have slow thoughts fast thoughts?

Nikhil

Yeah, I mean, with Vata, I mean, it just seems like the stereotypical American you know, who’s always on the go and you know, someone in New York City where they’re constantly checking their phone, they’re constantly there, their mind is really not in the present. And it just seems like they’re either thinking about, you know, they’re conjuring up some doomsday scenario, or they’re thinking about, you know, did I leave my stove on.

Nikhil

And it’s interesting because I think I mentioned to you that it seems like there’s a parallel between like the doshas, and Myers Briggs Type Indicator / MBTI. So this is what we have, this is what we are; how do we balance? And you mentioned the preventative thing, like, how do we balance that?

So like, if somebody, as you mentioned, who’s hot, who’s very on the go, versus someone who is kapha, who’s more sort of grounded and a little bit more stagnant? Like, can you talk to me a little bit more about sort of how to achieve the balance so that, you know, we don’t get too much of one element? At the expense of the other? Right.

Neelam

And so that’s why Ayurveda is such a beautiful thing, They give us these us these properties that identify the doshas; so they tell us vata is like mobile, Vata is dry.

Neelam

Vata is kind of cloudy, These are the properties they identify with Vata, right person, let’s say like me, I came into this world with a lot about that. And now I’m in New York City, which as you identify has similar properties survived Vata, very fast moving. It’s a city that never sleeps. Right. So now it’s a Vata person who already has the propensity to, for mobility for dryness for lightness, or darkness. Right.

Neelam

They’re put in a Vata environment, which is enhancing or antagonizing the mobile nature, Right. So to balance that it’s doing that Kapha type of activities, Because if you’re talking, if you’re saying Vata’s mobile and Vata’s light and bought this cold, right, then the quickest way to balance Vata is for warmth, through moisture, through heaviness through groundedness. Right. Yeah, just like I came, just like I said earlier that it’s the concept of micro, macro and micro. And everything in this world is composed of bottom up at the top, right, right.

So if you compare even food, right, so if you take a vegetable like lettuce, these doshas are not just, you know, isolated to human beings. This is basically everything in the universe.

Nikhil

So like a forest, like a tree has elements of doshas, or you were just about to talk about this, the food you’re eating has dosha. So it’s not. So it’s a little bit like “Myers Briggs on steroids,” I guess you could say, because it applies to every atom every element in the universe.

Neelam

That’s a great way of summing it up.

Okay. So if you compare lettuce and a potato, they clearly have very different properties. And one clearly has properties in my mind, because I know Ayurveda, right, one clearly has bought their properties. And one clearly has Kapha properties. off, and if you remember, was kind of mud. It’s that it’s that earthen water.

Nikhil

Heavy.

Neelam

Right, cold flow. Right. So a potato, if you think of a potato, right, does that have more thought that properties or Kapha? properties? For sure. Yeah. And what’s clear is it grows and it grows in soil. It is. Right, it’s coming from the ground. Right. And when we talk about being grounded, like it’s not a coincidence that the potatoes coming from the ground, right.

So in this scenario, someone who’s bought us a little bit out of control, they really should be utilizing foods that have properties like potato, around them, because they’re opposite in the properties of Vata. Right.

Neelam

And it works the other way, someone who is Kapha is too aggravated, you start to notice not only their body, body, but their mind starts to become more lethargic, they start to have motivation. They’re kind of, they don’t have the energy to do things, they kind of just want to sit on the couch.

Neelam

So instead of a potato, or an energizing salad. That’s truly why when I was in my 20s, and I was dealing with, you know, my relationship not working out and I already had this uncertainty these Vata type emotions, and I was also vegan at the time who was eating beans and salad. That’s kind of why it wasn’t the best diet for me.

Neelam

So lettuce and salads are more of a Vata type. They’re cooling, right and even beans. Even though you generally eat beans cooked, beans can be very drying. There is an element of there’s a major element of Vata and beans, because you know, the stereotype is that beans give you gas, that’s all the air, So it’s almost like I needed to change my diet to more of a cough up rounding diet, which is heavy, moisturizing and warm.

Neelam

Nourishing, right, and eating that way over some time. It has to be over time, it’s not going to be one meal, that’s going to decrease your Vata. But over time, you start to notice that your mind has more of a grounded nature, and it’s not so airy.

Nikhil

So you mentioned about the relationship aspect that sort of pushed you in the direction of Ayurveda, could you talk a little bit more and as much as you feel comfortable sharing, but about the health complications that that sort of spurred you to embrace higher beta higher being a little bit more wholeheartedly?

Neelam

Absolutely. So the health complications that I was referring to, they were all in the mind, right. And maybe it manifested physically with me losing some weight, or being really stressed out. But it was really in the mind. And, to me, sometimes mind complications can be so much harder to deal with than the physical, Physical, we can sometimes say, Oh, I have someone who can help me with the physical or the physical, I’ve maybe have less control over or it’s an acute injury.

But the mind, it becomes a little bit harder, because your mind is what’s processing what you need to process. And if the mind is imbalanced, then what you’re processing is in a very imbalanced way. So it’s almost like the mind is the lens where you see the world. But you also want to make sure your lens is balanced.

So what do you do when your mind is imbalanced? Right, and you’re trying to make whip make, you know, tails or heads of what’s going on with the situation in front of you. Right, right. So I wanted to escape my mind. I didn’t like my thoughts. I slept a lot. And I would try to keep myself as busy as possible, because the concept of just sitting with my mind was very uncomfortable for me. I didn’t like the thoughts I was having. Right. And, you know, I was always anxious. Like I was an insomniac at the time. I wasn’t sleeping well.

I don’t know what how many people have dealt with anxiety. It’s a hard feeling to explain. Because, you know, when I tell people I’m anxious, they’re like, What are you anxious over? And I’m like, No, you don’t get it. It’s exactly. situation. It’s not I can’t even identify when I’m anxious over. It’s this feeling. Trait this feeling? Yeah.

That’s kind of what I was, you know, that’s kind of where my mind was at. And initially, I was trying to distract it as much as possible. But I see activities and occupying yourself, right. And it’s really delaying the inevitable. Sure, we all need to sit down with our minds at some point in our journeys, right. And so I started to realize quickly that I was kind of this was a delay tactic. And so as much as I was delaying, it was just going to prolong my healing journey. Right.

So I kind of decided to tackle it head on, which is why I started to research food as a way of making me feel more balanced. And really going back to the pranayama, the breathing techniques in the meditation.

I wasn’t okay with my mind that my thoughts, and I almost wished I was a different person, which is weird. Like, I wish I had a different I wish I had a different mind. Yeah, right.

Nikhil

As you and I have talked about, I mean, that’s very similar to my journey, which is, you know, I grew up as a first generation immigrant. And as we talked about, I don’t know if it was on camera or but about the four different career paths that you have, probably to at the time, but you know, as basically there’ll be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, and, you know, I felt a lot of pressure as a first generation immigrant, a lot of high ideals to live up to a lot of comparison.

And I got, yeah, I got to the point where it was, it was literally eating away at my soul, it was literally eating away at my mind. And I didn’t even think about something like Ayurveda that at the time. And so, you know, I had actually, you know, and I still do, I mean, I see a therapist take different medication.

Nikhil

But I’m just curious, like had you tried any of the conventional methodologies, or did you sort of just go straight to Ayurveda to try to help with some of these mental challenges that you were facing or mental issues?

Neelam

Yeah. So from a very early age, I kind of did the reverse of what people did, right. So when people would turn to allopathy and then turn to an alternative once they realized they had shortcomings, I went to the

Neelam

I always tried to go to the alternative and then only if it didn’t work when I go to allopathy. Right. Then, thankfully, like I do, right, thankfully, the stuff that I did really worked, right. And I can’t stress, I really can’t stress this enough. Everyone should be doing pranayama. So pranayama is intentional, or yogic breathing. And so, you know, if you look at Patanjali, he had an old eightfold path of yoga. So usually when we think of yoga in the West, we think of yoga as being Asana or posture-based.

But yoga in the East has a very different perspective. There’s eight limbs of yoga. And the fourth one is pranayama, and which is yogic breathing. And Ayurveda. Recognize and yoga, they recognize this connection with your breath and your mind. So they recognized if you can slow down your breath, you can slow down the thoughts in your mind. So in that eightfold path, all the meditation techniques like the concentration, the meditation, they come after pranayama.

And the thought is that the asana prepares your body for meditation, pranayama prepares your mind, So a lot of my clients would come to me, and they would say, “Okay, I got off of work. At five, I hopped on the subway went home to my apartment, and before I did anything, I sat down to meditate, And I couldn’t do it.” They’re so mad, it’s so disappointed in themselves, that they couldn’t sit down and meditate.

And I looked at my clients, and I say, I’ve been doing a breathing practice and meditating for 10 years, and I wouldn’t be able to do that either. Like, come home and sit down and start meditating. Right. And what happens is, I never worked for me, and I’m not saying can’t work for some people.

But what I started to realize is, your mind needs to be in a sort of relaxed place even to in order to meditate. As Prana Jung, the breath work, even if it’s 10 minutes, right by consciously manipulating your breathing, and that could be by increasing your inhales, holding your breath, or manipulating the rate at which you exhale. You can almost clear some of these things clear your mind out, so you’re in a better place to then sit down and meditate and get into that space. And the reason why I think everyone should be doing pranayama. Honestly, this is just my personal experience. The days that I don’t do pranayama, I experienced the world very differently. And I imagine that’s how I experienced the world in my 20s. Before my Guru Ji gave me the practice, right. And to me, it’s like, it’s a change on such a subtle level. It’s like hard to explain. But it’s super powerful. And it doesn’t have to be a long practice. I do in our practice every morning, because I love it.

But really 10 to 15 minutes of intentional breathing, because we do not breathe on a day to day, like long enough at all was actually very short.

Neelam

It starts to do things in your structure in your kind of in your body and your cellular structure. And it starts you start to feel like a different person.

Nikhil

Yeah, I absolutely agree. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there were times for me, like health wise, like, I would go through the day. And I would just, you know, especially because I used to be in consulting and, you know, that involves a lot of travel, working in financial services. So, you know, dealing with difficult clients dealing with difficult co-workers. You know, there were literally times in the day where, you know, I thought I was having like an asthma attack or something like it was literally so bad where, you know, and I one time had to just go to the hospital because I thought I was.

They did the bloodwork they did the test, my lung function was completely fine. And, you know, at that point, I realized: if you’re just trying to look at the surface, it’s not only ineffective, you’re causing yourself more damage. Because if you’re taking a steroid, if you’re taking an inhaler, or if you’re taking some kind of medication to combat, you know, what’s presenting on the, on the surface of things, then you’re actually sending other elements of your body into out of out of whack. And so that’s why you’re spot on. I think the prime aim is really like, you know, when you’re focusing on the breath, it’s kind of like, I always equate it to like being a conductor in an orchestra.

Nikhil

You know, you’re sending the signals to the rest of your body to work in alignment, right versus just trying to think about that next TPS report or that you know that next deliverable that you have to get out the door. So, yeah, absolutely. It’s so important. So, you know, are you big really recognize this is connection because prana from an Ayurvedic perspective has two meanings:

Neelam

Prana is breath and control of breath. But it’s also what the Chinese refer to as chi – lifeforce, or life energy. And this prana or this chi governs or satisfaction in life, or immunity in life or contentment in life, right. And so the more prana your body has, The better, the better, you’re able to kind of deal with the world. And then also, just to you know, there is a lot more research done, not so much on the mind. But there is a lot of research done between pranayama and the physical benefits of reducing. Like my mom’s now off her cholesterol medication after doing brawny on for a significant period of time, right.

Nikhil

But you’re right, I mean, my to, to jump in there, my wife was taking a blood pressure medication. And I’m not kidding. She virtually almost lost her eyesight; like she couldn’t, she couldn’t see it was one of those side effects. And you read through that, you know, that never ending War and Peace length of symptoms and contraindications and warnings on the drug labels. It doesn’t cover every little thing.

And it was amazing, because she got off that. And then she started doing meditation, she started taking some I think it was ashwagandha Arjuna, some of these herbal remedies, and she was able to decrease your blood pressure, you know? So it’s just, it’s incredible.

Neelam

Yeah. And I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I have an anti medicine mentality, That’s not the point. The point is, I think everything – Ayurveda and allopathy – has a place and a time.

Neelam

Like I would never – and it’s not because I don’t believe it…so this has nothing to do my personal belief. But if a client came to me with cancer, I would never tell them. Stop doing chemo. I’ll feed you. Yeah. Right. Like, seriously, I would never do that. And to be quite honest, there are people who have healed themselves through fasting or through a particular diet. Right. But that’s, that’s not my place to say whether that’s what worked, right. So I would never take that position.

If at the same time, I would say, “Yeah, you should absolutely do chemo if that’s what your Western doctors telling you.” But the way Ayurveda could support your healing journey, is help you with how you maintain your immunity or maintain your strength, because the chemo is not only killing the cancer cells, it’s killing your prana your urges, The stuff that we need in life that gives us our life energy. So how do we use foods and herbs and pranayama to support that?

Neelam

Right, or to lessen the effects of the chemo on your body? Right, yeah.

Nikhil

And I mean, I think of this whole with Ayurveda, with herbs, with yoga, I think of it more. You know, we talked to, I think you and I talked about this, we talked to the Chief Medical Officer at Chopra Global. And I think it’s important when you talk about Ayurveda terminology. A lot of times this whole paradigm was referred to as “alternative medicine,” but I like to look at it more as integrative medicine. Because if you, like you lose a limb or something, or if you cut yourself or sustain some severe physical injury, you’ve definitely need those tools and the technologies that Western medicine provides.

But in order to sustain the improvements in order to amplify it, and to avoid throwing things out of balance, with one, you know, with taking one particular intervention, you know, Ayurveda and yoga and all these other things we’re talking about can be, you know, extremely beneficial. So I think it’s, you know, they definitely complement each other.

And I, I’d like to understand a little bit more. I always say, with Western medicine, if it’s taken to the extreme it’s, it can be thought of as like a like “a pill for an ill” approach. Where it’s like, “you have high blood pressure, take this medication,” or “you have, you know, kidney issues take this,” versus Ayurveda, which is more holistic, and it looks at multiple disorders; the whole body, putting it into balance.

But that said, in your experience, are there any specific disorders or conditions or challenges that you found that Ayurveda has been very beneficial for?

Neelam

Absolutely. And just before I get into the specifics, I do want to mention one thing. Sure. I do think there’s a difference between leaning on Ayurveda when you’re sick, like within physical manifestation. Because there’s actually six stages of disease. And we’re allopathic medicine would get involved at the fifth or sixth stage, are you trying to teach people to recognize imbalances before they get to the fourth and fifth stage?

So for instance, Vata. If you if you don’t check Vata and you allow it to accumulate in your body, there’s a numerous number of Vata disorders that can lead to one of them. There’s a lot of disorders of the nervous system. So one of them could be Parkinson’s. Bring that out as an example, if you leave it unchecked. So the power of Ayurveda is to notice in the first or second stage that your Vata is getting agitated, right, and your mind and looking at your body and then incorporating food and herbs in those two stages to kind of bring it back. So I just think it’s important to mention that because there’s a difference between when you would go to a doctor in the West, like usually there’s a manifestation.

I feel like I’m dealing with depression, and you need to diagnose me. But why are we waiting to that point? Why are we waiting to that point, because there’s a lot of imbalances in our body that like, you can’t go to a doctor to treat but you don’t feel good. You don’t feel content, you don’t feel happy. Right. And so I almost feel like that’s the power in Ayurveda. It’s the subtle, it’s building an awareness in the person, right to recognize the subtle differences in their body and mind, figure out what’s right, and then address them.

So that being said, hands down. anxiety, insomnia; Ayurveda could be very beneficial for that in a couple of ways. So one has herbs like Ashwagandha, right, but then the pranayama, right, is important from that perspective, So from a Vata perspective, it’s the anxiety, It’s the insomnia, It’s the constipation because that’s how it sometimes will manifest in your body.

Like, you know, your regular right about the energy’s very irregular. Sometimes, you’re eliminating a lot, sometimes you’re not. Right. So that type of stuff, Ayurveda is very good at addressing.

So there’s a lot of clients that come to me that are very constipated. Like, apparently, according to some Western doctors, we’re only supposed to go to the bathroom once every two or three days. So it’s not called constipation, unless it exceeds a certain amount of days.

Nikhil

Is that a West? That’s a western standard?

Neelam

I don’t know if it’s this standard guideline. But I just know a few clients have told me that when they addressed and a lot of them come to me for IBS, because IBS kind of this undefined thing where if they can’t figure out what else is wrong with you, they just like toss you in the IBS category. So they’ve come to me and they said, I said, Well, are you regular with your elimination? And they’re like, once, you know, once every two or three days, but that’s fine. My doctor said, that’s fine.

And from Ayurvedic perspective, you don’t expect everyone to eliminate the same amount of time.

Neelam

So a Kapha person who has kind of a slower, heavier digestion, they likely will eliminate one once a day into fire. So it has a lot of metabolic transformative energy someone typed into, they have no issues going on bathroom, they go three or four times a day, Yeah. And then I bought the person’s very irregular, so digestion just because I feel like

Neelam

Ayurveda has a different perspective on digestion. I do think eating or you basically can really impact the way your body’s digesting food. Right.

Nikhil

So digestive issues are, is that a large segment of the clients that you work with? Or what are some of the other disorders that that sounds like anxiety, digestion? What are some other ones that you can go into?

Neelam

I have a lot of people that come to me for insomnia. They’re having trouble sleeping. And then I also have a lot of people that come to me for diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure

But they’re also coming to me for pranayama, because pranayama is very effective at lowering blood pressure. But with diabetes, it’s known to be helpful to that as well.

Neelam

So and then what else do people migraines, right. And the beautiful thing about Ayurveda is that everything’s connected to a dosha. So you have anxiety, But the anxiety, it’s not really telling you anything by calling it “anxiety,” you then have to go a step further and say, well, exam anxiety about anxiety, a cough, anxiety or anxiety, right and anxiety would manifest as someone who is scattered, brainy, having a hard time sleeping, can’t focus on doing a task because they’re overwhelmed with thoughts.

Neelam

If anxiety may represent him, or herself or themselves as angry and critical and impatient, with others, and a Kapha kind of anxiety may manifest as being paralyzed or unmotivated, unable to take on the task of the world, because you’re super overwhelmed. It’s more like paralysis. It sounds like Yeah, right.

So it’s important to also notice how these properties these Gunas that we’re talking about how they manifest in whatever condition you’re dealing with?

Nikhil

How are your clients coming to you? I’m always fascinated to understand because in traditional medicine, you know, people, they go on their portal and they you know, find a doctor or they look on Healthgrades, they see the, you know, qualifications and stuff. But with Ayurveda, it’s so fascinating. Like do you have is it sort of word of mouth? Or have you had situations where there are allopathic practitioners or physician’s referring people do?

Neelam

Yeah, so up the past like eight years that I’ve kind of been having my practice in New York, I would think there was maybe two allopathic doctors that ever sent me over clients. And interesting enough wasn’t for the food component. It was for the pranayama component.

One doctor was in Queens; she’s a surgeon, and worked with breast cancer patients. And they have a very big Asian population in Queens, both Chinese and Indian. And it was the Chinese patients that kept coming to her. So during chemo, they kept saying, “But what should I eat?” The doctor wasn’t focused on that.

But it was these clients really coming to her and saying know, what kind of diet should I be eating? And that prompts her then to reach out to me and said she had a grant where she can provide supplemental support services to the patient. So what can I do? And we came up with like a pranayama program for her clients. So honestly, she’s a very open doctor. Like, that’s very open minded.

I feel like anytime you mention something against the mainstream, which I’m not even doing it as against, it’s what you mentioned, complimentary. There was this resistance? Like that’s some like “voodoo science” or whatnot.

But I mean, come on, you take you take pranayama and you take yoga, and you call it mindfulness. And now all of a sudden, in the West, it’s being practiced in schools, Yeah. No one’s taking any qualms with that, right.

What’s super interesting, I find this fascinating. We all know we need breath. Like, I think that you can survive maybe two days without food or three days, you can survive a little bit more without water. But you can’t even survive, like a few minutes without breath, So we need breaths.

So everyone recognizes on some level, whether they choose to admit it or not, that breath is essential to life. But when you when we go through our daily motions, we’re literally breathing so quickly that we breathe about 15 times. And when I’m talking about a breath, I’m talking about an inhale and exhale. We’re basically at 15 times a minute. Yeah.

Nikhil

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s you’re not providing your body with any oxygen. You’re not oxygenating your blood or anything like that.

Neelam

Given that there’s, there’s only so much oxygen, what is it like 18% in the air, right, and then you’re breathing in and needs to go through all these body parts or the oxygen is getting trapped in your body,

So the amount of oxygen actually reaching our tissues and organs, It’s very minimal. But you know, we’re all about berries and antioxidants, but why don’t we increase our inhale? Or more instead of increasing the inhale? Why don’t we increase the exhale and stored have maximized the amount of toxins we’re releasing from our body.

And just and I think you would appreciate this point, because it’s kind of scientific. But the inhale is very connected to the sympathetic nervous system. And the exhale is very connected to the parasympathetic.

Neelam

Yeah, we exhale, right, the more relaxed we can become?

Nikhil

Well, you know, it’s interesting, because with, with the breath, I totally agree about how it’s such a simple but underutilized tool. And I feel like, it’s sort of the way I look at it is that breathing sort of helps evolution take its course. And when I say that, I mean that when we don’t breathe, and let’s say, you know, there’s a deadline coming up, or there’s some curveball that’s thrown at us, automatically, our fight or flight response gets kicked in, and that reptilian brain gets activated. And so we’re basically, you know, regressing to this caveman mentality that, you know, we, you know, it’s basically, everything’s on the line, and we’re functioning at a very low level, right, and the cortisol is just going through our body, and we’re just not, we’re not on top of our game.

Whereas if you breathe, then you’re activating that prefrontal cortex or you’re, you’re activating that more developed portion of your brain. And so, you know, now you’re basically coming into the 21st century, right

Neelam

I think you might have mentioned or maybe not, but I’ll mention it, I’m a corporate attorney. So I write a lot of contracts. And it’s amazing. Like, now my pranayama, if I do my practice in the morning, that’s, that’s pretty extensive. I can bang out a contract in like, half the time than if I do because it, it gives you so much clarity and focus. So if anyone’s just appreciating pranayama from a productivity perspective, Because we are a capitalist society. And yeah, this society promotes us as being doers. So people oftentimes feel guilty. Why would I sit down for an hour and breathe in the morning?

Nikhil

What’s the ROI on that? Right?

Nikhil

You mentioned that you do workshops and retreats. Can you maybe tell me a little bit more about that? Like, are you working with corporations? Are you working with nonprofit groups? Maybe I want to get a feel for these retreats that are not retreats, but the workshops that you mentioned on your website?

Neelam

Sure. um, so the workshops have been written in different contexts. But um, nonprofits have reached out to me just because through our network, right, maybe one found me online, but most people hear what I do, or they’ve attended a workshop, and then they mentioned it to their organization. Right.

So during COVID, there’s a lot of organizations that kind of stepped up their game, and they’re offering more to the public, but their staff is also being spread thin.

So a few organizations have kind of focused on wellness with their employees and their staff. And so they brought me in, in addition to other practice practitioners, just to give their staff coping mechanisms, right. So in terms of workshops, I do a lot of pranayama workshops with organizations, right. And then with the Ayurvedic cooking, you know, I worked a lot with an Indian restaurant in Manhattan.

Anita Jaisinghani, she’s she had her first restaurant in Houston, which is Pondicheri. And then she opened one in New York. And he is amazing. Because she embraced like, I went into a restaurant one day, and I love the setup. So they basically do Indian food, but they they do it fusion style. So she’ll have a green dosa, which is a dosa with sprouts. And like some other stuff.

Nikhil

For right, I’m kind of a purist. So that sort of flies in my face.

Neelam

When I cook for myself at home, I probably wouldn’t do that. Right. But it’s fun experience for going. Sure. Yeah. Well, I’m really into the way she cooks. And I’m really, really at the time into her space. She’s actually closed her New York City location right before COVID.

Neelam

So her and I vibed really well. I just walked into a restaurant one day and I was like, let’s breathe together. I think it’s been like four or five years since I’ve known her. So we do a lot of workshops in New York City and then out of Houston.

Neelam

Right. So that’s kind of the collaboration that I like, like, you know, working with other kinds of Southeast Asians, right. And I also think it’s important for me to offer it to my community.

Neelam

And not just my community, but like other black and brown communities. Because I feel like oftentimes, we’re dealing with some other struggles. Right, where this is really helpful to right. So that’s kind of the workshop part.

Neelam

But what’s really exciting to me, are the retreats really that we do, because, yeah, right. Because I don’t know if we talked about it yet.

Nikhil

It’s you and your sister, right? And she’s based in Costa Rica. Could you tell us a little bit more about tell a little bit more about that? Yeah. Love to hear that.

Neelam

And she’s formally trained in yoga. And I’m from trained in Ayurveda. And the connection between yoga and Ayurveda is they’re really viewed as sister sciences. They complement each other. So a lot of Ayurveda protocols involve yoga. Right, like, asanas and other aspects breathing, So and it’s all Vedic based. So the philosophy, macro micro like the doshas, it’s all kind of arising out of the Vedas. Yeah. Right.

And so what we started to realize is, it can be extremely overwhelming for someone to come in and learn different components from us. So come learn how to cook Ayurveda for yourself, come learn and breathe, come, come learn and do Asana. Right. And it could be super overwhelming, because now they need to go home and practice this journey on their own.

My sister and I were like, “Why don’t we create an immersion program that gives people a jump off?” We can steal certain practices for a week, and we can nourish their bodies and minds and show them how to do the branding on how to do the asanas, how to do the cooking, and then when they come home, they’re in a better place to truly embrace this into their lifestyle. Yeah, so it’s more holistic, it’s more of a way of life rather than the standalone, disjointed activities. So and I really do believe that’s the biggest change that I noticed with me practicing or evade. Now I experienced everything in the world. That’s Vata, pitta, kapha, right, like even looking through that lens. It sounds like the higher Vedic lens. Yeah, even the movies, I watched the music I listened to right bought the pinnacle.

Right, and there’s other categorizations like there’s also a mental categorization, which is sattva, rajas, and tamas. The gunas And that even to me is more can be more enlightening than the doshas, right, yeah. Or to look at, you know, like, sattva is bringing purity and clear clarity. Rajas is kind of bringing this exciting, kind of stimulated energy and, tamas is like that Kapha heavy energy.

Neelam

When like, the movies we expose ourselves to, or they suffer. And if they’re more rajas, or tamas, that’s completely fine. If you don’t already deal with issues of rajas or tamas, in your mind.

Nikhil

the thing that I found extremely unique about what you guys do is the cooking aspect, you know, and it’s, you know, it’s something that gets talked about a lot about, you know, how food is life in Ayurveda, but I haven’t really seen many practices really incorporate that.

So, can you talk a little bit more about the cooking, especially one thing that I found really interesting, and I wanted to learn more, you said that your cooking involves “high vibrational ingredients.” So maybe if you can talk a little bit more about that?

Neelam

Absolutely. So cooking, to me is the process of not just cooking, So it’s going to get the ingredients going to the store ingredients, It’s bringing them into your home, preparing the space before you cook the break clean space before you cook, so treating it like a ritual and it’s sacredness, and it shouldn’t be because it’s nourishing our bodies, So a lot so when I go to the store, I belong to the local Co Op.

So really, when I talk about high vibrational ingredients, all that means is ingredients that are enriched in prana. life energy, right. Now you can generally tell by looking at like greens. If something’s wrong, you can tell it’s a little bit older and doesn’t have as much prana. The most prana a vegetable is going to have is when you first harvest it. Everything’s intact.

So that’s why eating food that you grow is specifically good for your body if you’re if you’re looking for more prana, right. And I understand that there’s contradictions with the studies of organic, and I get it, I get the flaws in labeling something organic, they still let in a bunch of bad things, But honestly, like, just your tastebuds alone will tell you when you taste an organic tomato, like comes up and sort of things versus a non organic tomato. Color, it’s the taste of it.

So I’m very into picking local, seasonal, only fresh vegetables, And I understand there’s also studies that say, look, frozen broccoli sometimes has a higher nutrient component, then broccoli you buy on the shelf, because they missed it and freeze it right away. And I get that from a Western perspective. But from an Ayurvedic perspective, you’re now taking that frozen broccoli and you’re putting it in a freezer and you’re depriving it of air and you’re depriving it of light.

So to me, from our pranic perspective, frozen vegetables don’t have much life energy. 

Well, when we talk about high vibrational ingredients, it’s choosing ingredients that have the most amount of prana in it, right. So that’s it being fresh, organic, non GMO, local in season, right. So, one is setting out your ingredients. The next step for us is preparing the vegetables, And even that is done in sort of a ritual way, like we like to for my sister in mind perspective. And we don’t want to take credit for this. It’s Maya Tiwari who’s Ayurvedic practitioner, who loves her Ayurveda, because this is what she focuses on. Maya Tiwari is very big in chopping vegetables according to their lifelines.

Because her perspective, and I agree with this, because I sense it sometimes is every vegetable has cellular intelligence, And this intelligence can be disrupted if you’re not keeping it intact, when you chop vegetables, So from a carrots perspective, because to me, a carrot is long this way, I never carrot like this. It’s always trying to preserve the natural lifelines. Just seeing the way you chop up the ingredients can actually impact sort of like the, the benefits you get from it then or something in it, and preserve and now the prana is preserved and the intelligence is preserved, so it knows what it has to do in your body. Right.

And that is the hokiest thing I will say on today’s podcast, because I get it. It’s not that you would hear from Vasant Lad or some of these other Ayurvedic practitioners that are very technical with it, right.

But Maya Tiwari, she’s also the one that has an amazing healing story. She basically had cancer, and they told her she was going to die. And she went up to Vermont to a friend’s cabin to go die. But instead, she fasted and cured herself. She came back to New York City, they scan her body, and there was no cancer.

So it’s like, that’s someone who I’m going to, I’m really going to appreciate their intuition and their wisdom, because they say the proof is in the pudding. I mean, you know, you can’t, you can’t argue with, you know, the, that kind of those kinds of results. I mean, that’s, that’s pretty compelling. Yeah.

And even stirring, right, like, think about it. If you’re if you’re making a pot of soup, and you’re stirring like this. That’s putting in all this commotion, versus stirring in one direction calmly.

Nikhil

Yeah, I mean, I’m no chef myself, but I know that like certain foods like osso buco, or there’s some foods that like, where they marinate for hours, and you can taste like the consistency of the meat. It’s just very, it’s a very different experiences versus, you know, something you threw in the microwave and nuked it for a couple minutes. Oh, that’s, that’s incredible.

Neelam

So that’s, so I guess in essence, that’s what this vibrational concept is. It’s just looking at the source of the ingredients looking, at how the meal is prepared, and the space. So that’s why I always clean the space beforehand.

Neelam

Yeah, like, well and the energetics, you know how many people I’ve cancelled dinner invites to, I’m not cooking for you, if I’m in a bad mood, I’m not doing that. Like you’re my friend and I love you. And I will not put that my energy in your system.

So it’s also the energetics of this chef. Which is why people have asked me a lot of times if I’m going to start an Ayurvedic food delivery program?

Nikhil

Yeah, I was one of them. My wife was like, we need to, we need to get some Ayurvedic meals.

Neelam

And if you guys can figure out how it works, because I can, right because I’m kind of like, but when, but we’re moving away from nourishing our loved ones. And I get it ever. You can’t cook for your loved ones every day. I get that right. But my worst nightmare would be if someone came to me and then became reliant on me to feed them. Because that’s not what this is about. It’s about empowering you to do that. Because you ultimately know yourself better than I know you. And you’re going to know what the body needs, whether you’re Vata imbalanced, with Kapha imbalance.

Neelam

So I never want to make people relying on me because that’s the beauty in Ayurveda. It’s self empowering. 

Nikhil

So you’re more and your emphasis is more on like teaching people how to cook versus like actually prepared? Do you still do the meal prep services? Like where you prepare meals and deliver them?

Neelam

In a very narrow context, there’s two clients that I’m currently working with that have digestive issues. So as part of the treatment, I am cooking for them. But the expectation is that as soon as this kind of sick six-week program is done, I’m no longer for them.

Nikhil

You know, it’s not really any headline, obviously, the COVID has been a big, big disrupter in pretty much every sphere of our life. Maybe just, you know, in a broad sense, like, how has COVID impacted your own personal journey with Ayurveda as a practitioner, but also as a provider to clients?

Neelam

So just keep in mind, because I was in New York City prior to COVID. A lot of people did come to me for anxiety sort of issues, but I didn’t know. With COVID It’s been a lot more. Right. So I, I have been asked to do more Ayurvedic consultations and more breathwork. Of course, with COVID, the breathwork is more virtually now or Thursday. Right. So it’s a different type of experience. But I mean, I feel like COVID did have a really big impact on me.

Neelam

And I don’t want to downplay COVID, especially for anyone out there who lost someone from COVID. That is terrible. And my heart goes out to you. Right. So please, don’t take this in the wrong way. But I do think COVID has offered me a better perspective on life. Right, like human relationships with my parents, I feel this strong desire to be closer to them. Right. So I think, on one level COVID has returned us back to what’s truly important.

But why does it have to be that we have to go through something very negative, to get that kind of reality check.

And it also made me very well aware of reinforcing this concept of maya, that everything’s an illusion, illusion, you know, our lives can change so quickly, in a matter of weeks or months. No one would have thought prior to COVID happening that New York City would have ever been shut down.

And so I think what ended up happening is more people needed to pause or have more opportunity to pause things or add more time for themselves. So that’s when you take these pauses that you start to notice that not everything is balanced within you.

So I feel like whether it’s COVID, or the fact that people are taking more pauses, I definitely noticed more people reaching out to me.

Nikhil

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And then you said mostly like for people finding you it’s been mostly sort of word of mouth or maybe follow up sort of some of these workshops that you’ve done that kind of thing. Is that been mostly sort of how you’ve brought in more clients?

Neelam

As much as I love social media, I also recognize for my dosha type, it’s not very healthy for me. Yeah, yeah, really not. You may notice I have a Facebook page and Instagram page, but I’m not one of those people that is constantly posting. Right.

And what I’ve noticed with my legal practice, and my art evade practice is that people who need me to find me not because it’s me, my practice, They need some sort of wisdom, whatever they need for me, right again, not because of me. They find me.

Nikhil

It’s not because that viral TikTok video or anything like that; it’s just the universe, sending them your direction,

Neelam

It’s like, if you like, if people know you do something, and not many people do it, you’re the go to person. So if anyone mentions, Ayurveda? And I have a big network in New York and one of the people in my network is there, they’re throwing my name out there.

It’s the same with legal; I haven’t advertised much, but I’m very blessed. And what comes back to me, so I mean, and again, I don’t want to come across sounding privileged, because I recognize the privilege and saying this.

I try not to think in fear and scarcity. I try to think of abundance, abundance, abundance, So I always welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with anyone, even if they’re doing the same exact thing as me because a there’s abundance for assault, right. And I also feel very indebted to the Guru Ji that found me, and the practices that people have given me.

I really feel the need to share this with people who truly need the healing, not because they’re doing it for a fad. Like, go work with anyone for that, right. Like, I don’t have time for that, right. But if you truly want to adopt this as a way of life, like you’re truly willing to embrace this, it’d be my humble honor to share my practices with you. Because people shared those practices with me

Nikhil

Pay it forward. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I could talk for hours about this. But obviously, you know, I think there’s only 24 hours in a day. But I, you know, I’d love is there anything else you wanted to talk about, like in terms of your practice, in terms of anyone who’s looking to get involved a little bit, you know, deep in their journey in Ayurveda? What are some parting words of wisdom that you’d like to share?

Neelam

So I would say, really embrace those moments of pause in your life. And just be. Like, truly just be because I think in this world and the society we created, it’s all about doing. And, you know, India is very such a big dichotomy. If you think about it, it’s so extreme, because at the same time, we have some of the most spiritually religiously elevated people in the world, we have the sadhus in the Himalayas, right. But then we also as parents put tremendous pressure on our children to hit certain milestones in life, find ourselves by our worth.

But when you go to India, and you talk to people, Indians don’t have that perspective. They’re willing to support the sadhus journeys, because they recognize that they’re doing an important part, they’re elevating the vibration for the rest of us. Right. And that’s their sacrifice. So they’re, we’re willing to do that, right.

So I just think it’s important to just be and not to, because I think there’s contentment that can come from being comfortable in your own self.

Nikhil

I did want to highlight, there is a way if people want to get a hold of you, what is this? I just put this on the screen? Is it enlightliving.com? Is that just the best way to get a hold of you? It is okay. And you’re interested, you know, obviously, in talking to people about Ayurveda, and any other types of collaborations you’re interested in exploring if people or people hear this, and it resonates with them, which I’m sure it will.

Neelam

So it’s the food in the breath that I really connect with. And I’m most passionate about, and I understand it’s not all about me, but at the same time, that’s when I’m most comfortable working with people food, and yeah, I’m not yoga. I’m not Asana certified, so I could recommend poses but I’m not comfortable adjusting people’s yoga practice.

Nikhil

Very good. Well, thanks again, Neelam. And this was a real treat. And like I said, I could talk about this for days. It’s, it’s a blessing. It’s a gift. And it’s something that you know, hopefully through these types of discussions, people will find, you know, things to add to their toolkit for better managing their mental, physical and spiritual health. So want to say thanks again.

Neelam

Thank you Nikhil.