How One CA Girl Permanently Recovered from Immunological Disease and Depression with Ayurveda
Let me share with you a true story of healing, health and hope with India's ancient system of health and healing, known as Ayurveda, from what is considered an incurable immunological condition by western medicine.
“I didn’t realize how sick I was until I got healthy.”
At twenty-two, Brittany Barrett was taking eighteen pills a day—prescription medications from physicians who told her there wasn’t much they could do about her pain and nothing they could do to cure her illness. She had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. “My body was literally eating holes into itself,” she said, “and my life felt like it was on hold. I had moved back in with my parents. There were times when I had to remain close to a bathroom. It was devastating. I tried to keep a positive attitude, but I was numb. I was depressed. I went to support groups, but that made me even more depressed.”
I will never forget the evening when, giving a talk on the fundamentals of Ayurveda at a Bay Area bookstore. I found myself watching an exceptionally beautiful young woman in the front row who sat staring at me with tears running down her face. I could see she was taking in every word.
Afterward, Britt introduced herself and said, “You’ve changed my life. I’m going to pursue this.” What had ignited her was the message that her body was not broken; rather, an ailing body is out of balance and whatever it is about the body that it is out of balance can be brought back into balance. It was quite a different message than the one this troubled young woman had heard for years from Western medicine!
Britt was touched by my talk, and I too was touched—by the strength of her intention. That night I dreamt of this young woman. In my dream, I took her hand and led her back home to the sacred town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, India. It was here that I learned the Ayurvedic principles I teach. The dream turned out to be somewhat prophetic because Britt did, indeed, follow me, not to India but into an exploration of Ayurveda.
A few weeks later, Britt registered for a three-day retreat I led on getting in touch with one’s inner Shakti, or spiritual power. Making such a connection within oneself is fundamental to Ayurveda.
Though at this particular retreat I didn’t lecture on Ayurvedic dietary recommendations, I do always make certain that retreat participants eat correctly by providing healthy, balanced meals, cooked from fresh foods appropriate to the season. I hadn’t reckoned, however, that participants might show up with their own food! This is exactly what Britt did, following her ideas and gleaned misinformation about what she “needed” to eat to address her digestive problems.
She sat down at the dinner table, telling other participants, “Oh, your food looks so good! It’s too bad I have to eat this,” and unpacking a meal of raw fruit and yogurt.
It’s a funny thing about food misconceptions. In the West, yogurt, with its live cultures, is often seen as a miracle food, and fresh fruit is thought to be as pure as water itself. This is not, however, the case. I discuss this in much greater detail in my book, but for now I will simply point out—as one of my senior students did say that day to Britt—that fruit and dairy are an incompatible food combination and, taken together, are quite difficult for the body to digest.
At the time, Britt thought, these ladies are really nice, but they don’t know what they’re talking about! It was, of course, Britt herself who didn’t know. And how could she? Her medical doctors had told her that her diet made no difference in ulcerative colitis; she need only continue taking her 18 daily pills. To her credit, Britt saw the inherent fallacy in this—how could food be unrelated to digestion!—and so she explored the diets she found in the media. This was how she’d found my lecture in that bookstore.
At the retreat, Britt met with Ayurveda teachers from my school, and walked away from the retreat with a list of five things she was to do daily:
Wake up early each morning at a set time.
Have an altar in your room, and put fresh flowers on it every day.
Every morning meditate on your healing for 15 minutes .
Stop eating (or minimize your consumption of) harmful foods—toxin-generating foods such as yogurt, cheese, processed foods, and cold foods like raw salads.
Eat beneficial foods (such as mung lentils or green gram, homemade buttermilk, clarified butter or ghee, and good spices like turmeric, cumin, fennel, and ginger.)
These lifestyle and dietary principles, especially numbers 4 and 5, are discussed in detail in my book, but this list, which Britt jotted down in the moving car, was enough for her to work with.
And work with it she did. Every day she went down this list, and before very long she noticed that her bowels were less erratic and that her mood began to elevate.
I feel this kind of transformation is a testimony to the power of Ayurveda. With just a few lifestyle changes, instrumented daily, the body becomes strong enough to begin healing itself. This is because Ayurveda principles and foods work with—and never against—the body’s innate intelligence.
Recognizing the undeniable improvement in her health from following five simple precepts, Britt signed up for the Alchemy through Ayurveda course. I designed this course with people like Britt in mind, to learn the basics of Ayurveda at a leisurely pace and under the direction of experts.
Students are given the fundamentals to support a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, along with tools from Ayurveda psychology and spiritual teachings that they can use to support the emergence of healthy attitudes and positive beliefs (that support the overall healing in the body and enhance immunity). In addition to going over theory, they also cook healthy foods, beauty recipes and learn how to make oils, scrubs and even an Ayurvedic shampoo. Learning these skills, students are then able to initiate their own self-healing.
Britt, as it turned out, was inspired to study even further.
By the end of her first year of study with me, her ulcerative colitis virtually disappeared, and she was completely symptom free. She was also able to wean herself off prescription anti-depressants she had been taking since she was 16 years old. You can imagine how proud she felt about being free from those chains!
What began as a year of self-healing became transformed into an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of this magical science!
Britt then completed a three-year practitioner level training, that included learning to cook using Ayurveda principles and recipes from my partner, who is an Ayurvedic Chef - Chef Sanjai.
His incredible knowledge of rare recipes, and medicinal spices and garden herbs made all the difference to Brittany's condition. Each bite of the easy to cook Ayurvedic recipes from Chef Sanjai that Brittany began cooking at home healed her colon, meal by meal. I must add that at my wisdom school, we don't just teach the same ten recipes every school of Ayurveda teaches worldwide. We have bothered to go deep and discover forgotten recipes from the Ayurvedic scriptures. Chef Sanjai has brought these recipes to light to help students like Brittany reclaim health from within.
Since 2012, Brittany has been helping people herself, offering them advice, teaching them to cook healing Ayurvedic foods and giving to them a list of five daily directions that is quite similar to the one she received herself.
The profoundly personal and deeply enriching style of my school's lineage based Ayurveda education, immediately and irrefutably deepens self-awareness.
Britt’s journey went beyond academics into real life immersion under my watchful eye, and this built profound confidence in her. Step-by-step, Brit transformed her health, and as she did this, she matured emotionally and spiritually until she was prepared to give back to society.
Today she is featured on popular blog sites and in magazines and has her own thriving healing practice. Moving from desolation to hope, from isolation to connection, Britt has become a light for her community in her own unique way, and Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom has successfully anchored her at every step. Seeing my student give from the fund of knowledge she has received, my heart overflows with gratitude.
I bow again and again to the great sages, who selflessly granted us this invaluable knowledge of Ayurveda. I thank my primary teacher, my paternal grandfather Baba Ayodhya Nath, who passed this treasure on to me, precisely and without shortcuts, along with the certainty that health of body, mind and soul is our inherent state, that it is our human birthright.
In the final analysis, Nature is the grandest of all teachers. It is Nature herself who beckons us to come home to her by following Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, which are nothing other than manifestations of natural laws of cosmos. Ayurvedic wisdom reminds us that our entire life is an opportunity to make the natural yet discriminating choices that will bring us into balance and reclaim the deep spiritual harmony that lies within us.
I am sharing my wisdom, one soul at a time, because health is your birthright.
That is right...Health is not just a possibility that you might achieve. It is a reality, an underlying natural state of being. Health will manifest once you begin to live in alignment with Nature’s intelligence. This is the promise of Ayurveda, India’s five-thousand-year-old system of health and healing.
When I was growing up in India, I witnessed a spiritual master, my grandfather, whom I addressed as Baba, remind the diseased and the suffering of their abidingly healthy nature. He taught them simple ways to align with Nature on a daily basis, and enigmatically, this ignited powerful healing of body, mind, and soul.
While there wasn’t a focus on the symptoms of disease per se, I saw cancers disappear, ulcers heal, and chronic depressions lift. I think I had rationalized that these “miracles”were possible because my teacher was a spiritually realized being. Clearly, Baba's spiritual presence was undeniable.
But as I grew up and observed more, I recognized that Baba’s skills in transmitting a highly rational science of Ayurveda lifestyle were also a key factor. I am so glad that my teacher imparted to me his spiritual conviction along with his scientific knowledge, which includes Ayurveda’s lifestyle wisdom. His teachings and blessings have taken the form of my book so that more and more people can discover the truth of health for themselves.
Ayurveda: A Path to Self Fulfillment
It is said that some five thousand years ago, India was home to the spiritually evolved beings, who were the Rishis or Sages of Ayurveda. After a prolonged spiritual quest and untold years of meditation, these great souls elevated their consciousness to the point that they could receive the special healing wisdom that is known as Ayurveda. This Sanskrit word translates as “the knowledge of life.”
It seems that to rid ourselves of the suffering that afflicts our body, mind and soul, we do not require specialized technology to combat disease and dis-ease. What we need is an affirmative knowledge of life; and how to lead it in such a way that in each moment we experience being in alignment with nature, which is both our source and destination.
Thus, Ayurveda is a science of conscious living that originated in ancient India, that flourishes today in modern India and that extends its influence worldwide. Ayurveda teaches a lifestyle that, when lived, prevents disease and optimizes health and wellbeing.
Ayurveda addresses body, mind and spirit in one sweep. It restores hope and wholeness in a gentle and constructive fashion. Rather than struggling with disease, Ayurveda opens us to our own natural wholeness. Ayurvedic principles remind us that we are self-healing creatures and that we can maintain—or regain—good health by choosing healing foods, a balanced lifestyle and inner calm.
Ayurveda: The Gateways of Positive Change
Ayurveda is the recorded insights of visionary, spiritually inspired, out-of-the-box scientists called rishis, who were keenly in dialogue with the transcendental realities of life. You could say that these sages were the original researchers who discovered Ayurveda and advanced its use among the rest of humanity.
Ayurveda’s sages observed Nature deeply, meditating upon her rhythmic changes—the days, the seasons, the phases of life in birth, aging and death. They concluded that while change is the essence of life, it is possible to adapt to these changes artfully and, by so doing, to reap abiding health. Balance in our adaption to change means health, and the lack of balance translates as ill-health. Such teachings as these became encoded over time in the great science of Ayurveda.
The natural wisdom that humanity once possessed when we all lived close to Nature has been collectively forgotten. This is not anybody’s fault as such. The urbanization of our natural landscapes has forced upon us forgetfulness and alienation from Nature. For this, humanity pays a large price. Thankfully, however, Ayurveda reminds us that we have nothing to fear for there is no such thing as a permanent damage. As long as we are alive, we can embrace new beliefs that spawn fresh choices and reap new fruits.
New Beginnings are the Essence of Life
In fact, Ayurveda reassures us that these changes in Nature are actually gateways, lending opportunity to a deeper communion with the essence of life and abiding health that is our true nature. To pass through these gateways, however, requires life wisdom and alignment with Nature. The sages therefore teach humanity perhaps its first lesson on how to navigate nature through an artfully lived lifestyle, first and foremost.
You too can explore the living wisdom and real time Ayurveda lifestyle practices that changed the life of this young woman in my book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom. In fact the above excerpt is from the same book.
Perhaps you, too, can benefit from adopting an Ayurveda lifestyle?
You can take the magically transformative one-year Ayurveda immersion course and jumpstart your healing process.
In this course, you will learn how to live an authentic Ayurvedic lifestyle: how to use kitchen spices and your home garden to balance your body and mind; how to cook with meaning and joy; how to connect with your spirit and establish a deep reverential relationship with Mother Nature.
The experiential course curriculum is rich with content from original ancient Ayurveda texts, as well as my best-selling book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom. I teach this course with the support of my hand-groomed faculty members.
Click here for more details. If you are so inspired to be a student in my wisdom school Vedika Global's Ayurveda department, know this, your life is about to change for the better, exponentially - just like Brittany's did. Like the eyes of hundreds of students who have come before you, your eyes too will become lit with hope, happiness and gratefulness to the sages who gave humanity Ayurveda, a truly healing wisdom for body mind and soul.
You can read all about Brittany's beautiful journey on her website: dailyayurveda.com.
With Infinite Love,
Acharya Shunya is a globally-recognized spiritual teacher and Vedic lineage-holder who awakens health and consciousness through the Vedic sciences of Ayurveda, Vedanta and Yoga. She is the driving force behind an online wisdom school and worldwide spiritual community, and the author of best-selling book on the Vedic art of mind + body + soul well-being and health, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017) and forthcoming second book with Sounds True to be released in 2020, Sovereign Self. Acharya Shunya is a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and serves as an advisor to the Indian Government in matters pertaining to global integration and cultivation of Ayurveda and Yoga. Receive her free online teachings and browse her current eCourse offerings here or see more about her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel where she holds live Global Satsangs once per month. Study Ayurveda with Acharya Shunya in her online course, Alchemy through Ayurveda.