Shankari Kate Sadowsky has a Masters in Holistic Health Education and completed over five years of study at Vedika Global, including two years of clinical internship, leading to the title of Vaidya Bhushana (an Ayurveda Clinical Specialist). She practices Ayurveda through her private practice, Bija Ayurveda, and has been working in the field of wellness for twelve years, including bodywork, writing, teaching, and program development.
- What sparked your interest in Ayurveda?
I had received a very cursory overview of Ayurveda in graduate school. While it was intellectually interesting, without the depth and wisdom of the full science I received through Vedika’s founder, Acharya Shunya Pratichi Mathur, it did not have the power to affect my perception of the world and my place within it. I had always been striving to understand the connections between the macrocosm and microcosm, our daily choices and the resulting actions in our bodies and minds as well as towards the greater cosmos. Ayurveda provided context and meaning for this investigation.
- What personal health goals did your Vedika education help you achieve?
I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 15. Through meditation, movement, and mindfulness practices, I had been able to lessen pain and increase mobility. But I was still having unexplained flare-ups and a lack of context for understanding the nature of the disease and its progression in my body. At Vedika, I began to see the true multi-dimensionality of our health; the kinds of foods I ate (and when and where and how much), waking and sleeping times, the thoughts in my mind all played a role in creating health or illness in this body. I have had completely stable health for nine years, and I feel fully aware of how I can choose to live to maintain this balance.
- What has been the most important thing you’ve learned at Vedika?
At Vedika, I learned the beauty of humility, the acceptance of intentional community, and the alchemy of the fire of intellectual focus combined with the readiness of the soul.
- What surprised you the most in your studies of Ayurveda?
The inclusiveness of the science of Ayurveda: everything comprising human consciousness and the (in)tangible universe falls within the scope of Ayurvedic medicine. And it doesn’t require multiple theories to understand that the journey through healing psoriasis and realizing freedom of the mind are part of the same continuum. Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta offer the basic building blocks to understand and play with the seemingly complex issues of health, illness, and wellness in the broadest sense.
- What has been your experience of Gurukula education?
Learning Ayurveda is far more than an academic endeavor. Ayurvedic texts teach us about the power of the company we keep; studying within a Gurukula has shown me the power of community, of lineage, of living Ayurveda. Learning, growing, sharing this immense knowledge– and the changes that embodying this knowledge inevitably create– is pure bliss. It allowed me to practice truthful, intentional being in a circle of people who were focused on doing the same.
- What are your plans for utilizing the knowledge you’ve gained?
Initially, I had thought I would be largely focused on clinical practice, which I have established in Berkeley, CA and via Skype. But I am finding my goals shifting to new ways of sharing this knowledge to larger groups of people. I am launching a 30-day email program called Starting from Scratch: 30 Ways to Revitalize Your Life, featuring simple daily practices from Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta. I have tremendous faith in the small choices we make each day influencing our ways of being in the world in dramatic ways. I’m also looking at ways to deliver the embodied wisdom of Ayurveda in its true depth through small communities and self-sustaining groups, in-person as well as online.
- What would you tell others who might be interested in studying Ayurveda at Vedika?
Studying at Vedika goes beyond the overused language of self-growth or personal development. It offers the opportunity for falling in love with your own self, and lighting your fire to offer light to others.
Photos: Shankari Kate Sadowsky