Why Dr. Avanti Kumar-Singh M.D. Left Traditional Medicine
Dr. Avanti Kumar-Singh is a speaker, author, physician, and Ayurveda expert. Praised as a “Wellness Innovator,” Dr. Kumar-Singh challenges medical professionals at all stages of their career to redefine their roles to become heart-centered, healing catalysts that practice what she calls true medicine.
Throughout her 20 years of practicing Western medicine, Dr. Kumar Singh has also studied traditional, ancient healing practices of the East, with a focus on Ayurveda, which she now teaches to students and holistic practitioners across the world.
In The Healing Catalyst Podcast, Dr. Kumar Singh is demystifying Ayurveda and other integrated medicine, showing how these simple, ancient practices are the key to unlocking a healthy modern life.
She is leading a movement to empower patients to heal themselves and presents on a wide range of topics at the intersections of women’s health, integrative medicine, traditional healing systems, meditation, yoga, lifestyle, and nutrition.
What We Discuss with Avanti Kumar-Singh, MD:
- How she got into Ayurvedic medicine being a Western medical doctor
- What is Ayurveda?
- Finding the right title for the book
- Her book writing process
- The importance of conscious awareness
- How Ayurveda can help heal your body
- The 3 areas of remedies
- The concept of seasonal eating
- Developing habits from routines
[05:16] How She Got Into Ayurvedic Medicine Being a Western Medical Doctor
Avanti trained in Emergency Medicine. And it’s common among physicians and people in healing professions to be worst in taking care of themselves. Avanti’s body just started breaking down as she was not taking care of herself. She got so sick and gained so much weight. She began to experience different bodily illnesses until she got to a point where she couldn’t move for several days. It was at that moment that she decided to do something different.
Avanti started reflecting on her life and she traced it back to her family in South Asia who practiced many ayurvedic principles.
She realized her lifestyle was just so way different from her lifestyle growing up. It was all about her daily routines. And seeing her grandpa at 89 years old without any single medical problem, and knowing he was living an ayurvedic life, Avanti knew there was something in it.
She started to ask questions, read, research, and eventually change small things that she could begin to heal over time. At that point, she knew it was the kind of medicine she was supposed to be practicing.
[11:27] What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a sister science of yoga, which comes from the same Vedic texts. They are completely linked because Ayurveda uses yoga as one of the amenities and yoga actually fits into an Ayurvedic lifestyle. So they actually go together.
Many times, many people are introduced to Ayurveda through a yoga class or a yoga teacher, but they’re not always clear on what it is.
Ayurveda is about being in sync, or being in harmony with nature. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the science or knowledge of life. You can look at it as a manual for life.
The principle comes from this idea that everything in the universe, including human beings, are made of the same five elements – air space, water, fire, and earth. And when we are in harmony with those elements, we have optimal, perfect health.
[21:48] The Principles of Ayurveda
The first place to start is just having an awareness of why you’re doing what you’re doing. What are the decisions? Just take notice of what you’re doing. Then you can start to apply these principles and begin to see patterns.
Ayurveda is about conscious awareness. It’s about just being aware.
Look at how much movement and how much stillness – two opposite qualities – you have in your life. And just write that down. Having that sense of awareness will allow you to carry that into everything you do.
[25:09] How Ayurveda Can Help Heal Your Body
Summertime is the element of fire, where there’s a lot of heat. So much heat outside is going to reflect what’s inside. As the heat is rising, there’s increased heat in the environment in the natural world, there’s also going to be heat starting to accumulate within us.
In Ayurveda, we are a microcosm of the macrocosm – what is outside of us is also inside of us.
Over the course of the summer, if we don’t find ways to constantly balance that heat with cooling types of practices, diet routines, and tools of yoga to balance out that heat, you start to have symptoms that have the quality of fire and heat by the end of summer. Because of the accumulated heat within the body, the symptoms are starting to show up.
Some of those symptoms might be irritability, rashes, acne, GI symptoms, acid reflux, injuries, etc. These are all symptoms that have the qualities of fire. And that is the same as the summertime of what’s in nature. If you start to balance that out, you can reduce those symptoms. And if all along during the summer, you had been balancing that heat, you probably wouldn’t be having these types of symptoms by the end of summer.
[28:57] The 3 Areas of Remedies
- Routines – Don’t be outside in the middle of the day when it’s the hottest time. Be outside when it’s cool.
- Diet – Ayurveda is where this concept of seasonal eating comes from. Mother Nature provides the food that we need throughout the year to help us balance naturally. So in the summer, we have all these fruits and vegetables that have a lot of water in them to cool the body down.
- The tools of yoga – Get on the floor, or do some restorative yoga. Do some just gentle stretching. Do some things that slow you down a little bit. Doing a vinyasa flow class, or a hot yoga class is going to increase the heat. It’s not that you necessarily have to stop doing things, just start to become aware and balance those things, according to the seasons.
[33:12] Developing Habits From Routines
Routines are so helpful because it indicates to your system, to your body, your mind, your spirit, that you can be at ease. In modern life, we are constantly in a stress response with the amount of information coming at us.
We are constantly in a state of increased activity in our nervous system. We weren’t designed to be like that so we need those times of relaxation. By having a regular routine, you start to move your whole system into that parasympathetic state, which then actually translates into more health.
Routines are the foundation of an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Stress is probably one of the number one issues or is linked pretty much to every chronic illness that we know of. And in order to create more relaxation and decreased stress response, routines are a wonderful way to do that.
[37:18] Following the Path of Nature
For example, when you’re fire is the strongest in the middle of the day, your body has an easier time using the heavier proteins (ex. meat) in the morning. In the evening. your digestion isn’t as strong.
Think about this as the path of the sun. When it’s rising in the morning, it’s not so strong. In the middle of the day, it’s at its hottest. When it starts to set, it gets less hot. Again, we are a microcosm of the macrocosm. So our internal digestive fire follows the path of the sun.
[42:49] Avanti’s Book Writing Process
Avanti initially struggled with writing at first but then she began writing stories. And writing stories is different from when you speak them because you have body language. There’s the intonation of your voice. You can be so much more expressive in a different way. And when you’re writing it, you have to write in a different way. But one of the hardest things for her was coming up with the title.
Take the leap if you have something important to say.
Finally, Avanti advises aspiring authors to do it and get someone to help you. Having someone to lead you through the process and help you get past the stuck points will make this process so much fun.
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