We talked to Yoga Anytime teacher Ali Cramer about her new book Modern Ayurveda: Rituals, Recipes, and Remedies, Ayurvedic survival tips for the holidays, and teaching yoga in New York City.
Yoga Anytime: On the very first page of your book, you say: "Ayurveda is going to change your life." How has the study and practice of Ayurveda changed your life?
Ali Cramer: My answer to this would be the same as why I teach yoga. When we have experienced profound healing in body and mind, when we are reverent to the teachings, it's a natural progression to want to share it. Sharing Ayurveda and Yoga with my students and clients has given me a purpose and direction that I might not otherwise have had. So beyond the immense personal healing in body, mind, and spirit, I now feel like my life has a purpose. Which is (such) a relief to lean into. And that purpose can inform my decisions as I do my best to practice what I preach. I'm not doing it "perfectly." I'm doing it. That's what I can do right now.
You teach yoga in New York City. How does teaching in the hustle and bustle of NYC perhaps change the practices you teach both with yoga and with Ayurvedic principles or practices?
Oh, NYC. Forever my home, crazy wild love affair with this place since I was 16, and yet sometimes I gotta get out of here! What I do know is that New York City has a lot of Pitta and Vata energy. To balance that out, my yoga teaching style and Ayurvedic consultations definitely work towards balancing some of that out ... using the best parts of those energies and trying to even out the not so great parts. Meaning: I try to be clear without being domineering (Pitta), creative without being overly complicated (Vata), and to infuse a sense of patience, consistency, and a "slow and steady" approach as much as possible (Kapha).
As we transition into the holiday season, do you have any specific Ayurvedic tips for this time of year and for dealing with the stress that the holidays can sometimes (always) evoke?
Yup, it can be a challenge. And yet, we all know what to do. Really we do. 1. Slow down; 2. Breathe; 3. Do a short yoga practice if you don't have time for a long one, instead of skipping it entirely; 4. If you eat too much or food you might not normally include, or you drink too much or don't get enough sleep or work too much, etc., know that there is always something we can do to bring ourselves a bit closer to balance. Not sure what? Read the book!
Throughout the book you have some amazing Ayurvedic recipes. Do you have a personal favorite for the fall/ winter season?
Yes, I love the red stew, so grounding and warming and easy. YUM.
What are some of the biggest takeaways that you would like readers to get from your book?
Kindness, patience, and faith. Kindness to ourselves around our own healing, kindness to others as we work to understand their motives. Patience with ourselves as every tiny step forward is Grand Canyon in its scope, and patience with others as we work to understand their actions. Faith in the time tested science that all is unfolding as it should.
Who is this book for?
Anyone looking to improve their relationships (including the one with themselves) and looking to have more peace in their lives.Click here for a chance to win a copy of Ali's new book.
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