Once I was cursed with afflictions of every kind. I was neither happy not healthy. Watching me today, online or in person, you won’t believe that in my youth, often, I was not able to walk or even sit with ease.
In fact, many times for several months at a time, I had episodes wherein my entire body, every cell, every limb and every pore of my body would be stiff and swollen with pain and inflammation. It would be excruciating to even breathe as my ribs would hurt just moving in and out with the incoming and outgoing breath. I would scream with pain if I had to walk to the restroom, and each step was an ordeal. I had to use a bed pan many times, and I thought to myself, as I lay in bed, imprisoned by my own pain, urine and abject sorrow, that I would be completely disabled soon and I should die, right now.
I saw no hope back then in my early to late teens (this lasted until age 21 or so). At times, I used a walking stick to hobble about my house and at other times, I would sit in a chair uncomfortably, feeling every nerve of my body scream with electric shocks.
Yes, that is how I began my journey on this planet – compromised – humbled by genes, karma and circumstance, because all of this started, after my mother passed away unexpectedly when I was ten years old.
An “unfortunate” prediction was made by medical doctors of India at that time. My father wanted to leave no stone unturned and explore what western medicine had to say about it. The earnest physicians told my father that his beloved daughter was going to soon need a wheelchair; and we should be mentally prepared for this as the disease was aggressive.
They diagnosed me with a devastating immunological disorder that is relentless. They even found a gene in me through blood tests, that was causing this, and they looked mighty pleased with their ability to diagnose this and tag it to a gene (as genetic testing was relatively a new field back then).
They also looked a bit unapologetic to me, that they had no cure for what they had diagnosed. They said my immune system is dysfunctional, and the inflammatory condition is because of it. It was attacking me to protect me and, in due course, inflammation would attack all of my main limbs and even organs like my eyes, lungs, and heart.
The last time I talked to an MD here in the states, which was in 2o19, they still don't have any real answers except painkillers and inflammatory inhibition medicines that only control symptoms and come with grave side effects.
My Indian neighbors clicked their head and said, “karma!” Apparently, bad karma had come to stay. What was I supposed to do? Give up and accept the punishment by genes and karma?
My grandfather, my Baba, who was a seer no less, told me all along to not worry. He was the only one unperturbed. He spoke to me only when I approached him. He knew something none of us knew as well as he did.
He told me, if I could not walk, I should plan on flying. He had meant, find your way out, when all doors are closed. There is always one door still ajar. We simply must find it in the darkness.
That door was Ayurveda for me. It had been wide open for me, ever since I was born into my Vedic family. Now, the invitation was to totally surrender my life to living by its timeless wisdom.
Thank you Baba, my Guru, for showing the way. He held my hand and showed me aspects of Ayurveda that are not ordinarily known – its spiritual, self-healing activating aspects, along with the food and lifestyle changes. I thank my soul for leading me through this door, and never looking back. When I was done with suffering, I plunged myself whole-heartedly into Ayurveda as a way of life - not just to memorize it or pass a written test - but to LIVE it with all my honesty, day in and day out.
Now, 30+ years later, thanks to how I changed my daily lifestyle, foods and thoughts, I am leading a full life. I am walking, cooking, gardening, parenting, teaching, writing, traveling all over the world, giving lectures, and facilitating self-healing through my Vedanta and Ayurveda courses. I am enjoying my life to the fullest with my family and students all over the world, and appreciating my life opportunity to lead a spiritually-rich life.
I owe all of this to the Divine Science of Ayurveda and to my Baba, who taught me to address the deepest cause of bodily disease which is always the mind; and then bring body and mind both into balance through a spiritually-infused art of living.
I used Ayurveda psychology to heal my mind, Ayurveda pharmacology or food wisdom to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, and Ayurveda lifestyle wisdom to bring my being into alignment with the sun and the moon. Soon, Mother Nature was pleased with me.
Why would she not be happy with me? From the foods I choose to eat (and not eat), to the friends I laugh with or the people I establish firm boundaries, to the mantras I chant, to the meditations I ascend into every morning, I am helping Mother Nature help me become not only pain- and inflammation-free every day, but also truly happy and healthy. I have energy, vitality, and optimism in plenty. I am helping others lead a life-welcoming life, too!
This is no ordinary Ayurveda I now teach, of simply battling disease. This is a unique Ayurveda path from my lineage in which I awaken health. I no longer focus on minimizing inflammation. I focus on maximizing my feel-good factor, my truth factor, my authenticity factor, my joy factor, my dharma factor, my healthy and yummy recipes factor.
Recently, after an unexpected traumatic injury around 3 years ago, inflammation acted up back again and my neck became super stiff. My arms were laden with pain and heavy like lead. I could not type for a whole year or drive my car. I had to hire someone to type my emails and students drove me. I did not give up thanks to what I know. I kept focusing on what I know works in Ayurveda. Naturally the pain had to go – it went away. I have typed two large 400 page + book manuscripts since then! And I am driving again! My neck is still somewhat stiff, but I am not giving up on it anytime soon.
And even if karma got my neck, I got karma too, by its neck, no less!
Thanks to Ayurveda, despite my neck still stiff and occasional pain here and there that shows up to perhaps remind me that I have karma and genes to meet with cultivated wisdom and equanimity every day, at least the discomfort, if any at all, is transient. It is unable to hold me back. I am experiencing a life of soulful wholeness, mental ease and physical health, way more than anyone could ever imagine. Perhaps only my grandfather and Guru, Baba knew I would cross over beyond my genetic and karmic destiny, and that is why he chose me to carry his Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta teachings forward into the world.
I have folded everything I know about Ayurveda into my Alchemy through Ayurveda course. I have held nothing back. I have prepared this course for humanity with exhausting attention to details and care, after 20+ years of experience teaching it and transforming thousands of lives.
In my first book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017), you'll find real-life case studies of people who recovered from even the most chronic diseases, simply by embodying the holistic food, lifestyle and spiritual practices I impart.
I believe my Alchemy with Ayurveda course is no less than a live transmission of Shakti, from Baba to me and from me to the world. It has the power to do for you what Ayurveda did for me. It teaches what your soul needs to know and hear to awaken to health, and not simply become powerless in the face of ill health.
Yes, our material bodies will decay and we will all die one day. Aging is a fact of life and a law of god. But let us not go down, without a fighting chance to LIVE and LIVE WELL thanks to the Ayurvedic art of living passed on from master to student - a beautiful wisdom chain of transmission that leads to true alchemy of body, mind, soul and divinity.
When I am facing death, or say a fatal disease comes to grip me in the future thanks to karma and genes co-conspiring again, I know I will have Ayurveda by my side.
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.