In this week’s article of our Rediscovering Ayurveda series, we interviewed Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra.
Meet Dr. Varalakshmi
Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra is an Ayurveda Health Coach and the director of AyurWellness, an Ayurveda Therapy Centre in Birmingham. She loves sharing Ayurvedic plant-based recipes on her Instagram and tips on treating gut & chronic pain. The main force that motivates Varalakshmi is her deep desire to help individuals achieve optimal wellbeing and gut health!
For Varalakshmi, the journey of treading on the path of holistic living began when she was suffering from hormonal imbalances and gut issues back as a teenager. She tried all sorts of medications and hormonal pills and treatments from traditional doctors but nothing really helped her. Her problems would continue to appear back on the surface. As a last resort, her father took her to an Ayurvedic doctor in her home town who checked her pulse and asked her questions about her food and lifestyle habits.
“He gave me a medicinal powder as a treatment and just after one week of consuming it, I could feel the changes in my health,” explains Varalakshmi. She was intrigued by the diagnosis and the medicines he prescribed and thus decided to spend an entire summer learning Ayurveda from him. Later, she pursued higher education in Ayurveda Medicine and is now a staunch practitioner of Ayurveda.
Ability to heal
“As soon as I finished my degree, I moved to the UK. The healthcare system in the UK is very different from India and seeing a general practitioner or doctor can take up to a week. I realize soon that I can’t really rely on NHS for the health and wellbeing of my family. This is when I started incorporating Ayurveda into my life. Gradually, I understood how simple it is to prevent common allergies and infections!”
Even after all these years, Varalakshmi is learning new things every day! She believes it takes a lifetime to master this art of living. “The ability to heal others is both a gift and a passion. My own healing motivated me to pursue Ayurveda professionally,” she says. The opportunity to make a huge difference in someone’s life is not something everyone is lucky to receive, which is why she makes sure that she works hard and stays motivated!
Favorite healthy habits
A typical day in Varalakshmi’s life includes rising before sunrise and practicing sun salutations and pranayama. This is followed by morning rituals like tongue scraping, oil pulling, and nasya. She spends the rest of her day seeing clients and overseeing Ayurvedic therapies. Post an early dinner, she indulges in gentle feet massages with Brahmi oil and practices gratitude at the end of the day by saying a prayer and retiring to bed.
When asked what are her three favourite healthy habits she practices regularly, Varalakshmi says:
- Abhyanga or self-massage with oil is the first and foremost! I love Brahmi oil for feet and coconut oil or sesame oil for the whole body.
- Sun salutations every other day and pranayama on most days.
- Oil pulling with warm coconut oil.
Some effective tips and remedies
Ayurveda strongly emphasizes the need to have good digestion which is ultimately the key to our good health. Jataragni which resides in our stomach and intestines is vital for the maintenance of overall health as well as for having good immunity and a healthy glow! Varalakshmi shares some important tips with us!
- Drink warm water with lemon on empty stomach and eat seasonal foods. Opt for heavier lunch, and light breakfast and dinner.
- Skin is a reflection of good gut-health – focus on having good digestion and elimination. Regular application of turmeric + gram flour + saffron can improve the skin tone and maintain the glow. Aloe vera juice also works great for clearing up the skin!
- Include spices like ginger, garlic, and turmeric in your cooking along with ghee! This will boost your immunity. Chawanprash with amla is also a great immunity booster.
“Whether it’s Yoga or Ayurveda – they both teach us to look inwards for answers and not outwards. Yoga teaches us to lead a life devoid of the material world. Ayurveda teaches us to lead a healthy life by connecting our bodies and being in harmony with nature. It’s about leading a mindful life. We can increase awareness about them by practicing them authentically!”
In a world where everything is instant and fast-paced, we need Ayurveda to slow us down and live mindfully! Ayurveda helps us to truly connect with our inner selves – it guides us to the path of self-healing by teaching us how to decode cues from nature and our body. It’s hands down the best way to prevent so many diseases in the world!
“Often, I see people start Ayurveda with lots of enthusiasm only to give up soon. There is a lot of information on the internet and it can be overwhelming to understand where to begin,” says Varalakshmi. Her advice is to start small and be consistent with what you do.
“There is no immediate need to learn all about doshas and diets and overcomplicate things! Follow simply daily rituals like nasya, tongue cleaning, or even drinking warm water or oil pulling! Choose one practice and master it before jumping on to the next one. Ayurveda is al about learning to live intuitively, just focus on that!”
From Amrutam’s list of holistic products, Varalakshmi would love to try Kukumadi Oil! “It is one of my favorite formulations from the Ayurveda texts and I would love to try it,” she says.
We are beyond grateful to have Varalakshmi as part of our #AmrutamFamily!