“SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM” ~ TRUE BEAUTY IS A DIVINE EXPERIENCE.
Through our work in and offerings for the Ayurvedic community, we have had the opportunity to meet some extraordinary and inspiring people. One of these people is international yoga and Ayurvedic teacher & coach, Anita Sundaram. We met Anita last year when her Ayurvedic Summer Beauty Rituals Workshop went virtual. Anita knew that holding a virtual workshop was a great way to stay connected and share her wisdom during COVID-19, but, being an Ayurvedic practitioner, she also knew that the increase in screen time people would experience during this workshop and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic must be addressed. Thankfully, Anita was already familiar with the Ayurvedic eye care ritual with the use of our Floral Water and knew that this would be the perfect remedy to share with her students. This being said, we are thrilled that Anita contacted us to include our Floral Water into her workshop! We have been collaborating with Anita ever since, working together to share simple yet transformative Ayurvedic self-care and beauty rituals that people can incorporate into their busy days in order to strike greater balance and harmony, from the inside, out.
Anita has over 30 years of experience working in the spa and wellness industries and we love seeing how she has gathered up all of her knowledge and expertise and is now offering her own retreats, trainings, workshops and traditional Ayurvedic body therapies not just locally, but globally! You can catch a yoga teacher training with Anita this year in India, Peru or Portugal or dive into some of her online workshops from the comfort of your own home. Anita’s offerings are versatile, informative and heart-centered and her own personal journey into healing creates a rich foundation for her teachings.
In a world where Ayurvedic medicine continues to grow beyond the borders of its birthplace, India, we still find it fascinating to speak with fellow practitioners, especially ones that were raised with Ayurveda as an integral part of their everyday lives. As you will learn in this interview, Ayurveda was intrinsic to Anita’s childhood and its sacred self-care rituals have nourished and supported Anita throughout her life’s journey. We are thrilled to share with you more about Anita, and, of course, delve into some of her favorite Ayurvedic beauty rituals. We hope you enjoy this interview and feel inspired to reflect on what true beauty means to you.
Our Conversation with Anita Sundaram
PAAVANI: Hi, Anita! Thank you so much for sitting down with us today so we can learn more about you, your work and your Ayurvedic beauty secrets. We would like to start with asking you, when did you first hear about Ayurveda? When and where did you start your studies and journey into Ayurveda?
Anita: Thank you for including me as part of the PAAVANI family. Ayurveda has always been a part of my life and my family. Born in Mysore India, as you know the land of Ayurveda, I watched my aunties go through their weekly rituals of oiling the hair with fresh jasmine infused oil, turmeric face washes, and all the dinacharya practices. Even as a baby (I have come to find out now in my adult years) I was massaged with oil daily. No wonder my favorite ritual is Abhyanga! Moving forward my first love, career wise, was with Aveda Corporation. Back then when I joined this very small grass roots company in Minneapolis this was the message, Ayurveda. Then my childhood memories came flooding back. An incredible global position that allowed me to study with some of the most esteemed teachers we know today, Horst Rechelbacher, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil, Pamela Peet and Dr. Vasant Lad to name a few. My (Ayurvedic) studies started here and continue to this day.
PAAVANI: Beauty is defined in various ways throughout the world. What does beauty mean to you?
Anita: If I was to encapsulate beauty I would say this- Satyam Shivam Sundaram.
When we quieten the mind enough to look deeply within ourselves we realize we are the truth of who we really are, whole and perfect. This is Satyam. When we begin to experience that everything we do is Sacred. Those actions imbibe the essence of authenticity and sincerity. This is Shivam. And Sundaram is beauty. Beauty is the connection that we are not separate from a tree, a flower, it is universal beauty. Seeing with the eyes of Truth. Beauty is the totality of Existence. Being present in the moment.
PAAVANI: How would you describe the difference between the Ayurvedic approach versus the Western approach to beauty and self-care?
Anita: Ayurveda is a lifestyle. So it is an all-inclusive approach to life. Everything we do and say matters. It is more than what we eat, but how we eat, where and when. It is Sangha, the company we keep, and Sadhana, our sacred practices. We exercise our body, brush our teeth, but what about our senses? How do we clean the mind? This is the beauty of Ayurveda’s approach to beauty and self-care. Not just physical, but all aspects of being human, the multidimensional approach. We are a living breathing ecosystem. What we do for one affects the other. In the West I don't think (the concept of beauty) really attunes to this, yet. Slowly one day at a time, (it is evolving with the inclusion of traditions like Ayurveda). One important piece (of Ayurveda) is the essence of ritual and making daily rituals a sacred experience. Ayurveda and its approach to beauty and self-care I think has an element of faith and surrender. In traditional wisdom cultures, this is part of life, so it's a part of self-care and daily living. Traditional wisdom like Ayurveda honors and respects the natural world, which is part of us. This IS Ayurveda.
PAAVANI: We love that you offer various retreats, trainings and immersions for folks. We are of course drawn to your Radiant Beauty Course. When did you develop that course and what inspired its creation?
Anita: Thank you it is an honor and a privilege to share. I have been offering this for quite some time. It began as the Essence of Self with the Aveda Corporation. Then refining it as years went by, now as Radiant Beauty. As Khalil Gibran says, “beauty is not just in the face, beauty is a light in the heart.” This is the message behind this offering. If beauty is skin deep, then why not talk about the deeper dimensions of beauty. The name may change again, but the language is the same. Unveiling the light in our hearts.
PAAVANI: What are your go-to Ayurvedic beauty rituals and why?
Anita: All of it! Being in the spa industry all my life I LOVE anything with oils, so of course, abhyanga is a favorite. The nature of my work requires quite a bit of travel and abhyanga is my lifesaver. Grounding, nourishing this practice embodies self-love and it feels very luxurious! Another favorite of mine is face or skin care. A simple cleanser that also exfoliates with Ayurvedic herbal grains, a mask and following up with hydration. Lastly, each week I warm up some Ayurvedic hair oil and massage my scalp. With the oil in my hair, I sit in the sun for a bit, read, sip some tea then shampoo. Those are my go-to's, but I really do all of it from oral health, eyes and nasal care. ‘One hour of health is 23 hours of freedom’...as one of my teachers said.
PAAVANI: Do you have a favorite PAAVANI product?! What makes it your fav?
Anita: I do love the PAAVANI Floral Water! Since all of my teachings are online now, the Floral Water has been my eye balm! I love it as a toner and a refresher for my eyes. Thank you!
PAAVANI: What would be your advice for people who want to begin integrating Ayurvedic self-care and beauty practices into their lives?
Anita: Great question. First how much time are you willing to spend in the morning and then in the evening? Then go from there. I usually suggest one thing at a time, like tongue scraping. Do this consistently for a week. How do you feel? Then add another, and the journey continues...
PAAVANI: What’s next for you? Please share with us any upcoming retreats and course offerings.
Anita: Yes, I have trainings and online workshops brewing! Thank you again for your time and energy, PAAVANI! Infinite Love & Gratitude.
Elemental Beauty Retreat - August 28th - September 3rd in lovely Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. https://anitasundaram.com/guatemala_2021/
300hr Yoga teacher training- Oct 16th - Nov 10th 2021 / Portugal. I hope by then this Immersion can happen live! https://indrayogainstitute.com/locations/portugal/
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