How to Share Ayurveda with Your People | 8 Tips for Spreading Wisdom with Integrity and Care

How to Share Ayurveda with Your People | 8 Tips for Spreading Wisdom with Integrity and Care

What's your secret? People have started noticing that something's different about you—your hair is shinier, your skin is clearer, there's more pep in your step. 

You tell them you found this great new (ahem, ancient!) wellness system called Ayurveda, and that it's changed your life in so many ways. Your friends, family, and coworkers are all so happy for you. 

And then, before you know it, they're rolling up their sleeves to show you some weird skin irritation on their arm or describing a bout of indigestion, asking if you—and Ayurveda—have, you know, any idea what to do. 

There's no doubt that being noticed for positive changes in our health is appealing.

Even more so is the prospect of sharing this knowledge with others and helping them feel as good as you do. 

It's no wonder so many people who discover Ayurveda for personal health concerns go on to pursue more in-depth training. The impact of Ayurveda on their lives is so profound that they want to make it their life's work.

Whether or not a professional application of Ayurveda is in your future, it's useful to give some thought to what it means to share your Ayurvedic knowledge. Because inevitably, it will start creeping into every aspect of your life. And you get to determine the boundaries around how and with whom you share it. 

Just like we all have a unique dosha, we all have the capacity to give and receive the teachings of Ayurveda differently. Part of our responsibility in honoring this tradition is ensuring its integrity and maintaining its positive reputation. 

So if you find yourself looking at one too many rashes and not quite sure what to recommend, don't worry. 

The following strategies will help you to be an inspiring beacon of Ayurvedic wisdom while also maintaining healthy boundaries for yourself and the people you support. 

8 Tips for Sharing Ayurvedic Knowledge with Others

1. Start Locally 

The best way to learn Ayurveda is to start as close to home as you can get—with yourself! You'll probably be the first person to notice changes after adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle, followed by your close family and friends.

Maybe the changes are literal—like you're eating different foods or have a whole new way of starting your day. But there's also a “je ne sais quoi” type of change that's sure to catch people's eyes. 

When you get asked what's different about you, feel free to share whatever you'd like about your personal experiences with Ayurveda. But be wary of judging those around you. There's a difference between being someone who orders hot water and lemon rather than a tall glass of ice water while out to eat and being someone who judges other people at the table for drinking their ice water. 

Speak about your experiences in first-person “I” language. Share what works for YOU. 

Because as we know, Ayurveda is incredibly personal. Sharing specifics about your food or lifestyle routines might make others assume they should do the same. Which, depending on their constitution, might make them feel worse rather than better and turn them off from Ayurveda completely. Not good! 

When your friends and family do express genuine interest in what they can do for their own health, it can be a perfect way to test the waters of becoming a counselor or practitioner. 

With people you know and love, however, the boundaries between personal and professional are extremely fragile. It's easier than you think to ruin a relationship by saying something about a loved one's health that's meant with good intentions but lands as an insult. 

To avoid that situation and the stress that will negatively impact your health, stick to basics that are useful for everyone: drinking CCF Tea, avoiding snacks between meals, creating a healthy sleep routine

These universal practices are applicable no matter what someone's prakriti or vikriti is. And generally, they're how a practitioner would start working with a client anyway. 

Sharing healthy routines can also be a way to bond with the people you care about. 

If you and your friend have a habit of getting coffee every weekend, try swapping the caffeine for an invigorating walk. If you and your partner fall asleep at the TV every night, try turning off the screens and reading together instead. 

If anyone comes to you with a complicated health condition, refer them to a practitioner. You can be their cheerleader as they start their own Ayurvedic journey. 

2. Study Your Environment 

Many people who start learning about Ayurveda assume their lives will be saturated with kitchari, curries, and chai. Ayurveda's roots in Indian cuisine and culture are beautiful (and tasty!)—and certainly deserve to be honored—but the underlying principles of Ayurveda are universal. 

The foundational concepts of the five elements, doshas, and gunas (qualities) can be found everywhere and applied to every location and culture. 

Simply open your eyes to your environment and look through your Ayurvedic glasses: then practice identifying the tastes, textures, and qualities that surround you.

Consider how to use local food ingredients to achieve the effects you want from your diet. For instance, the bitter gourd is often used in Ayurvedic recipes for imbalances in pitta and kapha, but it's not easy to find across the globe. A great substitute is zucchini, which is much more abundant and familiar to people who live in the United States. 

Herbs and spices are just as versatile. Maybe you don't have castor leaves in your area, but you can get nettles at the farmers market. These are equally hot, sharp, and effective for moving vata dosha downward. 

Sharing how to see and understand foods, activities, and ecosystems from this lens empowers others to learn the principles of Ayurveda in an embodied way and naturally helps your community to find more balance and health in their own lives. 

3. Shadow an Expert

If you're considering studying Ayurveda in a formal way, it's important to have a teacher (or teachers) who can support you along the way. 

This provides a trusted resource of knowledge and fosters positive feelings about your studies (there's nothing worse than having to attend classes with a teacher you don't get along with!). More importantly, it provides you with invaluable practical lessons and experience. 

Many of my Ayurveda teachers have been generous enough to share real-life case studies with me and my fellow students. Unlike other forms of medicine, this is key for Ayurveda because every person and protocol is different. You can't just memorize things and expect the same results every time. 

These case studies help us appreciate the vastness of possibilities within Ayurvedic healing while also learning from the many successes and mistakes of our mentors. We can trust that if our teacher saw something happen 100 times, it is something we can try with confidence  (though not certainty) if we get a similar case. 

Gathering clinical experience—from others and your own trial and error—is essential before jumping into more complex endeavors as a practitioner. 

It can be so tempting to want to share your knowledge and enthusiasm as widely as possible right out of the gate. But knowing things in your head is not the same as knowing them in your body, which takes both time and patience. 

You might not be able to experience everything first-hand. But witnessing people's lives transform through Ayurveda, ideally alongside a trained professional, is worth more than the fanciest certification or most rigorous classroom training. 

4. Clarify Your Energetic Exchanges 

I'm of a generation that was told to make a career out of my passion. If there's something I love doing, I might as well earn money doing it, right? 

Well, I'm not going to lie. It's not easy to earn a living as an Ayurvedic professional. And expecting to do so can put your love of Ayurveda—or any other “passion career”—at risk. 

Perhaps you've been studying Ayurvevda formally and are considering working professionally. Keep in mind that every time you share Ayurveda, an energetic exchange happens. Sometimes it's in the form of money, sometimes it's something else. 

Getting clear about your needs and expectations around these energetic exchanges is essential. 

Doing so will help prevent you from feeling stressed or resentful about whether your time and work is being valued. 

Depending on your situation, you might choose to spend less of your time sharing Ayurveda professionally in order to earn more money elsewhere. You still get to do the work you love but you're not putting pressure on Ayurveda to pay all your bills, which helps to keep it enjoyable. 

Or, you may consider sharing Ayurveda in return for other services. Trade work with a massage therapist, reiki practitioner, marketing expert, or another professional whose talents you would benefit from. These services might not change your bank balance, but they will add value to your life in other ways.  

5. Claim Your Niche

As a student of Ayurveda, it can be overwhelming to pursue all the different practices and areas of expertise that exist within the umbrella of the “science of life.” And as a practitioner, the overwhelm persists! 

Rather than trying to master the entirety of this science, consider what lights you up most and claim your niche. 

Maybe you're a foodie and love the idea of creating custom meals and spice blends. Maybe you're committed to women's wellness and want to use Ayurveda to support prenatal and postpartum health. 

In the end, no matter what specialty you put on your website or business card, it will be backed by the universal foundations of Ayurveda. Whether you're teaching a group how to cook nourishing meals or supporting a woman after she gives birth, it always comes down to the state of agni (digestion) and the gunas present in the body. 

By claiming a clear and specific niche, you'll also attract the clients that you want to work with most, ensuring a positive energetic exchange from the start. 

6. Don't Reinvent Ayurveda 

I know, I know, I just said that you should find a niche! But that doesn't mean getting an LLC for Ayurveda by Jennifer™. In our world of ambitious innovators, it may be tempting to put your own spin on Ayurveda, whether through branding or by combining it with other systems, concepts, or sciences. 

Please don't! 

Ayurveda is the microcosm and the macrocosm—it is everything already. 

While there is always room for new discoveries and applying your personal voice and style to the teachings, there is also a lot of integrity in sticking with the classical teachings. They have thousands of years of validity behind them. 

Sharing Ayurveda from a place of authenticity, simplicity, and confidence will have a much stronger impact on your audience than flashy tag lines or claims of miraculous healing with a patented herbal formula.

Ayurveda is not about a shiny new cure-all or a miraculous instant fix. The person seeking your help will have to do some amount of work if they choose an Ayurvedic path. But thankfully, the work works! 

7. Listen. Really Listen.

I've worked with many people in the context of Ayurveda—as a client, student, teacher, and practitioner. I've witnessed many remarkable changes in my own and others' health as a result of these practices. 

The thing that I never stop hearing is this: “Thank you for listening to me.” 

More than the perfect diet or herbal formula, holding space for someone's story is perhaps the most powerful medicine we can offer. 

Showing genuine compassion, care, and acknowledgement of someone else's suffering helps to relieve some of their burden and open them up to healing. Which is a necessary first step for any other intervention to actually work. 

At the same time, listening allows us to discern whether it's the right time and place to offer advice—Ayurvedic or otherwise. 

Sometimes people just want to vent. Or they may know they have a problem, but aren't ready to make changes about it yet. That's all completely okay—we meet people where they are. 

If we were to jump in with a speech about how they should try abhyanga and turmeric and 20 minutes of pranayama every day, we might be doing more harm than good. Even if all those things really would help them! 

The training ground for listening well to others is listening to ourselves. 

So every time you wake up and do your dinacharya (daily routine), check in on the state of your mind, emotions, agni, and doshas. By doing so, you'll hone a skill that will allow you to BE the medicine, not just give out medicine.

8. Live the Practice and Lead by Example

When someone comments on how great your skin looks or how happy you seem after living Ayurveda for some time, you act as a living example of the power of this ancient wisdom simply by being who you are. 

I love working in Ayurveda because it keeps me accountable for my own practice. 

If I'm not taking care of myself, I don't have the energy to show up for work. And if I'm not holding myself to my own standards, I can't expect someone else to do so either. 

In this way, sharing Ayurveda continually inspires me to look deeper within myself, to learn more, and to try less—the very lessons that I share with my clients. 

Whenever I experiment with a new routine, try a new product, or encounter a new health challenge, I gather data on what worked and what didn't. 

I can then offer my lived experience to someone else when appropriate. And more importantly, I am reminded of what it's like to not know what to do to feel better, allowing me to offer that empathy to others in turn.

Beyond these technicalities, practicing Ayurveda ourselves creates one more harmonious microcosm within the macrocosm, which has a wider ripple effect than we can fathom. 

So even if Ayurveda never makes its way onto your resume, know that every time you act mindfully you are doing one of the most important jobs there is: living in integrity with the world inside and around you. 

And just saying, the benefits of a long and healthy life can't be matched by any salary!

About the Author

Jennifer Kurdyla

Jennifer Kurdyla is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, yoga teacher, and writer who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Plant-based since 2008, she learned to love...

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