We are excited to introduce you to Ananta Ripa Ajmera, founder and CEO of The Ancient Way, Director of Ayurveda at THE WELL, a modern wellness club in New York City and author of award-winning book The Ayurveda Way.
With a long family lineage of renowned Ayurveda healers on the maternal side of her family, she is grateful and proud to carry forward their healing legacy. She has studied Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta in a traditional Vedic Indian lineage for 9 years and taught Ayurveda at Stanford School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program, the California Department of Public Health, UNICEF and more
We love that how she leads us on a self-reflective, spiritual journey along with her, with a beautiful Instagram feed full of deeply introspective and uplifting posts, inspirational quotes and delicious recipes (she is working on a cookbook!).
We sat down with Ananta virtually to ask her a few questions this week.
What does Ayurveda mean to you?
Ayurveda means a beautiful way of life that honors Mother Nature and helps us harmonize ourselves with Her eternal rhythms.
Ayurveda is a holistic, seasonal lifestyle that builds and protects our immunity vis a vis the foods, spices and herbs we consume, the daily lifestyle practices we follow to enhance spirituality and mental health and noble, dharmic interactions with fellow beings (humans, animals and plants) on this planet.
Ayurveda, to me, means developing the humility to learn from Nature all of her precious secrets to live in harmony with ourselves and all other beings.
What are some easy ways we can incorporate Ayurveda into our daily lives?
1. Eat warm, cooked foods. Eating warm, cooked, seasonal foods kindles the digestive system and protect your immunity throughout the year. Ayurveda poetically envisions the digestion (the key to overall health) as a fire. You need to add warm substances to this fire to keep it strong. Cold, raw foods and drinks tend to extinguish the fire. Even when you are traveling or eating out, it will really help to choose warm, cooked options versus salads, which are very hard on the digestion for most of us who are not athletes and lead relatively more sedentary lives.
2. Apply warm oils to your body. Applying warm oil to your skin is a powerful immunity, longevity and vitality supporting practice that keeps your skin, muscles and bones strong for a long time, just like oil applied to leather skin helps it last a long time. You can apply warm oil to your body on an empty stomach before showering or on your feet, ears and top of your head before bedtime to promote longevity, sound sleep and stress relief.
3. Shower every morning. Showering daily is considered one of the best practices for mental health in Ayurveda, as you literally and figuratively rinse away the dirt from the previous 24 hours. This leaves you feeling rejuvenated, fresh, and in a more sattvic (balanced, pure, clear, harmonious) state of mind to approach the day. Something we especially need in these times!
The Ayurvedic text Ashtanga Hridayam further reveals: “Improvement of appetite, sexual vigor, lifespan, enthusiasm, and strength are the advantages of bathing. Moreover, bathing eliminates itching, dirt, exhaustion, sweat, stupor, thirst, and burning sensations.” That’s right: you can start showering your way to more enthusiasm, better appetite, enhanced libido, and more strength, among other awesome benefits.
The most ideal time to shower is after you’ve eliminated in the morning. The next best time to shower is before eating dinner, if you’re unable to shower in the morning or feel the need for a second shower. Never shower right after eating because it disturbs digestion. This can eventually create digestive and other types of health challenges when done habitually.
Ironically, I am most inspired by someone I have never even met named Baba Ayodhya Nath. He was a saint and Ayurveda Vaidya (master healer) who was also a famous Yogi, Vedanta scholar and spiritual teacher, known throughout India during the 1900s when he lived, till 1991.
I studied in his lineage and feel most inspired by the 5 year journey he took to the Himalayas to come closer to the truth of his own soul. He risked his life in pursuit of sacred knowledge at a time when there were no cell phones or other means of staying connected and discovered.
Are there any resources you would recommend for someone who is interested in learning more about Ayurveda?
I would recommend visiting my new organizational website, TheAncientWay.co to learn more about Ayurveda. On the site, we have lots of seasonal recipes you can try, as well as articles you can read to learn more about Ayurveda and its sister spiritual sciences of Yoga and Vedanta.
You can read my book The Ayurveda Way to learn more and sign up for a complimentary 15-minute consultation with me at THE WELL, where I serve as Director of Ayurveda.
You can follow Ananta on Instagram @ananta_108 and check out her newly launched website TheAncientWay.co.