We are excited to introduce you to Kate Smith Jamison who wears many hats as writer, Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic therapist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Kate is an old friend of mine who left a successful banking career to spend more time with her sons and help others maintain healthy, balanced minds and bodies through the ancient traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda. She now runs The Yoga & Ayurveda Clinic, a welcoming space where she gives Ayurvedic consultations to help people discover more about their natural constitution to help empower them to live life to their fullest potential.
We sat down with Kate virtually to ask her a few questions.
How did you start practicing Ayurveda?
On my yoga teacher training journey, my Vinyasa Krama yoga teacher was studying Ayurveda and it become apparent to me that (it was) the only way to be a fully rounded practitioner and yoga teacher.
At the core of Ayurveda’s powerful yet simple elemental system is a deeper understanding and acceptance of who we are as psychosomatic beings, and then advising us how best to live in harmony with our own individual nature and within nature. Ayurveda effectively helps to harmonise the microcosm within the macrocosm through our food choices, our day-to-day lifestyle and our physical/mental/spiritual practices.
What would you recommend to someone new to Ayurveda?
First have an Ayurvedic consultation to get an idea of your body type in Ayurvedic terms. You will discover your basic constitution – your prakruti – which never changes, and your current constitution – or vikruti – that is affected by where we live, what we do with our days, our relationships, the seasons and most importantly the food we eat.
Ayurveda classifies our body types or constitutions by the doshas – vata (space and air elements), pitta (80% fire, 20% water) or kapha (water and earth). Knowing your dominant dosha at any given time and understanding which might be in excess if we are feeling a certain physical, mental or emotional imbalance, Ayurveda then equips you with the means to redress that imbalance and bring your body, mind and spirit into harmony once again via a combination of food recommendations, tweaks to daily routine, herbal supplements, massage and yoga practices.
Which daily ritual could you not live without?
Movement, meditation and mantra - even just for 15 minutes – helps me to start the day with a conscious connection to my breath and offers a chance to FEEL where I am at before my thinking mind has to kick in for morning practicalities.
I love to give an hour to this, but even a short practice helps me clearly set intentions, offer gratitude and start the day at peace (even if that peace can be swiftly tested on the school run!).
An additional absolute must for me is drinking 500 ml of warm water to stimulate digestion and peristalsis and self massage with appropriate oil and sometimes essential oils depending on my vibe and season.
What diet do you follow?
I by and large follow a vegetarian sattvic/ pitta pacifying Ayurvedic diet with a lot of vegetables and dahl and we try to make it as seasonal, organic and as fresh as possible for all of us.
Paying attention to nature’s flow throughout the year I find my appetite now moves with the seasons and so for example when kapha rises in springtime I go lighter, back off dairy and go slightly spicier to shift post-winter stagnation.
Ultimately for me simply by following the seasons (and the unseasonal weather!) and Ayurveda’s advice on balancing the rising doshas that come with each season helps instruct all of us how to eat, with our digestion and elimination as the ultimate barometers of whether it is good for us.
Sometimes it seems we are too busy reading or being told about what to eat than feeling in our bodies or looking out our windows! When did it all get so complicated?
What 3 things will you not leave home without?
Distilled water, my phone and essential oils to balance what might be up ahead for the day. Our sense of smell being connected to the earth element the right scent can instantly bring in a sense of balance depending on whether we need to ground, go-with-the-flow or focus.
You can follow Kate on Instagram @katesmithjamison and check out her website The Yoga & Ayurveda Clinic.