Sita Chan recently presented a fantastic masterclass at the Canberra Centre, and I was so impressed and inspired that I had to share the experience here on the Blog.
The Canberra Centre excels at bringing fantastic new opportunities to Canberrans through these masterclasses, providing experts to share their knowledge and help us to redefine our understanding of beauty and wellness. Not to mention the host of exciting new retail outlets in their new beauty and wellness precinct. One such opportunity today’s masterclass with the lovely Sita Chan, where Canberra Centre and Aveda guests got to learn all about Ayurveda, and finding balance in our everyday lives.
Sita is an Ayurveda lifestyle counsellor, Aveda educator and yoga instructor based out of Hong Kong. For those who may not know what Ayurveda is, it is a 5,000 year old “science of life,” aimed to prevent and heal disease or imbalances within the body. The masterclass today will reveal the healing powers behind the ancient Ayurvedic philosophy that combines yoga, massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine for a better mind, body, spirit connection. She will also guide your dosha for health and wellbeing balance.
Sita, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and my readers, and to share your knowledge and passion for Ayurveda and Aveda.
It’s my pleasure to be here in Canberra.
Maybe we could start with you telling us a bit about your own Ayurveda journey, and what brought you to pursuing an occupation in providing Ayurveda lifestyle counselling?
My journey in Ayurveda started in 2011 during one of the Yoga and Ayurveda retreats I went to in Thailand. In addition to learning about how Ayurveda complements yoga to achieve balance holistically, the instructor gave me some tips on managing my chronic period cramps. I was thrilled that the simple tips worked so quickly and I was pain-free the following month! This sparked my passion to take a deep dive in Ayurveda. I am grateful for the knowledge and wisdom my teachers have taught me as I embarked on my path.
As someone who is in his early thirties and finding that my body is actually starting to act like I am *gasp* aging; can you tell me a bit about what Ayurvedic philosophy might have to offer me?
Our physical bodies, as with everything else, are in constant flux. Ayurveda philosophy is all about being aware of this fact and teaches us about what we can do to maintain balance. When we are in balance, we are energetic and joyful! Ayurveda also recognizes that each individual is unique in the sense that our physical and mental attributes are governed by different combinations of forces of nature, known as doshas. Many aging concerns such as the decline of energy levels, skin showing aging signs, etc. are part of the result of a not-so-balanced lifestyle without taking into account of our own doshas.
An Ayurveda consultation can help you discover your dosha and determine if your current lifestyle is balanced and best suited for you, the way nature intended. There are many ways that you can bring yourself back into balance, for instance, through dietary and lifestyle choices, and cultivating a daily routine that is both beneficial and practical for you. All it takes is some time and perseverance!
I am more than a little obsessed with my social media, and I have seen countless stories and reports and studies that all seem to demand that social media and our smart devices are destroying our lives and our culture. As an Ayurvedic practitioner, do you think that this is the case? What effect do you think it has on the mind, body and spirit connection?
Our technology nowadays is a double-sided sword. On one hand it make our lives so much more convenient and comfortable than ever before, but on the other hand we are becoming addicted to it. We should all learn to use technology to our advantage instead of letting it take advantage of us. Spending too much time on electronic devices can indeed be too stimulating, especially before bed time. It can even cause insomnia or compromise the quality of sleep in some individuals. Imagine how it can take a toll on your health and energy levels if it continues.
On the mental level, our attention is always focused on the outside world since we are bombarded with such an enormous amount of information. This leaves us little time and energy to focus on our inner world. It is important to strengthen, or at least maintain, the connection between our mind and body, as it is key to our well-being.
I understand that it is not easy to put down that smart device or take a break from social media. The least we can do is to turn it off an hour before bedtime and let our minds settle down before going to sleep. Make breathing exercises or meditation part of your pre-bedtime routine. You will be amazed how much more restful you can feel.
What are three things that my readers at home can do right now to bring a little Ayurveda practice into their day to day lives?
One of the golden rules of Ayurveda for a balanced well-being is to be in sync with nature. The best way to establish that connection is to rise with the sun. So, the first tip is to just wake up 15 minutes before sunrise. There is no better way to start the day off on positive note than watching the glorious sun rising from the horizon. Even if the sunrise is not visible, enjoying the stillness of dawn is just as good! Our bodies are more intelligent than we think, and rising with the sun helps to strengthen our connection to Mother Nature.
Second tip – Be mindful of the portions of food we eat in each meal. Mother Nature has given us our own personalized measuring cup, which is our palms. Put your hands together and make a bowl out of your palms – the total amount of food you consume in each meal should fit into your palms, because the size of our palms is linked to the size of our stomach. It is easy to overeat because food is so readily available, but if we are mindful of our portions, our stomach will thank us!
Third tip – Give yourself a break from social media and smart devices at least an hour before bedtime. The hour before bedtime is the time for you to wind down and get settled for the night. It is the perfect time for a warm foot soak with essential oils while reflecting on how your day went. Doing meditation or simply sit quietly and bring your awareness to your breathing can also help to pave the way for a restful night.
Finally, can you tell us a bit more about the connection between Aveda and Ayurveda, and what this means for you in your roles as an Ayurveda lifestyle counsellor, and an Aveda educator.
Aveda’s heritage is strongly rooted in Ayurveda. In fact, our founder Horst Rechelbacher created Aveda out of his appreciation for the power of wellness to promote balance in mind, body and spirit, as the prerequisite to achieving beauty goals. As Ayurveda has proven, for over 5,000 years, that treating the whole person leads to greater balance and well-being, so we consider the effects of our products not only on hair or skin, but on body, mind and emotion.
I’m a true believer that beauty radiates from inside out, and it is the result of wellness and health. As an Ayurveda lifestyle counsellor, I am able to provide personalized advice one person at a time through consultations. My role as an Aveda educator allows me to expand my reach through education and masterclasses like this one, so that more people can get to know about this amazing ancient wisdom which I think can make a difference on both personal and global levels. I wake up every day counting my blessings!
Thank you again for your time Sita.