Annapoori (Anu) Ramasubramanian is an new faculty member at the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine and is sharing her knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine in the MBM course Whole Medical Systems: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. A whole medical system is a traditional body of theory and practices on health and disease, which has evolved independently from Western Allopathic medicine. Whole medical systems, such as the Ayurvedic medicine of India, often offer a rich array of therapies based on herbs, lifestyle practices, and an emphasis on treating the whole person — mind, body, and spirit.
Dr. Anu studied Ayurvedic medicine at the K.G.M.P. Ayurved Mahavidyalaya in Mumbai, India, achieving a Bachelors and Doctorate degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery. Anu completed a dissertation on degenerative arthritic joints titled, “A comprehensive study based on the effect of natural steroids (withanoloids) in the herb Ashwagandha on degenerative arthritic joints” to fulfill the requirements toward an M.D. in Ayurvedic Medicine. In addition to teaching at Saybrook, Anu has a private practice and teaches at the California College of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing practice that focuses on maintaining a wholesome balance in food, activity, and emotional life, and begins by assessing the whole person. In her private practice Anu works with people who have immigrated to the United States from India, assisting her clients as they transition to new surroundings. She explains her approach, “I consider what is wholesome for persons, which is determined by their current and previous history, including where they were born and what foods they usually ate. Then we consider how change has affected their health and we consider aspects such as portion size and activity. I aim to bring everything together to help the person restore a wholesome balance.”
Anu further explains that Ayurveda is about restoring persons to their natural balance. For example, white rice is a staple food in India and therefore eliminating white rice may not respect one’s cultural heritage. However, portions are different in the United States and therefore reducing portions and increasing activity may restore balance while respecting one’s native foods. After assessing and reviewing lifestyle she may introduce herbs, oils, and other Ayurvedic therapies that may be beneficial for one’s ailment. Ayurveda assesses the person and the disease as one.
As an Ayurvedic practitioner, Anu teaches by example, especially for her son and daughter. As a living example she has developed a daily routine that includes a morning meditation, wholesome balanced food portions, managing stress and sitting and eating quietly as a family. Anu taught her 12-year old son yoga; he practices every morning with the hope that yoga will help him develop strong muscles! When her 6-year old daughter was suffering with severe allergies she used principles of Ayurveda such as using Neti Pot daily, doing a whole body massage, and maintaining a diet that is right for her daughter to provide relief. By continuing to use these practices her daughter is symptom and medication free.
For Anu there is no distance between teaching, learning, and doing. Ayurveda is how she lives. It is her lifestyle choice and she is passionate about sharing her knowledge.