Joanna Carmichael: Ayurvedic Practitioner

Dr. Joanna Carmichael, RN, PhD, Ayurvedic Practitioner

Definition of Ayurveda from: Nourishing Body and Soul, the Chopra Center Cookbook by Deepak Chopra, MD, David Simon, MD and Leanne Backer.

Ayurveda (ah-yur-vay-duh), the most ancient healing system on earth, dates back to India 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as the “Wisdom of life” or  “the science of longevity.”  It offers a holistic approach to living that is based upon a fundamental principle: your choices are metabolized into your body.  Make healthy choices and you will have a healthy body. (Direct quote from pp. 4 & 5)

For Joanna Carmichael, RN, PhD, Ayurveda is a way of life, a lifestyle that raises your consciousness about yourself and your health, and as you become healthy, allows you to blossom into a person who says, How can I Serve?She says it is a beautiful way to live. And in interviewing her, there was a calmness and confidence that shone through her lovely face. How did she get to this place of peace and calm?

Joanna believes that perhaps in another lifetime she was also an Ayurvedic practitioner, because when she was in school in the 1990s studying Metaphysics which included this ancient healing system, the information seemed familiar and easy to learn, as if she were remembering something she already knew. While this past life idea may or may not be true, when I interviewed her I realized that she somehow had found her way (back) to Ayurveda in a circuitous route. First she studied and completed nurses training. Then she went on to obtain two PhDs: one in metaphysics in which she delved into interfaith spirituality and Eastern philosophies. Her other PhD is in Divinity, and she currently officiates at weddings, funerals, baby blessings, and other religious/spiritual functions in between teaching and counseling at her Kalyana Centre in Ardmore, PA, on the Philadelphia mainline.

For Dr. Carmichael, coming to Ayurveda was a natural evolution that eventually led her to studying at the Chopra Center in California and later at the New Jersey Institute of Ayurveda in Montclair, NJ. Thus, she is a nurse, a Vedic Master (teaching primordial sound meditation), a Perfect Health Ayurvedic Practitioner, and a teacher of The 7 Spiritual Laws of Yoga (in the broader, true sense of union, not just the poses). And her PhD in metaphysics, couched in spirituality, provides the foundation for her passion to help people become and stay healthy, happy, and vital. Quite a resum!

Since Ayurveda teaches that the first line of defense in staying healthy is knowing your individual physical, mental, and emotional constitution or Dosha and making lifestyle choices in harmony with your unique nature and with nature itself. Proper and strong digestion of both food and experiences, is crucial and how and what you eat is central to this healing system, e.g., Food as Medicine. (Or as Joanna says: Bad nutrition is the mother of all diseases; and insomnia is the father of all diseases.”

According to the Ayurvedic system, humans have three main body types (doshas): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of these corresponds to two of the five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) of nature.  This means that each of the doshas require different choices in food, exercise, and lifestyle, in order to remain in balance. Also, in Ayurvedic cooking, there are six basic tastes included at every meal: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. However, depending on your body type, some of these tastes will be emphasized more than others through the choice of particular foods as well as herbs and spices in your cooking.

I learned about Ayurveda many years ago when I first changed to a vegetarian diet. I found the concepts fascinating then and now with Dr. Carmichael’s Perfect Health five week course, I can really learn more in depth the importance of balancing my Pitta-Vata body with thoughts, foods, and exercises that are geared to my particular body I find that exciting!

Finally, I would like to leave you with something Dr. Carmichael mentioned at the end of the interview. She said that digestion is more than just swallowing food. We digest with all our senses: our sight, our hearing, our smell, our touch, and our taste. Through conscious awareness of how our senses connect us to others, and ourselves, we can experience joy, health, and vitality. Or, taking off on the classic Christmas movie with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed (It’s a Wonderful Life), Ayurveda can help us synergize body, mind, and spirit to enjoy Perfect Health so we can claim, like Dr. Carmichael, It’s a beautiful life.

Dr. Carmichael will be giving her next Perfect Health course starting on Wednesday, May 23rd and ending on Wed., June 20th . The course usually costs $400, but the Kalyana Center has a special of 25% off, or $300. To register or learn more about the program, go to www.thekalyanacenter.com . Or call: 484-412-8815 and speak to Dena. Your body will love you if you do!!

P.S. I posted a related article in Nobody Eats Like Me a few days ago, if you want to read that as well.

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