The fifth interview of our 5 Questions Series is with Danielle Hanna. Danielle is a practitioner of Ayurvedic Medicine and a Yoga teacher. We are so happy to get her perspective In this series we are posing a set of 5 Questions to healers and makers that we love and admire. They are two different sets of questions accordingly, but both have in common an exploration of plants, intention and creative/healing practice. Do comment below to participate in the conversation and please share this interview!
1. What motivates you to work within the health field?
It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to our health. Western modalities can sometimes feel expensive, invasive, complicated and unable to fully serve us in healing. Working with the body, mind, senses and spirit through an Ayurvedic lens can be very effective, empowering and reasonably priced. It can be practiced complimentary or alone, but most preferably in prevention. One of my teachers recently said, “Many diseases are preventable but not necessarily curable”. Through the healing practices of Ayurveda and Yoga we can maintain a more balanced, healthy life that can have a positive impact on our overall health. For me, this is inspiring, hopeful and helpful.
2. Is there a certain piece of advice you find yourself giving to your clients often? If so, what is it?
YES! Practice Savasana J (see below for the “recipe”)
3. Favorite books within your healing modality?
My current favorite books are “The Hatha Yoga Pradipika” originally composed by Swami Swatmarama-there are many translations available, “The Bhagavad Gita” translated by Swami B.V. Tripurari, “The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga” by Georg Feuerstein, “Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing” by Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad, “The Yoga of Herbs” by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad and “Yoga for your Type” by Dr. David Frawley..There are so many great resources, but I’ll stop there!
4. Are plants part of your practice, and if so, which do you find yourself using the most and for what reason?
I use a lot of kitchen herbs and spices as daily medicine. My go to’s are: Turmeric, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Coriander, Ginger, Cumin, Coriander, Hing, Rose, Nutmeg, different varieties of salts and peppers, and Garlic. Using these kitchen herbs in cooking can really help the body stay in balance, enkindle our digestive fire (agni) which helps digest and absorb food and keeps us away from common illness that can lead us down the slippery slope of disease.
I also use a lot of oil. Oil can be very effective, as we tend to be a fairly dry culture. I use sesame, coconut, peanut, olive and oils infused with herbs, both internally and externally. Daily self massage (abhyanga) with warm oil can change your life! Try it!
5. Can you offer our community a recipe (this is open to interpretation)?
Here are 2 recipes:
*White basmati rice, 1 cup
*About 1 teaspoon Turmeric, dry
*About 2 cups water
*1 small piece of 24k gold
*Cilantro, chopped, about a handful
There’s not a lot to this recipe. Rinse the rice well and if you have time you can soak it for 10-15 minutes. Heat the water, rice and Turmeric in a pot. We drop in a small piece of 24k gold here too! Heat on medium heat until it boils, then turn it to low. When the water has evaporated, it’s ready to be served. Take care to remove the gold piece. Sprinkle fresh cilantro on top.
Gold is very therapeutic. It protects the body, strengthens the heart, boosts mental energy, as well as improves memory and increases stamina. Gold has a heating property so take care if you have a lot of fire quality. Adding cilantro can help to cool.
Thank you to Dr. Lad for this recipe, it’s a favorite!
2. Savasana or Corpse posture
Lay comfortably on the back with legs stretched long and apart. Make sure to keep the body warm. Inhale deeply. Exhale and allow the whole body to let go and completely relax. Release all tension held in each part of the body. Release the mind by focusing on the movement of the breath. Completely relax. Practice daily from 5-30 minutes, depending on your level of stress. Practice longer during more stressful times.
Savasana is one of the most important Asanas (yoga posture) we can practice. By lying still for some time, keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, we learn to relax. The conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both the body and mind.
Thank you Dr. David Frawley and Mr. Iyengar for your eloquent wording and suggestions for Savasana.
Danielle is currently an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor, working toward a Masters of Arts in Ayurveda from the Mount Madonna Institute College of Ayurveda in California. She is also a 200hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She teaches Yoga practices at the Bhaktishop and Harmony Yoga in Portland, OR
If you are interested in incorporating lifestyle practices of Ayurveda and Yoga, contact Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Beautiful Health: Intro to Ayurveda-3 part series” at Wildcraft Studio School, White Salmon, WA. Go to www.wildcraftstudioschool.com for details.
You can check out practices of Ayurveda and Yoga through Danielle’s eyes and images on Instagram: swasthavrittapdx