I got a lot of great responses to the recent newsletter I shared - about my recent experiences learning / unlearning about Ayurveda and decolonization - and I apologize that haven't been able to respond to everyone individually. But here we are. The online class which I offered on October 19 about Decolonizing Ayurveda & Ourselves actually turned into a perfect video to share, so here you go:
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It's an 80 minute-long dialogue between Alla (my assistant-turned-collaborator who is a medical anthropology student) and myself, which is rich, thought-provoking, and info-packed. In it, we talk about:
- The ancient, land-based roots of Ayurveda
- What is happening with modern Ayurveda in the West and why it is so different
- What pushes people (especially white people) to seek out Ayurveda and other Eastern medicines, and some of the inherent problems and challenges with that
- Ideas about moving forward with integrity if you are in the healing arts and realize you are doing something culturally appropriative
Like most everybody else I know, I tend to be self-critical, and when I watched this recording, I considered not sharing it. As I said, it is very content-rich, but it is rambly and non-linear, and I probably made mistakes I don't even know about. I may hurt feelings, I don't know. If so, I'm sorry. We have the intention to create a class which will be more structured and facilitated more tightly, but this is what we have for now...and it feels important enough to share that I'm sharing it in this rough and imperfect stage.
Toward the end, Alla and I share a few recommended books on this topic, so for your ease and convenience, here is a written list:
Modern and Global Ayurveda: Pluralism and Paradigms ed. by Fredrick M. Smith
Fluent Bodies: Ayurvedic Remedies for Post-Colonial Imbalance by Jean Langford
Indian Medicine by Julius Jolly
Author feature: Dominik Wujastyk
What is Medicine: Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing by Paul Unschuld
Living in the Tension: The Quest for a Spiritualized Racial Justice by Shelly Tochluk
So settle in for a good listen if your heart calls you. (Or listen while you clean your bathroom or drive to work!):
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I do invite you to email me your questions, reflections and more. I won't necessarily be able to respond to you individually but I will take what you say into consideration as I move forward with all of this. I know it is an emotionally heated topic and can be triggering for people, so do what you do in order to take care of yourself as you engage.