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Ebb and flow
Achieve inner balance and harmony with Ayurveda

November 2012

Ayurveda practitioners combine ground herbs and spices on an individual basis for her clients to eat with their meals.

Jamie Durner, a Brookfield-based Ayurveda natural health practitioner, is all about getting to know yourself.

Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine that began in India more than 5,000 years ago, is a health model that provides the knowledge of how to live your life in harmony with the world.

"Ayurveda is an energetic model; it looks at the world in a different way than our current medical system," she says. "At its base, everything is made up of five elements — earth, fire, water, air and ether (space). Ether is the container that holds everything else."

Durner became a certified Ayurveda practitioner through the Kanyakumari Ayurveda Education Center in Glendale and the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, N.M. She is also a certified massage therapist, life coach and Kundalini yoga teacher. She says our bodies possess these elements that combine in a way that create three life forces, called the doshas. These doshas represent:

•Vata — Like the wind, individuals recognize these continuously through coldness, wind and constant movement.

•Pitta — Made of fire and water, these are recognized by heat in the body and the mind.

•Kapha — Made of earth and water, it is stable, soft and cloudy.

When Durner meets with a client, she looks at the person from an Ayurveda perspective by studying constitution and imbalance.

Constitution, the genetic imprint of the life forces that makes each of us unique, "Is what makes every one different, and your constitution never changes," she says. "Each person has all three doshas, but we have them in different amounts." It is the Ayurveda practitioner’s job to help their client find balance within their doshas.

Jamie Durner is an Ayurveda practitioner who helps patients restore balance to their bodies.

Durner visualizes a person’s dosha levels as three tubes at different levels, with each tube representing a dosha. It is her job to help a person find balance within their doshas. For instance, if the dosha levels are uneven, it can aid in projecting where in our bodies and mind we will get sick.

"It will guide people as to where their vulnerabilities are," she says. "If people get out of balance, that’s when they start to have symptoms. Your constitution is your road map to staying healthy. Once you’re in balance, it acts as your guide to long-term self care."

For example, an Ayurveda practitioner looks at food and how it affects the body by the doshas. Carbohydrates are considered heavy foods that keep you full. When Durner became a vegetarian 25 years ago, she ate a lot of carbs so her kapha "tube" was filling up. The result was a buildup of mucous. Once she regulated her carb intake, that level was lowered. It can also cause weight gain, and feelings of becoming lethargic, weighted down and heavy.

The second level, imbalance, reflects what’s going on in the person’s life right now. It examines at an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Ayurveda practitioner’s break it down into symptoms instead of a diagnosis. "We don’t have the power to diagnose someone in the Western tradition," Durner explains. "We use those symptoms to guide us but we treat the underlying doshas."

When a new client comes in for a consultation, Durner asks them to fill out paperwork, which she uses to evaluate their doshas.

"I use Ayurveda as a facilitated form of self care," says Durner, who generally works with a client from three to 12 months. "When someone shows up in my office, I help them get back into balance. I explain why they are out of balance and how they can get back in balance."

For more information, visit Durner’s website at

Durner follows two main treatment philosophies?

1. Like Creates More of the Same.

For example, Vata is very drying, so dry saunas or eating dry foods like crackers, granola or toast would only add to your vata.

Coffee is a dehydrator, so it is essentially drying the body. Cold, such as drinking ice cold liquids, is also drying.

Durner says someone with a vata nature is going to do much better with cooked foods over raw foods.

"Dry food is a notorious problem right now, as we eat a lot of dry foods like dry, cold cereal." Durner suggests eating cooked cereal, like oatmeal, which adds moisture.

2. Opposites Decrease the Imbalance and Restore Health.

Durner will work on introducing the opposite of a problem area for a person in order to achieve balance. For example, if your vata is light, she introduces a heavy element; if you have a lot of cold in your dosha, she introduces something hot.

"We never make any claims that we can cure a disease," she says. Instead, she looks at the person as a whole and where they are out of balance.

Durner explains that Western medicine compartmentalizes by symptoms, treating symptoms separately.

Ayurveda uses symptoms as markers or cues as to where the imbalances are at the root level.

According to Durner, imbalances are constantly changing, so the tools she utilizes are changing also. "Our health is not static, and our approach to health should not be static."

Durner will tell you right away that she is not about the "quick fix." It takes time to learn about your own body’s needs.

"Ayurveda helps people find the answers from within," she says. "It will teach you how to come into balance and realign your habits."


This story ran in the November2012 issue of: