From Isolation to Connection: One Mother’s Transformation with Ayurveda & Vedanta
In September 2010, I began my journey as a new mother with the birth of my daughter, Veda. I had one of life’s best gifts, a thriving, healthy, and joyful baby. Yet, I felt depleted, isolated and overwhelmed. My mind was taking me to dark places and dead ends. Luckily, my interest in Ayurveda led me to find Vedika Global and its 2-month Ayurvedic Self-Care Course when I really needed mind, body and spirit relief. The day I entered Vedika, my life was instantly transformed.
A large part of my transformation and relief came from the physical benefits of eating Ayurvedic food and applying Ayurvedic knowledge to my postpartum daily life. Ayurveda helped me understand which foods to increase and/or decrease in my diet to ensure my daughter and I were properly nourished and eating foods that would promote self-healing. I learned the importance of eating sattvic, or “pure” foods such as ghee (clarified butter) and kitchari (mung bean and basmati rice stew). Including sattvic foods in my diet helped to calm my mind and provided the practical aspect of “loving oneself,” which allowed me to be more present with myself and my daughter. I began to feel more engaged, strong and nourished.
Becoming and being a mother has such a physical impact, and living an Ayurvedic lifestyle gave my body the support it needed. But I also learned how to feel supported spiritually as I was introduced to the spiritual philosophy of Vedanta at Vedika Global.
My first experience with Vedantic teachings ignited my inner fire and consciousness. I was introduced to an important Vedic concept called moksha, which means “freedom from the mind, body and samsara (world) and being in union with your highest self, and Brahman (God).” As my teacher Acharya Shunya ji, stated, “Moksha is your birthright. You were born free. You just forgot. Moksha, however, is accessible right here and now, in every moment.”
As I began to contemplate what moksha meant to me, and how I could integrate this concept into my life, I saw that I had been focusing on my shortcomings and not treating myself as the free, whole person that I was. I was so overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities and decision-making that a new mother has to make, such as: do I co-sleep, do I vaccinate, is she getting enough breast milk, when do I introduce solid foods, which medicine do I give and not give when she is sick. The list of questions went on and on. The responsibilities felt so burdening, and in turn, I was focusing on all of the things I wasn’t doing rather than all of the love and nurturing I could provide to my child. Clouded by self-doubt and criticism, I had forgotten my divine, whole, and complete nature.
Through the teachings of moksha, I was able to regain strength and belief in myself both as a person and as a mother. I allowed myself personal time to take walks, meditate, and journal about my connection to my higher self, God, and nature. During these times, I was finally able to relieve myself of negative talk, over-thinking, and judgments. I was able to focus more on my inner light, my child, and to give myself more love and gratitude for sacred divinity. Once I began to love myself more, the freer I felt from all of the negative stories that my mind was creating. I felt a deeper connection to myself and was able to focus more on honoring my mind, body, and spiritual needs, which greatly benefited my family and myself.
While I continued my studies at Vedika Global, in part by attending Satsanghas, which later became the Vedic Studies Program, I became pregnant with twins. During the pregnancy, I received a lot of negative facts and statistics on what could go wrong, and I was immediately labeled as having a “high risk pregnancy” by my Western health care providers. But I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and connect with my twin babies while in the womb in a calm and nourishing way, despite being fed so much fear about what could happen. I reminded myself of this state of moksha, always accessible to me, and in doing so I was able to focus on the abundance and blessings I had rather than feeling overburdened and stressed. When my mind wanted to grab onto fear and tell itself negative stories, I chanted a very powerful mantra, the Gayatri mantra, which my guru had taught me. I was able to use the Gayatri mantra to anchor my consciousness in moksha and light, which reminded me that I was strong, limitless, and able to handle whatever situation came my way. I was free, and therefore, capable of rising above the chaos of the world. I continued to eat an Ayurvedic diet during and after my pregnancy with the twins, and as a result, I felt much stronger throughout my pregnancy and through the post partum period compared to my first experience with my daughter. I was able to eliminate much better, I felt more physical strength, and overall more centered. And the birth of my twins occurred naturally without any complications.
While integrating moksha into my life, my teacher’s father, Tata ji shared with us another important Vedantic principle: “Vedanta is about oneness, connectivity of all humans and living beings.” Watching my 3 young children play so freely, I realize how beautifully engaged they are in their moksha state. They organically connect to nature each and every day. They lovingly point to birds flying above, playfully chase squirrels, dig in the dirt for worms, shout with glee when they find roly-polies, dig for crabs at the beach, and notice the bounty of plants, flowers and all of mother nature’s gifts. My children provide the space for me to join them in this free state. I connect to my children, nature’s elements, and the divine beauty and grace of life more now than I ever have before. I join my children in being truly awake and free.
I have also noticed how my children, living in this state of moksha, share and spread so much light to so many different people. The connectedness they feel towards others inspires me and allows me to live in deeper and more meaningful ways, and I find myself sharing smiles, waves, and conversation with others in positive and uplifting ways, and thereby spreading feelings of moksha and freedom to others.
My children and I are very grateful to be able to grow together with this knowledge guiding us all. I feel mind, body, and spirit relief, and I am able to display the importance of living a spiritual path to my children. In turn we all continue to grow and learn from one another. I am very blessed and grateful!
The author Soumya Kristin Mattias is a student of Acharya Shunya, and serves as the Satsangha Coordinator of Vedika’s Spiritual Studies program and assists in facilitating Awakening Community Circles.
Learn more about how you can study Vedanta with Acharya Shunya in her Vedic Spiritual Studies Program.