Rashmi shares her lifelong passions of holistic healing and spiritual health. Join us as we chat about how the models of yoga, mindfulness and contemplative practices can be used to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Through our chat, Rashmi explores how her study of Ayurveda, mantra meditation and asana practice has been woven into her medical career and helped her to trust her decisions and to create her own path.
Episode 21 of the Authentic Tea podcast features Rach's chat with Rashmi:
Today, I'm joined by Rashmi. Rashmi is a preventive medicine doctor specialized in mindfulness lifestyle and community health and Rashmi's practice is focused on offering holistic, mindfulness based lifestyle programming for individuals and communities by combining her passions and experience as a public health physician in health promotion, health care and complementary therapy, Rashmi is helping others to be more healthy and resilient. So welcome.
Thank you, Rachel. It's so nice to meet you and be here today.
Thanks so much. I'm really excited to have you on this episode. And I would love to start by just talking a little bit about being a public health physician. And when you're in your practice, how you look at combining the health of individuals and the health of communities and how you focus different parts of your work on both of those
What a great question. It's really interesting. Well, to lead into it, I'll just share a little bit about what got me into preventive medicine and public health. You know, through, through medical school, I had always had this interest in supportive health health promotion prior to coming to medical school. I had started study of Ayurvedic medicine, which is the indigenous healing tradition from India. My parents are immigrants from India to America, so I was always really interested and intrigued by some of our indigenous practices for healing. And so in that exploration of Ayurveda, that was also when I was exposed to yoga philosophy, other ways of supporting health through movement and meditation and energy work and all of these things. So I came to medical school kind of with this really broadened view what health could look like. And I studied, started studying Ayurveda though with my father's great, great uncle. I'm trying to he's two generations above me and his name was Vardeep Koshanam Jaguvinarathinaminbad
And he used to always say that, you know, his role as a physician, wasn't just for preventing health, it was for being a positive health promoter. He would say, and that every time you're impacting the person you're speaking with, they're also going to be going back and sharing with their families. And so how valuable this role of being a healer really is because you're planting seeds that are then going to keep blossoming within the community as a whole too. And so he was really all about teaching people who came, empowering them with knowledge of how they could care for themselves and care for their families to keep promoting health. And so that really stuck with me through med school. And of course in medical school, you, as, you know, you go through all the stress of training and I still had this, you know, curiosity and inquiry
My heart was sitting in all these other places too. And quite honestly, by my last year of medical school, I really didn't know what I wanted to do. You know? So then finally I thought, well, let me just do internal medicine because, you know, I know I'm good at it and I don't know what else to do. So after I had done a year of medicine, my husband actually had an opportunity to go work abroad which we did. And so I had a little break from medicine and in that time, and that time away exploring more Ayurvedic medicine and having a family by the time we came back, many of my peers had been finishing their training and a lot of them were exposed to different kinds of training. And they're like, Hey, you know, public health seems like it would be a great fit with everything that you always talk about.
And all of your dreams, you know, there are these preventative medicine programs that you can engage with that maybe this would be the right fit. And so when we came back to the U S I finished my training in preventive medicine. So I'm not sure how it is in the UK for us in the US preventive medicine, residency programs. You get an a master's in public health along the way with part of your training. And, you know, you're, you're exposed to working in the public health field, both clinically, as well as doing research. It must be similar for you. Is that right?
Yeah. Very similar, similar program.
Correct. And so when I started my training of course I was still really interested in all of these aspects of health promotion and lifestyle, but particularly too around how we can engage holistically, including the spirit in some way, if we could, you know, cause we, I, I was trained at the university of Rochester, which is home of the bio-psycho-social model of healing.
And so, you know, I was always curious, well, how can we bring spirit into that too? You know, spirit, whether you want to think of it in a religious sense or this spirit of connection that we have, you know, with the people we're interacting with, with the communities that were interacting that's too. And that sort of led me to pursue more of the group based interventions for, for supporting health, such as mindfulness based stress reduction or mindful self-compassion programs that really utilize the power of people being together and sharing and experiences as well as all of this beauty of meditation and yoga, which you and I were talking about before as well. And so now when I think about these intersections of health care and public health, really, when I think about it, I really think there's so much power in working together in a group through the models that are already there in yoga and mindfulness.
When we think about yoga itself, it's such a holistic way of approaching people and communities in the West. I think we sometimes consider yoga to just be the physical movement the Asana, but there's actually so much more to it. And yoga is intertwined with the indigenous sciences, including Ayurveda the, from India and the, the real approach. There is the whole person which includes, you know, our, our body, the, the physical Asana, our hearts, and our minds. So often a translation of a definition of yoga that you might hear. I know you're a yoga teacher too, comes from the yoga sutras is Chitti Vritti Nirodha which is that finding the, the stilling finding freedom through those fluctuations of our heart and mind, but there's more to it too, that there's also these social and behavioral aspects of that we hear about in the Bhagavad Gita as well, which is around skillful action.
And how do we, how do we align our natural wisdom, our ways of knowing our ways of caring with our actions and learn through that. So, you know, it's got the physical health, mental, emotional health, you've got the social behavioral health, you know, we're interacting with each other with our environment. And also of course, the nestled within the the importance of spiritual health too that really sits at that center of how we're nurturing those connections to not only equanimity and harmony of ourselves as whole beings, but, you know, connections to ourselves, to each other and the environment. And really a lot of that is nurtured through learning how to be present with ourselves, learning how to listen in and, and connect to our awareness, which brings us to mindfulness that practice of really remembering the strengths of our awareness. So when I think about now with my work, the ways that I am hoping to continue to engage with individuals and communities, it's through this model, that's, that's there with yoga and mindfulness traditions.