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Connection - the Authentic Tea podcast with Rashmi

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:

Rach (00:00):

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.

Rashmi (00:28):

Thank you, Rachel. It's so nice to meet you and be here today.

Rach (00:32):

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

Rashmi (00:54):

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

Rashmi (02:05):

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

Rashmi (03:02):

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.

Rashmi (03:54):

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?

Rach (04:33):

Yeah. Very similar, similar program.

Rashmi (04:35):

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.

Rashmi (05:04):

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.

Rashmi (06:15):

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.

Rashmi (07:22):

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.

Rach (08:31):

Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that. It's wonderful to hear how that has developed over time and almost how you've been able to take something that was present in your life and so important to you and continue that through and find your way through your career to be able to bring them all back together and really now have that richness and those skills and experience to deliver such an holistic approach to, like you say, both individuals and communities within your practice.

Rashmi (09:02):

Absolutely. And for so long, I didn't think I had a home in medicine or healthcare just because I didn't know where I fit in. And so now to be able to, you know, and of course, a lot of what allows me to be able to do this within the framework of medicine is all of the research that has the research that has come up over the past few decades around the benefits of contemplative practices and you know, mindfulness, compassion and all of these things, which given me more and more freedom to be authentic in the ways that I'm able to serve people.

Rach (09:38):

And when you were finding your path and making sure you could do something that felt more attuned to your authentic self, do you think that break that you had from your training when you stepped out for a part of time and your priorities shifted, your focus shifted, did that help you? Did you pick up things from that, that you could learn that you've then taken forward in terms of maybe how you focus and the things that are important to you in your career and your life?

Rashmi (10:10):

What a good question. And I'll say actually all of this started, even before that it started, when I was in the muck of trying to figure out what I wanted to do. So, you know, and, and, and this too is the yoga, right? It's, it's how can I be with all of this uncomfortableness, and vulnerability, and still try and connect with yes, those spaces of soothing and nurturing, but also the power of my discernment and that ability to connect, you know, and, and part of, part of that includes making mistakes and that's how you learn, you know, so I think for me, there was always as, as you know, when you're in medical school, that the pressure meeting, everyone else's expectations, right? So the expectations that I had set for myself that I knew my peers and professors, my parents had for me, or just society as a whole, you know, when you're along this, I think I, I think I was like in first grade when I said, Oh, I think I'll become a doctor.

Rashmi (11:12):

And then it was like, boom. Rashmi is going to be a doctor. And then suddenly you are put into this box, you know, which, which, you know, I knew I wanted to serve people, which is where that came from, you know, and I was nerdy and I love science things, but, you know, you, you have the story that everyone starts to tell about you and the story that you're telling yourself about who, who you should be, you know and there's a lot of fears about breaking away from that set path, because all, you know, at least when I was growing up, I never saw people take a winding path. And I think too, for my parents being immigrants from India to America, there was also a lot of pressure that they put on themselves to succeed, but that a lot of hopes and dreams they had for us.

Rashmi (12:02):

And so, you know, there, there was a lot of these expectations. And so a lot of that work of trying to keep, stay aligned really was through medical school. So before I had gone to medical school although I had grown up in a Hindu home and had been, had practiced many devotional and contemplative practices already growing up, I became much more committed to my meditation practice in college. And so in that time, when I was studying Ayurveda, the learned much more about mantra meditation, which was really the first practice that I started more formally engaging with and that mantra practice, and the continued dialogue with my teachers really is what supported me to find that space and time to connect with myself and to check in. And so, you know, but at that time, when I was in medical school to think about teaching meditation as a way to support health, like the research wasn't there yet, like I was already being called a quack for all these other interests, but like, you know, it felt scary to think about wanting and I was still growing, right?

Rashmi (13:16):

There's this still the humility of like, Oh, I know this is helping me, but that I, I clearly couldn't teach this yet. You know, but meditation was something that, that really served me. And it was that time, even if it was only five minutes, you know, that time where I could really check in to a wordless space of my heart or checking in to spend some time really inquiring around something. And I think that's what gave me the courage, the courage to even leave after my internship, you know, cause I, as, as we, as we left for my husband's job, it was like unheard of that someone would leave in the middle of a residency program after their first year. You know, I think a lot of the younger physicians were like, Oh, well, this could be disastrous for your career if you're taking time off, you know?

Rashmi (14:05):

And it was funny cause it was one, one in particular older physician who was like, you know, you don't want to ever have any regrets in your life, go, you know, go explore because there's such a huge world out there bigger than medicine. You're going to find your way back in some way in some connection, just, you know, explore right now is the time for that. And I really appreciated that perspective. And I'm glad I had that. And then of course the time away, things change, you know, I was like a new newlywed and then we had kids and I became a mom. And of course that comes with all of it. It's fun and playful parts and very challenging parts. And then there, my meditation practice was really important as, as my movement practices were the wholeness that and trusting into as well, just trusting into that. As long as I keep making choices, that sort of feel aligned with my self, that something will unfold.

Rach (15:11):

It sounds like you were immersed in the world of yoga and meditation from an amazing inspiration within your own family and your upbringing, and to be able to be introduced into it like that. It's obviously been something that's, that's just been part of your life. When you look back now, can you see a shift where you started to want to then train, to be able to share that with other people? So particularly with your yoga teacher training, was there a point where you thought, yes, this is what I've been doing, but now I want to formally share more with other people.

Rashmi (15:52):

Yeah, that's a great question too. Yeah. You know, I grew up with a lot of yoga at home and as I, as I think many, many others in the South Asian diaspora in the Indian diaspora and in India often do, although we might not call it yoga, you know, as a philosophy and way of being it's integrated into so much, you know, as you talk about formal training, I guess the, the, the formal training for me had started through all the formal professional trainings that I had been doing with mindfulness, as well as you probably already know, having taken yoga teacher training. These philosophies of yoga are these views are also very interrelated with other thermic traditions that were unfolding in India and South Asia, such as Buddhism and Jainism. So there was a lot of familiarity already with some of the concepts that were being taught from a Western framework and these mindfulness trainings.

Rashmi (16:52):

And so as I started to do more professional trainings with mindfulness, actually my, my mentor during residency was a psychiatrist. And she was actually happened to be at that time, the only psychiatrist that was leading mindfulness based interventions at the university that I was at, her name was Kim Dobson and she's, she was also a yoga teacher. And so as I was participating in MBSR and mindfulness based cognitive therapy with her, and then you know, co-teaching and learning more with her, we would have very beautiful rich discussions. Cause she also knew so much about yoga philosophy about the Buddhist and, you know, yoga teachings that underpin a lot of what we now know as Western mindfulness. And so a lot of it started there. And in, in the skills of being able to lead people through contemplative practice, you know, simple Asana practices and then reflective inquiry when they're at home to sort of begin integrating that this yoga and mindfulness there, you know, yoga is the connection of our awareness with our presence as is, you know, mindfulness, mindfulness comes from, it's an English word, that's translated from the Pali word sati.

Rashmi (18:17):

Pali is the language and the time of when Buddha was living. So in Pali, the word is sati the word in Sanskrit that's Smriti, which maybe you might recognize from your yoga teacher trainings. And so an issue remember Smriti is about memory. And so it's about this kind of deep remembrance of our awareness. So they're very interlinked. And so the more I was then now starting to teach mindfulness-based programming in different clinical settings. Also I, I realized that I didn't have the skills to be able to teach Asana effectively, especially with older communities or people with limitations. So my impetus to take my first 200 hour training was to also just really learn more about how to modify the physical practice for, for people that I knew that were coming in with me, that, that wouldn't be able to do some of the movements that were included there.

Rashmi (19:17):

So, so that was where I started taking my first 200 hour. I had already been known a lot about the philosophy, you know, and so, and by that time, when I engaged with my first 200 hour, I also knew that yoga in the Western sense had become very Asana focused. So I kind of went into my 200 hour already, well wanting to learn more about Asana and knowing that that's what I, we were going to be exploring. So it, it worked out for me, but when I think about 200 hours they really just touch the surface of the depth of philosophy and ways of interacting with people. I teach now with Yoga Medicine and I teach a module with Tiffany Cruikshank. She leads part of the module on a yin practice and Asana practice. And my portion is on meditation and contemplative practice.

Rashmi (20:17):

There's so much to cover with Asana practice, but that sometimes these other bits unfortunately get sort of put to the side. And so I, you know, I think this two, a hundred hour framework, it's like just touching just, just beginning to dive in, you know, there's, there's, it's so vast all the things that there are to explore. Yeah. So my, my two, through my 200 hour had had a wonderful teacher when we were living in Vietnam. And, you know, just learned a lot more about how to bring asana more safely into these different healthcare settings that I was in.

Rach (20:52):

And, and how has that now changed maybe your own asana practice? I also like to see yoga as something more than the asana practice, but obviously, like you say that sometimes is what people focus on and that can be great and that can provide a lot of benefits, but that whole sort of element of living yoga and bringing in the mindfulness and the meditation, but how has your practice changed, whether that's the Asana practice or maybe your meditation practice, how has that changed over time?

Rashmi (21:26):

Oh, that's another good question too. So yeah, I mean, I think all of, all of these things shift and change with us as we grow and change, you know, have different priorities in our lives, but then also we learn how to listen more deeply to what we need as well. So through all of these practices over time, learning to listen more deeply to my body of what my body needs, you know, whether it might be sometimes I love a vigorous practice and maybe a vigorous movement practice for me might be Vinyasa or, or maybe I'm, you know, running outside or lifting or something like that as well. But bringing that mindfulness and body awareness with me as I'm doing that. And also listening enough to know that I don't need to always be having some vigorous workout in order in, in order to impact my body, that the body needs to rest too.

Rashmi (22:24):

And so that, that wisdom that comes with knowing yourself and inviting those periods of more restful practice as well, whether that's a Yin practice or a restorative practice, also the, the, the knowing that it doesn't have to be a long extended practice, right? Like we can have little bits that can be just as rejuvenating. So maybe it's just a small little practice, five minute practice before bed, or when I get to sneak away to an office for a little bit and do a bit of movement to, to energize myself or whatever that is, you know? So or our pranayama practice to energize myself or, you know, so there's so many different ways to work with our energy and our body and our attention. So a lot of the practices that self-inquiry the Satya, the idea of like, okay, let me check in with myself, what do I need? And what's going to serve me best in this moment, because really there's so many tools that we can use.

Rach (23:24):

And that's such a wonderful way to approach every day, really isn't it, every day that we have just checking in with ourselves and what we need. And I know some of the programs that you've shared, particularly in the last year with your programs have been based for other health care workers and sharing mindfulness and yoga and wellness, both for trainees, and also for people working in the front line. And as you mentioned, this is a group where time can be a real challenge and being able to have some of those little tools at our fingertips where we can dip into something for 10 minutes, whether that's a quick breathing exercise and pranayama, or a short meditation is so valuable. So do you think that it was your experience of your clinical practice that led you to want to provide that for healthcare workers? Or was there another trigger that made you realize that this was a community that could, that you could share your experience and skills with?

Rashmi (24:31):

Mm, yeah, I mean, actually through med, in med school. So I was always really interested in how we could support each other as communities of medical students and physicians support each other take, take care of our own health. So even in med school, actually, I was a co-founder for a wellness program in our med school that had kind of dual, dual goals of helping to share supportive practices from other traditions for self care as well as just for our education to know as, as up and coming physicians. So even, even at that time in med school, you know, as you know, it's so stressful even as a student, right? So, so it really starts early of, of under that understanding that, that we really need to take that time to care. And of course, for, for me, myself, you know, something that was really something of remembrance that I would always come back to was, you know, I'm, I'm holding people's lives in my hands.

Rashmi (25:33):

And part of that, that means that, that, you know, as much as I can, I need to be tending to my heart as well. And so really thinking about how I was doing that started, started really in med school and then through residency as well. I was really involved in wellness programming for fellow residents too. And actually my cohort of preventive medicine residents as part of our research. We actually did assessment of wellness in across different residency programs at the university that we were at. And so, you know, through that had already kind of been involved with working with different residency programs around that as well. So that's always been an interest and love of mine. And especially now as I've had some space from your stereotypical, I guess, clinical career, cause I, I'm not going into the office every day at this point, or, you know, engaging in that kind of work that step back and seeing my peers and my friends.

Rashmi (26:40):

I know that there's so much stress and so much that everyone's trying to balance that I you know, my heart feels so pulled to serve. So that's really, that's really my inspiration for trying to engage wherever we go. So I've told you, we move around quite a bit. So this work for me is often takes a while because wherever we move, it's, you know, forming the relationships with physicians wherever we happen to be and gaining the trust enough, you know, to be invited into spaces, to, to serve and do things. And luckily, you know, wherever we've gone, I've been able to do this work, whether it's with, you know, physicians or physicians and nurses and other healthcare providers, or with students and trainees. And it's, it's always been such a privilege to be able to share in these spaces, because I think the moment you also create a space and give physicians a time to breathe and get quiet for a moment, you can just see, you can just see how much even just a few moments starts to refresh and rejuvenate connections. So, but yeah, this has always been something that's interested me since med school

Rach (28:00):

Sounds like it's such a passion of yours, but also I'm sure that there are a lot of people and a lot of communities that have benefited because every person that you reach out to you in that system is caring for someone else and within the bigger system. And so I just feel particularly when we see now, particularly as the pandemic, we're talking in the middle of the pandemic, and as these challenging situations come along, people are put under such stress and everything that they do on a daily basis impacts them as much as it impacts the people that they're looking after. So it's wonderful to hear that you've been able to develop these programs and to be able to share them with the communities that you find yourself in wherever that is in the world.

Rashmi (28:46):

Yeah. You know, and something that, that too I really like to stress when I'm speaking with groups of physicians too, I think, you know, the, unfortunately the way that mindfulness and yoga has now sort of, you know, just as it's kind of infused corporate culture has now sort of been coming into, I guess, corporate healthcare culture too. And, you know, sometimes the ways that it's, I guess, marketed sometimes it feels like a band-aid that organizations might be trying to place to try and help physicians feel better and maybe not address systemic problems that are there. Right. But what do we, I mean, all the research already tells us it cannot only be these individual solutions, right? Like there needs to also be all these systemic changes. And so then there, there starts to be a lot of angst around these interventions for mindfulness and, and yoga.

Rashmi (29:50):

Very understandably so. But the one thing I love to remind people is that these practices, you know, yoga yes. It's to help soothe and nurture and help us heal. It also is, you know, to heal our hearts, help us work through our traumas, but also it's also creating this connection to this space of our creativity, the ability that we already have to think creatively about the ways that we might want to engage yes. With ourselves yes. With our patients, but, you know, with this culture of medicine overall and maybe that might mean creating different boundaries for ourselves. Maybe that might mean maybe being an activist within these systems wherever we are to whatever it is that plays out. I think, you know, these are not only tools for comfort and soothing. These are tools for liberation and finding freedom, you know, and I, and I think that sometimes gets lost along the way.

Rashmi (30:51):

It isn't just accepting status quo. It's accepting, what's unfolding within us so that we can find, you know, those spaces inside to be with what's happening and to thrive to make those choices, ah, just, you know, coming back to kind of what we were talking about before to kind of be able to be with the muck and all of that, that kind of stuff too. So, so that's the other thing that I, that I like to try to, to remind people as well with with these kinds of programs, you know, that they're, they're not a Band-Aid to all of these structural issues that need to happen within healthcare overall,

Rach (31:32):

Totally and something you've just mentioned there is about creativity and opening that space for us to be the authentic parts of ourselves that sometimes we don't show, and we don't have the space for when we're overwhelmed and we're stressed or overly anxious. And so in terms of creativity, I really want to ask you about your book, because I know that last year you published a children's book called Finding Om and it's based for children ages three and up, right?

Rashmi (32:08):

Actually probably more and not so much the preschool set, but elementary school. Yes.

Rach (32:14):

So I would love to know where this inspiration for the book came from and why you decided to base it on the mantra Om yeah, just sharing a little bit about how it came about.

Rashmi (32:28):

Yes. There's so much to say about the book since we have been talking about healthcare, I'm going to start there. So one of the things that, you know, as being an Indian, someone of Indian descent, teaching these practices, you know, that, that originate from the land that my parents came from. Also there, I felt such a deep connection, you know, to lineage and ancestry. And what I would find in these groups sometimes of when I'd go to professional trainings is just a lot of misunderstanding around even like what yoga is, right? So I'd be in the professional training and be talking to people and I'd say, Oh, you know, I love teaching MBSR because it allows me to be able to bring in, you know, bring in yoga and yoga philosophy to people, you know, combined with all this beautiful Buddhist tradition they'll be like, well, this isn't really yoga.

Rashmi (33:30):

And then I'd be like, well, what do you think yoga is? You know, and it usually it's, Oh, it's exercise. And then it's like, this whole thing of having to sort of reorient will actually, it's this rich philosophical tradition that has all these different pieces to it, you know? And so I was starting to kind of feel a little bit of this frustration of like our understanding that there was a lot of room for, for people to have more understanding around this or, or just people not understanding the ways that mantra might relate with mindfulness and all of these things. And so that was something that was starting like a little rub in the heart that was starting to, to blossom, you know, and I didn't quite know how to, what form it was going to take or express itself in, you know, so it just happened that this was all kind of also coinciding with well. I'm a mom and I'm bringing all of, all of this to my children as well.

Rashmi (34:33):

Um all of this wonderful stuff we know about mindfulness and neuroscience and child development, now that's out there in education, but, but also how appreciating how, how much a lot of this is rooted in practices that, that, that I had grown up with and to be able to share that with my own children as well, they just happened to really gravitate towards mantra as well, because I think partly because of the vibration, the sound the musicality of it, you know, but then also this connection for them to a part of their ancestry, too where we are in a mixed family, my husband is from Zimbabwe and my parents being from India. So I think this was one way they felt they could connect with, with part of their heritage too.

Rashmi (35:20):

So mantra became sort of a practice that they really enjoyed exploring. And then as we are practicing and they're learning to pronounce, you know, and chant with my dad and he's exploring what everything means with them and just hearing them reflect back in the words, experiences, you know, and after we practice and we'd sit quietly together, you know, what were they noticing? What was unfolding? There was so much richness that was, that was coming up there. At the same time, you know, we, we happened to be, have spent a year living with my parents. My father was unwell at the time. And, but it was also a beautiful time because he was able to spend so much time with my children in sharing in this way. So at that time I was like buying all these yoga and mindfulness children's books because I was so excited that they even existed because we never had that growing up, you know, and as he was looking at them, he was like, Oh, like, none of them have like any, you know, Indian culture or Asian culture or anything within them, like why, why hasn't someone made something?

Rashmi (36:30):

And so I was like, Oh, like maybe that's something to, you know, maybe that's something to do. So that was like another seed that was sort of planted. And then after he had passed away, after some time had passed, you know, I, I, I really just remembered that and just sat with the openness to just let my creativity to just be with my creativity and let it flow. However it's going to do. Don't try to put some form around it. And you, you know, within some time, like I just started writing and exploring the idea of sharing through picture book. And so actually my daughter, one of my daughters sat with me and we, we kind of wrote one out in her sparkly, new journal about Gayatri mantra, which is one of their favorite mantra, and so that's kind of how it all started.

Rashmi (37:21):

And then it just so happened as a, as I was working with my publisher and the editor I had had this entire introduction section to that book around mantra meditation, what it is and relationships with mindfulness, she was saying, Oh, you know, this introduction for parents, why don't you make this, the book that comes first? And at first I was like, Oh, how would I do that? And then it was like, Oh, of course, Om, the seed, the seed sound of the universe. That, that would make sense to use that here, to describe these relationships. And so that's kind of how the, this book finding Om unfolded. And I really wrote it, you know, as a gift, it was healing for me. My dad had passed by this point, so it was beautiful to be, to be able to tell the story of our family, that he was included in healing for me.

Rashmi (38:13):

I, I wrote it for my girls. So that one day they'll be able to share with their own kids about these traditions that they grew up with. I don't know if they'll continue them, you know, as they get older or not, hopefully, but but then I wrote it also for of course anyone who's interested, but especially for others, like me who are in the Indian diaspora, the South Asian diaspora who are, who are trying to kind of reclaim these practices again and remember what they mean for us in relationship to our ourselves and our families. So that's kind of how the book Finding Om came about. And it's published through mango and Marigold press and the woman who did all the beautiful illustrations is named Morgan Huff. And I worked with Morgan on all the illustrations for, for months. And she's just done such an amazing job with all of that as well. And so yes the book follows my daughter, as she notices my dad chanting during his evening prayers. And what unfolds is this discussion between them around, well, what, what his Om? And he sort of invites her into exploring for herself. So the book becomes kind of this experiment of her uncovering what finding Om means to her. So, and through that, she sort of falls upon the practice of meditation for herself too.

Rach (39:36):

Thank you. That is actually so beautiful. It's just so wonderful to hear how the book evolved and what a special product it is for you as being able to involve your family and to have those wonderful memories that you've shared there. Can you just, as we're finishing up, because I could talk to you for so much longer, but where can we find the book and where can we find out more about what you're offering and what you're sharing with the world?

Rashmi (40:07):

Oh yeah. Wonderful. So the book is through Mango and Marigold press. They're a small publishing press in Boston, and they have a website there. They focus on the sweet and savory stories of South Asia. So that's Mango and Marigold press. And on their website, you can find a free freely downloadable curriculum guide to Finding Om which goes a little bit more in-depth into different practices of meditation, there's reflective activities that kids can do. And then there's also this beautiful section that explores a little bit more about Om, which as you know, is, is a sacred syllable for those of us from the Hindu community, but also people from different thermic faiths. And so it goes a little bit more into the OM and the OM symbol where you might find it in homes and temples and a little exploration of cultural appropriation versus appreciation of the Om symbol.

Rashmi (41:04):

So that's at Mango and Marigold I teach for yoga teacher trainings. I teach modules on meditations with Yoga Medicine, and you can find them on Instagram, on the web as well. There are a few practices that I've done for their streaming service as well. Also at Yoga Medicine is a introduction to mindfulness and yoga that I put together along with another yoga medicine teacher, Megan Keirney specifically healthcare providers. So that's there too. It's something that you can take at your own pace. It includes short practices, longer practices, meditation, Asana, there's lectures, reflective journal questions, and such there. So that's it And then of course, there's, there's my website, which I have to do much better at updating, which is as well.

Rach (42:02):

We'll make sure to put all the links below so people can take a look and explore all the wonderful things that you're creating and sharing with the world. And I really hope that people have enjoyed listening to your story because I know I have, and I hope that it's an inspiration for people. And one of the reasons really for this podcast is so that people can turn up and be themselves and share their stories and inspire other people. So the final question today, as this podcast is called Authentic Tea where and with who would you choose to have your most authentic cup of tea?

Rashmi (42:37):

Oh, what a good question. Hmm. Well, you know, as we've been talking about yoga and all of these traditions and this book, I just wrote the first thing that came to my mind. And maybe this is because I'm calling you from my parents' house house, is that I wish I could have a cup of tea with my father right now. Cause I think he would have just loved hearing this conversation as well. But if I had to choose someone living, I would love to enjoy a cup of tea with you. This time that we've spent together has been such a joy and has filled, has filled my cup in my heart. And I'm so thankful that we were able to connect like this.

Rach (43:25):

Thank you. That is a beautiful way to finish this podcast. It's been an absolute pleasure to connect with you and I really look forward to chatting more in the future.

Rashmi (43:36):

Sounds great, Rachel. Thanks again.

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