Moonlight & Shadows book launch at the 2023 NAMA Conference

It’s a lot easier to write a book when you have an audience waiting for you at the top of a mountain.

I started writing Moonlight & Shadows: A Poetic Discourse on Ayurveda and Yoga in the West in September 2022, and after a busy fall and winter season, decided in February 2023 to finish it in 1 month so that I could bring it to the National Ayurvedic Medical Association’s annual conference in April.

Writing this book began as if writing a love letter to my fellow ayurvedic practitioners and yogis. Finishing it so that I could hand them copies in person was one of the easiest writing experiences I have had, and it reminded me of why we write in the first. We write for ourselves and because we want to, but the anticipated reader is a sacred connection that fuels the process.

The NAMA Conference is the largest ayurvedic event in the U.S. and attended by hundreds of master clinicians, educators and product producers. We are a small community of passionate healers and rebuilders of the earth, remembering, preserving and sharing ancient wisdom. Spread across a country in the U.S. where ayurveda is still not well-known, being together with like-minded people who get it is a motivating elixir for us all. And it is in this spirit that I wrote a book for these people because I can, and because it’s the kind of book I would have enjoyed along my journey exploring the Vedic wisdom.

We spent 3 days at the conference at the Art of Living Retreat Center in Boone, North Carolina. The location really reinforced the summit nature of the event.

After buckets of rain poured down on us on the first day, engulfing the mountain in a mystifying fog, the sun eventually came out to illuminate the budding spring growth in this enchanting sanctuary.

Our presentations and events were held in a sacred place, where people come to heal, connect with their divine nature and rejuvenate their spirits.

It was an honor to speak on behalf of NAMA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee, on which I served from 2022-2023 alongside Kadiatou Sibi and Anjali Deva. Our work’s challenges and wins, and the eye opening experiences I had during my term with DEI continuously informed me through the conception of Moonlight & Shadows and inspired me to write about some of the harder conversations we need to have in our industry, such as cultural appropriation, lineage and social inequity.

The conference was a reunion for many, such as the alumni of Kerala Ayurveda Academy, where I completed my ayurvedic studies and have served as Creative Communications Manager since 2016. There is an undeniable, unique and special torch we all share as part of the Kerala Family. I am who I am now in part thanks to the power of this community and the opportunities for growth and learning that I received with them.

I handed out free books starting on day 1, and on day 2, received my first review and posed for this picture with my first reader! It was absolutely my intention to keep Moonlight & Shadows crisp and ever-flowing, knowing that Vedic nerds like us are already reading so much other material which is often dense. Ayurvedic knowledge can be so dense, right? And so I longed to write something pithy, something informative but not academic. And that comes naturally to me in the form of poetic prose.

The amount of information exchanged during these 3 days is copious and invigorating, like the marma therapy presentation by Madison Madden (who is also an author of one of my favorite books – Mind Body Food). After illuminating the power of healing using marma, or energetic points and highways throughout the body, she invited us to partner up and practice a simple marma technique on each other. Marma works with subtle energies, addressing blockages at a deep layer where the energetic flow of prana, or life force energy (like chi in acupuncture) can be stifled, resulting in illness.

Perhaps this new friend touched a few of my marma points during our exchange as well.

And on that note:

if you feel the trees, flowers, and medicinal plants deeply

if you have conversations with the bees

if you are intimately connected to the howling wolves

or if you want to deepen these connection…

I invite you to read Moonlight & Shadows. You can get your copy here on Amazon.

These words form a conversation starter for anyone navigating how to study, practice and engage with the ancient Vedic wisdom system. Youโ€™re invited to explore the dense jungles of the mind where questions about sustainability, religion, equity, cultural appropriation, money and so many more lurk in the shadows. These big questions are vital to decolonizing Western practices and building bridges between the 5,000 year-old Vedic period to the present day, East to West, science to religion, holistic to conventional medicine, mind to body, heart to heart. The author weaves together personal tales, educational and professional experiences to shed some moonlight on how the deeper wisdom lives within and guides us all.

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