Autobiography

I grew up in a small farming town in Northeastern Ohio called Kinsman, where I had a simple and pleasant upbringing. From a young age, I observed the unhealthiness that was present in the common regional diet, but up through that point, it was the only thing I knew. Growing into a curious and imaginative teen, I became a yearlong Rotary International Youth Exchange student and traveled across the world for the first time to study a year of high school in Spain. My entire life changed. During my time there, my host father was a professional chef, who would prepare fresh and healthy meals each day. The dietary changes & cultural shifts such as slowing down, eating together, reducing stress, along with lots of walking, and living in a different climate make significant changes in how I felt, looked, and went about my day-to-day life. Upon returning to the United States, I was determined to continue to stick with my new healthy habits and it became clear that I wanted to continue interacting with international cultures.

Upon entering Ohio University in 2008, I joined an extracurricular student organization called the Vegan Cooking Workshop where I continued learning healthy cooking and was introduced for the first time to vegetarianism and the eastern and Vedic sciences, including Ayurveda. In an attempt to remedy an ever-worsening insomnia condition as a freshman, I picked up a book from the campus library and learned how to meditate. With such drastically life-changing results from the simple practice of meditation, I became hooked and a true believer in meditation. I had also started attending yoga classes for the first time, which I initially didn’t like but could tell they were making a difference. I started devouring Buddhist literature, attending a Tibetan Buddhist temple, and started identifying with eastern philosophies—a big shift from my staunchly Catholic upbringing. Early in my first year of college I met one of the most important teachers of my life, a Gaudiya Vaishnav devotee who was teaching Vedic/Yoga Philosophy to the students, along with some Ayurveda. I started experimenting and playing with Ayurveda in search of my own healing, after falling back into unhealthy Midwestern and American habits.

Leading up to and after graduating with a degree in Communications & Linguistics, I solo-traveled the world from 2012-2019 as a twenty-something teaching English as a Second Language in international schools & universities in 7 different countries in 4 different continents, including: the USA, China, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Armenia. My love for the anthropology of the different regions of the globe and the way each culture had been passed down simple traditional methods of maintaining health and wellbeing (social, mental, physical, spiritual) using local resources is something I loved and was fascinated by. Having grown up in a country where my ancestors’ heritages and cultural identities only go back a few hundred years at best, I felt comfort and interest in adopting the customs and lifestyles of each place that I lived, and witnessed how each culture practices a unique form of “Ayurveda” that was designed to keep local people healthy with the foods and herbs native to that geographical region and climate.

During my international days, I also spent two years living in Gaudiya Vaishnava temples in Latin America from 2014-2016. I was granted special permission to keep my part-time ESL Teaching job while living in and doing “Seva” (service) in an all-female ashram in Santiago, Chile, where my integration with western Hindu culture and spirituality became deeply ingrained through daily study of the Bhagavad Gita, Kirtans, mantra, and deity offerings. It was in 2014 that I finally took my official initiation with Guruji and was gifted the spiritual name that I now use for my Ayurveda practice, Bhumi Shakti Devi Dasi. I went on to serve full time in an ashram in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and thereafter, started my formal Ayurveda studies in the Ayurvedic Counselors Program with the Ayurvedic College for Wellbeing in Rincon, PR, where I studied and apprenticed in Panchakarma with Drs. Light & Bryan Miller.

In 2018, I finally made it to India for the first time for 6 months Ayurveda, Yoga, and spiritual purposes. I took Panchakarma and studied at Vaidyagrama: Healing Village outside of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu; trained in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at Ashtanga Mysore in Mysore, Karnataka; and attend a pilgrimage with Guruji and Sat Sanga in the spiritual town of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh.

Upon returning to the USA in the summer of 2019, I was in pursuit of doing Ayurveda as a full-time gig. I landed a job at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I worked for the institute and audited the Counselors Program classes and successfully tested into the Ayurvedic Practitioners program. There I was blessed to study with the world-famous Dr. Vasant Lad, and graduated from the Ayurvedic Practitioners program at the Institute in 2021.

After graduating in June of 2021, I started working for Chopra Global as Student Advisor of the Chopra Health Certification Programs, as well as registered my online business & practice, Bhumi Shakti Ayurveda, LLC. In June of 2022 I relocated from Albuquerque to Ashland, Oregon, where I additionally started practicing out of a clinic called Siskiyou Ayurveda. In spring of 2023 I was invited on as a faculty member of the Banyan Botanical Living Ayurveda Internship program where we teach interns seasonally from spring to fall at the Banyan Farm in Williams, Oregon. I continue to teach as a faculty member of the Chopra/IIN Health Certification Programs. I have been a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) since 2017, with whom I now serve as a Professional Sub-Committee member. I am a new member of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, where I network with local business owners to serve and give back to the local community of Ashland, Oregon through my independent business, Bhumi Shakti Ayurveda, LLC.

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