You may know Kelsey Brusnyk as the cheery voice behind Hale Pule, always ready to help guests solve a problem or find better alignment in virbhadrasana B. But what you might not know is how she found a path to Ayurveda. Read more to find out what Kelsey loves most about being an Ayurvedic practitioner and her favorite asana pose to support digestion.
What do you love most about Ayurveda?
KB: I love that Ayurveda guides us to align with nature. When I began making changes consistent with Ayurveda, it felt natural and it made sense. I had spent a lot of time following modern fads and made plenty of choices, particularly around food, that didn’t seem quite right nor feel that great. I immediately felt better when I applied Ayurvedic principles to my life. The first changes implemented were waking before sunrise and going to sleep before 10:00 p.m., having a regular morning spiritual practice, not napping during the day and cooking my food from fresh, whole ingredients. The change in my mental clarity was dramatic and I also welcomed the increased energy, clear skin and comfortable digestion.
I love that Ayurveda has solutions to any issue I can think of – it is truly an art. It supports us to be aware in our lives, so that we remember that we indeed are our own healers and can have great health on all levels.
What was your path to get here?
KB: I was first introduced to Ayurveda at my Yoga teacher training in 2009 in India. We had a few lectures that didn’t resonate with me, since they talked about Indian foods and herbs that I knew I couldn’t find in Canada, where I lived at the time. I had a consultation with an Ayurvedic physician, but went back to Canada and did not apply a thing! I wanted a Yoga mentor to guide me to enhance my teaching and was referred to Myra Lewin and Hale Pule. I began working with her long distance in August 2009. In January 2010, I went to a silent retreat that she held on Maui. We had nine days of kitchadi and I was astounded at how my body and mind changed. I went back to Canada and began to follow the Ayurvedic principle of eating fresh, prana-filled food. I stopped using frozen, canned and pickled foods and cut out salads and kept feeling better and better. I continued to make changes to my diet and lifestyle as Myra suggested, and began to study Ayurveda more on my own. I went on to complete Dr. Frawley’s Ayurvedic counselor certification program, began working with clients and, just last year, helped Myra create Hale Pule’s 400-hour Ayurvedic Health Counselor Certification Program.
What inspires you most when you work with clients?
KB: I am inspired by clients who have the courage to make changes that are often different than the way people around them live and eat. I am inspired by the honesty that many bring forth into a consultation, which signifies that on some level they realize all of life is connected – our physical symptoms are not separate from our mental state, emotions and past experiences. I am inspired when they write to share the joy that comes from having symptoms fall away. I am inspired by their willingness to become who they are meant to be – vibrant, healthy individuals living life aligned with nature.
What are your favorite herbs?
KB: I like how choorna, powdered herbal blends, are formulated with a variety of herbs that work together to address the individual’s unique state. I’ve been using choorna for a while, and adjust it regularly based on where I am at that point in time.
I just had a client who was amazed that Ayurveda had recommendations and herbs to assist her mental focus. She had been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD, but did not want to take medication so she had been dealing with it since she was a child. When a client is ready to make an energetic shift in the direction of great health, herbs support the subtle energies to take that step so the physical body can remember its natural functions.
What are your favorite Yoga asana poses to support health?
KB: I personally find surya namaskar, sun salutations, helpful. I’ve learned I cannot separate persistent physical symptoms from what goes on in my mind, and working with my breath and moving energy with surya namaskar clears, calms and focuses my mind so that it gets out of the way of my body's ability to heal. I also appreciate the balancing effect salabasana has on my digestive system.
Any asana practiced with consciousness and attention to the breath serves this purpose of connecting us to our innate intelligence, which assists us to make choices aligned with our best health. I enjoy helping clients find poses to begin or refine their daily asana practice. Even one pose per day, practiced with consciousness and breath, brings great healing to mind and, therefore, to the body.