by Marion Nair
Cultivating balance started for me at the age of seven, when my parents put me on a gymnastics team, and has been central to my life since then. After 12 years of gymnastics practice on a competitive team, I pursued maintaining balance through practicing slackline, rock climbing, yoga and Ayurveda.
I moved to Vancouver during the fall of 2017. Previous to this, I had traveled to Mexico from my native France, and had injured myself while practicing judo. My achilles tendon required surgery. At 29, I had to learn to walk again and this was a big experience for restoring balance.
Afterward, while healing, I was treated by a friend who was practicing osteopathy. Since a young age, I have been fascinated by the human body and this osteopathic process of manipulating the body in order to align it amazed me. I wanted to know more about it, and started asking him about his practice. He quickly started to tell me that he believed I was meant to be a masseuse. He kept on and on with this idea for months. I started considering different programs (RMT, physio, etc.) and finally decided to take a short course to figure out if I would like to give massages. I registered for an Indian Head Massage course in the of fall 2018, one year after I arrived in Vancouver.
I started to give this beautiful massage to others, and I felt so nourished and touched by this practice. It made me realize that touch is such an important part of me. I also realized how much I was missing it, living in Canada, where I find touch is way less present than in Latin culture. It might be the Moroccan half of me that thrives on human contact. Touch is my way to connect with others and I believe that it has the power to heal the heart.
My mum’s cousin was practicing and teaching Ayurveda for over 20 years. I hadn’t been in contact with her for almost 15 years, so I got in touch with her, and shared my journey and enthusiasm for Ayurveda. She recommended that I study the science of it, and recommended a book to read to start with: Yoga and Ayurveda by Dr. David Frawley. I had a flight booked two months later back to France, so I booked a consultation with her and ordered the book as soon as I could. This book blew my mind. It was full of so many new concepts: Purusha, Prakriti, the Gunas, Shrotas, Ojas, Tejas, and so much more… the more I learned about Ayurveda, the more everything in my life began to make more sense. I want to understand everything – life, people… and let me tell you, I got what I wanted with Ayurveda! As you may know, ‘Ayurveda’ means the Science of Life, and includes nutrition, herbalism, lifestyle, physical exercise (asana), breathing techniques (pranayam) and meditation.This amazing woman and ayurvedic practitioner has since become my teacher.
During my time in France, something completely unexpected happened. My teacher was offering an Abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage) course for a minimum of 2 students. I wanted to take the course, but I did not know anyone who could take it with me there, and otherwise it was not possible. Thankfully, my mum decided to enrol in the course with me so it could happen. I don’t know how this all came together, but somehow I ended up receiving the Abhyanga course with my mum, given by her cousin, on the farm property where my mum’s grandma was born and grew up. What are the odds!?
After this trip, I practiced Abhyanga and head massage during my free time. It was so powerful to give people ayurvedic treatments – the person receiving felt so nourished, and I felt nourished, too. It was such a beautiful time in my life. So I continued digging deeper, and eventually enrolled in a 300 hour Ayurvedic Healing Course from Dr. David Frawley. I had a part-time job which allowed me to study.
But soon, the company I was working for was expanding and needed me to work full time. I wanted to continue to learn about Ayurveda, so I refused and get laid off in January of 2020 and got no financial help from the government. I was not sure what I was going to do. So I decided to spend 2 weeks at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga, in order to get ahead with my course, and to get some clarity. I would decide what to do after this. I had discovered the Centre a month earlier, brought here by a friend who was visiting his sister. So I stepped on the land again on February 10th, 2020.
During those 2 weeks I met Rajani, who offered to train me if I was sticking around for the summer. This was too tempting! I stayed, the pandemic hit, I went back to Vancouver, sold most of my belongings and the 2 weeks visit became a year and half.
The Chikitsa Shala Wellness Centre had also decided to close its doors, and my best laid plans were thrown for a loop, as with most of us. I helped mainly in housekeeping to start with, then I helped in the kitchen, and soon I found myself helping to grow our veggies during the summer out on the farm. Dan, Lotte and I made a fun, high energy trio!
When last winter arrived, there were nine of us living at the Centre. My plan to go and train in India in 2021 had been cancelled, and my efforts to find a mentor and/or a course were not successful. But I kept studying the Ayurvedic Healing Course, and completed it in January 2021. After this I was able to participate in many workshops and webinars on Ayurveda, among them one given by the Centre’s own very knowledgeable Jyoti (Natasha) Samson. Later in spring, I was also given the opportunity to use one of the massage rooms in the Garden House where I have been able to offer Ayurvedic treatments. My website is getting ready, and I am working on a workshop in which I will present natural ways for a woman’s smooth transition into menopause.
I am passionate about sharing the wisdom of Ayurveda and guiding people toward restoring their optimal health, through cultivating balance, and with simple changes of lifestyle, diet, exercise, and by the use of herbs and massages.
While my journey to cultivate balance began as a physical one, it has now branched into all areas of life through my discovery and practice of Ayurveda. A discovery I may never have made if my ankle – and my physical balance – hadn’t been injured.
After a year and a half living at the Centre, it is time for me to continue my journey and to cultivate balance out in the world. The seed of the teachings and the wisdom have been deeply planted in my heart and I will now carry them with me.
With deep love and gratitude,