Dr Rachna Kumar
Hi, I’m Dr Rachna Kumar,
I am an Ayurvedic Doctor and the Director and Founder of AyuSpa in Tamahere, Hamilton – New Zealand. AyuSpa is my Ayurvedic Beauty and Wellbeing Retreat where I work one on one with women to support their bodies by using traditional Ayurvedic Therapies. My main passion is creating healing pathways for women that are as eager as I am, about living their best life, and this begins by healing their bodies, minds and spirits the natural way.
Ayurveda’s healing philosophy believes prevention is better than cure. It is now recognized globally for preventing illnesses, prolonging life and maintaining vitality. The Ayurvedic concept of health is not the absence of disease, it’s the harmonious balance of the three doshas or life forces in our body, mind and soul.
Therefore I believe there is immense value in educating my clients on the benefits of embracing the ancient wisdom and Science of Ayurveda. By integrating the powerful synergy of natural herbs, wholesome nourishing dosha balancing foods, treatments and sadhanas into their lives, they can only become vibrant, healthy and strong.
In 1914, I graduated in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from the renowned Ayurvedic College in Indore, India. Since then my journey has been colourful and exciting.
Here is a little of My story…
My journey into Ayurveda began in my last year of high school when I mentioned to my parents that I wanted to become a doctor. Although if I am honest I can remember the roots of this longing started even earlier than that…
Since no one in our family was in the field of medicine, my parents arranged for me to meet people that were. I was introduced to all sorts of medical professionals. Most were practising Western Medicine, like dentists, nurses, veterinarians, and one Vaidya (Ayurvedic Doctor). They all spent time advising me on the commitments and challenges that I would face in their respective fields. I was gathering lots of reading information and things to think about.
It was only when I was finally on my long summer break that I was able to go through all the reading material that everyone had kindly shared. The books that spoke to me the most were the ones given to me by the Ayurvedic Doctor, the Vaidya. So these were the ones I started to read…
I realised that what had impacted me the most, however, was the things my mother used to say while she was cooking or we were eating. If someone was sick in the family she would cook a certain type of soup or concoction, using different spices. Mother would ban us from eating certain foods while we were sick. Every time we questioned her, “why?” she would assert, “it’s good for your health, if you eat this you will get better, and if you don’t, you will get sick”. So, when we listened we got better, and when we didn’t listen to her wisdom we got sick. But that still didn’t make much sense to us. At a young age, you always think you know more than your parent’s right? I was just like that too.
Sitting down with all the material to read, I was taken back to an earlier age, when I was a young girl visiting my grandparent’s house in the village. My maternal grandfather, whom I called Nana Ji, was retired and he was spending most of his time in a small cottage which he had built a few hundred yards away from his mansion. We used to call that area the Bagiya (orchard), it was a place with lots of fruit trees and a herbal garden. Nana’s Bagiya was quite big, in that it had a temple and a few other rooms, a well for drinking water and lots of trees to rest under during the hot summer.
The villagers who used to travel by with their bull and cart, would stop to rest or cook their meal, or stay overnight if the weather was too harsh to travel on, or if it was getting too dark. We would meet up with our cousins here too. When the sun was very hot, we were only allowed to play in the Bagiya, while our mum and aunties caught up, ground spices and cooked the meals.
It was while I was playing in the shade of those trees that I would see a lot of sick people visiting my Nana. Some with high fever, bites, cuts, vomiting and sunstroke. He would treat the sick with herbal drinks, different herbal pastes on their forehead or palms or on their wounds. I also recall, when we were showing signs of illness, then he would give us some kind of bitter drink or paste. We used to tease each other “better not fall sick while we are there… because not only would it put an end to our fun but we would end up in the hands of Nana Ji!”.
Reading those books on Ayurveda unlocked the nostalgic memories of my Nana who by this time had already passed. So I asked my mother to tell me more about him. She explained that Nana’s uncle was a renowned Vaidya. Under British rule, Vaidya’s were punished and not allowed to practice Ayurvedic Medicine. When Nana was growing up he would accompany his uncle to the nearby villages to secretly visit the people who needed immediate help. He gained a lot of knowledge during these visits.
Knowing this historical information only ignited my inquisitive mind more. So, I went back to the Vaidya that had lent me his books, to talk and get more books to read during what remained of my summer holidays. Most books of that time were written in Sanskrit. Only later were they translated into Hindi and then English.
By the end of the holidays, there was no doubt in my mind that I too wanted to become a Vaidya. The Degree BAMS – Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, entitled me to use the prefix of Dr before my name. So with excitement and trepidation, I started preparing for the entrance exam and interviews. I felt so happy and lucky when I was invited by the Ayurvedic Medical College to undertake the offer of a six-year full-time study which included one year of internship. I took up the challenge and spent six wonderful years growing and learning everything I could.
After finishing my studies, I got married and moved to London, where I completed my Master’s degree in Hospital Planning and Design. I was planning a purpose build Ayurvedic Centre in India but then life took another turn.
In 1998, I moved to New Zealand, the most beautiful country in the world in my opinion and I then became a mum for the first time. I decided to pause and take the time to enjoy just being a mother to my little one and forget everything else for the time being. I enjoyed being a mother so much another two children came along. My Ayurvedic knowledge came in so handy during this time because I followed an Ayurvedic lifestyle both before and after the children’s births. My children enjoyed excellent health and get through their formative years without any health problems. We seldom used antibiotics and they excelled in all domains of life.
Ayurveda has given my life true meaning and purpose. Through AyuSpa I have extended my knowledge and skills to the wider community. And so my journey continued…
AyuSpa 26 Bates Road Tamahere Hamilton