"This is what I thought of 6,000 year old practice making a comeback at Sheffield wellbeing centre"
According to Pru Webster, I have a Vata Dosha, writes Nik Farah.
Within minutes of meeting the Ayurvedic practitioner, she has her slender fingers around my wrist, measuring the seven levels of my pulse, which she reveals tell her a lot about me.
She assesses, correctly, that I am prone to anxiety and that fizzy drinks and rich foods don’t suit me, that I’m creative and a little flighty, and that while my short term memory is good, my long term isn’t. I’m intrigued.
She also talks to me about the kinds of foods and activities that suit the often-delicate systems of a Vata person.
“Our bodies are made up of the earth’s elements," she explains, referring to the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Doshas.
“Everything that we eat and do affects that balance within each of us.”
As an Ayurvedic practitioner, that balance is something Pru knows all about, spending her days working to restore it. Pru specialises in Ayurveda – the little-known science sister of yoga, that dates back nearly 6,000 years. It is this ancient healthcare tradition that Pru is breathing new life into, introducing it to Sheffield at The Stillpoint Practice, a wellbeing centre which has operated in Nether Edge for the past 15 years, and recently moved to new premises in Sharrow. The practice is one of the few places in the region that offers Ayurveda, considered to be one of the oldest healing sciences in the world.
Following our consultation, I lay on the treatment table as Pru produces a pendulum which she uses to check my chakras, the body’s focal points, to see where she needs to concentrate her treatment. While my throat and heart chakras are open, she informs me that my crown/head chakra is closed.
“Closed chakras can be caused by emotional as well as physical incidents or traumas, or anything that’s going on at that time,” reveals. Pru, who is recognised as one of the foremost Ayurveda practitioners in the country.
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“Crown chakras are the ones I most commonly find closed, it’s very difficult to have an open crown chakra, unless you regularly meditate and work at it.
Next, Pru pulls out a Shirodhara copper pot, which she positions over my head. For the next 30 minutes I lay, with the bed tilted so my head is lower than my feet, and with rosewater cotton pads over my eyes, while the swinging pot drizzles warm oil onto my forehead. It’s an incredible experience, very soothing, and designed to help balance the endocrine system and nervous system. As the treatment continues, I lose all sense of time, and begin to feel light, almost like I’m floating. As I rest somewhere between sleep and waking, images and memories pour effortlessly through my head. I wonder if I’m dreaming, or if this is simply what happens when the mind is given time of to wander.
“Shirodhara is designed to produce very powerful images,” Pru explains later.
“By stimulating the third eye in this way, it works down the layers of the subconscious. It’s fantastic for people with everything from anxiety and insomnia, to migraines, and even hayfever.”
I can't deny, though always a little sceptical, by the time my first Ayurveda session comes to a close, I feel calmer than I have in a long time. Pru closes our time together by giving me a list of things I should both avoid and embrace in my life in order to keep my Dosha balanced. She also recommends a short series of treatments, which starts from £65 for the initial consultation and treatment. Finally she shares some tips on ways everyone can help to introduce a little balance in their lives.
“Get out in nature every day,” she says.
“Even if just for a quick walk. Take some time to meditate, and do a little yoga, and look at your diet, paying close attention to the foods that make you feel good, and the ones that don’t. Always listen to what your body is telling you.”
Visit stillpointpractice.com for details, or aditihealth.co.uk