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Welcome to Shanti Ayurveda

“Ancient Healing Wisdom for Our Modern World"

Shanti (shän′tĭ) - noun.  Origin: Sanskrit śanti
1. Peace; calmness; serenity.  2. Alleviation of pain.

To My Loyal Clients and Inquiring New Clients:

It is with much love and gratitude in my heart that I inform you of a significant change for me and Shanti Ayurveda.

I have accepted a position at the California College of Ayurveda (CCA), and have moved to the Nevada City/Grass Valley area (about an hour northeast of Sacramento). In my new role, I am able to reach a larger number of people sharing the profound wisdom of Ayurveda. I teach at the college, manage the Ayurvedic Spa and Healthcare Clinic, and am in the process of opening a yoga studio and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy program.

If you are seeking a practitioner, we have excellent, highly trained practitioners with whom you can work via phone or Skype.  You will also find a list of practitioners in your area on the Resources tab on the CCA website,

CCA has a world class Ayurvedic Spa in which we offer a full range of treatments including pancha karma, abhyanga, shirodhara, svedana, marma, and many other therapies. Additional information about these services can be found on the CCA website.

I encourage you to explore the many services offered at CCA, along with our educational opportunities. CCA is the largest school of Ayurveda in the West and offers a very comprehensive program which includes a clinical internship.

For my existing clients, please stay in touch ~ I will happily schedule follow up appointments by phone or Skype, and also can fill your herb orders through the college herb department.

And please visit the Events page on this website regularly; I will keep it up to date with lots of great workshops I will be teaching.

I wish to thank each of you for the amazing role you have played in my life. It is through the gift of working with you that I have been able to learn and grow. It fills me with great joy to share the wisdom of Ayurveda, and I very much hope to continue crossing paths with you…

Sending blessings and love, and wishing you peace on your journey ~

Om Shanti (In Peace),

Marisa Laursen, Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist


At Shanti Ayurveda, we are dedicated to the health and well-being of the planet and everyone in it. In our every endeavor, we strive to do what serves the greatest good. It is our honor to play a part in bringing forth the profound healing wisdom of Ayurveda, and we gratefully do so with dedication to our clients and reverence for the wisdom.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.   Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

(“The Divine in me honors the Divine in you”)

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Shanti Ayurveda Educational Series Presents...


Bringing Balance to Vata Dosha


Seasonal Routine for Winter

We live in a glorious world full of wonder and beauty, and each season brings its own unique personality and gifts. While fascinating and lovely to behold, these changing seasons can also be unbalancing to the body and mind. By understanding these patterns of nature, and utilizing the ancient and time-honored wisdom of Ayurveda, one can begin to understand what simple steps to take to ensure balance and harmony with each change of the season.

Ayurveda teaches that in order to remain in a healthy state of balance, one simply looks to nature and applies the simple, yet profound, wisdom that it offers. The fiery heat of summer gives way to the drying winds of autumn, which fades into the cold and snow of winter. Each season has qualities associated with it such as heat, dryness or moisture. Since we are affected by the same forces as the rest of nature, these qualities act upon our bodies and minds and either support health, or open the door to imbalances.

According to Ayurveda, winter is a time which is initially dominated by vata dosha, as evidenced by the dry winds that can lead to dryness in our bodies (such as dry skin or constipation). The winds which characterize this time of year can be un-stabilizing to the mind and emotions as well.

When rain and snow arrives, their moist, heavy qualities alleviate the dryness of vata while aggravating kapha dosha, which is composed of water and earth. This aggravation can continue through early spring when warm weather returns, and excess kapha can accumulate in the body as mucous. The accumulated mucous can lead to a host of ailments such as colds, flu, congestion, stagnation and lethargy.

The goal of Ayurveda is to recognize the cycles of nature and make the necessary adjustments so that disease and disharmony are prevented or reversed.

Suggestions which support balance and help keep sniffles away during the winter season:

  • In order to counteract the effects of the cold, wet weather, keep yourself warm and dry (sound like advice your mother used to give you? According to Ayurveda, she was right!)
  • Dry brush your body each morning to stimulate the immune system, encourage lymphatic drainage, increase circulation and fire up inner heat. Use a natural-bristled brush or loofah (available at natural food markets).
  • After dry brushing, give yourself a soothing massage with warm oil. This provides nourishment to dry winter skin which has been assaulted by cold air and dehydrating central heat. To warm the oil, place in a basin of hot water for a few minutes. Food-grade, organic sesame oil is a good choice for most people at this time of year.
  • Add a cup of honey-lemonade to your morning routine.  This delicious beverage is useful for cleansing the body of impurities and strengthening digestion. Begin by squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a cup and adding warm water (not hot – honey must not be overheated). Stir in honey according to taste. Alternately, simply drink a glass of warm water immediately upon arising to help stimulate a bowel movement.
  • Eat your largest meal at midday, since this when our digestive “fire” is at its most fiery (and most able to properly digest our food). Thus, eating the largest meal of the day at noon supports the natural cycles of our metabolism (and is also beneficial for weight loss).
  • Choose foods that are warm and soothing with a bit of stimulating fire. Root vegetables, steamed veggies, soups, stews and casseroles - all prepared with warm spices - are ideal.
  • Foods should be seasoned with appropriate spices to aid digestion. Bland food is difficult to digest. Spices give our digestive juices a “boost.” Good choices at this time of year include cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cloves, turmeric, fennel and garlic.
  • Hot drinks are an effective way to stimulate the body, mind and digestion, and are the perfect accompaniment to meals or for relaxing with by a fire. Herbal teas with cinnamon, ginger, clove, or cardamom are great choices. Iced beverages dampen digestion and interfere with your ability to assimilate the food you have eaten. So best to choose warm drinks (and foods) instead!
  • Avoid heavy, oily foods since these increase kapha. Bake or steam your foods instead of frying them. Avoid excessive sweets. This is not the best season for ice cream (sorry!), as ice cream is basically just like the season – cold, moist, heavy, stagnant, mucous-forming – and can cause these very conditions in the body.
  • Take a ginger/lemon/salt mixture before meals. This is a simple way to improve the quality of your digestion and thereby create less kapha. Grate a little fresh ginger and mix with a few drops of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Eat ¼ to ½ tsp of this mixture a few minutes before lunch and dinner each day. This will help stimulate your digestive juices and promote better digestion.
  • Exercise is important to counteract the sluggish nature of this time of year. Find an activity that you enjoy, and perform it regularly.  Consistency is key, so if you choose something you enjoy, you are more likely to do it. Yoga is always a good choice! Important yoga poses for the season include sun salutations and poses that open the chest, throat, and sinuses, as these counterbalance kapha by removing any congestion in the respiratory system. Other good poses are the fish, boat, camel, lion, bow, locust, shoulder stand, and headstand. You can follow the yoga postures with heating pranayama (breathing techniques) such as fire breathing (bhastrika).

Please note that people with a particular health issue should follow a regimen appropriate for their specific doshic imbalance. The above are general recommendations to maintain health in winter. Everyone can benefit from keeping an eye on the increase of vata and kapha qualities to prevent colds, the flu, congestion, and other respiratory problems.

Om Shanti,

Marisa Laursen
Senior Faculty, California College of Ayurveda
Manager, Ayurvedic Spa & Healthcare Center
Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist
Pancha Karma Specialist
Sivananda Certified Yoga Teacher

fax 815.572.5394
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“A rose's fragrance is so powerful, it makes you want to smell it.
Your grace has to be so powerful, that people want to feel it.”

~ Bhajan