Romola Butalia reviews Maya Tiwari’s book, The Path of Practice. This book is about Ayurvedic healing techniques through breath, sound and food. One of the simplest introductions to a step-by-step practice of sadhana for the uninitiated.
As a fashion designer in New York, diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer at the age of 23, Maya Tiwari rejected her doctor’s advice. He had suggested painless death with heavy doses of morphine. Instead she undertook an inner journey to heal herself through meditation. And also by reconciling her ancestral heritage and renewing herself through Vedic healing practices. In the process, she became a practising Vedic monk devoted to sharing her knowledge of healing techniques. Consequently, her methods incorporate the healing nature of sound, food, and breath. Additionally, they are easy to understand and follow. Becuase they propagate being in tune with natural rhythms.
The book details well-known Vedic practices of pranayama that creates balance and harmony to body and mind resulting in a state of deeper awareness. The few mudras and asanas suggested are also explained with remarkable simplicity and lucidity. She introduces concepts of Ayurvedic healing expanding on the importance of mantras to include the positive impact of sound energy and its healing potential. A major portion of her book concentrates on the vitality and energy that is derived from particular foods and from an awareness of practising ‘food sadhana’. The book provides helpful tips to garner the energy of the Earth through the food we cook and eat, and has several healthful recipes.
Path of Practice
The Path of Practice is an honest sharing of Bri. Maya Tiwari’s own experiences. She has studied Ayurvedic healing and Vedic techniques of promoting health and rejuvenating the mind and body. Importantly, hers is not the dry path of academic learning. Instead her book reflects her individual experiential journey. This necessarily expands horizons by incorporating personal learning on the foundation stone of existing ancient knowledge.
Tiwari’s own practices include the invocation of the Divine Mother to nurture, to heal and to protect. But for the lay reader, she has simplified the concepts of Shakti. It is the primordial energy that exists in all creation. On one hand is the esoteric and sometimes feared dimensions. But Tiwari emphasises on the healing, rejuvenating and energising aspects of the feminine energy. Thereby she reaches a larger audience who can then benefit from her own much deeper insights and wisdom born of conviction and experience.
Maya Tiwari’s book, The Path of Practice, is one of the simplest introductions to a step-by-step practice of sadhana for the uninitiated. It is a woman’s perspective, but in no way does it preclude men. It’s simplicity lies in the wealth of knowledge and the depth of experience that preceded it.