Dr. Zohreh Sadeghi On Finding Wellness, Liberation, and a New Career Path with Ayurveda
Dr. Zohreh Sadeghi knew she wanted Ayurveda to be her life's work after her first Panchakarma treatment.
"It was a forty-day cleanse," Zohreh tells us. "Once I was done with the entire course of the treatment, I felt like a new person; as if I had just hit a reset button on my body and mind."
That incredible healing was exactly what Zohreh was searching for. Having struggled with health issues she had been researching various treatments—and that's when she discovered Ayurveda. The ancient science of medicine intrigued her. She dived deeper, researching more and more until she made a drastic change: She quit her job "almost overnight" and moved from the US to Kerala, India to enroll in an intensive course. It was a soul-stretching and edifying experience for Zohreh. And after the Panchakarma cleanse, it was also career-changing.
That was 2009. Since then Zohreh has moved back to the US and obtained her Doctorate degree in Ayurvedic medicine, an endeavor that required her to work long clinical hours. That eventually unspooled into Zohreh's next chapter: opening her own clinic that "promoted the practice of Ayurveda." She founded Roha, an Ayurvedic healing center in San Francisco. Located in the city's Castro district, Roha—a word from the ancient Sanskrit language that means blossom— offers a diverse group of practitioners who specialize in a myriad of Ayurvedic and holistic wellness treatments, from Shirodhara (relaxing oil therapy) and Shiroabhyanga (therapeutic head and neck treatment) to spiritual guidance and holistic life coaching.
Zohreh's past decade has been an incredible journey. It's also been one of continued holistic healing and Ayurvedic learnings as she continues to offer her clients wellness tools so they, too, can "feel as great, liberated, and blissful" as she first discovered was possible in Kerala.
A Q&A with Dr. Zohreh Sadeghi
What are some misconceptions about Ayurveda? And what are some surprises?
The biggest misconception is that it’s a religious Hindu practice that would only work if you’re a devout Hindu, eat only vegetarian food, and enjoy Indian flavors. While Ayurveda is deeply rooted in spirituality, it is a science of life. Ayurveda teaches us how to live a healthy day-to-day life and gives us the tools necessary to achieve optimal balance in our body and mind in order to uplift the soul.
No matter what ethnicity you are, what religion you practice, whether or not you are a carnivore or a vegan, Ayurveda can work for you and help you live healthier and happier. Ayurvedic food isn’t necessarily Indian food, it’s food that’s well-balanced, easy to digest, wholesome, nutritious, and is good for each person’s individual and unique prakriti (body constitution). Depending on the flavors and ingredients used you can have Ayurvedic Italian food, Ayurvedic Mexican food, et cetera.
What have been some of the biggest rewards working as an Ayurvedic practitioner?
Seeing my clients smile and have hope again means the world to me. There is no better feeling than witnessing the shift towards being more healthy and happy in my clients. I empower my clients to see the light that exists within each one of them, the light that helps heal each individual from within. The healing is done by the person when they’re ready and willing to accept the teachings of Ayurveda. When I see my clients take these teachings and better themselves and their lives, I am filled with joy and gratitude.
What are a few ways someone can start to implement Ayurveda into their lifestyle?
By changing the rhythm of your day to align more with the natural rhythm in nature you can be living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. That means waking up with the sun, best time to wake up is before sunrise, and starting the day with a short seated meditation and a cup of hot water. Eating your meals around the same time daily, breakfast should be one to two hours upon waking up, lunch around 12 to 1 pm when the digestive system is at its peak, and dinner should be early and light. Then going to bed early to give your body plenty of time to rest as the deepest sleep happens during the hours of 10pm-2am.
"No matter what ethnicity you are, what religion you practice, whether or not you are a carnivore or a vegan, Ayurveda can work for you and help you live healthier and happier."
Also making sure that you are drinking plenty of warm water throughout the day as hot/warm water is naturally detoxifying for the colon and helps move things through the digestive system with ease and comfort. These are just a few simple tips that could help bring your body into balance every single day.
What are some practices you focus on to keep you balanced, healthy, and energized?
I have a lot of small and simple rituals I do for myself to make sure I am healthy. I go to bed fairly early every evening to make sure I get my seven to eight hours of sleep. I wake up with the sun and practice Yoga. I also take a lot of time for self-care, get massages often, enjoy days spent at the Korean spa, and walk/hike in nature regularly. I also eat a very clean and balanced diet. I mostly make my own food fresh daily. I’ve been a vegetarian for about ten years. I make sure I get lots of fresh seasonal and organic veggies in my diet daily. Above all, I spend a lot of time with people who make me feel happy and give me positive energy. I also practice gratitude every day and focus on the positives and the things I am grateful for in my life.
How do you approach beauty? Do you have any products or rituals that you swear by?
There is no doubt in my mind that real beauty radiates from inside, so if you keep your insides happy by eating fresh, seasonal, organic, and healthy food your skin will naturally glow. Keeping the insides happy also means working on your mental and emotional health, so it is essential to make sure you are processing each and every emotion that comes. Not holding on to negativity is key, processing emotions and letting them go slowly and gently will prevent the formation of toxins in the body. When the body is toxic free, the mind is light, and the heart is light, therefore the skin will glow.
That is key, but of course I also like to take care of my skin externally. I usually get a natural facial once every three months. I use mainly Ayurvedic oils on my face and body. I wash my face every morning as soon as I wake up and every evening before I go to bed. I also love to use rosewater as a toner on my face daily. This is my very simple skin care regimen to make sure I keep my skin healthy, fresh, and glowing.
To learn more about Dr. Zohreh Sadeghi and Roha, visit: rohasf.com.