Dr. Pratima Raichur – Pratima Skincare & Spa, New York City Habits to Love
Dr. Pratima Raichur is a pioneer of Ayurvedic skincare based in New York City. She has helped men, women and children throughout her 40-year career as an Ayurvedic doctor and aesthetician. She is the author of the best-selling book Absolute Beauty, as well as founder of PRATIMA skincare and the PRATIMA Ayurvedic Skincare Spa Clinic in New York City’s SoHo district. She lectures internationally and has been featured in Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and InStyle Magazine.
“My husband received a job practicing medicine in New York. And I remember thinking it would be a real challenge bringing my own Ayurvedic practices here. The expression, ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere’ was an inspiration at the time because I thought, ‘I like challenges!’ But what ended up happening was both beautiful and miraculous – I ended up in one of the most open-minded cities in the world. People came to me from word-of-mouth recommendations wanting to hear about this thing called ‘Ayurveda’ and were very open to new ideas and new concepts. And that is how my business grew, very organically. It actually turned out to be easier in New York than I think it would have been in any other national or international city.
I grew up in an Ayurvedic household, where our food was prepared for the specific purpose of maintaining our health, and our daily routine included meditation and other practices to balance the mind and spirit. I was always told that aging is not a process of deterioration, but rather a blossoming of the mind, body and spirit.
I was taught that we all have within us a soul – the soul is something that fire cannot burn, wind cannot blow, and water cannot wet – the soul does not age. Life gives us the opportunity to practice connecting to this undying force within. To have a lifetime of practicing this meant that the older we got, the closer to the soul we were, and thus the more beautiful, purely beautiful, we became. In Ayurvedic traditions, older people are revered for their wisdom and beauty. And I always saw this beauty when I looked at the older women in my family. Others also noticed how striking they were, my mother and grandmother, and it was clear to me that, more than just nice features, it was from their life-long practice connecting to the soul within.
I eat very simply – the simpler the better! I find that the less combining there is of foods, the easier it is for digestion.
No matter what you eat, you want it to truly nourish the body. Since thoughts and emotions are also digested and absorbed into the body, it is important to eat in an environment where you do not feel stressed, where you can truly appreciate the nutrients you are putting into your body, and where you can witness and enjoy how it really feels to nourish yourself. Sometimes it can be very challenging to be so mindful in our daily lives, but this practice can make the difference between our food being a nectar versus a toxin.
A general rule–drink your food, eat your water. Chew your food with such awareness and appreciation that it becomes like a water and relish your water so absolutely that it becomes like a food. Life changing nourishment for the mind and body.
Every morning, I send love and gratitude to everyone who is in my life – both here and since passed – even all the people who come to see me at my spa and clinic. I also send love and gratitude to Mother Earth.
I have a series of breath practices, called Pranayama–first one is detoxifying, second is rejuvenating, third is calming. This helps me go out and face the word; it supports my energy or life force, and nurtures and heals my body directly. On days when I don’t do this, I notice a big difference, feeling heavier and less vibrant.
After breathing, I sit quietly and quiet my mind–as a meditation practice. With mental intention, I send love deep into the layers of the subtle body, to the organs, tissues, dna, chromosomes, and genes. By sending love deeper and deeper, I dissolve negativity at all these levels. Once this happens, there is nothing separating me from pure consciousness. And I connect to who I am.
At my clinic, where I help heal others, is where I truly heal myself. I believe when your work involves giving, the universe replenishes you so you can keep on giving. Not everyone has this type of work, but it is important that everyone find a job or lifestyle where you can feel fulfilled. Find a purpose in what you do and the universe will replenish your efforts.
At the end of every day, when I am lying down at night, I go through my whole day, what happened, what someone said, anything that may have occurred, and I remove all negative thoughts. If someone said something that didn’t feel kind, I let it go right there so I don’t carry it with me the next day. I send love and let it all go. This is perhaps my most important practice – people carry burdens their whole life, which only makes negativity accumulate. So let it go. Know that beneath everything, we are made of pure consciousness. Let all the little things go and love who you are.”
– Dr. Pratima Raichur, January 31, 2013
*Photo by Bethany Bandera, courtesy of PRATIMA.