Living her life the ayurvedic way, Jasmine Hemsley gives us an insight into her holistic approach to health
As a wellness and nutrition expert, bestselling author of East by West and co-founder of Hemsley+Hemsley, Jasmine Hemsley knows a thing or two about looking after herself. Much of her work is inspired by the holistic healing system of Ayurveda, championing a 360° approach to health. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you of her wellness credentials, she also has a sound bath business – Sound Sebastien – where sessions are said to “create a small pocket of paradise for a fast-paced world.” Here, she shares her healthy habits.
Working on a book as a solo project, without my sister, was a change – but an exciting one. Just as with the previous two cookbooks, the recipes for East by West came to life in my kitchen and the book was written at my dining table or during my travels. My partner and best friend were always around to give me very honest feedback, and of course, I involved them in the taste testing! Now, I’m excited to be sharing a more personal journey – what really makes me tick and fuels my passion for my work, as well as my relationship with Ayurveda and how to adapt the ancient wisdom to a western lifestyle.
Last year, I founded Sound Sebastien, my crystal alchemy sound bath business with Toni Dicks. We’ve hosted residencies at various locations and, in September, we held a pop-up at Good Vibes in Covent Garden for a monthlong residency. I find that crystal sound baths let me tune into my yin energy (the grounded, feminine ‘being’ energy, which is the opposite of the ‘doing’ masculine yang energy – we need a balance of both). Although I work in health and wellbeing, I am constantly running around and managing multiple projects at once, so hosting sound bath sessions really allows me to take a deep breath and relax.
Ayurveda is a 360° approach, so it’s never just about the food, and I’m hands-on in pretty much everything. I have to work hard to demotivate myself, so that I can actually switch off! I’m pretty creative and my brain is always spilling over with ideas. I’ve learnt that, if I meditate and balance out the yang energy of ‘doing’ with enough yin energy of ‘being’, when I do create and make decisions it all works a little easier and more successfully. I try not to get caught up in everything or I’ll go into a tailspin, so scheduling in quiet time and space helps me to stay grounded.
If you want to be healthier then listen to your body. We intuitively know what’s best for us but modern city living is constantly pulling us in every direction, away from our natural rhythm. Tuning into your needs can take many different forms, but a good place to start is by syncing with the circadian rhythms of the earth, sleeping before 10pm and waking before 6am. This is probably the hardest change to make when society has expectations of you and artificial light interferes with your intuition, but get this bit right and the rest will come naturally.
I know from studying Ayurveda that when you eat and how you eat is as important as what you eat! It makes sense that eating food you love – sourced locally where possible, freshly cooked and adapted to your constitution – is always going to beneficial. And if you can tune into how you’re feeling in the moment, a practice that I really try to nurture in East by West, you’re always going to make better choices and form a better relationship with yourself. Looking after your health is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach – it’s something much more holistic and flexible. Ayurveda teaches that a healthy digestive system is key. When your digestive system is healthy, everything else just falls into place.
Autumn is vata season, so I have to be even more on my toes as my predisposition is to have qualities of vata. I’m getting a double dose of it from my environment, which means I have to take care to keep the balance. I avoid raw foods during this time and favour cooked, warm foods especially as the temperatures begin to drop.
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