Embracing the Power of Ayurveda and Yoga in Motherhood-About Me:
How My Life Transformed: From Dancer to Sannyasin to Mother
Welcome to my personal blog, where I invite you to join me on a heartfelt journey of self-discovery, motherhood, and spirituality. My story is one of unexpected twists and turns, leading me from the world of ballet to the realms of Ayurveda, Yoga, and ultimately, to becoming a mother. Becoming a mother was never part of my original plan. In fact, astrologers even told me that due to the Saturn placement in my natal chart, having children and maintaining a relationship would be incredibly challenging, if not impossible for me. Through my own experiences and deep connection with these ancient practices, I did not only conceive two beautiful children with ease, but I also have developed an Ayurveda-Yoga Coaching Program tailored specifically for mothers like you. So, grab a cup of tea, settle in, and allow me to share the captivating tale of how my life unfolded, and how I found my calling in helping women navigate the beautiful chaos of motherhood while nurturing their own spiritual growth and pursuing their own careers in the world.
The Dance of Self-Discovery:
In my earlier years, I loved to dance. Dance was my world. My career as a dancer started off with performing for my family in our living room and through much discipline and rigorous training, I became the youngest member of the Corps de Ballet at the Vienna State Opera when I was just sixteen years old. The discipline and determination I cultivated during my ballet career became invaluable as I embarked on my yogic path later on. Even as a mother now, these qualities continue to guide me, as I strive to make space for my spiritual-health practices and professional goals.
My life as a dancer took me from Vienna to vibrant cities like New York City, Paris, and London. I embraced the opportunities these cities offered, from dining with aristocrats in luxurious hotels to sharing bagels with my Russian dancer friend on a park bench in Soho. I danced alongside beautiful dolls at the Vienna State Opera, dynamic Black Americans at Alvin Ailey, and even found myself suspended in fishnets at the Lido de Paris. My career as a dancer took me to different cities and it exposed me to the path of Meditation, Yoga, and self-exploration. From dancing in prestigious theatres to encountering new spiritual practices, my journey as an artist lay the foundation for my future path.
Three Little Things I learned from the time of being a dancer:
- Love what you do with your whole heart.
- Never give up. Pursue your goals with discipline and persistence.
- Connected to yourself and your own creativity, wisdom, and healing via daily writing and time in nature.
In New York City, I was not only introduced to Meditation and Yoga, but also to Reiki, which opened my eyes to new ways of perceiving the world. It was because of an experience with Reiki, where I could help my father survive a by-pass surgery against all odds, that I decided to complete my Reiki Master education. To pay the expansive training and my bills, I became a model and commercial dancer, which enabled me to live in London and teach Reiki alongside my dance career.
My London Years and Introduction to Ayurveda:
My London years where one of the happiest in my life, but as I noticed that my dance and singing career was heading to a dead end, I decided to pursue my talent as a healer. An educational trip to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur and the completion of my first Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training in Quebec that same summer changed the direction my life would take from here on. On this trip, at the age of twenty-three, I met my first husband, who was one of the original members of the Esalen Institute. I moved to Carmel, California, where my journey as a dancer transformed into that of an Esalen Yogi. My focus shifted from being a performer and artist to becoming a healer and teacher. I wholeheartedly embraced a yogic lifestyle, while working with Esalen Massage, Trigger Point, and Cranial Sacral therapy. When I started to consider a medical training to deepen my knowledge of the body, I was introduced to Ayurveda. I heard Dr Marc Halpern talk about Ayurveda, and I knew I wanted to learn, live, and work with this ancient healing system. Ayurveda seemed to be the most complete medical science I had encountered so far and it seemed to be a perfect addition to the other healing modalities I already practiced. Without ever having read one book about Ayurveda, I signed up at the Californian College of Ayurveda to become a Clinical Ayurveda Specialist.
How I Almost Became a Monk:
As I graduated from the Ayurvedic college, my first marriage ended and I embarked on a life-changing trip to India. The whole point of me going to India was that I had received an offer to build an Ayurvedic and Yogic department in a medical center in Monterey, but before I accepted the offer, I knew I had to get to India, the birthplace of Ayurveda and Yoga.
My six-month journey to India turned out to be akin to a classic story in a novel. I heeded the call to leave home and discovered an exotic world with different rules, customs, and ways of life. Immersed in the vibrant culture and teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga, I underwent personal challenges and profound awakenings that transformed my perception of myself and the world around me. India is such a mystery for so many people and so many people are drawn to it, so what was it about traveling in India that was so transformative for me?
Three Little Things that I have realized during my first trip to India:
- There is order in chaos.
- Rigid ideas about life hinder us from being happy.
- Cultivate a connection to the Great Mother and the sacred in everything.
Upon returning from India, I received a new offer to take over the Yoga center I used to frequent. It seemed like my dream of merging my spiritual path with my life of teaching Ayurveda and Yoga together with a life partner was about to materialize. However, after half a year of working there, the owner of the Yoga studio decided to keep the center, my boyfriend ended our relationship, and my landlady asked me to move out. During this time, I attended a 10-day Vedanta Silent Retreat. At the end of the retreat, the main Swami asked me if I wanted to stay at the ashram and be in charge of the Ayurvedic center and the Hatha Yoga program. I accepted. At the age of thirty, I renounced the worldly life I had envisioned for myself and chose the path of a sannyasin for me – someone who renounces the world and dedicates their life to the spiritual search. I was driven by a profound longing to realize my true nature and dedicate every moment of my life to Yoga. I packed my bags, discarded my high-heeled shoes, short skirts, and ballet slippers, and left everything behind. With tears of both pain and joy in my heart, I arrived at the Californian ashram, and as I was gazing upon the serene Yoga Farm with its humble altar, outdoor Yoga platforms, Krishna temple, and tranquil pond, I felt both stranded and saved at the same time.
I yearned to practice my sadhanas (spiritual practices) undisturbed, far away from the noise and chaos of ordinary life, and I anticipated living with my spiritual teacher and serving as a devoted disciple for the rest of my life. While I continued my work as the head of the Hatha Yoga department and the Ayurvedic center at the ashram, I dedicated my heart and energy to the search for God and the truth of my being. It seemed too good to be true—and it was. The idyllic ashram environment didn’t spare me from my own weaknesses and the challenges of life. I soon realized that human intentions and relationships can be as fraught as in the so-called outside world. Ego and the yearning for power and importance were as real in an ashram setting as they were anywhere else. At the time I had the chance to witness Mata Amritananda Mai, also known as Amma. During a Devi Bhava (a night of honoring the divine mother), I had a life-altering realization: Despite my unwavering dedication to my spiritual path, I understood that I would never truly know myself solely on this path I was on. I yearned to spend more time with a living Guru like Amma who could guide me.
When I shared my intention of leaving the ashram with my Swami, she chastised me, believing that I had strayed from the path and lost my dedication by returning to the world. Never before or afterward in my life had someone yelled at me like this. I literally peed in my pants. She was so angry with me because she viewed a spiritual life as renouncing romantic relationships and worldly ambitions, and any path that didn’t involve living in seclusion wasn’t a truly spiritual path at all. Nevertheless, I had to follow the light onto myself, and so I packed my bags once again and embarked on the next steps of my journey.
Three Little Things I took with me from my life at the ashram:
- There is peace and happiness in seclusion, but not forever.
- We are humans with strengths and weaknesses, no matter where we are.
- It is beautiful to serve others, yet it can also hinder us from going deeper into silence and our own spiritual awakening.
My Search In between East and West:
Over the next few years, I travelled back and forth between California and India. While living as a sannyasin amidst the chaotic world of Hollywood Hills and the serene atmosphere of India (or the other way around), I continued working as an Ayurvedic specialist and Yoga teacher. However, my primary focus was my own spiritual journey, and I diligently wrote down my experiences, taking my little Acer notebook with me wherever I went. These years in between two worlds were filled with excitement, heartbreak, confusion, and a sense of not truly belonging anywhere. I was alone a lot, and yet there were always people who would support and guide me to take the next steps. My unwavering desire to discover the truth about myself propelled me forward, and while living in LA, I studied the SE Trauma Therapy technique from Peter Levine and frequented the Hindu temple near Malibu. The spiritual search transformed me to such an extent that even my own mother struggled to recognize the person I had become. The vibrant, life-loving dancer transformed into a slender, introverted Yogi with clear eyes and a restless heart.
Fortunately, my years of dedicated sadhana (spiritual practices) and therapeutic work paid off. During my first time at the Osho ashram in Pune, I reconnected with a friend named Nadja, whom I had known from the Yoga ashram in California and the Yoga center in London. When I shared my intensive quest with her, she looked into my eyes and said, “I think you are ready.” Nadja became the catalyst that pointed me in the right direction and introduced me to the Zen Master who would guide me further. Yet, as stories often go, I had to go through one more round of searching in the wrong places. I experienced another devastating heartbreak before life pushed me, with great pain, toward the right path. Yet, it was the news of Nadja’s tragic death in a bombing in Pune that really propelled me to the doorstep of my Zen Master. On the night before Nadja’s funeral, I had a profound realization while sitting with Amma for the last time – I realized that after all that I have done and learned I knew nothing. I finally surrendered to the path that life had led me to, and embraced the Last Satsang. It was during this transformative experience that my mind awoke, and I found liberation from my long quest. As my Zen Master likes to say, my “coconut head” had been cracked open and I had been pushed over the cliff.
Three Little Things life taught me during my spiritual search:
- At times, we need to be pushed over our own limits.
- I had to surrender before my mind could wake-up.
- There is perfection in all of life; even pain is a part of it.
My Life As A Mama Yogi And My Gift To You:
With my search concluded, I first enjoyed some carefree time in India, joining a friend on a crazy motorbike tour through the Himalayas. It was during this time that I asked myself, “What now?” I had been so long on the spiritual path that I had no idea what to do next. I still loved dance, the arts, and Yoga, and my mother was urging me to come home. Feeling it was time, I returned to my hometown of Vienna. There I met my husband, and together with him, I produced and directed the Yoga Musical called “The New Papillon,” in which I told my tale and merged Dance with Yoga.After the excitement of the performances had calmed down, he asked me to marry him in Goa, and in the following two years, I gave birth to our two beautiful sons. Even though I was told by various astrologers that it would be difficult for me to conceive and have a family, it all happened very naturally and with ease. Life took yet another unexpected turn and I welcomed it, embracing motherhood wholeheartedly.
While I remain dedicated to Yoga and Ayurveda and serving women, my little ashram now resides within the walls of my own home. My gurus are my two sons, my husband, and my clients. While I honor the teachers who have guided me along the way, life itself has become the all-encompassing Guru now. The term “guru” means the remover of darkness, and as a mother, I find that motherhood itself acts as the master program of all the lessons life has ever tried to teach me but that I failed to grasp until now. Motherhood makes me get to know myself in completely different ways and teaches me invaluable lessons that I previously overlooked. Now my sadhana or spiritual practice is intertwined with my daily schedule and actions—it is my life rather than an addition to it – and I am using what I have learned on my spiritual path as tools to help me stay connected to myself and my core values, while raising my family and supporting women like you who aim to live their individual potential, health, and motherhood journey with grace, confidence, and empowerment.
Now I am a mama like you, and in our journey together, I am going to share with you different ways that I have been able to integrate the wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga into my daily life. This may all sound foreign or completely antithetical to being a mama, and yet in our journey together, I will be sharing with you all the ways and how all these experiences have helped me to be a more conscious, compassionate, and yogic mother to my children and myself.
The Magic of The Three Little Things for Mamas:
Tip 1: Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations:
- Release unrealistic expectations of yourself and how life should be and know that spiritual self-care practices will look different as a mother. As a mother you cannot adapt your life to a very rigorous Yoga practice. You have to adapt the Yoga practice to your life as mother.
Tip 2: Find Practicality in Spirituality
- Integrating practical and spiritual aspects of life is equally important, therefore make your whole life as mother your actual Yoga practice.
Tip 3: Embrace Self-Compassion and Self-Love
- You can only truly give to others if you are prioritizing self-care and self-compassion as a mother and if you recognice the importance of nurturing your own well-being.
If you find something I share that really resonates with you, I am your person who can guide you find your own ways and a gentler approach to what might sometimes seem like a big chaos or catastrophe, rather than an enriching and peaceful family life. By sharing my own experiences and providing practical guidance in the upcoming blogs and videos, I hope to save you from unnecessary struggles and frustrations that you may encounter in your own life and motherhood journey. The stories of my journey and those of my clients will guide you on your own path back home to yourself.
Conclusion – My Offerings to You:
Life is a dance of evolution, and each step we take brings us closer to our true selves. Just as my dance career led me to the realms of Ayurveda, Yoga, and motherhood, your journey holds unique discoveries and transformations. Embrace the power of Yoga and Ayurveda as you navigate the beautiful chaos of motherhood, nurturing both your spiritual growth and your career aspirations. Remember that the path may not always be straightforward, but each twist and turn is a part of your unique story.
As you move forward, take with you the wisdom of the three little things: Release unrealistic expectations, make life your Yoga practice, and prioritize self-care and self-compassion. These guiding principles will help you find balance, joy, and purpose in your roles as a mother and a seeker of truth.
Thank you for joining me on this journey through my life’s chapters. I look forward to connecting with you in the upcoming blogs and videos. Let’s walk this path together, supporting and uplifting one another as we navigate the beautiful tapestry of motherhood and self-discovery.
With love and light,
Verena Gayatri Primus
Remember, awakening takes less than a second, but refining your daily routines, habits, and continued growth takes a lifetime!
I hope to see you in the next blogs and videos, and if you’d like to be a part of our Mama-Yogi community or would like more information about how I can support you, please sign up for ongoing insider news or send me an email at email@example.com to receive support on your journey.