Time to talk about modern and global Ayurveda ! About the complexity and challenges of Ayurveda, and its unexpected meeting with modernity. Assem Adylbayeva is part of this “Ayurvedic Revival” !
When i first met her at the Ayurvedic Universiy of Gujarat, in India, she was a dedicated and successful student. A combination of talent and hard work. Because yes, you need to be strong and highly determined to achieve 5 years of pure ayurvedic medicine, and her ability to instinctively understand the classical texts of Ayurveda literally… amazed me.
She not only digest it, but she goes beyond it, working on how traditional knowledge systems like Ayurveda and modern scientific evidence-based medicine should be integrated. Because, clearly, classical Ayurveda of yesteryears cannot be blindly practiced without contemporary modifications. The mode of manifestation of disease has changed. The geo-climatic environment, plants, animals and microbes have changed. Human behavior, lifestyle and genetics have changed.
Even if Ayurveda as an ancient Science of Life has proved its efficiency, several scholars contribute to emergence of the “new Ayurveda”. Nowadays, many countries in the world especially England, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, United States have institutions where Ayurveda is correctly practiced with respect to traditions and high professional competence.
No doubt, Ayurveda is everywhere, and this is how is goes in Moscow !
Interview by Armanda Dos Santos
1. Dear Assem, could you introduce yourself, where you are from and why Moscow ?
Assem Adylbayeva: I’m from Kazakhstan, from small town which is called Semey. From childhood I have been dreaming to be a doctor, since then I have been trying to make this dream true. My family supported me whole my life to accomplish this dream.
So after school (2003), I made my first step to this goal by winning a Government stipend and I went to study to Semey State Medical University (in that time it called Academy), Semey town. While studying in this University I was lucky to meet wounderful teachers who inspired me and supported to not only study hard, but also to write many research works.
Just before graduation (2009) of this university, I got a wonderful opportunity to win another stipend given by AYUSH to study Ayurveda in India, so till now I’m the first and only one doctor in Ayurveda in Kazakhstan who have a high degree of University in this field.
While studying in Gujarat Ayurved University, in Jamnagar, I was lucky to meet an Ayurvedic practitinor – Boris Ragozin, who is graduated from the same University with first international batch in that time. He is first an Ayurvedic doctor in Russia, and during his years he was able to grasp deep knowledge about Ayurveda and Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis. Nowadays he is teaching Ayurveda, author of few books on Ayurveda and Yoga, the head of department of Ayurveda in institute of Oriental medicine in PFUR, Moscow.
Before my graduation, I was thinking what to do next? Where to work? How to start introducing Ayurveda to people? My wish was not only to treat, but also to spread this knowledge, that people will be able to use it in their routine life. And I think it was a blessing that I got an opportunity to be invited by Boris Ragozin to teach in Institute of Oriental Medicine, PFUR, in Moscow.
So here I am, living in Moscow where my dream became true with the help of a skillful doctor and bright person as Boris.
2. Russians are turning to alternative medical therapies including faith healers. Alternative Medicine Health Practitioners are growing in Moscow. Is it fair to say that people have lost their faith in conventional medicine ?
Assem Adylbayeva: I don’t think people have lost faith in conventional medicine, people just become more conscious about their own health and don’t believe blindly to modern medicine.
As being not only an Ayurvedic doctor, but also a Modern doctor I can say that almost all modern practitioners treats disease and modern medicines sooner or later have adverse effects on health. That’s why the concept of Ayurveda to treat a person as a whole (it means body, soul and mind) has great practical results. And I need to mention that Ayurvedic medicines, if used properly, does not have any adverse effect, so it is a safe way to treat people.
3. As an ayurvedic practitioner which kind of treatments do you apply there, and do you assist in fighting against particular ailments ?
Assem Adylbayeva: While teaching and treating I always say (words of my teacher) that disease it is “Play of 13 actors: 3 Dosha, 7 Dhatu and 3 Malas”. And each person is an individual, that’s why for everyone, the treatment is different.
If for one patient I use only herbs, for other I can use herbs and Yoga, for the third just detoxification therapy, as Nasya (nasal errhines), Basti (enema therapy) etc. For now I don’t treat only particular disease.
4. Sounds like Ayurveda is taking firm roots in Russia. Long before then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev tried to popularise yoga in 2008, several yoga centres had come up in cities from St Petersburg to Vladivostok. India and Russia have already signed a MoU on the cooperation in the field of Ayurveda teaching, treatment and research. Is India looking to promote Yoga and Ayurveda in Moscow?
Assem Adylbayeva: I’m more than sure that from now on Ayurveda will be spread not only in Moscow, but through whole Russia, because from 1st July of 2015, the Government of Russia has legally recognized the profession “Doctor of Ayurveda medicine”.
As well MoU was signed between Gujarat Ayurved University and Institute of Oriental medicine, PFUR , which will give us opportunity to invite teachers from India and to be able to send students from Russia there. As a conclusion, we can say that Ayurveda gets legal status of medical system which can be practices in Russia.
5. Ayurveda is becoming increasingly widespread and popular with Russians. Not only Yoga, but other holistic Indian ‘wellness’ practices are fast gaining popularity in Russia. Has the financial crisis pushing people into natural and less expensive therapies as Ayurveda ?
Assem Adylbayeva: I don’t think that Ayurveda is cheap treatment in Moscow or Russia itself because not all medicines are available, and it takes a lot of time, effort and finance to legalise and transport this medicines in Russia. So, the price of Ayurvedic medicine goes high. As for now, only Boris Ragozin was able to certify some famous Ayurvedic medicines in Russia.
6. You are also teaching Ayurveda, how do you assess the level of Ayurvedic instruction in Russia ?
Assem Adylbayeva: While teaching I can see that students who comes to our Institute are really interested in Ayurveda. They are open to new knowledge and want to learn more. Hopefully soon we will be able to open a long course for teaching Ayurveda.
7. Have you noticed a change among people using Ayurveda through your patients ?
Assem Adylbayeva: Yes! That’s for sure! People who really follow regime and diet accroding to Ayurveda became healthy. Their faces are more bright and even the way of their thinking changed into a positive way.
8. As a doctor, what are your plans for the future: improve your medical skills in Moscow, opening your own clinic, going back « home » or returning to Jamnagar… ?
Assem Adylbayeva: For sure I want to learn more and improve my skills, that I will do by often visiting my gurus in India. The knowledge of Ayurveda is vast and there is no limit for perfection.
I believe that by hard and mutual work with other Ayurvedic practitioners we will be able to spread Ayurveda everywhere and to everyone. Because everybody deserves to know how to be healthy and to help others to do so. That is my dream and that is my aim.
Thank you Assem !
Interview by Armanda Dos Santos