Yogainstructor specializes in Ayurvedic treatments

Published on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 by Tara Nelon

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Yoga instructor specializes in Ayurvedic treatments

By Tara Nelon

A new yoga instructor in Birch Bay is offering more than just lessons on stretching.

Juliet Wade, of Birch Bay, opened her practice in January, offering certified Ayurvedic-based nutrition and lifestyle consulting in addition to teaching Ayur yoga at her offices in Birch Bay and Bellingham.

And just what is Ayur yoga? Wade says unlike the popular Bikram, or hot yoga, which uses warm room temperatures of up to 105 degrees, Ayur yoga is gentler and is individually tailored to a person’s body type and temperament according to three major Ayurvedic physiological types or “dosha” profiles.

“It’s paying attention to everyone’s constitution and doing yoga rather than just a scripted routine,” she said. “Ayurveda is all about the individual and I love that because statistics might be for 60 percent of the people, but you have to wonder if you’re in that 60 percentile.”

Wade moved to Birch Bay with her husband two years ago from Laredo, Texas, after teaching yoga at Texas A & M University. Prior to that, the couple had lived in Seattle and Wade said they moved to Birch Bay when they decided the Northwest was “the best.”

“Seattle was great and I loved it when we lived there, but Birch Bay is more my speed,” she said. “It’s mellow and beautiful and I love the beach.”

A former international consultant in the geographical positioning system (GPS) software industry, Wade said she became interested in Ayur yoga a few years after discovering Bikram yoga in 1997, which eventually led to an interest in Ayurvedic medicine and lifestyle consulting.

“The first class, I totally fell in love with yoga,” she said, adding that she was initially drawn to the Bikram style because of her predominant Pitta, or fiery disposition according to the Ayurvedic profiles, but later chose a gentler style to balance herself out. “One of the basic principles of Ayur yoga is the concept that like attracts like. So you’re drawn to things that you already have a lot of. But in order to balance ourselves we need something that’s the opposite.”

She earned her yoga-teaching certification from Yoga Alliance, an international professional certification organization, and her group fitness training certification from American Council on Exercise.

She also studied at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the Ayurvedic doctor Vasant Lad and recently opened an additional office at 203 W. Holly Street in Bellingham for her clients there, offering Ayurvedic consultations and small yoga classes.
Wade said Ayurveda treatments are based an individual’s unique body compositions and temperaments known as “doshas,” as well as the idea of like attracts like.

Each person’s body type can exude more than one of the three main dosha profiles, but most often some elements predominate.

A person with a strong Pitta element, for example, could exhibit “fiery” qualities such as a high metabolism, quick digestion, hot body temperature, as well as a larger appetite and thirst. An imbalance of Pitta, could result in anger, criticism, judgment, indigestion, heartburn, or inflammation.

In an effort to minimize imbalances, Ayurvedic treatments prescribe the use of diet, lifestyle adjustments and gentle, natural treatments that help bring balance to the individual.

One treatment, “Netra Basti” ($75), for example, utilizes warm, herbalized ghee, similar to clarified butter, applied to the eye area to release stress, tension and fine lines. The 60-minute treatment reduces both Pitta and Vata doshas and includes treatment on both hands and feet to balance energy points.

A second treatment, “Shirodhara” ($85) involves pouring warm herbal oil over the center of the forehead between the eyebrows, known as the “third eye,” to soothe the nervous system and induce a sense of well being, balance emotions, and reduce the Vata dosha, the excess of which tends to manifest in fear, anxiety and worry.

Wade said while some of the treatments may seem esoteric to those who are unfamiliar with the history of Ayurveda, the majority of treatments are meant to be preventative and restorative, using gentle and herbal remedies and lifestyle adjustments.

“If you don’t know the history of it, it can seem a little confusing,” she said. “But the reason I love it is because it’s something that’s been practiced for more than 5,000 years and refined. So it’s not like ‘Oh, this might work and then 10 years later, we find all these side effects.’”

Wade teaches classes at the Sandcastle Resort in the clubroom, although times vary by day. She also teaches a special ladies only class at 8 a.m. Saturdays at the Sandcastle and additional classes at Whatcom Fitness at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as a children’s yoga class at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.

She is also available for Ayurvedic consultations by appointment and can be reached by calling 393-3375 or by visiting