Finding Peace Through Yoga’s Sister Science

Celia Gordon exudes the kind of serenity one would expect from a devoted yogi and ayurvedic practitioner. Nonetheless, her life wasn’t always this calm. During her 17-year career working long hours as a criminal defense attorney, Gordon adopted three children and made partner at her firm. She constantly dealt with the stress and guilt of being a busy working mother. “Whether it was my law partner or family, it seemed as if I was always letting the people close to me down,” the Huntington resident said.

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She turned to yoga to relieve stress, and it quickly became her refuge. Gordon decided to take it a step further: She completed a workshop at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA in 2013 and later earned a 200-hour teacher certification at The Funky Om in Huntington where she currently teaches. During the latter training, Gordon reflected on the sacrifices she was making for her career at the expense of her family. She decided to leave her firm in 2015.

Her next life-changing decision came in 2017 when she returned to Kripalu to earn a 500-hour teacher training certification. One of the elective modules was integrating ayurveda into yoga teaching, and she found herself immediately drawn to it. Known as the sister science of yoga, ayurveda (ayur=life, veda=science or knowledge) is a system of medicine formed thousands of years ago by the sages of India. It postulates that for the soul to be intact, the mind, body and spirit must be in balance. To achieve this, a flavorful diet and self-care practices are stressed.

Along with integrating ayurveda into her personal life, Gordon also started introducing the concepts into her teaching—”sprinkling ayurvedic fairy dust” in her yoga classes. Naturally, her next step was to merge her two passions: she recently began offering ayurveda workshops at yoga studios and private homes throughout Long Island. The workshops, which range anywhere from 2-7 hours, focus on the history and philosophy of ayurveda, as well as basic self-care techniques. They end with a cooking lesson. “There are things happening in the environment that our bodies are mimicking,” said Gordon, who is currently pursuing an ayurveda health counselor certification. “Ayurveda teaches us how to recognize when we feel out of balance and gives us the tools to return to our own individual equilibrium.”

In addition to her ayurvedic workshops, Gordon recently started a business with friend and fellow yoga teacher Kerry Fisher called The Yoga Teachers, which offers a variety of corporate wellness programs. Each program incorporates yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices. Ayurvedic teachings will eventually be introduced.

Gordon hopes that ayurveda will someday become as mainstream as yoga. “It’s never too late to start living an ayurvedic lifestyle,” Gordon stressed. “When you start listening to your body you realize even the smallest changes can lead to big shifts.”