Sonam Targee is a man of many talents with a list of degrees and certifications as long as most of our resumés. Stillwater Yoga practitioners, Tom and Anastasia Ragland brought him to Atlanta, and he offered a free lecture at the studio.
An Ayurvedic and herbal medicine practitioner for 30 years. He currently practices and lives in Rochester, NY. He was born in Tamil Nader, South India. He holds a masters degree in Chinese Medicine, a practitioner's certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a Bachelor's Degree in Ethno-musicology, a graduate of The New England School of Acupuncture, and a member of the National Ayruvedic Medical Association having studied extensively with renown Doctors of Ayurvedic Medicine Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Robert Svoboda, and Dr. Mahadevan, as well as His Holiness The 16th Karmapa Master Mantak Chia, Baba Mktananada, Dr. Hawkins, and Yeshe Donden (personal physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama).
I usually never regret attending a lecture at Stillwater, and this turned out to be no exception. When I entered the studio, Sonam's sense of calm struck me immediately. Non-plused by late comers, he directed us to gather up several handouts to take home. Once we settled, he chanted an invocation. Apparently well-versed in yoga alignment techniques, he sat on blankets with his inner thighs weighted with sandbags. He began writing on a whiteboard some key points about Ayurveda. Marking an easy way to remember how to pronounce it by breaking it down to eye • ur • Veda.
He began by explaining that the Gunas or qualities in nature in Ayurveda are the results of the balance or imbalance of the basic elements earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Too much fire creates heat and dryness. Too much water creates dampness and cold. Too much air and ether create gas and spaciness.
In Ayurveda, Doshas are what make up the primary constitution of a person. There are three basic doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We can be a single, double, or tri dosha. Our constitution is determined by things like the mind space around your conception, the pregnancy, and childbirth, as well as seven generations or more of your ancestors --- not to mention the snake, frog, or swan pulse pattern on your wrist felt by your index, middle and ring finger.
Each dosha has specific food propensities, for example, Vata like dry and salty foods, Pitta like spicy and sour, while Kapha prefers sweet and creamy. There are also physical cues to a dosha type Vata may have long legs short arms or short legs and long arms. Every dosha has a planet and day association like Monday and Friday are Kapha, Tuesday and Thursday are Pitta, and Wednesday and Saturday are Vata.
In addition, when a dosha is out of balance, it creates specific changes in the physical and mental constitution of a person. A Kapha imbalance may lead to sadness and cysts. A Pitta imbalance may lead to anger and rashes. A Vata imbalance may lead to anxiety and respiratory issues.
It is difficult to give justice to this 5000-year-old practice in just two hours - a practice that can even boast surgery techniques like the "nose job" which are still being used (unchanged) by plastic surgeons today. However, Sonam gave a wonderful overview and left us knowing there's a lot more to Ayurveda than meets the eye.
To learn about other workshops and lectures at Stillwater Yoga visit Stillyoga.com. To contact Sonam Targee in Rochester, NY call 585-256-1841.