Interview with Heather TenBroek – Our Local Ayurveda Expert

Heather TenBroek | Wren and Wild in Bend Oregon

We love our clean beauty products, but making time for self-care, mindfulness practice, or just straight up relaxing is an essential part of our beauty routine. Sound like a tall order in a time of endless to-do lists and 24/7 notifications? We turned to our favorite local Ayurveda expert, Heather TenBroek, for her tips on turning down the noise and tuning in to find balance. We chatted with Heather about the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, whispering from rooftops and the lost art of tongue scraping. Read on for our chat with Heather, and make sure to check out Heather’s website, www.awakenayurveda.com for more information or to book a session with Heather.

Tell us more about Ayurveda. How would you describe it to a total newbie?

Ayurveda literally means the Wisdom of Life. These ancient teachings are the foundation of all medicine practiced today, and in its simplest explanation, can break down everything we need to know by learning about the 5 elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Coupled with Yoga, this Union of Knowledge teaches us how to find balance and optimal health on the path to enlightenment.

The cool thing about it is that once you understand the pairs of qualities, everything else falls into place. For example, a person who typically has a lot of ideas and is super creative, those characteristics are mobile: mobile thought, which is a characteristic of Air. Another example is someone who has a quick temper or is easily hot-headed, that’s Fire. Same goes with digestion. Gas is Air; Heartburn is Fire. Ayurveda is everything and everything is Ayurveda. Harmony, Balance, Life.

What inspires you to share your knowledge of yoga and Ayurveda?

As an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Doctor-in training, my greatest joy is helping people find balance in their lives, especially in a time when “free time” or “self-care” may otherwise seem out of reach. I utilize the practices of deep listening first and foremost, yoga, breathwork, meditation, essential oils, crystals and stones, nutrition, and other daily home tips to bring balance to the body. Simplifying things is crucial, as there is such an overload of information out there. I get really jazzed about this knowledge and sharing it with my community. I get even more jazzed when witnessing that in others. You know, that AHA! moment when things click or come full circle for someone? That is the best!

I have been practicing and studying yoga, meditation and Ayurveda for more than 30 years. I’ve also experienced more than 30 bone breaks, multiple tissue-related surgeries, and am a recovering addict, so I have a great deal of experience with trauma. I feel honored and blessed to be able to share this experience in a simplified, helpful and of course, loving way. To be able to receive and share the ancient teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda is a true blessing and gift for which I am eternally grateful, as this knowledge is passed down through the millennia teacher to student, teacher to student, and so on. When we realize all the information is within us, that we are all divine beings witnessing a human experience, and that we are all made of the same 5 elements, things become clearer, judgment fades of self and others, and a healthy-sattvic life emerges and shines through.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in incorporating ayurveda or ayurvedic concepts into their life?

My first answer is always yoga, breathing practices, and meditation. In terms of daily home practices, I recommend tongue scraping, as it clears toxins from the tongue, keeps the mouth healthy, improves taste, and ignites the digestive fire, preparing the digestive organs for nutritious food. And of course, anyone can contact me for private sessions or come to my next workshop at Groove Yoga! on January 25, 26, and 27. Details for the workshop are on my website www.awakenayurveda.com and at www.GrooveYogaBend.com

What are some of your favorite self-care practices?

I have quite a lovely routine, if I do say so myself. “Dynacharya” or Daily Practices are important for healthy routine, mental stability, emotional ease, and, of course, proper digestion. Tongue scraping is my favorite instant-gratification practice and it’s the absolute first thing I do in the morning, every morning! I am a BIG self-care advocate: facials, oil massage “abhyanga” head-to-toe, drybrushing, neti pot, rosewater eye wash, lots of meditation, yoga and self-study.

What do you want to scream from the rooftop?

I prefer a whisper because I think there’s way too much yelling going on but, if I must, it would be, “THANK YOU!!!”

If you were to tell one person, “thank you for helping me become the person I am today”, who would it be?

I met my husband, Gregg, here in Bend more than 26 years ago. It was magic, love at first sight, and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve grown up together, side-by-side, best friends through it all, and I cannot imagine my life without him. We have an amazing life together. Our secret? Respect, unconditional love, and lots of laughs.

What are a few of your favorite plant-based beauty products?

Golly – I have sooo many favorites! Some of my go-tos are:

  • Morning Moisture, Nightly Nourish and La Femme by Kindred
  • Arya Essentials Hair Oil and Face Oil
  • Kalahari Brightening Eye Serum by Lilfox
  • Osea’s Atmospheric Protection Cream & Hyaluronic Sea Serum
  • Youth to the People’s Superfood Cleanser
  • Ayuna’s Cream ll, Balm, and Essence
  • Unwrapped Life’s Shampoo + Conditioner bars
  • Well People mascara, eye liner and lip color.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Home.

What was the last song you downloaded?

Nothing Breaks Like a Heart, Miley Cyrus

What kind of impact do you hope your work has on people?

I hope people are inspired to be their best selves, that by their sharing of the knowledge, it continues to inspire others and so on. My wish for everyone? Health, happiness, ease, peace, and love in this lifetime, and the next.

To learn more about Heather, her work, and to register for her upcoming workshops, check out her website www.awakenayurveda.com or follow her on Instagram @heathergraytenbroek.

To try some of the products Heather mentioned, get shopping here!

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