Written by Petar Vojinovic | Updated On December 09, 2023
Discover Wellness Through Yoga, Ayurveda, and Culinary Delights with Diana Bellofatto
Since 2001, Diana’s dedication has centered around sharing the therapeutic wonders of yoga, Ayurveda, and rustic & Ayurvedic culinary services. Diana approaches this journey with compassion, intelligence, expertise, integrity, and a touch of humor.
With certifications spanning yoga teaching (200 & 500 hours), yoga therapy, pregnancy yoga, yoga for the back and scoliosis, yoga for Eating Disorders, Ayurvedic Consulting, and more, her experience encompasses all ages, diverse populations, and various disease conditions.
Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, is traditional Indian Medicine. It provides guidance on nutrition, lifestyle, herbs, yoga, fitness, and the environment. In her role as an Ayurvedic Consultant, Diana conducts consultations aimed at assisting individuals in attaining freedom from disease and embracing a life of infinite wellness.
Recognizing the importance of exercise in healthy living, she brings her expertise as a NASM certified Personal Trainer, offering both private and group personal training sessions.
Beyond these offerings, she provides Personal Assisting services and extends conscientious care for our canine companions.
Learn more about this fabulous woman in this MysticMag interview.
Can you explain the fundamental principles of Ayurveda and how they relate to holistic well-being? How does Ayurveda influence your approach to yoga and culinary services?
Fundamentally speaking, Ayurveda assesses an individual and makes recommendations based on their unique needs.
(For even if multiple people have the same imbalance, they may each have differentiating symptoms that require their recommendations to be different.
For example, 3 people can suffer from indigestion but they may each present with different symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, or, gas/bloating. For nausea, we might recommend ginger tea. For heartburn, we might recommend aloe vera gel and for gas/bloating, we might recommend cumin, coriander, and fennel tea.)
Another tenet of Ayurveda is to honor your digestive fire, known as Agni. The reason is that dis-ease and suffering stem from poor digestion. We digest what we hear, see, smell, and touch, not just what we eat. If digestion is too weak or too strong, the impressions that come in through the senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste will be distorted. With distorted impressions comes a lack of discernment. Ayurveda calls lack of discernment, Pragya paradha. And lack of discernment causes poor decision-making. (We might choose junk food over healthy food or, staying out late and partying over exercising and spending time in nature, etc.).
One more example of a tenet of Ayurveda is when there is an imbalance, apply opposite qualities. (For instance, if you are cold, add layers of clothing or turn up the heat. If your skin is dry, massage it with oil.)
Many people turn to yoga for physical fitness, but it also has a strong mental and spiritual component. How do you integrate these aspects of yoga in your teachings or offerings to promote overall wellness?
One way I integrate the mental and spiritual components of yoga into my teachings is by providing examples of how yoga can be implemented outside the realm of practice on the yoga mat. An example of this would be to practice single-minded focus (aka chitta) when you perform a task. It can be something as mundane as washing the dishes- you bind your attention to your focus being solely on washing the dishes music playing in the background, no conversation, etc.
A great way to add a spiritual component to yoga practice is through meditation and breathing practices. Concentration that helps empty the mind creates space for meditation and our ability to bind with, what yoga calls, the true Self or Spirit. The breath bridges the gap between the body and mind and connects us to the Spirit. Synonyms for Self and Spirit can be Energy, Source, God, and gods. These are names for whatever we think of as our Highest Good.
Ayurvedic cuisine is known for its emphasis on balance and individualized dietary recommendations. How do you create menus that cater to different doshas and dietary needs while maintaining a rustic and authentic culinary experience?
I create menus that cater to different doshas and dietary needs while maintaining a rustic and authentic culinary experience by keeping it simple. Even though Ayurveda is an enormous science, it does not require labor-intensive cooking methods or the use of obscure ingredients. I consult with the client to ascertain what their needs are and provide them with menu ideas based on their requirements. I informed them about the importance of seasonal eating, eating fresh food, not skipping meals, honoring the digestive fire, and eating mindfully. I suggest that they pick a day of the week to procure groceries, and prep food (chop veggies, etc.). They also receive a list of foods that they should favor and simple recipes for spice mixes to have on hand to make sure that they can still eat properly even when life gets hectic. So, if food is prepped and ready, all they have to do is toss in some spice mix, add some healthy fat, and cook!
Can you share some examples of Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients commonly used in your culinary services? How do these ingredients contribute to the health and well-being of your clients or guests?
Common herbs/spices are cumin, coriander, fennel, ginger, and turmeric. These spices are mixed with basmati rice, mung beans, and ghee to make a staple Ayurvedic dish called kichari. Well-steamed vegetables can be added to the kichari as well. Kichari provides a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It is easy on digestion; allowing it to rest and reset. The mung beans have the added benefit of helping to soothe and heal the digestive tract.
In the world of wellness and holistic health, there’s a growing interest in eco-friendly and sustainable practices. How do you incorporate sustainable principles in your yoga, Ayurveda, and culinary services, considering both environmental and ethical factors?
I incorporate sustainable principles into my yoga, Ayurveda, and culinary services, considering both environmental and ethical factors by making sure that I shop for products from companies that have sustainable practices. Ethically speaking, I teach traditional yoga and provide a safe space for people to practice so they can feel at ease.
What are some of the unique challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered while offering rustic and Ayurvedic culinary services in a modern, fast-paced world? How do you adapt and stay true to the traditions and values of these practices in your business or teachings?
Some of the unique challenges and opportunities I have encountered while offering rustic and Ayurvedic culinary services in a modern, fast-paced world are figuring out how to transmit Ayurvedic cooking principles to people with busy lives. I recommend that people try to stay on track at least 50% of the time. I remind them that they should aim for progress, not perfection. I help out by providing meals and products such as ghee and spice mixes. I also provide informative yoga, Ayurveda, and culinary articles.
I adapt and stay true to the traditions and values of these practices in my business and teachings by continuing to study yoga and Ayurveda and by having gratitude for how much yoga and Ayurveda have served me. Yoga and Ayurveda are part of my daily routine and enrich my life immensely.