Name and company: Rosanna McKenzie Ayurveda
Where are you based: Norfolk, though I regularly see clients in London.
NDA : TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS, AND WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS TO START UP?
RM : I truly believe that an Ayurvedic perspective changes lives in the most subtle and simple of ways. Everyone should have an understanding of themselves and how they tick, and everyone deserves the time and space to apply that understanding. As an Ayurvedic massage therapist my work is done in the Space people give themselves, and I think that Space should be maximised because it is beyond precious. What I offer is perhaps the antithesis to prescriptive, passive massage therapy and is instead completely individualistic and thoroughly informed, so as to deeply restore bodies and beings to proper health with lasting results.
NDA : WHERE DO YOU PRACTISE?
RM : I am based in Norfolk, where I offer a mobile retreat style service. I often combine my work as a yoga teacher with Ayurvedic therapy to create mornings or weekends that are completely tailored to, and by, the individual(s). I also run monthly pop-up Ayurvedic massage in London, generally the first weekend of each month, available at Anamaya in Kensington on Fridays and Celestine Eleven in Shoreditch over the weekend itself.
NDA : WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
RM : I'd say my greatest achievements are reflected back to me in my clients. Each personal achievement is wonderful, but when I see the very real changes my job can affect in others, that's when I feel the best about what I do.
NDA : WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST DECISION YOUVE HAD TO MAKE IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS?
RM : To follow the one I love to Norfolk! We moved from Cornwall where I'd honestly have lived forever and a day if I could have done. The changes have been all-encompassing, and the resulting process of self-reflection invaluable. After all, this is what Ayurveda is- an honest and consistent investigation into oneself and a commitment to choose health by drawing whatever information we might find towards a state of balance.
NDA : WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
RM : One of the Yamas of yoga, Ahimsa.
Roughly translated Ahimsa means non-violence. Non-violence towards oneself and towards others. We as a nation try to practice love and self-love, but our connotation of love is quite an active, forceful attitude. We put love on someone else when we say we love them. To self-love feels active, perhaps a little grotesque, and difficult. When you take away the 'I love you' and read instead 'I will not hurt you,' the attitude becomes more subtle, more kind. To live with the promise to myself that I will not hurt myself, that seems to be a self-love that I can make peace with.
NDA : MANY PEOPLE ONLY CONTEMPLATE SETTING UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SPARK THE CATALYST?
RM : Keep an open mind and heart then really start listening and paying attention to what's around you. Opportunities tend to open up when you're looking for them, so know what you want and pay attention!
NDA : WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY ACTIVE AND HOW HAS IT CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
RM : I use my environment. In Cornwall I was always in the sea or on a clifftop, swimming in freezing cold water and being whipped up by the winds. In Norfolk I walk lots. The landscape is less extreme, quieter and more still. We are surrounded by woods and I'm just starting to experiment with ariel yoga, dangling from a branch on silks. Yoga is always a constant. Asana, pranayama & meditation. It keeps me rooted and it helps me stay brave.
NDA : DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE TIPS AND TRICKS TO STAY HEALTHY AND HAPPY EVERY DAY?
RM : I have a morning ritual which works for me. I get up early, tongue-scrape to help my body's detoxification process, drink some warm water and lemon juice to wake up my digestion then get outside. I'm always up, outside and walking within 5minutes of waking up. As I walk I set my intention for the day and make my own private pact with the world. Whether in London or on the farm in Norfolk, the early morning feels as if it belongs to me, and I can sit down to breakfast and my lists afterwards feeling as though I've already experienced a bit of magic.
NDA : DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A HEALTHY EATER AND ARE THERE HABITS YOU WISH YOU COULD KICK?
RM : I eat according to my mood, the season, the situation.. If I'm feeling anxious I'll root myself with a deeper, cooked dish, such as baked root vegetables with some sort of protein. If I'm lethargic I freshen the ingredients up, choose more raw foods with lime zest and mint etc.
I use food to rebalance and I have no absolute rules, though I prefer to eat from whole ingredients and steer clear of sugar or sugar-spiking foods.
NDA : WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL...
Usually a variation on porridge oats. Soak them, cook them, heat them, cool them- so versatile. And don't get me started on toppings.
At the moment we are living off vats of buckwheat/quinoa that I cook up in bulk to save time. Add some fresh or cooked greens, avocado, seeds, oils, herbs, humus- again the toppings are endless.
I'm lucky to live with a hunter gatherer. Some nights it might be pigeon breast, other nights fish, and for all the inbetweens he does a great jacket potato.
NDA : LASTLY, HOW LUCKY ARE YOU AND WHY?
I am beyond lucky. My work keeps me responsible for my own health so that I am always living towards a balanced mind, balanced body. I love, I am loved, and I have ridiculously inspirational friends. I have enough of everything and I have my dreams which drive me. It is not always easy but it can be so simple when I let it.