Kiera Nachman is working to manifest a new, better world.
Years ago, the longtime yogi was intuitively drawn to the healing practice of Ayurveda. And, once she delved in, she was hooked.
Though holistic nutrition first motivated her studies, she began to notice that the ancient knowledge could be applied to skincare, as well. That led to the creation of her 100 percent natural, non-toxic, food-grade skincare and wellness line, Sundara Holistic.
Now, the New York-based Ayurvedic practitioner—who treats private clients for holistic nutrition, skincare, aromatherapy, herbs, energy medicine and detox—shares how she strives to live simply and in the moment every day:
Live The Process: How did you discover your passion for Ayurveda and skincare?
Kiera Nachman: As far back as I can remember, I've always been in pursuit of truth. From a very young age, I was attracted to the wisdom of ancient civilizations, as well as ancient spiritual practices from around the world.
I wasn’t raised with Ayurveda, but I grew up in a home where my mother bought organic at the farmer’s market and served clean food. So, I was always into nutrition and healthy, seasonal eating.
I began studying yoga at the age of 16, and kept up a steady practice throughout my college years and early twenties. I was mysteriously drawn to the word “Ayurveda” for years. I would always pass by a small Ayurveda center on 96thstreet near where I lived in Manhattan, or I would hear about it through my studies in yoga (since Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga). One day, about five years ago, I was at Integral Yoga in Greenwich Village and I bought three books on Ayurveda on a whim. Funny enough, Integral Yoga Natural Foods would later become the first store in NYC to carry my skincare products on their shelves. Even more odd, Dr. Vasant Lad—the author of one of the books I bought that day, and one of the foremost authorities on Ayurveda in the world—would become one of my teachers!
I can’t explain my attraction to healing and alternative medicine; it’s just something that I was intuitively drawn to. As I continue to grow and evolve, I have learned to trust and go with my intuition, as it usually leads me right where I need to be.
As for beauty and skincare, I initially began my training in Ayurveda because of my interest in holistic nutrition. I didn’t expect that the natural skincare and beauty aspect would be my calling. In my studies, I learned that all the wisdom we know about clean and organic eating can also be applied to the skin. I learned that anything you put on your skin enters your bloodstream within 26 seconds, and how important it is to make sure that there are no chemicals in your skincare because, unlike food, your skincare doesn’t have the chance to be filtered by the digestive system. I immediately felt a strong need to spread this awareness to others.
LTP: What inspired you to launch Sundara?
KN: I launched the skincare line in February of 2015. I had started out making products for clients, friends and family, and it grew organically from there.
Ayurveda is an individualized science, and it uniquely applies this approach to skincare—not everyone can or should use the same moisturizer or serum because everyone has different skin types and skincare needs.
Even if you look at two people who have acne: Their skin concerns may appear to be similar, but, in fact, one person could have pitta acne that needs to be treated with the Pitta Face Serum and by lowering pitta in the body by eating cooling foods like avocado and applying coconut oil. Another person may have kapha cystic acne that needs to be addressed by detoxing the skin of impurities and pollutants with the Kapha Face Serum, while detoxing the mind and the body channels by eating light, stimulating foods.
What makes me excited about this skincare line is that I look at beauty and skincare from a healing, medicinal standpoint. It is a unique line because I bring my knowledge as a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine, and all the products were created through that lens of using the wisdom of plant medicine to heal. All the products do good for the body, the mind and the senses. They are formulated with plant fats and herbs that heal skin conditions, balance skin and balance the doshas from the cellular level.
In many ways, I feel that it is my mission to inform people about this beautiful and sometimes esoteric ancient science of health and healing. It’s important to make it accessible and applicable to people’s modern lives.
LTP: How does your healing practice and products work?
KN: Some people find the concept of Ayurveda to be abstract or intimidating. The truth is, it is a very useful practice that can be applied to daily self-care and daily living.
Ayurvedic skincare really boils down to: Vata is prone to dry skin and early aging; Pitta is prone to inflammation, acne, redness and sensitivity; Kapha skin is cool, thick and oily. My Ayurvedic skincare is designed to balance these doshas by counteracting these tendencies. So, my Vata products are luxurious, grounding and nourishing, my Pitta products are cooling and soothing and my Kapha products are detoxifying and cleansing.
With my clients, I introduce self-care practices into their lives, little by little. I don’t completely overhaul people’s lifestyles overnight. I might first introduce them to a daily routine or dinacharya practices such as: oil pulling, tongue scraping and the daily ritual of abhyanga, self-oil massage. The amazing thing about Ayurveda is that it is really a system of self-healing, and we can all heal ourselves with simple and inexpensive at-home remedies. Nature holds all the wisdom!
LTP: What are your personal wellness rituals?
KN: The principles of Ayurveda are incorporated into my whole life. My boyfriend also practices Ayurveda and we just named our new puppy Ghee! I practice daily abhyanga, and I use only my own products on my skin. I buy organic and non-GMO. I eat seasonally—for example, we are now in Vata season (fall/winter), so I have been incorporating grounding, warming foods into my diet. This includes stews, soups, broths, root vegetables (especially orange ones like sweet potatoes and squash), warming spices and plenty of healthy fats. I find digestive health to be so closely linked to radiant skin. With this in mind, I consume epic amounts of coconut oil and turmeric on a daily basis!
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
KN: Happiness is experiencing new cultures and living in the vibration of love and connectivity. I am interested in living in simplicity and in the moment. It is being surrounded by plant medicine, greenery and, of course, healing oils. I think I should move to a tropical jungle!
LTP: What does it means to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
KN: It means doing the daily work of self-love and self-care, and growing or learning every day. To me, it also means living in your essence. I would love for people to be able to spend their time doing and manifesting that which they think about most—their soul’s mission.
As I continue to travel and meet people through my work, I am continually amazed by all the new, conscious brands that I am discovering. These are companies with respect for nature and community, and products that are made with integrity and care. I feel that instead of sitting idle and waiting for the world to change, we are all co-creating this new world that we actually want to live in—and it is so inspiring.