The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science

Albert Einstein

Sonja Shah-williams

I began my quest for balanced living at a very young age. My parents were born and raised in Gujarat, North West India, where the diet was, and still is, predominantly vegetarian. Gujarati food is imbued with Ayurvedic principles and is heavily influenced by seasonal produce, thereby providing the nutrients and Ayurvedic qualities required to maintain health, both on a daily and seasonal basis.

My mother, a superb cook, nurtured my passion for instinctive, balanced and wholesome cooking, and having never measured ingredients, she has always relied on understanding the innate properties of foods such as spices, and how they work together to influence the taste and nutritional value of a meal.

She has subconsciously always followed Ayurvedic principles, and used foods as medicine, without labelling them so. As children, my siblings and I were given ‘yellow milk’ when we were poorly. This was milk boiled with turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and jaggery. Today, in the West we are finally beginning to understand the healing properties of food and the importance of preventive health.

Anala - Ayurvedic Health

My father was a community doctor, and one of the first Indian GPs in West Yorkshire. From him, I gained my desire to help to heal, to nurture, and to see people become strong both physically and emotionally, thus getting the most out of life. His belief in the beauty and the potential of all human beings was resolute, as was his understanding of the human psyche.

I am a great advocate of our oneness with nature, our connectedness to the universe, and the divinity that is in each of us. Einstein’s words resonate profoundly with me. Health is not something we need glorify as a scientific goal; it should be seen as part of our being. I believe that once we discover the scope of Ayurveda, we witness a true sense of our self that cannot be explained by science.

I knew of Ayurveda as a teenager, through my regular family holidays to India, where many people rely solely on Ayurvedic doctors, but it was not until I commenced my degree in 2010 that I realised how powerful this medicine system is. During my internship at a teaching hospital in South India, I observed the dramatic improvement of chronic and complex diseases that allopathic doctors had simply been unable to treat. Patients were ‘miraculously’ healing, having been given an intensive programme of treatments known as Panchakarma. Witnessing such dramatic health improvements was incredibly life-affirming, and my experience confirmed to me that I was studying the right subject.

The Ayurvedic doctors in India who taught me and allowed me to observe them in their work, were humble and without ego. They felt honoured to have been gifted their knowledge to make their patients well again.
I too feel privileged to be able to help my clients to heal themselves through Ayurveda, and to become truly, holistically well. My passion for Ayurveda and its place in modern life means that I love nothing more than delivering its message to as many people as possible, through short talks, workshops, supper clubs, and of course, my one to one consultations.