Devi Living

A Return to Balance – Interview with Ayurvedic Practitioner Peta Crogan

In this last interview for 2021, I interview the lovely Peta Crogan who is an Ayurvedic practioner in Fremantle, Western Austalia.

I met Peta when attending her Ayurvedic Face Mask workshop and was captured by her knowledge and her passion for Ayurveda and its principles.

Ayurveda as a science is both ancient and very alive. One thing I have noticed when it comes to Ayurveda is the love and passion it brings out in those who practice and experience it. 

To me, it offers the ultimate tools for deep self love with the potential to touch every area of life. 

Peta runs her clinic, Zanti Ayurveda, in Fremantle where she offers many various treatments and services. 

Devi Living – How would you describe Ayurveda to those who don’t know much about it?

PetaTo people who have not heard of Ayurveda, I often say my work is much like a Naturopath. However, I believe that while naturopathy is the Curcumin, scientifically studied and extracted from Turmeric, Ayurveda is the whole plant – utilising the wisdom of the entire plant, even the microbes in the soil. Ayurveda is broad, ancient, gentle, and powerful. It is still in active use since pre-dating the written word.

Devi Living – What do you feel is the promise of Ayurveda and what do you believe the future holds for this modality?

Peta Ayurveda is individualised, natural health care. It also makes a great deal of logical sense to most people. This enables individuals to take the information and utilise it to help themselves stay well and keep returning to balance.

Future…? More people are leaning toward natural health, understanding their own indicators, and wanting to feel well, than ever before.

As much as our government here in Australia seems to be actively trying to squash the natural health industry, I believe more people will adopt Ayurvedic principles.

Just as yoga became very popular in western societies, Ayurveda is now gaining traction in the US and here in Australia. Ayurveda is also regaining popularity in India and Indonesia.

Devi Living – What attracted you to Ayurveda to begin with?

Peta I began my career in Medical Research and later found myself studying Naturopathy. Having children and where I was located at the time forced me to pause my studies. Back then, online learning was not so well accepted or available.

Later, when I was ready to resume my studies, the Naturopathy college had folded. I saw an Ayurveda talk soon after and realised all my lifelong interests in pathology, the human body, healing, crystals, reiki, colour, chakras and so much more were included and incorporated into this mammoth and incredible science. I was hooked!

Devi Living – Is there a particular book or teacher that have been profound for you on this journey?

Peta – I have loved everything I have read and seen from Vasant Lad. Rama Prasad has been a fabulous teacher post diploma, and of course, Roopa Rao was an amazing pocket rocket of a teacher. 

One of my favourite books is Ayurvedic Medicine by Dr Sebastian Pole. He is also the father of Pukka teas.

Devi Living – You made the decision to open your own practice, Zanti Ayurveda, after graduating as an Ayurvedic practitioner – what challenges and rewards have you experienced from that decision?

Peta – One of the greatest highlights was helping a couple fall and stay pregnant after many years of problems in this area. They had a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I was able to nourish and nurture the mama in her home as AyurDoula afterward.

There are regular rewards – especially when a client lets me know they are bringing their partners and children to see me or when they share how much they got out of our time together with many, many of their friends. Giving Abhyangha oil massage to clients gives me an immediate positive feedback as I see their bodies soften and they float about all relaxed and blissed out afterward.

Challenges include staying true to myself and my training when client issues become challenging. I had one client seem to become sicker the more I worked with her. As we healed one issue, another arose. 

I will always check and look up references if I am presented with a challenge. With this client, I found myself trying to do more study in different areas of expertise – while I really did not have the time. 

The challenges rocked me. I reached out to colleagues and ended up working together with another practitioner to help bring my client back to health. 

Another challenge is when clients come to me as a last resort after having no improvement in the allopathic system.

If a client comes to me taking 5-6 pharmaceuticals, my job is tricky. Not only do I need to run a medications and side effects review, but I need to ensure I will not do anything to adversely alter the effects of those combinations of drugs.

Rarely is ONE drug tested against another in drug trials. Mixing more than two is really quite dangerous. 

The upside of all those challenging cases is that I have empowered my clients with the ability to recognise their symptomology and also reduced their pharmaceuticals.

Devi Living – What does a typical day at Zanti Ayurveda look like?

Peta Ayurveda is such a huge wealth of knowledge and encompasses so many aspects of health, including a variety of hands-on treatments. 

About half of my current clients visit me for health consultation where we will sit for an in-depth examination of the stressors and factors in their life which contribute to their current state of imbalance or dis-ease. 

The other half or so of my clientele come for Abhyanga Oil Massage and scar tissue release. The latter is not an Ayurvedic technique but has increased my ability to relieve clients’ pain and improve healing. The body is an amazing healing vehicle for our soul.

I work from Myaree one day a week and from Fremantle two days per week. I also work regularly from my second home-base which is in Kalbarri, 600km north of Perth. Online consultation is available for anyone who cannot visit me in person.

Devi Living – Ayurveda holds such vast knowledge and covers so many different aspects of life – have you found a particular area of interest that you work with?

Peta – That is a tricky question for me. The more time I spend with Ayurveda, the more I am able to delve into different aspects of this science of life and my understanding of self. 

I particularly love that all my interests, including great food, seasonal change, women’s cycles etc. are incorporated in the Ayurvedic view of health and therefore how to help a person in distress or discomfort.

For me, the things I teach most often are probably the things I am most passionate about: 

Empowering people to utilise the most natural, sustainable, and gentle products available – often by turning to nature and our pantry.        

Settling mental dis-ease (anxiety and depression) by teaching people about themselves in the form of doshic understanding (dosha is a categorising system in Ayurvedic medicine) and offering practical actions that people can take to help themselves. Examples of this include food choices, eating times, self-massage and breathing exercises.

Devi Living – I wish I had known about the role of an AyurDoula in the community when I had my babies – It is one of the services you offer through Zanti Ayurveda. Tell us – what is an AyurDoula and how is it different to any other after postpartum services?

Peta – I became an AyurDoula as I believe we have lost the art of supporting mothers. In our society we live a divisive and exclusive life with everybody too busy to help one another.

In 2019, mothers of young children were the fastest growing mental health risk group. This may have changed due to Covid, but the isolation and stress we have all experienced has most certainly hurt more mother’s mental health.

As AyurDoula, I bring the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to the pregnant and post-partum space. As we approach the day of birth, I will be coaching the couple and their family on how to best support the mother.

For instance, telling friends they cannot take visitors until 3 weeks have passed AT HOME, or really getting hubby on board to be prepared to stand up for and protect the sacred space of home in the earliest days.

Post-partum ‘training’ may include things like preparing the couple to request friends send a meal or participate in a cleaning service or nappy washing service. Visitors are always encouraged to check if the family need groceries or other supplies collected on the way.

Bringing the tribe together means reminding them how to do the helpful things to enable mum to rest, learn to bond with the baby and learn to breastfeed. In the end it is mum’s mental and physical health that is priority, not the styling of baby’s room.

In the post-partum time, I provide in-home visits to the family. During my visit, I will always provide massage and observe Mama’s wellbeing. I will prescribe herbs, food and teas as required. I may run a bath, or watch baby while Mama has a relaxing shower. I will often cook for the new Mama.

As she progresses in her healing and rest, she may join me in the kitchen for a cup of herbal tea while I cook for her. This is an ideal time for her to offload things that are bothering her, seek reassurance, or even have a cry. I hold space for her.

Sometimes I will offer a massage for dad, so that he feels included and also receives some deep nourishment in this time of disturbed sleep. I will teach him how to prepare the meals I have been cooking. Together with family support, we move Mama through a graduated diet most suitable for recovering and rebuilding Agni (the fire of digestion), post-partum.

I think the greatest difference between myself and other doula services is that I can provide the practitioner support concurrent to the home support. I can immediately provide the herbal, oil, and food support that the new mother needs.

The women who have utilised my service the most are Indian women living away from their traditional culture. They are seeking something they know existed for their mothers and grandmothers but has not always been available here.

The Ayurvedic model is a fantastic one for ensuring mother is properly rested, recovers fully, and embraces her new self completely, deeply, and lovingly.

Removing the struggle that our society has created to be a Super-mum and ‘bounce back to the old self’ is paramount in properly supporting women to be great mothers. 

Devi Living – What is your vision for Zanti Ayurveda for 2022? What would you like to see happen?

Peta – In 2022 I look forward to working much smarter with solid systems and possibly having a staff member working for me. 

I will publish my first book (actually my third if we include my thesis and Nanna’s biography) which will be a journal style book to accompany the launch of my longer-term health guidance packages. 

I recently became the new Western Australian instructor in McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release so am excited to also begin offering those classes in February.

Devi Living – If you could offer some words of wisdom or suggestions to women who like to take the leap and work for themselves – what would you say?

Peta – Allow yourself time to see what really works. Both honour and retain the feminine in your business. You are a woman – run a woman’s business, not a masculine business.

Remember that you may be working many hours for very little in the beginning. Have faith. When I read that the breakthrough point for many successful businesses was about 4-5 years, I took the pressure off myself and began celebrating all the wins I had had – like getting to this point IN THE BLACK and growing organically. 

Also, do your money and self-worth inner work. Most women will not apply for a job until they can meet 95% of the job criteria. Men will apply AND GET the same job if they think they meet around 50-60%. Women doubt themselves more than they should and because of that we play smaller than we should. 

I will be offering some of the inner-work and money- work in my new support packages in 2022.

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