Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
After a lifetime of being introduced to Ayurveda, Bhakti yoga, and natural wellness through her own mother, Krsna Jivani has actively studied Ayurveda, yoga, and herbalism since 2014.
Her passion for women’s health, Ayurveda, and herbs became beautifully tied together when she attended the 200-hour Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregiver course while pregnant in the Spring of 2019. Studying with the Center for Sacred Window Studies and learning in-depth about the traditional practices of the sacred postpartum window allowed Krsna Jivani to realize what an absolutely essential part of a woman’s life it is to honor the time following pregnancy and birth. She also builds and sells tiny homes with her husband and rents them out on Airbnb!
CSWS: Where did you grow up? Where are you currently living?
KJ: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
I now live in Alachua, Florida. It’s in Northern Central Florida near Gainesville.
CSWS: Tell us about your learning journey. Who are your teachers?
KJ: I started learning as a child. My mom was familiar with Ayurveda and even had Ayurvedic doctors when she was pregnant with me.
She was unable to conceive until she started seeing an Ayurvedic doctor, so they worked with her to heal her reproductive issues. She continued to practice Ayurveda and she taught me. At 13 years old, I read Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, took the Dosha quiz and grew my own practice of Ayurveda. My mom fed us kitchari when we were feeling sick and we always had little practices like that available to us growing up.
I began studying the Western school of medical herbalism about six years ago. I was traveling in Costa Rica and doing a work trade when the owners asked me to do an inventory of all of the medicinal plants in the garden and to find out what each plant was used for and make medicine from it. That’s when I fell in love with medicinal plants.
When I moved here, I began a clinical herbalism course at The Studios at Florida School of Holistic Health, which I just finished. I learned so much more about medicine making, which is where I put most of my focus with my business.
My Ayurvedic postpartum journey began when I was pregnant. I was researching doula courses on the internet and I found the Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregiver Program. It seemed perfect, so I took the training while pregnant and I used everything I learned in my own sacred window. Even though I was familiar with pregnancy and birth because both of my sisters were born at home, I didn’t remember anything about postpartum or even that that was a thing. Learning about the Ayurvedic perspective was really eye-opening and I could definitely feel how essential it was for my own postpartum recovery. After that, I totally fell in love with it and wanted to share it with other mamas.
Anytime I find a passion in something, I read every single thing I can find about it. I did so much research for my own postpartum window. Recently a friend of mine was writing a book called Ayurveda Mama, and so I wrote a little excerpt in the book on the Ayurvedic perspective on postpartum with tips. We just finished that book and are now looking to create a subscription box for pregnant and postpartum mamas where they will get a monthly box in the mail!
CSWS: What inspired you to start making elixirs?
KJ: It was on the same trip to Costa Rica where I fell in love with medicinal plants.
There was this herbal elixir bar featuring all herbal drinks and herbal remedies for everything by the Village Witch. For years I was trying to replicate those drinks and I only recently figured it out.
CSWS: Can you tell us more about what makes elixirs special and how they differ from other herbal medicines?
KJ: It is a more concentrated form than a steeped tea and it is weaker than a tincture.
Instead of tincture, which is entirely alcohol, I make my elixirs with half alcohol and half glycerin. They are quite concentrated and they are super yummy! Magical and medicinal, the elixirs add a lot to tea. For a new mama, I recommend a sweet water lactation tea and a teaspoon shot of my Mother’s Milk Lactation Elixir, which adds another layer of medicine to love.
CSWS: What is your creative process like when creating elixirs?
KJ: It’s an intuitive process.
I have a wall of herbs in my pantry, and when I want to make something, I go in and start with the main herb good for certain things. So if I’m thinking “peaceful mind,” I might start with Blue Lotus, which is one of my favorite herbs right now. Then I think about what kind of effects I want the elixir to have. So for Peaceful Mind Elixir, I want it to be calming and relaxing but not knock someone out if they just want it for stress and anxiety. So I added Passionflower and Valerian, very little Valerian because it can induce sleep if you take too much.
It’s an experimental and intuitive process, and then I try it out on myself and tweak it. It’s all about honoring the herbs for the medicine they give. I learned from the Village Witches in Costa Rica and the main herbalist Sarah Wu that when you use herbs for medicine if you don’t use them sustainably and you don’t honor their use, they can have different effects.
For example, that sugar cane doesn’t want to give you diabetes, but when you grow it as a monocrop and you abuse it that way you get the reciprocation of disease in the body. She also teaches not to overuse the plant and not use an endangered or over-harvested plant. I used to use Rosewood but it is now endangered so I no longer use it. The more ethically grown it is, the more potent the medicine.
CSWS: What is your vision for the future of postpartum care?
KJ: I recently noticed that #postpartumcare is not a mainstream hashtag at all.
And #Ayurvedicpostpartumcare is even less so, maybe 1,000 at most. How nice would it be if it was something everybody is aware of, whether specifically Ayurvedic, or just awareness that postpartum is a thing and it’s so important to nourish mothers during that time. Especially because you’re setting yourself and your baby up for a lifetime of health.
I wish for so much more awareness around postpartum and to have it be common knowledge in our culture. Especially that after birth, Mama needs rest, nourishing foods, care and support. I want it to be second nature in our culture, rather than something that you need to convince someone of the importance of.