Who am I? The story of Dr Gokani...
We all want to have trust and confidence in those who guide us down the path of health and wellness. There are many physicians who have different approaches and styles. Is our center, or my expertise, the best option for you? I will begin by telling you a bit about myself, along with my approach to health.
My undergraduate training was in Economics and Biology, at the University of Illinois, Champaign. After four exciting years and lots of hard work, I graduated Magna Cum Laude and went on to medical school at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Medical school was a challenge for me as I developed insomnia my first year and thought I should pursue another path. After trying standard approaches (including sleep medications), I decided that I needed to guide my body and mind down a path of healing, rather than medicating it. It was then, during my hours studying at coffee shops, that I discovered natural healing options such as Ayurveda. I enjoyed taking “breaks” from studying to wander over to the self-help sections and read books by Andrew Weil, Bernie Siegel or Deepak Chopra. I realized by curiosity (which then became a passion), to learn non-western healing approaches. I used Ayurveda to help balance my system and thus, solve my struggles of insomnia. This did conflict me as I studied the western approaches in medical school. I told myself, at some point, once I finish my traditional training, I will learn Ayurveda.
I completed my medical training and then entered into a residency of Family Practice. I thought that I could heal the whole body using this systems based approach. I quickly realized that I spent more time triaging patients and sending them to specialists, versus balancing them out myself. I decided to switch into Psychiatry, which I did for 6 months, and eventually settled into Neurology. I was fascinated with the mind and the power of the mind in its ability to influence the whole body. I was given the opportunity to be the Chief Resident my final year, which I loved as it gave me the ability to create change and help educate residents and medical students.
To combine all of my experiences, I chose the field of Headache medicine and joined one of the nation’s top headache clinics. I learned trigger point injections, Botox injections, and pursued a certification in Psychopharmacology (the interactions of medications with each other and how they influence the brain and the body). I felt very confident with my traditional approaches. I was frustrated that many of my patients were not improving, and many reported side effects from the medications. I decided to break away and start my own headache practice. I had no idea about the practice that would unfold over the upcoming years and the major shifts that I would be making not only in how I viewed medicine, but how I took care of myself and my family…
There was a little voice in me that told me to take a step into the integrative world, and pursue my training in Ayurveda. Little did I realize how much I needed Ayurveda to heal me, my family, and help create balance and optimal health for all I knew.
I was in a time of my life when I had two young children, directed a busy headache clinic, along with co-directing a wellness center, and was also completing my certification in Ayurveda. I am a self-proclaimed Pitta type and everything had to be perfect. Truth is, life isn’t meant to be perfect and trying to maintain perfection is near impossible for anyone to do. I noticed feeling a little more on edge and short-fused, mainly with my family. I was able to keep it together at the office and in social situations. As I started doing the Ayurvedic training, I realized how Pitta I was and starting to make some changes. First change was to stop playing competitive tennis and start doing yoga more often. Tennis is one of the most Pitta inducing sports. I was on an advanced team of competitive moms, not the best choice for me!
I also started eating lunch as my biggest meal. Pittas need to eat and EAT WELL. Skipping lunch was something I became used to during my years of residency and long hours. During those years, I would snack, drink random meal replacement shakes that were meant for the elderly, malnourished patients on the floor...These poor eating habits allowed me to become Pitta imbalanced. I started eating healthier, went gluten and dairy free (except for my chai, which I think is fine since it is boiled milk- will save that for another BLOG!). I started learning how to use Indian spices (and all other spices and condiments) the RIGHT WAY to balance my Pitta dosha. Staying away from Pitta aggravating foods, such as hot, spicy or fermented foods, was very much needed for me.
I also made SURE I was in bed by 10 pm. This really helps Pittas as the times 10pm-2AM are considered Pitta hours and you need to sleep these hours so you can detox and cleanse your liver.
Even though I am tri-doshic, my Pitta dosha is a bit higher than the other two. In truth, my doshas are all pretty close in their natural, balanced, Prakruti state. During those years, before my lifestyle changes, I was running much higher with my Pitta state!
After all of my lifestyle changes, my Pitta nature has come down and I am happy to say I am closer to tri-doshic again!
Hope this helps you start to get back to your balanced state and live symptom free! Would love to see you or your friends/family at our center!
In Harmony and Health,