Today we’d like to introduce you to Eleni Tsikrikas.
Eleni, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story is one of reinvention. I was born in Greece and grew up in Sydney Australia. I completed my undergraduate degrees and practiced Law in Sydney for 15 years. I knew early on that it wasn’t the right career for me and I began my search for something else. I began practicing asana in the early 90s which eventually led to a yoga teacher training course and a big leap of faith in 2000, when I quit the legal profession to teach yoga full time. I pursued additional studies in yoga philosophy which led to a wonderful meeting in 2003, where I met my husband, an American Yoga philosophy student. It was a meeting of two minds and two souls and in December 2004, I moved to LA permanently.
I didn’t have a career (my husband was established in his yoga business and I didn’t want to compete with him). I began to search for my next thing and he suggested Ayurveda School. I had always been interested in Alternative health. After lots of research I enrolled in The California College of Ayurveda’s (CCA) course in Seal Beach. I was terrified of the freeways, so my husband (Robert) drove me there and back the first weekend.
It was love at first class for me. I knew from the first day that this was what I had been searching for my entire life. A love affair began and continues to this day. As with all passions there was a sequence of magical events that happened. I found my passion!
My mentor is Mary Thompson (senior teacher at CCA).
I was offered a teaching position at CCA in 2009. I have taught in the classroom, in the Distance learning Program and the internship program. I continue as a Master teacher in the Distance Learning program today. Currently, I mentor 12 students.
I discovered my passion for teaching and educating and I have been running Ayurveda Skills for Living courses in Silverlake since 2013. One course led to another and now I am in the process of having my courses accredited to confirm with the standards set by the national Ayurvedic Medical association NAMA.
I pursued additional herbal studies with my second mentor KP Khalsa and graduated as a herbalist. I continue to consult with KP for my clinical practice.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have always been passionate about Ayurveda. My obstacles initially were believing in myself and my ability to be financially independent. I wasn’t sure if I could create, sustain and be successful in clinical practice and teaching.
Early on I defined success for myself in terms of partnering with and supporting students to take back their health. After that, ideas and inspiration began to roll in. I have the most amazing and supportive husband, teachers and students who saw something in me that I didn’t see. Their constant encouragement and support, allowed me to step into my power.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am an Ayurvedic Clinician and educator. My passion is teaching Ayurvedic nutrition and healing digestive issues.
Ayurveda considers digestion/metabolism to be the basis of health. I write articles and blogs on digestion.
My business has two parts: education and private practice.
1. Short courses on nutrition
2. Six weekend course – “Ayurveda skills for Living” where you learn the basics of Ayurveda and practice on yourself and family.
3. 10 weekend course “Ayurvedic health Counselor” formal education to become a practitioner
4. Six weekend internship
Clinical practice with individual sessions and mentoring.
What sets us apart is that we are a healing center that treats the whole person mind/body/emotions/spirit in the context of their lives. We believe that it’s the relationship we have with our students that helps them see themselves in another way. Our goal is to partner with people and guide them in a sustainable way to reach their life goals.
Who else deserves credit?
My husband Robert Birnberg, for his positive, gentle encouragement that I am a natural at this. He constantly reminds me that I have the goods and that I am an amazing teacher.
Mary Thompson, my mentor, friend and teacher. She has guided me in the process of teaching, compiling my courses, pursuing accreditation. She has helped me take my visions and turn them into concrete reality.
KP Khalsa, who taught me herbalism and took my understanding of Ayurvedic herbology to a new height. He modeled for me a successful clinical practice, how to use herbs medicinally and has guided me with many of my cases.
California College of Ayurveda (CCA) for providing me with my first teaching experience which continues today. The consistent engagement with the texts and discussions with my students has given me a deep understanding and connection with the material.
My students whose continued support and love spurs me on to be the best educator and mentor that I can.
My parents have taught me that healing takes time and that my role is to support each of them on their journey.
What were you like growing up?
I grew up in a boisterous loud, loving, household. I was the rebellious middle child who was curious and questioned everything. An avid reader, of crime, romance and science fiction books. I was interested in music, and going to school.
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