Ever wish you could troll a feed that is healthy and positive in addition to visually stimulating? If this sounds appealing to you check out @vatapittakapha and give your eyes a little tickle!

What is your full name and how are you so lucky to have that middle one? 
Ha! My full name is Meredith Corvette Carter. My middle was my grandmother's maiden name. No relation to the car people. Her family came from Belgium. It means 'small warship’.

Can you tell us how you chose your handle @vatapittakapha?
Vata, pitta and kapha are the 3 doshas or energies in the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda. I liked the handle since it represents all the cosmic energies and thus the full human spectrum — everybody! Also, I couldn’t believe it was available.

What exactly is a dosha and do we all have them? 
Yes, we all have them! (The doshas describe different combinations of the 5 elements — ether, air, fire, water and earth. They can describe anything both inside our bodies and out in the world since it’s all just energy.) In the simplest terms, vata dosha is about airy, windy, expanding things like the desert, creativity, Mick Jagger, travel, Kate Moss and autumn. Pitta refers to fiery, steamy, rising things like spicy food, Madonna, coffee, summer, and New Orleans. Kapha is muddy, earthy, grounding stuff like melting snow, London, sweet potatoes, sad love songs, and cheesecake. 

(To figure out your dosha, take an online quiz. It’s an easy way to start experimenting with diet on your own. My dream is to make Ayurveda information more affordable and accessible. My website is taking time, but its coming!)

How long have you been an Ayurvedic Practitioner and what pushed you to go in that direction with your life? 
I've been a practitioner for a year but Ayurveda has been central to my life for about 9 years now. (I started with my practitioner, Mela, and have been doing all the stuff — Ayurvedic diet, mantra, Vedic meditation — since. I did a year long training and started using the energy insights in all my yoga classes 6 years ago. Then, Mela realized she had no one to pass her 30 years of knowledge on to. She asked me to do 2 years of intensive one-on-one, old school gurukula training to become a practitioner. At first I didn’t want to, but she’s sorta like a parent and I couldn’t let her down. Now, of course, i love it!

First, I chose Ayurveda to help me. Later, it chose me to serve in return. I think I was picked because I needed so much help myself. Its been a humbling place to put my trauma to good use. Every time I can relate to a client’s suffering, the various ways I’ve been to hell and back make more sense. 

(Every healer I know does healing differently. My way has to do with an urge to comfort and support since healing can be angels singing or truly abysmal. Its the only job I’ve had where being traumatized, uncomforted and uncomfortable were all assets. Plenty of healers are something else which is great. It takes all kinds! The people who speak my language will find me.)

What does healthy mean to you?
Health can be expressed in so many ways! We project much onto that word these days but the root means ‘whole, uninjured, of good omen’. By this definition, no one I know is healthy! I love this since I believe we all have something to confront with our body-mind, no matter how small. 

What does healthy mean to most Americans?
I think health can go to extremes in the American mind. We are hyperaware of everything we do wrong yet we have so much potential. Its easy to pick on obesity, the opioid crisis, screen time or whatever but Americans are just as extreme in the supposedly ‘healthy’ direction too.
Health has become so aspirational that it can feel like a contest or performance at times. It doesn’t have to be a production. A reasonable diet and $30 a month on the right herbs can be profound. Also, the wellness movement is now an extension of the beauty industry in many ways. I do a lot to look my best but i think it’s helpful to understand the difference between a health practice, a beauty practice and a consciousness practice.

Are you healthy?! 
Pretty healthy but I have serious chronic pain. Ayurveda has helped me with so much — acne, eczema, anxiety, depression, drinking too much, food allergies, grief and seasonal allergies. It cannot fix my old snowboarding injury but as a consciousness practice, it has helped me process it. 
I’ve heard that muscles spasms are about not accepting support and the right side of the body is the masculine side. My father died when I was 14 and I’ve had to fend for myself in many ways since. I have a masculine deficit of sorts. I think my back is crying out for me to lean on others more and to learn to really receive, especially from men. My chronic pain has exposed a hole in my understanding of my life and myself. I have Ayurveda to thank for this insight. 

Where does your eye come from? Is it also a result of your practice?
I was doing my Master's in Design Futures at Goldsmiths…I wrote my thesis on the visual cliches of eco-design and environmentalism. (I became fascinated by visual cliches in general and started to see how imagery reinforces some lines in the cultural sand among and between different groups of people.) 
The visual cliche of wellness is the white cube aesthetic projected onto women, mostly white women until pretty recently, in a domestic setting. It can be a beautiful presentation but my upbringing has given me a serious case of presentation fatigue! 
Also, wellness imagery is typically about the result, the ‘after’ picture. Visual expression of ‘before’ and ‘during’ healing are largely missing so that’s what I try to portray. It is a response to my practice since I find that people want to rush through the ‘during’ part. I’m trying to engage them with the more visceral, ambiguous part of the process. With healing there can be genuine confusion about where you are and what the hell is going on so I like confusing pictures.

Did anyone in particular influence this?
I feel like my influences are everywhere but mostly non-specific and sorta nebulous. I'm inspired by anyone making fetishized and perhaps unappetizing imagery of food. I like non-aspirational food, body visuals with a sense of humor. I love expressive, non-aspirational personas in general. My teacher Mela has had the biggest influence on my understanding of the healing process. I love her more than words can tell. 


images courtesy of VATAPITTAKAPHA

interview ASHLEY MUNNS


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