Good Indian Girl, Sort Of: Sharmila Acharya
What your favorite hangout in San Francisco? Anywhere nature related, especially by the ocean or in the Redwoods. One of my favorite places is Half Moon Bay. I love to bike and hike on the Coastal Trail. I also love to just nap and hang out on the beach. We are so lucky in this area because we have so much natural beauty to choose from!
I currently work as an: Integrative Health Coach. I combine my knowledge as a physical therapist, yoga teacher, and nutrition consultant in order to help people transform their health.
I do this because: It is important to me to help people. I have been exposed to yoga, Ayurveda, and spirituality since I was young. I have seen firsthand the power of yoga, good nutrition, and natural remedies on many different occasions. One influential experience for me was when my brother got sick as a child, and it was Ayurveda that ended up helping him and not the many specialists that my parents took him to. What was even more impressive was that the remedy was simply eating fresh, unprocessed foods and herbs and NO medications.
What are some Indian traditions you still follow? Well, spiritually I try to follow aspects such as prayer/chanting, pooja, yoga and meditation. I also try to expose my kids to as much of this as possible. Sometimes it can be hard though with everything else that is going on, but I try to be creative . For instance, when I am driving my kids to school, we chant Sanskrit mantras together. My older son recently had his Upanayam (sacred thread ceremony) and we tried to keep it as authentic as possible.
Bollywood or Hollywood, and why? When I was a kid, I watched Bollywood movies with my parents, along with Hollywood movies. Now I hardly have the time to even watch Hollywood movies, let alone the longer Bollywood ones!
Favorite movie? That is a tough question to answer as I have too many. I guess if I was to pick a movie that is not necessarily my favorite, but left quite an impression, it would be Sliding Doors. It spotlights the importance of the choices we make, and how one choice can change everything. Since we are faced with so many choices on a daily basis, we have numerous opportunities to alter our path.
What’s your favorite thing about Indian culture? There are so many things that I love. The hospitality, food, beautiful and colorful outfits, jewelry, festivities and traditions, spirituality, yoga, Ayurveda, music, and various forms of dancing (classical and Bollywood).
What’s one piece of advice your parents have given you that should probably be or are abiding by? My parents have taught me that spirituality is very important in order to have a strong mind and to have the right attitude in life, despite its ups and down. They have taught me this by exposing me to spiritual talks and books since I was young, watching them study the Gita, chant, and try to better their own understanding, and by the advice they have given to me in certain situations. I try to pick up as much of this from them as I can, and it definitely has helped me with my challenges.
Good Indian Girl? Not sure, depends on the definition. I think the definition of a “good Indian girl” is ever evolving with the modern times. I would like to be categorized as a “Strong Indian Girl”.