Director, Instructor & Guide
A second generation native of Northern California, Niika’s favorite activities as a child were reading, playing music, and making meals and potions from the wild grasses and herbs she played among. With a innate interest in spiritual truth and a naturally devotional nature from an early age, she was drawn to books depicting life in Asia.
Niika’s wonderful mother shared and supported Niika’s interests, teaching her to garden, cook healthy delicious food and cultivate a sense of wonder and reverence in the presence of nature and spiritual truth. By age 12, Niika began experimenting with breath control, meditation and pondering the answers to life’s “big” questions. At age 14, she was introduced to kirtan (devotional song) and hatha yoga, and decided to become a vegetarian. At age 17, she met her Hindu guru and, instead of attending college, choose to dedicate herself to five years of ashram life (yes, the same ashram Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about in Eat, Pray, Love, although Niika was there many years before Gilbert visited) where she matured thru her experience of seva (service), svadhyaya (study and text recitation), darshan (the presence of her teacher) and saadhana (daily spiritual practice).
Years later, while raising her son as a single mother and working in the field of interior design, she endured a prolonged period of undiagnosed illness doctors couldn’t cure. She decided to take full responsibility for recreating her health. She had just begun a degree program in eco-psychology, but when she heard that a school of Ayurveda was opening in California, she shifted her plans and enrolled right away. With its truly holistic foundation, Ayurveda embraces the full person, working with all the senses and the mind, to revitalize a harmonious relationship with one’s own nature and Mother Nature–perfect medicine for Niika! She earned her certificate in Ayurvedic Medicine from the California College of Ayurveda in 1998.
Niika has worked as a clinical Ayurvedic specialist for 10 years, specializing in women’s health and happiness. (How can we truly know health without happiness?) She’s been teaching Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation for 12 years. She speaks publicly in a wide variety of settings, inspiring others to experience the benefits of Ayurveda thru her magnetic presentations.
She was editor and publisher of Inside Ayurveda, the first international journal of Ayurvedic medicine. She now writes frequently for Yoga Journal Magazine.
Niika plans Rasa’s group programmes, teaches and consults. She enjoys connecting with Rasa’s guests, acting as cultural translator and guide, and offering her transformative approach to applying traditional Ayurveda in the spirit of true healing.