In the enchanting world of herbalism and Ayurveda, Dr. Brenda Krulikowski M.A.S., C.A.S., P.K.S emerges as a guiding force. As the Director of Herbalism and a distinguished faculty member at the California College of Ayurveda (CCA), Dr. Krulikowski is not just a practitioner; she is a steward of sustainable healing practices.
At the heart of the college’s herbal pharmacy, Dr. Krulikowski is on a mission to uphold sustainability and provide practitioners with the highest quality medicines for their patients. Her commitment to excellence extends to the classroom, where she imparts her wealth of knowledge to aspiring healers.
A vital part of the CCA faculty, Dr. Krulikowski teaches courses such as Advanced Pathology, Advanced Herbalism, and Women’s Health 1 & 2. She also co-teaches the Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist internship program. For over 15 years, Dr. Krulikowski has nurtured the growth of herbal enthusiasts through the 9-month Ayurvedic Herbal Apprenticeship program at CCA. This hands-on initiative empowers students to cultivate and prepare a diverse array of medicines under her expert guidance. Managing an herbal teaching garden with over 85 medicinal plants from around the world, she ensures that students not only learn but also develop a profound connection with the healing power of plants.
Dr. Krulikowski holds certifications as a Medical Ayurvedic Specialist, Marma Therapist, and Panchakarma Specialist, showcasing her dedication to a comprehensive approach to healing. Her sojourn in India further enriched her expertise in women’s health and herbalism.
In this illuminating interview, we delve into the wisdom she has gathered over the years, her approach to herbalism, and the transformative impact of aligning with the natural rhythms of life. Join us as we unravel the secrets of herbal alchemy with the exceptional Dr. Brenda Krulikowski.
Can you share your personal journey of how you came to practice Ayurveda? What sparked your interest and what motivated you to pursue it as a career?
As a child, I spent a lot of time in nature. Communing with the elements has felt like a familiar love language ever since I can remember. I grew up with a brother who is developmentally disabled and witnessed how cruel the world could be for some people. It became obvious to me at a very young age that the world needed kindness and love. My mission is to share it.
As I grew into adulthood these core parts of myself never wavered. While exploring my path as a fledgling in the world I found my heart calling me into the field of healthcare. Equal to my passion for being barefoot and digging in the dirt was/is my passion for helping the world be a brighter place. I knew that my personality resonated with a line of healthcare that would be holistic but did not know what form it would take. Until Ayurveda dropped into my lap.
I still remember the moment, in a dear elder’s kitchen over tea. I was lamenting that I KNEW the direction my path needed to take. I needed to help people! However, I was unsure of not the vessel to guide my way. She smiled softly with a bright light in her eyes and with an ever-knowing wisdom said simply, “My dear – Ayurveda”. I heard the sound of her voice singing through my ears like a wave of peace. The air in the room changed texture and time paused for a moment. I knew nothing about the mysterious download she just handed me. Literally nothing! I did know, however, with every fiber of my being, that I had just unlocked a treasure box. She had shown me the vessel I had been searching for.
From there I began to devour everything I could about Ayurveda, studying the works of many gifted teachers in the West – Dr. Marc Halpern, Dr. David Frawley, and Dr. Vasant Lad. Over the years I have also had the blessing to find myself in India on several occasions. Each time absorbing information from Vaidya’s born from families that have carried this sacred knowledge down through countless generations. From the farmers to the wildcrafters, from the medicine makers to the doctors…I found myself traversing the forests, preparing the medicines, witnessing patients healing, and learning the ancient wisdom of the plants under each of their wings. I have had the honor to expand my herbal knowledge with many gifted teachers in the West. Most importantly, I spent many years exploring the brilliance of internationally recognized herbalist Kathi Keville. Each of these experiences, each gifted guide, has been an inspiration on my personal path and a motivation for my career.
As an Ayurvedic teacher, what do you find most rewarding about sharing your knowledge with others?
In a world where there is much turmoil, it is comforting to know that our students are bringing light forward. They are beacons that shine grace and love into their communities. It feeds me with so much hope, and it is an honor to be a guide for them along the way. Sometimes I’ll get a note from a past student, sharing where they are now and the work they are doing, all the lives they have touched so far. I cherish those notes as precious bits of gold. They are priceless reminders of the ripple effect we have doing this work.
For aspiring Ayurvedic students, what advice would you give them to make the most out of their learning journey?
Dive in! Open your arms. Open your heart. Face your shadows and celebrate your light. Take the time to do an energetic and/or physical house cleaning, and purge that which does anything other than buoy your growth forward.
This is the kind of work you will be guiding your patients to do. No better way to be their guide than to walk the journey yourself.
What are some of your favorite Ayurvedic tips or daily practices that you personally incorporate into your life for overall well-being? How have these practices positively influenced your health and lifestyle?
Number one is time in nature. It’s critical for all the layers of my well-being. I stay connected by climbing a mountain, digging my hands in the dirt, wiggling my toes in the sand, kissing a flower, or floating in cool clear waters. Spending time with all things that make up the great Gaia is my temple, my sacred space of serenity – where I can most deeply connect to the inner stillness -where my breath finds its richest rhythm and my heart feels most at peace.
Throughout your journey as an Ayurvedic teacher, what have been some of the most inspiring success stories or transformations you’ve witnessed in your students? How does witnessing these positive changes fuel your passion for teaching Ayurveda and helping others on their path to well-being?
Every time a student walks into the classroom an inspiring story has already begun because something within their hearts stirred and whispered “Go”, and they listened! The heart is like a direct telephone line to our consciousness. When we listen to the whispers of our hearts, we can serve the world in our highest and best version possible. There is something so precious at that moment when a student takes their first steps, and you see they have listened within. Fast forward to the other end of the journey that I have as their teacher. I have the privilege to be a part of their clinical training where I witness them evolving from students into practitioners, a vessel for divine grace to offer healing guidance. This is like watching a butterfly emerging. Such things never get old.
Do you also see patients in practice and are you open to receiving more new patients?
I do. I have a thriving practice which is deeply rewarding. While I have worked deeply in the arena of women’s health for almost 20 years my practice serves patients of a diverse demographic, treating a wide variety of conditions.