The dancing healer

“In my experience Yoga is like a father and dance is like a mother!”

Thais told me in one of our conversations, and I think that aptly sums up this young lady’s love for her chosen work that brought her from Brazil to India – and now to the world.

Thais Pires De Andrade is an interesting lady from Brazil – she first visited India in 2011 and her love for India kept her coming back here.  She has been extremely passionate about whatever she did since her young age, though it took a while for her to define what was this passion when she  was younger because her choices were way too unconventional, especially for the western world view. As of today she is a healer and wants to work for women’s causes!

This is yet another My Zen Path exclusive story of a bohemian lady who decided to follow her heart and is walking on her own Zen path, or rather she is dancing on it! 🙂

 Thais Pires De Andrade

Thais Pires De Andrade – The healer working for women’s causes

Her Story

Thais’ father is more conventional while the mother is more like her, a revolutionary for her time. In the beginning it was really, really difficult for Thais but after some years seeing that  she was determined and serious, both parents supported her – in their own ways. She has a younger brother who is also unconventional like Thais herself.

When Thais was 13 years old, she moved from a big city in Brazil to a small city on the coast and realized her immense love and connection with the nature for the first time.  She was pulled to a more natural life style and started yoga. She completely changed her eating habits and became a vegetarian. She first became a surfer and later on a yoga teacher. She narrates her experiences with food habits and surfing –

When I became a surfer, something really “strange” started to happen for me… out of the blue I started feeling the Nature calling me through my body,  I could sense when waves were coming, when the rain was coming when the wind was about to change, or any other manifestations of nature. I felt the food “talking” to me. So I started learning about  the directions, where the Sun used to rise and to set; where the wind was coming from; I learnt how to connect with the moon cycles and with seasons at a deeper level, also I developed a very special connection with the food, plants and herbs. Was a magic time for me…

~ Thais Pires De Andrade

When it was time to decide about her studies, based on the available options at that time, she chose Biology. At the university in Brazil, biology was more academic inside the laboratories, and as Thais discovered, it was not what she was really looking for, because she wanted to study real Life. She tried another university course called Naturology but again she gave up for similar reasons. After a major altercation with her upset parents, she dropped out of the university and started to study Ayurveda[1] informally. Approximately this time, her son Rudra was born and she had powerful experience during his natural homebirth. This process reoriented all her studies and she discovered that all that she really wanted to do was to hold and support women in their journeys through Ayurveda, Yoga and other therapies. She believes in ancient traditional therapies and is quite spiritual by nature.

Thais with her son Rudra
Thais with her son Rudra

When Rudra was 4 months old, she travelled to India for the first time in 2011 to deepen her knowledge about Ayurveda, which was really fruitful but yet regarding women’s health she couldn’t find the proper approach that she was looking for. When her son was 1-year-old she went back to Brazil and continued her studies with the European Institute of Vedic Studies led by Vaidya Atreya Smith and Dr. Sunil Joshi. When her son was 2 years old she again visited India but this time by herself to study with Dr. Sunil Joshi  in his Panchakarma clinic – The Vinayak Ayurveda and  Panchakarma Research Center in Nagpur. After that she opened an Ayurvedic clinic and therapeutic  center in Brazil where together with a doctor she was also working with Panchakarma[2]  therapies. However, she was not working for women the way she had originally intended. She ran this clinic for almost 4 years before she felt the need to expand, to do something different and to heal herself, especially her feminine self. That’s when she decided to sell everything and completely shift to India for a longer duration to explore possibilities of learning Ayurveda and other healing therapies.

Experiencing India

In late 2015, Thais came to Pune, India to study Ayurveda formally. Since there was some time for start of the academic year, she went back to Dr. Sunil Joshi’s clinic in Nagpur, and worked there  during the ‘Panchakarma season’ for almost two months. She later returned to Pune to pursue her studies in Ayurveda through formal university education. However, she soon realized that the university education was way too conventional, rigid and patriarchal for her liking.

After yet another disillusionment with the relevance of formal education in Ayurveda, Thais started a Dance Therapist Certificate Course at Artsphere, Pune and became a therapist/facilitator exploring art based therapy. She also facilitated women’s circle during this period. She stayed with her ex-partner Tadany in Pune along with her son Rudra.

When she moved to Pune, her son Rudra barely knew English. She enrolled him in an international school nearby. As she remembers fondly, soon he started speaking English quite well and adapted to the new city and country quickly.

Thais facilitating Women's Circle
Thais facilitating Women’s Circle

Thais mentioned that one of the biggest struggles during this period was being away from nature and that special connection that she felt at her home in Brazil. The scorching heat in India and big city woes of Pune sort of added to her struggle. For the first nine months of her stay in a big, plush apartment in Pune, she didn’t venture outside her home much. At the end of this period of approximately nine months, during one of her moon rituals, she had this strange experience that she narrates as a giving birth experience. This was like a huge catharsis for her, and as she recalls in retrospect, it was giving birth to her new self.

Her stay in Pune in 2016 was an exciting period in her life as well. She facilitated Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) sessions, drama therapy, art therapy, mindfulness and more importantly conducted some women’s circles around the cause she is deeply passionate about: The Womb Wisdom and the Spiritual Practice of Menstruation. Also she deepened her studies in Shamanism[3], and finally she discovered that this was what she was really looking for since her child-birth experience in order to heal herself and work with women. Shamanism transformed her experiences in all the different roles as a woman.  She started studying the ancient Shamanic matriarchal cultures and joined courses, workshops related to Shamanism. She intends to continue her studies in Shamanism and plans to work around the converging wisdom from various Shamanic traditions.

During her travel and explorations in India, Thais was supported by her partner, but mostly spent money from her own savings. When I hesitantly asked her about her struggle here with money, she had a hearty laugh and told me that she spent all the money that she had saved during her work in Brazil. As for the financial uncertainties and concerns that are inevitable with such unconventional decisions, this is what she said spontaneously –

It’s important that you do what you love doing… so money becomes a natural consequence and not the goal. We have to trust.

~ Thais Pires De Andrade

The Journey Ahead

Thais is an ENFP – they are fiercely independent. More than stability and security, they crave for creativity and freedom. As you’d realize from her story, she is truly a free spirit. Yet, she is deeply concerned about the causes that she cares for. She doesn’t see life separated in compartments such as work, life, interests and so on. For her, everything in her life is integrated and connected. Her professional work is a reflection of who she is.

I find her quite bohemian and adventurous. It’s not easy to leave your growing practice and move to a new country. She truly follows her heart and goes that extra mile to explore what she finds fascinating. She may not be practical, but she is passionate and determined. She has this unique ability to connect with people across cultures with her genuineness, and she has done some wonderful work when she was in India.

As I write this, Thais is travelling to different countries in Europe but she will be mainly in England  for a year-long course in Shamanism. She wants to continue her work as a healer, transformational facilitator, workshop leader, birth healer and earth healer. She uses Yoga, Ayurveda, Art Based Therapies, Shamanism and the fierce love she has for Life in her work. I wish her all the best in her pursuit to find an expression that reflects herself. It would be fascinating to watch her journey ahead! 🙂


References:

  1. More about Ayurveda
  2. More about Panchakarma
  3. More about Shamanism

The featured image and other photos used in this story are provided by Thais Pires De Andrade herself.