The Transition Series | Supriya Desai Lay

Supriya is a New York Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist and a favorite gem in the world of Birth Doulas in New York City and, really, everyone who wants to support their fertility and pregnancy. 


Supriya, what led you to work with Acupuncture and support women on their path to fertility?
I worked as a consultant for three years out of college but then was encouraged by my mom (a physician) to look into the Eastern medicine field. She knew that I loved connecting with people, that that is my greatest strength, and that working on a remote project in front of the computer all day just wasn’t my calling 🙂 I moved to NYC about a month later and attended an open house at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and, as they say, the rest was history! I love working with both female and male patients on a variety of ailments, or simply for preventative care! Fertility cases can be extremely challenging as you are supporting your patients through an extremely emotional time. The rewards from successful treatment, however, are exponential! Who doesn’t love seeing cute babies being brought into this world?!


What does the imbalance of Yin and Yang mean to the physical body and how can we take core to our energetic system?
The balance of Yin and Yang inside and outside the body is everything! Yin is our cooling, calming, grounding, feminine energy. Yang is our warming, active, rising, masculine energy. When there’s imbalance of these energies INSIDE our bodies, we experience internal symptoms. When there are fluctuations in these energies OUTSIDE our bodies, we experience the seasons! These are times of transitions as well. Spring is the rising of Yang, summer is the climax of Yang, fall is the rise of Yin, and winter is the climax of Yin. When seasons change, we must be particularly mindful to stabilize our Yin and Yang within us so as to avoid stronger ailments.


What influence do the elements and natural cycles have on our bodies and emotional state? Expanding further from the question above, we tend to catch colds very easily when the temperatures shift as the Yin and Yang surrounding us is in flux. But, that’s only a physical symptom. For me, the fun lies in the emotional as I am a firmer believer that physical symptoms often stem from emotional imbalance. When the Yang rises in the spring this relates to the Liver energy, which means patients tend to come in at this time of the year with headaches, irritability, temper, stress, red eyes – all signs and symptoms of Liver imbalance. There tend to be excess heat symptoms such as anxiety when Yang heightens in summer and dryness and melancholy in the Yin seasons of fall and winter.


Everybody is different and has individual requirements. Still, looking from Alternative Medicine are there any recommendations to live by to make it easier to stay balanced? Ensure you balance enough Yin activities and foods (remember: calming, cooling, grounding,
parasympathetic rest and digest nervous system) each day with Yang activities and foods (remember: active, warming, lifting/moving, sympathetic fight or flight nervous system). That’s the key! On a high level, in such a busy, bustling, stressful city such as NYC, you can easily see the Yang energy swirling around you! Find ways to feel the calm in this frenzy. For example, I do my daily meditation with headphones on my subway commutes 🙂

What did you learn on a personal body working in this field? What changed for you in the way you take care of yourself?
When you fully learn Eastern medicine, you live by its teachings in every minute of every day! It’s not only a healing form, it’s a way of life. I’m always striving to find the balance in my life with my activities and eat appropriately for the seasons (e.g., not eating raw salads in the winter and cooking my veggies instead!). I’m constantly fascinated by how much the medicine can explain most everything in very common sense terms. I love explaining what’s going on in my patients’ bodies and minds and seeing their eyes light up when they fully get it!! It makes them feel more empowered and propels them further in their self-healing and it has the same effects on myself!


Talking about transitions and how times of change often lead us to something wonderful – what transitions have you personally experienced lately and what did you learn from them? My husband and I used to live in NYC, then moved to Lawrence, Kansas (LOVED this community!) for his creative writing MFA for 3.5 years. At the beginning of 2017, we returned to NYC to be closer to family. Now THAT was a transition! Again, I’m always striving to find balance, so in such a Yang city, I’ve maintained my Yin self by doing yoga daily, sleeping enough, starting a meditation practice, and eating nourishing, grounding foods. I made the deliberate decision to have a private practice in Gowanus and work out of Maha Rose Healing Center in Greenpoint – both in lovely, mostly low-key Brooklyn. It’s helping my transition, and I’m able to find such beautiful pockets of community here and finally feel myself getting to the point where I can rediscover the beauty of living in such a vibrant city!

How did you personally find medicine in times of transition? Was it always easy for you to trust in a good outcome?
Times of transition, when left unguided or when the person undergoing the change is mostly
unaware and floating passively through, can be such a loss of an experience! When we seize these opportunities of change to make it all the more powerful, we can garner more positivity and action for a far better future – despite the potentially uncomfortable nature of the present moment of transition.

Do you practice certain rituals in your everyday life to help you connect with yourself?
As I mentioned, I’m actively working on developing a meditation practice. For any beginners, I came across Deepak Chopra’s and Oprah’s 21 day meditation through a dear friend, and I cannot recommend it enough! I also started attending yoga classes at a neighborhood ashram called the Kundalini Yoga Center of Park Slope. There is such a beautiful and familial community within its doors. I simply love the classes, gong baths, and sipping Yogi tea with my classmates and teachers! The classes help me connect with my inner self and the NOW. I tend to combine these classes (which are very activating and Yang in nature at times) with an Iyengar yoga practice at home, which I personally feel is very grounding (i.e., Yin).

Where do you see yourself growing to in the future? What are your next plans and where can people find you?
My husband, Cam, and I just moved back to NYC earlier last year, so we will be here for awhile. I do love the nature of working a few years in a community and serving the population there in need and then moving on to a new adventure! In the meantime, New Yorkers can find me in Gowanus at my private space Brooklyn Acupuncture by Supriya and at Maha Rose Healing Center in Greenpoint.

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