Ayurvedic Wellness Center Blossoms in Glendale
Despite healthy eating habits and being conscious of health and wellness throughout her life, Cheryl Silberman, founder and director of Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness Center, in Glendale, met with stress-related health challenges while opening two businesses. A friend’s suggestion changed the course of not only Silberman’s health, but her career, as well.
Silberman grew up in the small rural community of Cuba City, where her grandmother, Ina Heil, both a farm wife and an anesthesiologist, founded the Cuba City Medical Center, a country hospital. “I’ve always had beautiful role models in the healing field,” affirms Silberman.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee with a degree in early childhood education, Silberman and her husband, Howard, moved to Los Angeles, where she began her career as a kindergarten teacher in the city’s Watts neighborhood. Living in Los Angeles exposed Silberman to goods and services not available in the Midwest. A store that offered Kalso Earth Shoes, the environmentally conscious, posture-improving footwear introduced in the 1970s, opened nearby. “The line stretched out the door and around the block,” she recalls.
The idea impressed them so much that when the couple returned to Milwaukee, they opened a store that offered a similar brand, Roots Natural Footwear. Later, the store was renamed Ma Jolie and offered footwear and apparel. The company’s rapid expansion in Milwaukee and Madison left Silberman handling much of the purchasing, which involved hectic travel.
Silberman, who had been a vegetarian from the age of 23, and her husband also opened The Renaissance, a vegetarian restaurant, on Downer Avenue, in Milwaukee. Despite her regular practice of meditation and yoga, the stress and workload of running the growing businesses eventually took its toll on her. “I started to fall apart,” she says. “It was self-imposed stress, and I ended up with every digestive disorder possible.”
A friend of Silberman’s recommended Ayurveda, a form of holistic healing from India that focuses on detoxifying and cleansing the body, meditating and using energy healing, herbs and a healthy diet to establish whole body wellness. “It is the sister science of yoga,” Silberman explains. After three years of dedication to Ayurveda, which she calls her “saving grace,” Silberman noticed her health turn in a positive direction, which enabled her to stop taking prescription medications.
When Silberman learned about California College of Ayurveda, she did some soul searching and got her family’s blessing to change careers. After earning her credentials as a certified ayurvedic specialist, she began consulting clients from her home in 1994. She went on to complete multiple internships in India and the U.S. and continued with advanced studies, becoming a certified practitioner of Shaka Vansya Ayurveda, a type of vibrational Ayurveda.
When several of Silberman’s clients developed a strong interest in Ayurveda, she began to teach classes for anyone that wanted to become an ayurvedic healing practitioner. She founded The Milwaukee Ayurveda Study Group, a school that was accredited by the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board in 2003. “It was a huge blessing to be able to do this,” Silberman recalls. In addition to her home, classes were held at the Marian Center for Nonprofits and an herbal pharmacy.
After many years of operating the center in various locations, Silberman became aware of a space available in a newly remodeled business complex on Green Bay Avenue, in Glendale, that was dedicated solely to holistic health-related businesses. Since 2008, Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness Center has offered all of its services under one roof, including professional programs for those that want to become yoga instructors or Ayurveda counselors or practitioners. Non-professionals that want to learn about all aspects of wellness can choose among 13 Live Your Balance classes. The center provides yoga classes and ayurvedic body therapies such as panchakarma, an ayurvedic form that focuses on detoxification and purification of the body, as well as energy therapies, such as Reiki, and specific healing services like structural massage, which concentrates on better posture and ease of movement. The center also has a shop that sells herbal blends, teas and essential oils.
Silberman credits her staff with their assistance in bringing a strong sense of community to Kanyakumari. Most are former clients that have become devoted to yoga and Ayurveda, turning their passion for the healing arts into service and professional instruction at the center. “The Sanskrit word seva means selfless service,” she says. “My gifted staff members have done so much to create a place where the community can come together and heal.”
Always seeking to expand her knowledge of healthful living, Silberman is studying biodynamic farming and beekeeping. She emphasizes how healthful and organic agricultural practices can also influence overall wellness. “One of my dreams is to have a rural farm to grow herbs and offer healing retreats,” Silberman enthuses. The number of people that Kanyakumari has helped, as well as what is yet to come, delights her. “Nobody has a better job than I do.”
The Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness Center, located at 6789 N. Green Bay Ave., in Glendale, will host an open house from 5 to 9 p.m., Dec. 12, with complimentary 15-minute ayurvedic healing sessions, such as massage, foot reflexology, healthy cooking demos, music and raffles. For more information, call 414-755-2858 or visit Kanyakumari.us.