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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

A Journey to Empowering People Through Ayurveda

Feb 03, 2014 07:23PM ● By Sheila Julson

Jamie Durner

Exploring different countries and cultures often instills in travelers the passion to make the world a better place. So it was for Jamie Durner, owner of Ayurveda Wellness, in Brookfield, whose grandparents provided her with plentiful opportunities to travel as a young teen.

Durner grew up in Colorado, the granddaughter of a Presbyterian minister that was active in Friendship Force International, a nonprofit organization that promotes the exploration of cultures worldwide through home hospitality. Her grandparents also sponsored an exchange student from Nigeria that became like family.

Another impactful life experience for Durner was traveling with her grandparents to England and the Adriatic coast of Italy before she was 17 as part of a Lion’s Club program. “I got to experience other cultures. I have always been fascinated by diversity and other ways of thinking,” affirms Durner, whose passion for culture, paired with a lifelong interest in wellness, led her into ayurveda, the ancient, traditional, holistic Indian system of medicine and healing based on body, mind and spirit.

“Much of where I continued to go in life was based on helping people empower themselves,” Durner notes, recalling her interest in a career in international social work after she earned her bachelor’s degree in the Third World Studies program at Oberlin College, in Ohio, in 1990. A postcollege job at Planned Parenthood, in Washington, D.C., also directed her career path. She says, “I discovered that I enjoyed working on a smaller scale, one-on-one with people. I also began to notice that Western medical systems were not always effective for helping people to live healthfully or reclaim integrated health of body, mind and spirit.”

Durner returned to Colorado to attend the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. “I knew that when I went to massage school, it would be a stepping stone for me, leading to my overall goal to support people’s wellness,” she remarks. While raising two children, she ran a small massage practice from her home. In 1997, her husband’s job brought the family to Wisconsin. Durner continued expanding her holistic health practices, adding yoga, meditation, life coaching and craniosacral therapy. “It all fell into place,” she recalls, “I wanted these things, and opportunities kept showing up.”

In 2011, she became a certified ayurvedic practitioner through Kanyakumari Ayurveda Yoga and Wellness Center, in Glendale. Now on staff at the center’s training facility, Durner teaches and helps develop programs and staff. Her private wellness practice has expanded to become Ayurveda Wellness, a company that provides and integrates diverse wellness services and individual ayurvedic and wellness education. Group programs provide the benefit of learning from and supporting one another through a combination of ayurveda and life coaching. She also consults with clients via telephone and Skype.

Jamie Durner at Machu Picchu, Peru
Jamie Durner at Machu Picchu, Peru
“Diet and lifestyle are the two primary pillars, or balancing tools, of ayurvedic medicine,” Durner explains. “Though ayurveda uses natural tools to support a return to health, it also focuses on establishing a healthy lifestyle as the basis for prevention of disease.”

Durner still feeds her love of international travel by leading holistic healing and wellness retreats in Costa Rica and Peru. The next retreat, scheduled for January 2015, in India, offers panchakarma, an ayurvedic form of cleansing and rejuvenation.

During her 20 years in the wellness field, Durner has observed a growing societal openness toward holistic medicine. “When I started, everything was lumped under alternative medicine. Now, it has branched into holistic; just changing the name is a reflection of where our society is going. It is no longer alternative, as in different from what is primarily accepted. Instead, each of these different systems has value and purpose. Ayurveda is in a growth stage in the United States and as a profession, continues to strive toward receiving medical recognition and national licensure,” she observes. “It’s an amazing tool for enabling people to take back their health.”

Ayurveda Wellness is located at 240 Regency Ct., Ste. 201, in Brookfield. For more information, call 262-389-5835 or visit

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