Wellness Spotlight: Poet and Medicine Woman, Nyla Simjee

October 05, 2021 4 min read

Wellness Spotlight: Poet and Medicine Woman, Nyla Simjee

Here at Peak and Valley, we have been interested in topics surrounding self-care/wellness. The term ‘self-care’ specifically is starting to become an overused buzzword in marketing and news outlets. Separating out what self-care means for you personally means ignoring a lot of marketing jargon and messaging. We all have to remember that self-care doesn't have to be expensive or exclusive. Given that, we have an interview series where we ask people what self-care and wellness mean to them. 

Provide a short introduction explaining who you are.

Hi, friends! My name is Nyla.

I’m a medicine woman and a poet based out of Los Angeles, CA. I’m currently studying to become a doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

I’ve spent most of my adult life learning how to tend to our minds, bodies, and souls from both a Southeast Asian and a West African perspective. My approach to healing is rooted in addressing any severed or damaged connections with our souls, our inner children, Nature, and our ancestry.

I use my platform to share my own experiences with big *life* questions, experiences, and challenges as a means to help folks understand their own. I offer one-on-one service and host workshops and women’s gatherings.

You can learn more about me via my website or Instagram @nyla.noor, healwithnyla.com

How do you define self-care? 

I define self-care as self-love embodied. Self-care is the action attached to the way in which we see ourselves. It is the tender tending to our own bodies, minds, and souls in a way that is so deeply unique. It extends beyond the wellness of the body. It is how we honor our boundaries, how we speak to ourselves, and oftentimes, how we take care of ourselves while moving through challenges. 

This loving attention doesn’t require the purchase of anything, it isn’t leveraged on external instruction, and it doesn’t require us to step outside of ourselves. This act of communing and reconnecting requires us to listen deeply, show up consistently, and be as soft and as vulnerable as we can be.

Self-care is doing what we need to do for ourselves when we need to do it. It is non-negotiable.

How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.

My morning routine begins the moment I open my eyes. As I fight off sleep (I’m a total night owl), I start to name off all of the things I’m grateful for--the first being grateful for the gift of living another day. After my morning oil pulling and tongue scraping, I start setting the mood. I light candles on the altar, ignite the incense, steep tea, and sit in silence. Sometimes I read a few pages of my favorite poetry book. That’s usually what I have time for. I’ve really just grown to be content with the few breaths of silence and the sips of tea I get before the day sets in.

What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed? Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?

When I feel off-balance, the first thing I do is step outside. I rely on nature quite a bit for my self-care practices. I spend some time watching the birds, observing the trees, and feeling the sun on my face. If nature can’t pull me out of my stress, I turn to rest. I nap, breathe deeply, or shut my eyes for a few moments. If my stress levels are higher, I seek the support of herbal allies like lemon balm, tulsi, or chamomile. The plants always come through!

My go-to bedtime rituals have so much to do with light. I try my best to avoid using harsh lighting in the few hours before bed. Ideally, I would only rely on candlelight. This really helps my mind and body prepare for deep rest.

What is your philosophy around wellness?

I see wellness as a holistic lifestyle centered around the idea that our bodies, minds, and souls are innately intelligent. All we have to do is tune our ears to listen. We aren’t fixing anything because we aren’t broken. When we engage with our own wellness, we take inventory of what it is that we need and we unapologetically give it to ourselves. We say no. We move our bodies. We cry. We reach out for help. We seek support from plant allies. We engage in pleasure and joy.

Wellness isn’t only composed of what we literally feed ourselves. It is how we speak to ourselves. It’s how we create and uphold boundaries. It’s slowing down and managing stress. It’s filtering what kind of information we consume. It’s allowing ourselves to feel free and able to express ourselves. It’s how willing we are to feel joy.

We don’t need a lot to lead a life of wellness. We simply have to be willing to listen to ourselves. 

How has your being a healer influenced your daily wellness routine?

Being a healer has influenced my wellness routine by teaching me to put myself first. If I want to show up for my community in a way that I’m proud of, I have to make sure my cup is consistently filled. Before I began working with people, my routine was really structured and disciplined. It was the place I trained my mind and exposed myself to healthier habits. Now, my routine feels like a safe and welcoming place for me to meet myself with tenderness, presence, and to flow with joy.

My role has also taught me that individual wellness is communal wellness. The more I tap into my needs, I help others. The more my clients tap into their needs, they step into their purpose and help others as well. It’s this beautiful, continuous wellspring of potential.

Being a healer just means that my livelihood is leveraged on how well and how deeply I can care for myself. Self care abound!! 

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