I became interested in nutrition and health after battling depression and an unhealthy relationship with food. While a freshman in college, I became very depressed due to a variety of events that occurred in different areas of my life. Growing up, I had suffered some low periods but this felt different…it was an overwhelming sense of sadness that made me feel completely hopeless and alone. I had started going to a Pilates studio in the town where I grew up before leaving for college and found myself driving home on the weekends while in college to go to Pilates, as it was one of the only things that gave me some happiness. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to yoga, which is a whole story amongst itself and has deeply transformed my life on every level.
While dealing with my depression, I had a very poor appetite. I inadvertently lost weight, not because I was trying to, but because I was very rarely hungry. Some people eat too much when sad or stressed while others do not eat enough. I’m part of the latter group. I’ve always been thin but I started to get too thin. I felt a deep sense of emptiness due to my depression, which I then began to feel internally because I wasn’t eating enough. This triggered a cycle that made me not want to eat because I thought I “deserved” to feel as empty inside as I felt outside. And, alas, this was when and how my unhealthy relationship with food began.
While battling my depression and eating issues, I sought out help and found a therapist to whom I will be forever indebted. She made me understand that there was hope that I could feel happy again and that I could fight through this. While working with her, I also started seeing a nutritionist and learned that food was not the enemy; it could actually help me feel better and to feel alive again.
With a lot of challenging emotional work, my relationship with food began to change. Over time, my negative relationship with food became an extremely positive one. In 2002, I became certified in Pilates. I then went on to get both my undergraduate and doctorate degrees in holistic nutrition and naturopathy, respectably. In 2012, I became a 500-hour advanced yoga teacher. Besides my actual therapist, Pilates and yoga were (and continue to be) my therapy. Pilates and yoga have given me a strength and confidence that I had always lacked. They have also helped me to appreciate how capable my body truly is. My passion in life is to educate and help others heal emotionally and physically using whole foods, natural supplementation, and exercise.
So that’s my story in a nutshell. My love affair with food began after my own battle with it. Pilates and yoga became integral parts of my life because they helped me through my darkest period. This happened many years ago. I’m very proud to say that I’ve never fallen back into the throws of depression or a battle with food. I work with clients to help them understand and appreciate the power of whole foods and exercise: their ability to heal, to empower, and to strengthen the body, both inside and out.
An alumnus of Sarah Lawrence College, Audra Bursae received her doctorate in Naturopathy and Holistic Nutrition. She received her Health Counseling Certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City, the only nutrition school that integrates all of the different dietary theories- combining knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid, the glycemic index, the Zone, and raw foods. Audra studied under Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Harville Hendrix, Geneen Roth, Dr. Joel Furhman, David Wolfe, and Deepak Chopra. She is certified through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and has obtained continuing education credits through Purchase College, State University of New York. She is also authentically trained and certified as a Pilates instructor through True Pilates NYC, and has worked extensively with Joseph Pilates’ protege, Romana Kyrzanowska. She is an advanced RYT-500+ yoga teacher, certified through Yoga Synthesis under the highly respected and knowledgeable teacher Raji Thron and under the phenomenal Maty Ezraty, known in the yoga community as “the teachers teacher.” She teaches yoga privately and to groups.
I am very grateful to all that have helped guide and teach me throughout this journey. There are no words that can possibly express my deep and sincere gratitude. Namaste.