Who is Tracy Adkins?
As a Gen X-er, I grew up biking around my neighborhood, swimming at the local pool until the sun went down, and playing ball in the road with the neighbor kids. It was a small town, without a single stop light. I played many sports for fun but also to ensure we had enough kids to make the team. Although, I never went out for track, because I didn’t think I could run. Ironically, I went on to become a long-distance runner in college.
Another powerful influence in my upbringing was my grandmother. She liked to make my hair shiny by rinsing it with vinegar, maybe after first soaking it with beer, and she always reminded me to eat the crust off my bread. My grandma seemed to have a fix or a treatment for anything, which may have foreshadowed my future DIY beauty endeavors since I admired and loved her more than anyone. She was pivotal in my childhood. Her home was a place of refuge when I most needed nurturing.
In college, I chose to study nursing and pursued a graduate degree as a nurse practitioner in women’s health. The science field has always fascinated me, especially health and wellness, after struggling personally in high school. I found respite with caregivers who showed genuine empathy, sensitivity, and awareness of their patients. I soon realized I wanted to do something similar with life: to make others feel as loved and worthy as those people made me think.
Discovering Ayurveda and Skincare brand Jivana
Fast forward many years, and I’m working as an RN and NP, married, and have five children. After the birth of my fourth child, I began training for a marathon. I was of the mindset that “if a little is good, a lot must be better.” My oldest child was six then; they were born rather closely together. As many women and mothers do, I returned to my normal activities. I was taking care of the kids and family, feeling invincible. “If other people can do it, so can I.” I was eating healthy, exercising, and seemingly doing everything “right.” So I couldn’t figure out why I felt so “off.” Was I doing too much of this, too little of that? Not enough sleep, overdoing the coffee?
That’s when the pain set in. My leg was throbbing with every run. No one could find anything wrong, so I kept running, training for the elusive marathon, not one to be defeated or put off by pain. One day I barely hobbled home. The MRI showed a broken hip, and surgery was scheduled for the next day. During my follow-up visit a week later the other hip broke, and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis.
After my recovery, my running shoes were retired for a yoga mat. Although I had done yoga for years, it was mostly my cross-training exercise. Now, however, it was my main workout method.
I remember the first time I was introduced to Ayurveda. At a backyard party one summer day, as I was making an impressive dent in my barbeque and potato salad, I noticed a couple of my yoga friends foregoing the spread of chips, dip, and ribs and instead sipping on un-iced herbal teas. Typically, they would have been enthusiastically noshing away at the party food along with me, so I was immediately attentive to this new behavior.
As it turned out, they had all had recent consultations with an Ayurvedist. They were dropping terms like Doshas, Ghee, and Agni like homeopathic wizards.
Always up for something new and secretly wanting to know what all those words meant, I made an appointment.
My consultation consisted of two visits, in which I was able to learn my personal Dosha balance as well as some basics of Ayurveda. I received recipes to help balance Vata Dosha as well as herbs to curb my chronic migraines. I also discovered my very own tea blend to nourish and strengthen my bones and connective tissues. This ancient method of medicine fascinated me. Since I was already trained in Western medicine as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, it was natural for me to dive deeply into studying Ayurveda.
Ayurveda celebrates each individual and their uniqueness. Balancing my Dosha – or, at least, embracing Vata – became my new lifestyle. Instead of feeling like I had to do “everything,” I took a step back. I saw that we are not necessarily equal in creation, but individual and important in our own way. This is the beauty of understanding the Doshas.
The Journey of Skincare Brand Jivava
Herein was the beginning of a journey that has yet to end. I read book after book, which eventually led to me signing up for classes. In 2017, after an education which lasted several years under the leadership of Ayurvedic doctors, practitioners, and herbalists worldwide, I became a NAMA-certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. I have continued studying and taking courses since.
The Universe was whispering to me when my fifth daughter was born. When she turned one, she developed a horrific case of eczema. Not caring to treat her with prescription medications, I turned to Ayurveda. Ayurveda opts to address the root problem as opposed to treating the symptom. In my daughter’s case, the culprit was gluten and dairy; triggers often begin in the gut, according to Ayurveda.
However, she still experienced minor residual redness and irritation on her skin. The first tridosha ghee balm I painstakingly created through many trials and errors eradicated the remaining skin inflammation and quickly became popular with friends and family members. Before I knew it I had sold 100 units, and we were off to the races.
Tridosha Ghee Balm
Ghee is a staple ingredient in any Ayurvedic kitchen but it can also benefit skin health. The smooth and buttery texture of our multipurpose tridosha ghee balm melts effortlessly into the skin delivering soothing hydration. A little truly goes a long way!
I created various skin care products during my first years which were constantly tested on the harshest critics – my five daughters. I learned the basics of cosmetic chemistry before officially establishing skincare brand Jivana in 2016. Even after that, the business morphed and shifted, with priorities realigning to encompass total wellness and skin care. In 2019, I set out to pivot once again. This time I truly wanted to combine my knowledge of Western medicine and love and enthusiasm for all things beauty with my unequivocal respect and honor for Ayurvedic traditions and ingredients. In particular, I wanted to create products that align with the Doshas and, above all else: fashion a balm harnessing the power of ghee.
When used topically, ghee provides intense moisture, reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, can heal minor wounds and diaper rash, and relieves burns. The abundance of antioxidants helps neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, reducing and preventing signs of aging. Copious omega-3 fatty acids improve the skin’s elasticity and may even help activate collagen production. In addition, ghee has the unique ability to allow ingredients to permeate the skin and facilitate deeper absorption of herbal concentrates. When combined with honey, tridosha ghee balm can make a magnificent mask.
Seeing Ayurveda transform my own wellness journey became the catalyst to launch Skincare brand Jivana. I truly believe in the power of feeling well and want to make this accessible to all. Ayurveda teaches us that our health journey is not just about avoiding disease but in finding balance. Looking inwards and outwards allows us to achieve harmony within ourselves and with the world around us.