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Meet Karla A. Cain of Sattvic Sage Ayurveda & Yoga in Buckeye – West Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karla A. Cain.

Karla, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have discovered Truth. I see my journey through Sattvic eyes. I know why I am here. I know why I have experienced all that I have. I have done the work. I have walked the path. I live in freedom and light!

When I think of my life, I am able to do so with a big smile. I picture a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

This blue-eyed child was born into this lifetime an Old Soul and the Universe has a special job for me…

I share my whole story – not for empathy – I share it to express that most of us experience these realities. Life is filled with them. But for some reason, we feel like we are alone or that we need to hide away in shame. Which is what I did. For a long time. And it made me really sick….. before I healed. Now I help others.

I could simply tell you where I am now, but that wouldn’t mean as much as knowing where I came from…

My dream of helping others to remember they’re true nature started as a child, most likely at birth. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wished to help others understand the sacredness of themselves. I have always innately understood the vastness of the Universe and the true miracle of our existence. I have always seen the ‘good stuff’.

BUT – The Universe decided that I had to EARN my true understanding of others…. and my understanding of it all.

I was born into extremely modest means and raised in the inner-city South Side of Chicago – Not a very nurturing environment. Life was hard. Family relationships were hard. Healthy emotional development near impossible. From the time of my birth, I lived deep in the darkness of my parent’s mental illness, instability, alcoholism, severe & dark drug addiction, crime, violence, extreme neglect and child endangerment. I went to 12 different elementary schools. I had 30 different addresses between Illinois and California. There were no family football games, Monopoly or sweet 16 birthday parties. In addition, there are hundreds of traumatic experiences that go along with this environment and I have experienced them ALL.

Let’s talk about how this traumatic life draws you even deeper into imbalance.
Overweight? Check.
Drinking & Drugging to escape? Check.
Confused & Angry? Check.

Who would guess this – from the blue-eyed, smiling yoga teacher in Burr Ridge, IL? The Ayurveda lady? That woman in the business suit that worked at Smith Barney for 20 years? Really?

You can never judge a book by its cover. We can never make assumptions about another person based on how they look on the outside or what job they do. I was always smiling on the outside…Even with a mind in turmoil.

How did I walk the path? How did I set myself free? How do I live in Light?

Let’s go back a bit~

I thank my grandfather for giving me the opportunity to spend every summer of my youth in Northern Wisconsin, being in tune with nature and the sky. It was quite a change from the concrete jungle of everyday life. His property was located on Barker Lake in the Chequamegon National Forest….. without a phone or TV in sight. This was before the advent of internet and smartphones. I was allowed to use my imagination, stare at the stars and contemplate my own existence…. even as a child. I sat in observance of the vastness of the universe, our planet, society and how we relate to one another. One of my 3rd-grade book reports was comprised of definitive thought on astronomy and the different types of stone that make up the structure of the earth. Even with home-life in turmoil, I was a top student (Dean’s List Honor Roll) and received numerous, ongoing awards in mathematics, writing skills, debate, and communication. This was me – my foundation – my true nature. I have longed only to discuss the stars, the rocks, the trees, and the human condition. I want to talk ELEVATED CONSCIOUSNESS.

As it turns out, real life takes you in another direction.

Instead of walking the path discussing the human condition and earthly philosophy, I graduated High School and went straight to work on the Exchange Floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. Organized Chaos. I spent 24 years working in the SEC Financial Services Industry, with focus in Brokerage & Investment Administration, Investment Advisory, Insurance, State Law, Business Development, PR/Marketing, and Staff Coaching. I held numerous FINRA-Regulated NASD Securities Trading Licenses and was an Illinois State Life/Health Insurance Agent.

I obtained 7 SEC Financial Trading Licenses – the equivalent to a Masters Degree in Finance. I worked for the two largest Brokerage Firms on Wall Street out of offices in Chicago & Denver. Not bad for a girl from the ghetto who never made it to college. So, we sprinkle the story with intense ambition, drive & determination. No longer living in poverty and making all of my own choices – But I wasn’t healed yet.

This incredible accomplishment also led me to know first-hand that “success” also breeds stress. Then add all the responsibility of your attention to your home, your family, your friends, your broken washing machine… Life’s demands are always there.

Traumatic childhood or successful Financial Advisor – and everything in between – Stress is always there, lurking in the background – And I wasn’t healed yet.

Let’s talk about how this ‘successful’ life draws you even deeper into imbalance.
Overweight? Check.
Drinking & Drugging to escape? Check.
Confused & Angry? Check.
Coffee to Wake / Alcohol to Sleep? Check.
….and I needed a divorce.

Let’s add some physical challenges; In my 20’s alone – I fractured my tibia & kneecap and had a surgery that severed my LCL in error, I experienced an accident that left 2nd & 3rd degree burns to 30% of my body, I had 2 cancer surgeries (with a blood test every week for one year during recovery), I was determined unable to sustain a pregnancy (So, no kids) and was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease with 4 disc herniations in my spine.

Oh, and my mother committed suicide. This story sounds made up, doesn’t it?

I have felt all the feelings – Extreme anxiety, worry, fear, sadness, insecurity, anger, resentment, jealousy, depression, fatigue, loneliness, confusion, lack of motivation to care for myself, you name it. I was diagnosed with Acute-Depression and PTSD and was placed years-long massive doses of anti-depressants to save my life. I have been through all the tears and counseling sessions. I lived in the fire. I lived in the darkness. I thought it would all get better if I just smoked another cigarette.

What a ride!

So here I am. Overweight, Depressed, Exhausted, Suffering Insomnia & Sleep Deprivation, Completed Depleted, Mal-Nourished and in full-on Adrenal Fatigue – BUT working my tail off, taking care of everyone else, and smiling and joking and telling everyone everything is great! I am GREAT! I am F F F F I I I I N N N E E E…

I was not in a healthy place, I always said I would get in shape and live a healthier life “someday”. In 2006, that ‘Someday’ finally came. I was in line for ‘The Shift’.

I want to feel better. I need help. You want me to do what?
Eat dry chicken breast and salad? and run on this treadmill five times a week?
And take MORE Zoloft and Ambien?

When I finally got serious about reaching outward for help, I did not find anything within modern medicine that would support my healing. Allopathic Conventional medicine, doctors, psychiatrists and the treatments at large were scary, toxic and further depleting.

Let’s back up once again~

The first time I stepped onto a yoga mat, it was 1998 and I was living in Denver CO after moving there from Chicago in ’95. I am forever in debt to my dear friend who suggested I come along to a yoga class with her.

I was well over 200 pounds, but the current day magazine images of Yoga, with the fat-free, skinny Vata bodies perfectly balanced on tree stumps or in nature in their headstands and King Pigeons did not exist, so I had no MISGUIDED preconception that yoga was made just for thin, young people.

My understanding was that it was about being able to physically balance and being extremely flexible. During my first class, I quickly realized that just balancing on one foot was a hell of a lot harder than I expected. At that point, I was wondering how I was even able to walk around in an upright position at all – and how could it be that I had never taken the time to realize it? So I tried it that day, but I stayed away from it for a couple of years. I was insecure. I wasn’t ready to dive into myself just yet.

In 2002, I returned to practicing after moving back to Chicago. It was then that I knew that I wanted to become a yoga instructor one day, even though I was still 195 pounds. Time went on. Sometimes my practice was more dedicated, sometimes not. I was certainly not following any other part of the eight limbs of yoga that invite you to take care of yourself, practice nonviolence (even against yourself), meditate, control the senses or be mindful of anything. I wasn’t eating right. I was not sleeping right. I was involved in a very toxic marriage. I was working two jobs and extremely long hours. I was completely out of balance. I was unhappy and unhealthy. I mentioned above that I was suffering from anxiety and being completely overwhelmed. I felt angry and resentful and insecure about my appearance…I was taking all that medicine, still suffering Insomnia & lethargy, drinking to sleep & escape and smoking a pack of cigarettes everyday…..all with a smile on my face, pretending everything was great. This Pitta thought she had it all worked out.

Fast forward to 2006. Now I’m in my early 30’s and taking all the inventory that comes along with that age. Difficult and major decisions were made for a new life, new health, new job location and new place to live ~ toxic relationships were severed and a new dedication to taking care of me was born.

I underwent a lifestyle change with a complete physical and mental transformation. I spent the next two years coming back to my yoga practice, slowly adding wholesome foods to my life, stopped eating processed or fast foods, juicing, detoxifying my body from years of abuse and educating myself as much as possible on my health and wellness… I felt great! I still had to work hard in the office, I still had family responsibilities, I still had financial struggles, the death of loved ones continued… “Life” did not go away. I just learned how to manage it in a healthy way.

I continued an avid yoga practice. By 2008, I had lost almost 100 pounds, was full of energy and was sleeping well for the first time in my life. My yoga practice has kept me away from spinal fusion surgery for over ten years.

I started to meditate. All the answers I was searching for came to me in my stillness. I let go of anger. I forgave (not just others, but myself). I found compassion, I started to hear my own divine voice of wisdom. I continued to work hard, go through the ups and downs of life. I learned about karma and setting myself free. I learned about the 3 States of Consciousness: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas – this taught me all about how even our challenges are a sacred piece to the puzzle. All of the old emotions faded away and were replaced with wisdom and peace.

In 2010, while continuing my research on yoga and healthy living, I discovered Ayurveda. A life-Changer.

Ayurveda is a vast and deep system of healing. I would be hard-pressed to describe all of it in one answer.

Ayurveda is Sanskrit for ‘Science’ or ‘Knowledge’ of ‘Life’. It is a 5000-10,000 year-old ancient system of holistic healing based on balance. It is a Sister-Science to Yoga and originated in the Indian Sub-Continent. It is one of the oldest medical practices in the world, pre-dating Chinese and Greek Medicine. It and has been meticulously documented in specific ancient texts dating as far back as 1700 BCE.

According to Ayurveda, each of us are made up of the 5 Gross Elements of Nature (Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Ether), that were determined at the moment of our conception. These elements create health when balanced, and illness when imbalanced. This can be on a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level. Ayurveda takes into account all of the unique aspects of YOU: Your Physical characteristics, thought processing, emotional balance and your connection to nature. Understanding this helps to relieve symptoms, prevent diseases and treat illnesses. The way each person is designed in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes determines how they should take care of themselves. Coupling this knowledge with lifestyle practices that decrease stress, increase focus,

These elements then go on to further combine and form 3 distinct DOSHAS: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each Dosha presents itself in your unique qualities, as well as different symptoms, diseases, and illnesses. Each Dosha behaves very differently and responds to different treatments.

Not all foods are for all people.
Not all exercise is for all people.

What this looks like:

Dosha: VATA
Elements: Air/Ether
Qualities: Cold / Dry / Light / Subtle / Flowing / Mobile / Sharp / Hard / Rough / Clear
Governs movement of all things. It is primarily located in the colon, thighs, hips, ears, bones, and organs of hearing and touch. It gives life to all things. It is responsible for breathing, movement, flexibility, and biological processes. It governs the nervous system and sensory functions. Thin, Small Frame, Small Muscle Tone, Thin & Dry Hair.

Examples of Balanced Vata: Tranquility, Stability, Calmness, Creativity, Energy, Enthusiasm, Light-heartedness, Easy digestion, Restful sleep, Adequate hydration, Grounded and Focused.

Examples of Vata Imbalance: Anxiety, Fear, Overwhelm, Indecisiveness, Addictions, Moodiness, Fatigue, Insomnia, Aches & Pains in the body, Depletion, Low immunity, Anorexia, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Dehydration, Dry skin & hair, Brittle nails, Light & painful menses, Sensitivity to cold, Constipation, Sensory perception issues like prism migraines or tinnitus. Sensitivity to Cold/Wind. Aggravated in Winter or cold climates.

Dosha: PITTA
Elements: Fire/Water
Qualities: Hot / Moist / Light / Oily / Subtle / Flowing / Mobile / Sharp / Hard / Rough / Clear
Governs all heat in the body. Located in the small intestine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, lymph & eyes. Responsible for digestion, metabolism, chemical transformations and the production of cellular energy. Also governs digestion of information. Pitta-types are very sharp thinkers, philosophers, analysts, consultants, managers, advisors, mathematicians, and engineers. Medium Frame, Medium muscle tone, Sharp & Radiant Features, with slight redness to skin. Early Grey Hair.

Examples of Balanced Pitta: Strong appetite with cool digestion& assimilation of nutrients, low level of toxins, focused, intellectual thought, soft leadership, balanced work/rest & healthy ambition.

Examples of Pitta Imbalance: Feelings of Anger, Jealousy or Resentment, Being Critical or Judgmental (Self/World), Ego-Centric, Excessive body heat, Acid reflux, Extreme competitiveness (Self/World), Excessive Work or Production, Unable to rest, Burnout, Fever, Toxic blood, Inflammation of bodily tissues/bones/joints, Auto-Immune Disorders, Vision problems, Hot skin rashes, Excess acidic sweat or urine, Psoriasis, Anemia, Diarrhea, or Liver and Gallbladder issues. Sensitivity to heat/sun. Aggravated in Summer or hot climates.

Dosha: KAPHA
Elements: Earth/Water
Qualities: Cold / Moist / Heavy / Gross / Dense / Static / Dull / Soft / Smooth / Cloudy
Governs the structure and stability of the body. Binds and solidifies our existence. Attachment. Supplies nutrition and hydration to bodily tissues. Located in the chest, throat, head, pancreas, stomach, fat, nose and tongue. Creates bodily tissues and holds bones and muscles together. Short, Dense Frame. Thick, wavy hair, big round eyes, full lips, luminous skin. Husky, nasally voice.

Examples of Balanced Kapha: Good digestion, Flexible joints, Adequate Energy & Movement, Ambitious, Can adapt to Change, Gentle nature, Caring, Loving, Happy, Laid back and Loyal.

Examples of Kapha Imbalance: Depression, Lethargy, Possessiveness, Cluttered, Unmotivated, Excess Mucous Production, Frequent Congestion, Weight Gain, Swelling, Edema, Nausea, Diabetes, Sluggish digestion, High Cholesterol, Toxic Accumulation. Sensitivity to Dampness. Aggravated in the Spring or damp climates.

Noticing a pattern?

Upon assessing a person’s individual dosha (constitution), specific guidelines may be followed to achieve optimum health. Ayurveda’s goal is to help us understand how to help ourselves to re-balance and restore health.

This practice
** Teaches a proactive approach to avoiding illness with certain fresh foods, exercise, relaxation/stress reduction, and regular cleansing.
** Is used to counterbalance the qualities of illnesses that are already in the first stages of manifestation in the body.
** Will treat conditions with diet, lifestyle, exercise, herbal remedies, energy flow, and stress reduction techniques. Ayurveda takes many things into account: First your Dosha…then gender, age, location, seasons, climate, energy flow, etc. The unique combination of the three doshas in each individual has a specific influence on our physical, mental, and emotional tendencies. Determining which dosha(s) are dominant can help you to make the right diet and lifestyle choices that will maintain balance and promote health and well-being on all levels. Everyone can benefit from this practice.

I was overjoyed to discover that all of my childhood thoughts and feelings about humanity, our existence, the Universe, then energetic plane, and the world at large had a NAME. I only wondered why it had taken me so long to find it! This led to a path of Life-Long education on the practice. I have since become an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Yoga Instructor, and Energy Healer. In 2015, I left the Financial Industry to make holistic healing my primary focus. I embraced my Dharma and the Universe unfolded.

There is great depth of healing to be had in Self-Awareness. I am truly fulfilled by sharing what I have discovered with others. I have personally witnessed 100s of stories of transformation attained by those who welcome this practice into consciousness and life.

It has been a glorious journey. I learned about my work ethic, my resilience and my level of intellect, ambition, and organization. I found the light and it revealed exceptional perspective. It revealed my strength, determination, understanding, courage, and stability.

I have been poor. I have had a 6-figure income. I have slept in the ghetto. I have stood on mountain tops in the Italian Alps. I have wandered the Indian Jungle. I have been to places I read about in history books. I helped to manage the assets of multi-millionaires.

Along the way, I learned extremely valuable lessons about myself and about the world. In the midst of this, I discovered what I am made of.

All the while, I was a girl connected to the earth and to the sky and who was blessed with an irreplaceable Grandfather who taught me EVERYTHING. The Universe sent him to me to hold my hand along the path.

At eight years old, I knew I was connected to the planet and that I wanted to heal people with plants. I stared at the stars during my summer nights in the North Woods and I knew there was more (while ‘Gramps’ taught me how to cross-stitch and make candles).

I slowly learned why I had to experience these things. I learned about self-realization, my own tendencies and the karma of my parents. I learned how to cultivate positive energy…and how to work with it.

I learned how to heal everything about me – how to brush away the negative foods, relationships, thoughts & daily routines.

At mid-life, I realized my dharma and what makes my heart sing. Bye-Bye Finance, Hello Healer!

I did the contemplation. I did the soul searching. Now I truly understand balance. My soul shines!

I feel all the feelings – Excitement, happiness, positivity, fulfillment, freedom, exhilaration about the future, stability, motivation to take care of this temple, and the sun shines in my mind everyday!

Was it easy? NO.
Did it take A LOT of work? YES.
Did it take years? YES.

Are there still challenges to face? Yes!
But now I know how to handle life with ease.

Why my life-story in a nutshell?
Not for recognition, not for sympathy, not for a pat on the back.
Sometimes it’s still a revelation to me that I want to share.

This life was preparing me to listen to you. Really listen.

Each day, I acknowledge on a deeper & deeper level, that The Universe needed me to experience the darkness (and claw my way through to the Truth) so I could be an effective Helper…

I needed to be scared and sick –> to learn how to be safe and healthy —> so I could share it with others.

So I could relate….. So I could offer perspective… So I could really know how to help the mind and body.

When I offer perspective on healing, not ALL of it is something I read in a book. Some of it I know… I know at the core of me.

And I know we are all capable of it.

I will hold your hand too. I will never judge you for where you are on the path. We are all walking each other home.

I am extremely passionate about bringing the healing power of the Ayurvedic lifestyle to my community. I am always available to discuss your thoughts and concerns or answer any questions. I am also available to conduct discussions to introduce Ayurveda to the public.

I look forward to assisting others on the journey to their personal health.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am Board-Certified with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. I have studied Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation, Ayurvedic Herbs and Panchakarma Therapies in the USA, Italy, and India. I have completed countless courses, workshops, and conferences in these Eastern Healing Arts as well as Western Anatomy, Nutrition, and Herbology. I am also a national ACE-Certified Fitness Instructor.

I am a Chicago native, maintaining my private practice in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, in addition to primarily my new home in the West Valley of Buckeye, AZ.

I offer personal Consultations on Ayurvedic Health & Wellness, private Yoga/Meditation sessions, Seasonal Group Cleanse programs & Panchakarma Body Therapies. I conduct open Classes, Courses, Workshops, Fire Ceremonies & Drum Circles on natural living, spiritual exploration, connection & healing, herbal remedies & the introduction of Ayurveda to my community.

Outside of my private practice, I also offer Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama at Lifetime Fitness Corp in Goodyear, AZ, The Wellness Council of Arizona, Soderworld Wellness Center & Healing Arts Academy and formerly the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. I am Faculty for Ananda Ayurveda Academy in Willowbrook IL and visiting Faculty for various Yoga Teacher Training courses offered to YTT students in Chicago and Phoenix.

I am also the Founder of Sattvic Sage Solutions, an IT Software EMR System created specifically for Ayurvedic Counselors, Practitioners, and B.A.M.S.

I think what sets me apart is my level of relation to what someone is experiencing. I understand stressful family relationships, coping with addictions, carrying excess weight, insecurity, Corporate Job Demands and Stress, Illness, Injury, Depression, Anxiety, etc. I have experienced all of those things, so when I speak, it stems from a deep place of understanding. Someone will never feel judged in my presence. I also provide a very detailed amount of information for the healing journey. There are many components to lifestyle shifts that are available to be done in baby steps. I offer very small changes that cultivate huge results. I make things simple and adaptable to each person’s lifestyle.


  • TOTAL HEALTH Package $695 ​ Includes: ** Initial Consultation ~ 90 Minutes ** Plan Meeting ~ 1 Hr Initial Recommendations, Q&A ** 6 Follow-Up Visits ~ 1 Hr each (to be used within 1 Year) Review of Plan Implementation, Additional Recommendations, Q&A In addition to face-to-face hours, this package Includes research and composition hours needed to devise your specific initial plan, as well as follow up recommendations. ($975 Value)
  • NEW LIFE Package $425 ​ Includes: ** Initial Consultation ~ 90 Minutes ** Plan Meeting ~ 1 Hr Initial Recommendations, Q&A ** 3 Follow-Up Visits ~ 1 Hr each (to be used within 6 months) Review of Plan Implementation, Additional Recommendations, Q&A In addition to face-to-face hours, this package Includes research and composition hours needed to devise your specific initial plan, as well as follow up recommendations. ($650 Value)
  • FINDING BALANCE Package $275 ​ Includes: ** Initial Consultation ~ 90 Minutes ** Plan Meeting ~ 1 Hr Initial Recommendations, Q&A ** 1 Follow-Up Visit ~ 1 Hr (to be used within 3 months) Review of Plan Implementation, Additional Recommendations, Q&A In addition to face-to-face hours, this package Includes research and composition hours needed to devise your specific initial plan, as well as follow up recommendations. ($425 Value) ​
  • AYURVEDA INTRO Package $195 ​ Includes: ** Initial Consultation ~ 90 Minutes ** Plan Meeting ~ 1 Hr – Initial Recommendations, Q&A ​ In addition to face-to-face hours, this package Includes research and composition hours needed to devise your specific initial plan, as well as follow up recommendations. ($300 Value)
  • FOLLOW UP VISITS ​$75 ​ Includes: ** Follow Up Consultation ~ 1 Hr Designed for In-Depth Questions on various topics implementing Initial Plan, continued coaching or on-going review of initial Ayurveda plan. Emailed Summary of Discussion, including Additional Recommendations
  • Private Yoga Sessions from Absolute Beginner to Advanced Practice $20 – $40 60-Minute Private Session
  • Various Ayurveda Body Therapies Including Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Chakra Balancing, Marma Therapy, Etc $55 – $325

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo in Blue Dress; Alan Alcid

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Patrick Cain

    June 28, 2019 at 12:31 am

    I have known Karla for her entire life and I can attest to the fact that she has risen to the top at each stage of her life by sheer willpower . She had no help, except her Grandfather, she did it on her own. She continues to dazzle me with her energy and dedication to becoming the very best at whatever endeavor she is involved in. She truly is an amazing person and I am so blessed to know her

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