Dr. Supriya Blair: “Move your body”

Move your body. This includes stretching and yoga. Yoga, in my opinion, is a wonderful mind-body-spirit tool to lengthen, strengthen, and release. Engage in rhythmic activities that use both sides of your body. Rhythmic, soothing activities, like walking, helps strengthen the brain’s corpus callosum, which, in turn strengthens the connection between our right and left brains. Many […]

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Move your body. This includes stretching and yoga. Yoga, in my opinion, is a wonderful mind-body-spirit tool to lengthen, strengthen, and release.

Engage in rhythmic activities that use both sides of your body. Rhythmic, soothing activities, like walking, helps strengthen the brain’s corpus callosum, which, in turn strengthens the connection between our right and left brains.

Many ancient traditions around the world believe ‘wellbeing’ or ‘bienestar’ is a state of harmony within ourselves and our world, where we are in balance mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Supriya Blair, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York State. She is the owner of Dr. Blair Psychology, LLC, a holistic telehealth therapy practice. Dr. Blair helps clients refine, define, and tune into their mind-body-spirit needs through mental health therapy, mindfulness training, and spiritual counsel.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Thank you for having me! I was born and raised in upstate New York. I’m a child of two hardworking, dedicated, and loving immigrant parents. Growing up biculturally primed me to be very attentive to the world and diligent about navigating the “firsts,” as a first-generation-born American. My parents left India when they were young adults to create a life for themselves here. As a side note, there is a lot of pressure moving to a new world and raising children in a completely different culture. It can be tough for both generations, who have their respective set of challenges.

From an early age, I was perceptive to emotional and behavioral patterns around me. I was a curious child, interested in how people were related to each other and how things “work” in the world. I probably people-watched even before I knew what that meant! In school, I was the kid that always raised my hand with a question! Looking back, that was a blessing: I worked through a lot of self-consciousness by asking the question anyway.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in helping others? We’d love to hear the story.

Helping and service are important values with which I grew up. I am fortunate to be able to say that I knew I wanted to be a psychologist since 8th grade. The best way I could describe it, is feeling pulled by a purpose and pushed by a passion.

My family values travel. Traveling beyond one’s comfort zone, be it geographical, linguistic, or cultural, is powerful. Witnessing others’ cultural, economic, gender, and racial differences helped me cultivate an appreciation for people’s unique stories and multicultural heritage.

Perhaps feeling and being an “underdog” myself, my heart has always cheered for the underdog. One important lesson I learned in my early 20s, was that if I am unwilling to empower myself, there is no way I can help others empower themselves. That is my biggest goal as a healthcare practitioner: helping others empower themselves in their own lives.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I feel blessed by the direction both of my parents afforded me. My father is one of the most hardworking people I know. My father imparted many lessons: never take shortcuts, work hard, do not depend on a man to provide for you, and travel. One of his favorite sayings is, “Nothing is harder in this world than your multiplications!” To this day, I’m still not sure what he means by that! Just kidding. My father did not like excuses growing up, so I try to be mindful about not making excuses or giving up still today. I remember him telling me once, “If you can’t do it, who in the world can?”

I got my heart from my mother. She is a kind, beautiful soul. Her wisdom outshines mine every day of the week. I’m so grateful for the numerous lessons I’ve witnessed in her: how to have a quiet confidence, pay others no mind if they can’t/don’t support you, and be only your best. My favorite saying of hers is “be good, do good, and feel good.” She learned this from my grandmother. I love that my mother shares intergenerational wisdom; it helps me feel connected to the larger picture of why we’re all here.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of pursuing your passion? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

As mentioned before, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist since 8th grade. I have some family members who pursued the traditional Indian routes of medicine and engineering. So while I had a lot of support, I was also met with doubt. For instance, one of my older cousins told me I would regret my choice of not becoming a medical doctor when I was older. I was even told once that I wouldn’t be able to afford groceries as a psychologist.

I doubted my decision at some points in high school. For instance, I attended a week-long medical leadership program. It was similar to a summer camp for high school students who were interested in pursuing medicine (which I wasn’t).

I switched my major from biology to psychology the day before college started. I’ve never looked back since. The hardest hurdle for me was sticking to my guns when I was younger, knowing I didn’t know anyone in the field or how I was going to do it. I knew I would make it because I didn’t give myself any other options. This helped me really start the process of taking responsibility for my own choices. I learned that I alone shape my future. This is true for every one of us. Said differently, what may be right for you may not be right for me, and vice versa.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

The brilliant Dr. Maya Angelou, once said, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”

I find that messages reflecting Truth are simple. Humans often make everything so complex, but the truth is often simple and straightforward. Things that resonate with us tap into our own internal knowledge. It’s a confirmation of something we already know deep within. That’s why this quote has stuck with me for years.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

One thing I am proud and excited about is sharing holistic health, psychology, and wellness with a wider audience via blogging and a newsletter. Therapy, in general, tends to be a very private field for obvious reasons. However, this can be a disservice at times because it feeds into the stigma surrounding mental health.

I had an aha moment when I learned that blogging and having a newsletter could connect others to wellness resources and my practice in a different way.

It’s important that people see therapists as regular, ordinary people, too. I hope that is shown through my writings, particularly poetry and short stories. I also write about mindfulness and provide writing exercises for clients or non-clients who are interested in using journaling to self-express.

Sharing wellness through writing is so fulfilling. I get really excited when I can bring psychology-related themes my clients are experiencing (e.g., boundaries, assertiveness, relationship challenges, self-esteem) and integrate those themes through my writings. Brain Coach, Jim Quik, says, “When you teach something, you learn it twice.”

I am also moving into consultant work, which will help me continue my own process of growing beyond my comfort zone and become more accessible to a broader audience!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In my writing, I talk about cultivating wellbeing habits in our lives, in order to be strong, vibrant and powerful co-creators of a better society. What we create is a reflection of how we think and feel. When we get back to a state of wellbeing and begin to create from that place, the outside world will reflect this state of wellbeing. Let’s dive deeper into this together. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.

I love that.

Talk to yourself kindly. Self-talk, or the language and way we talk to ourselves, informs how we talk and relate to others outside of us. It’s similar to a boomerang: what you throw out is what you get back. If you are worried about someone else’s judgments, you’ve already judged yourself. If you have a tendency to judge others, you most likely have a tendency to judge yourself. It’s important to choose reassuring, positive, affirming, and calming thoughts when we speak to ourselves.

Set and maintain priorities. Deepak Chopra talks about success as comprising a “progressive realization of worthy goals.” Our day-to-day actions, or inaction, design our lifestyle. Observing, structuring, and following through on priorities every day is important. We build confidence and our “success muscle” when we follow through on our intentions.

Be diligent about when you use your mind. Think about a helmet. If you ride a bike or go skate boarding, a helmet is useful and necessary. Now think about going to sleep with a helmet on: pretty uncomfortable. If we liken our mind to a helmet, learning to use our mind, when needed, and learning to “hang it up,” when it’s not needed, is a critical skill to help break-up the incessant mind chatter.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I found guided meditation practices helpful before transitioning to guiding myself in meditation. Focusing on calm, even, and rhythmic breathing has been very helpful. When the mind is overactive, the breath is not at ease. It has also been helpful to focus on both, inner and physical stillness while meditating to help go further and further inside.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.

Get between 7–9 hours of sleep/night. Sleep impacts mood, memory, and productivity. Feeling well-rested starts with the night before. It’s important to remember that stress is not a status-symbol and taking care of one’s physical body and its inherent needs are necessary.

Move your body. This includes stretching and yoga. Yoga, in my opinion, is a wonderful mind-body-spirit tool to lengthen, strengthen, and release.

Engage in rhythmic activities that use both sides of your body. Rhythmic, soothing activities, like walking, helps strengthen the brain’s corpus callosum, which, in turn strengthens the connection between our right and left brains.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are some great ways to begin to integrate it into our lives?

Good point. It might be helpful to review eating patterns/food routines with which we grew up. Many habits form when we are young and impressionable. Healthy or unhealthy eating could be one of these patterns.

Habits do not change overnight; habits form over a period of time, which means that new habits can also develop over time. I’m always a fan of starting small and becoming consistent, before we add something new to our plate. If you desire to cook more in order to avoid fast food, for instance, you could start with cooking one healthy meal a day. After doing that consistently for three to four weeks, perhaps you could try cooking two healthy meals a day.

Having family involvement, getting a coach, consulting with a dietician or nutritionist, can also be helpful if someone could benefit from a specific starting point (e.g., eliminating meat from one’s diet). Skilled Ayurvedic practitioners are typically trained in helping their clients pinpoint food types that are compatible with their specific body constitution (based on their dosha compositions of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.

Deep breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is a simple yet profound habit to help soothe our internal physiology and move into a calm state. Focus on smoothing out the breath (i.e., make inhales slow and even, as the stomach moves out, and make exhales slow and even, as the stomach moves toward the spine). When you watch a baby sleep on their back, you will notice their stomach moves out and in; that is a proper breath. Many people are chest-breathers, which tends to exacerbate anxiety and/or anger.

Feel your feelings. We hold emotions in our bodies, so learning to feel your feelings is important. Integrating deep breathing and open body language as you feel your feelings can help you move through a feeling and release its energy.

Observe your experience without creating a story or explanation. The mind has a tendency to make a story about practically everything. Learn to witness your feelings and thoughts, and focus on the space, the pause, or the calm between thoughts can help.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellbeing? We’d love to hear it.

Not only does smiling release feel-good hormones, it also conveys a sense of interpersonal openness. It can be much easier to approach a person who is smiling vs. a person who is not smiling.

As mentioned, our bodies hold emotions. If you think about anger or sadness, for instance, one’s body will tend to be constricted. When others experience a sense of wellbeing and are happy, their body naturally tends to be more open and expansive. Smiling and frowning follow suit.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.

Meditation. Personally speaking, meditation has helped me grow into a more peaceful, calmer, and creative person. I use to get frustrated trying to “do it right.” Meditation is more about being with your Self. As you get deeper into meditation, your ability to tune-out outer noise and tune-into yourself grows stronger. Like everything, meditation is a practice that grows with consistency.

Staying present. If you notice, there are certain threads that integrate mind-body-spirit wellness, including meditation, breath work, and staying present. When we are present, we can avoid ruminative thinking about the past and worried thinking about the future. We remain centered in the experience known as now.

Agnihotra. Agnihotra, or Homa therapy, is a scientific practice that has its origins in the Vedas, which are sacred Hindu scriptures. I was introduced to Agnihotra in my early 20s. With regular, consistent practice, Agnihotra has helped me develop a deeper connection to Self, a reduction in experienced stress and anxiety, and mental clarity. It has been a practice that has been lost over the course of time. More scientific research is both, being conducted and emerging, bridging the gap between this Ancient practice and what we know about its impact on mind, body, and the environment.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate overall wellbeing?

Being in nature has a profound impact on feeling grounded and our overall wellbeing. My favorite psychology article, Lifestyle and Mental Health, comprises Dr. Roger Walsh’s research about TLCs (therapeutic lifestyle changes). In his research, he found that nature positively impacts multiple areas of health, including our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. He described the restorative aspect of nature, including silence and natural light. Dr. Walsh also mentioned the negative impact of artificial environments (e.g., being indoors, artificial lighting) on sleep and cognitive functioning. For more information, his article in American Psychologist (2011), can also be found on his website,

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

More integrative healthcare practices that focus on mind-body-spirit wellness is needed. We are not just people who have isolated physical symptoms or mental health challenges. The mind-body-spirit system is intricate and interconnected, so combining mental health wellness, body-based/somatic treatments, and spirituality is imperative.

There is a lot of false information out there and it could be hard to weed out what’s accurate from what’s not. In spirituality, we look inwards: our wisdom, our healing, and our Truth. Children have this inherently. There comes a time when we might cut-off from our internal compass, doubt ourselves, and develop clouded judgment. Of course there are so many benefits of seeking external teachings and knowledge. Yet if we combine that with meditation, holistic health, and ancient healing methods, our healthcare system could be much more impactful. It would also be much more empowering.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Fun fact: the only thing on my bucket list is to meet Oprah! I’m not sure what I’ll say when I meet her; I don’t think that’s the point. I will probably release some tears and soak up her wisdom! To me, Oprah is an incredible woman and humanitarian who exemplifies true empowerment: she stands behind her own (pun intended) choices and leads with integrity. If you have ever watched even the way she speaks, she speaks from a place deep inside her that is centered, purposeful, and in alignment.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you so much. All the things (blog, newsletter, social media, media features, practice offerings, etc.) can be found on

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

All the best to you.

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