Born Nancy Strandberg, I was raised in southern Sweden. Growing up in Sweden, I developed a deep connection to the elements of nature. I spent my afternoons and summers playing in all-edible gardens, adventuring in the woods and exploring the beaches.
I have always had a natural aptitude for fitness. At an early age I realized I had an in-born physical strength along with a passion for vital living. Even as a young teenager I was a practicing vegetarian. I also experimented with juice fasts and ways to utilize different foods to promote healthy living. I ran marathons, rode horses, raced bicycles, and performed gymnastics.
In my later teens, I dreamt of travelling. Having leaned four languages, (Swedish, English, German and French) I was ready to branch out. I left Sweden for Paris when I was seventeen years old. Once there, I pursued a modeling career and I had the good fortune of becoming an international fashion and fitness model (represented by Elite Model Agency).
Modeling is both demanding and rewarding. On the positive side, it allowed me the opportunity to travel to exotic and wonderful parts of the world while experiencing a rich and glamorous life-style. On the negative side, there was the daily pressure to exude false ideals about beauty and self-worth. I experienced the effects of yo-yo dieting and bulimia. I struggled emotionally with the fact that I was both desired and rejected for only outward physical appearance.
My desire to evolve as a whole being and lead a more substantive life led me to leave modeling and embark on what I call my “Healing Journey”. I spent the next three years in Australia and Asia exploring various natural health remedies, cleansing, eating a raw food diet, practicing yoga, dance, and re-birthing. I deepened my life-long respect for our natural healing abilities: the power of breath, healthy nourishment, cleansing, movement, faith in what the earth provides, trust in the self, and a commitment to love. As homage to my new found enlightenment, I adopted the name Ninaya. It simply means: “to follow the path of my laughing heart”.
By the early nineties I had decided to devote myself completely to the healing arts. I moved to California where I became certified in holistic health. Soon thereafter I met colon therapist and healer Connie Allred at the Internal Environment Institute and immediately knew I wanted to study and work with her. What I learned from Connie changed my life from deep inside. Colonics and cleansing were the single most important aspect of my journey toward a full and wholesome life. It is transformational work and continues to be at the heart of my practice and services.
I have a strong, personal connection to Hawaii and her dolphins and after finding myself increasingly drawn to various forms of aquatic bodywork, I added “Aquatic Therapist” to my certifications. For many years I was co-director of the Rhythm Ranch, a center for Watsu, healing and creative arts, in Riverside, California. As part of that work I co-produced Maui Rhythm Village retreats, an opportunity to celebrate nine transformational days including drum circles, dance classes, song, yoga, shamanic journeying and much more.
I was very fortunate to be asked to direct the wellness clinic of self-empowerment guru Anthony Robbins at the Namale Resort in Fiji. It was there I learned much about facilitating health for very large groups. It was an impactful and enlightening experience.
Since 2003 I have resided in the beautiful town of Santa Barbara, California where I live with my family. We are health conscious, green and simple living omnivores. As I operate my Private Practice, I am continuously renewing myself, seeking to deepen my relationships, to be at peace, and to be of service.