Nandi (Sunita) Nandihalli's headshot

Nandi (Sunita) Nandihalli

Health Equity & Well-Being Consultant | Licensed Psychotherapist

VCFA | Office of Equity, Inclusion and Employee Well-Being

Nandi has been working in the fields of social justice and holistic health for over a decade and has a background in cross-cultural research, teaching, and training using experiential techniques. Nandi earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Biology and is also a UW–Madison alumni where they earned their Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. Nandi grew up in the American South and brings their lived experience as a queer, trans, person of color.
Pronouns: any

Talks:

Decolonizing Mental & Emotional Well-Being
This session will focus on challenging and dismantling Western psychological theories and psychotherapy practices (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). We will take a look at the underbelly of current mental health fields including diagnoses, insurance, and state-run mental health facilities. We will also dive into the history of racism and sexism in the psychology field and how it impacts us all today. Using health equity & healing justice lenses, we will walk participants through how to assess their mental and emotional health using holistic approaches and somatic healing techniques.
Decolonizing Medicine, Exercise, and Nutrition
This workshop focuses on challenging and dismantling Western, individualistic views on what physical health looks and feels like. We will take a look at the underbelly of current Western medical practices, including medical racism, misogyny, fatphobia, and the demonization of traditional cultural foods. We will then take a look at the fitness industry and how certain traditional healing practices, such as yoga and tai chi, have been appropriated as “a workout” and how this can be harmful in a variety of ways. Using health equity & healing justice lenses, we will then walk participants through how to trust their instincts and assess their health using whole-body approaches and ancestral healing techniques.
Decolonizing Spirituality
This session will focus on addressing the ways that Western dominant religions have been mechanisms of colonialism, empire, and oppression. This work aims to center “folks who have been wounded by traditional religious systems” and to help people find an authentic connection to the divine that allows them to bring their whole selves, stories, and communities of spiritual practice. We will discuss tools around extracting one’s spirituality from forms and structures that were created in tandem with colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and other oppressive systems, while also cultivating new spiritual support systems that have liberation and flourishing for individuals, communities, and ultimately the world at their heart.
Decolonizing Environmental Well-Being, Sustainability, & Accessibility
This session will focus on exploring the history of environmental activism under the guise of individualism and capitalism. We will take a deep dive into what accessibility issues and environmental racism looks like today and the impacts it can have, especially on low income people of color. We will also explore the intersection of environmental well-being and accessibility and medical bias and racism. Using health equity & healing justice lenses, facilitators will discuss tools and strategies on how participants can educate themselves on environmental concerns in their communities, how to make their workplaces more accessible, and how to advocate for their own accessibility needs.
Decolonizing Social Well-Being & Practicing Community Care
This session will focus on dismantling the idea of “self-care” to focus more on collective well-being. We will dive into the ties between self-care, individualism, capitalism, and neoliberalism and how this can be problematic when trying to foster social connectedness and build communities. Using health equity & healing justice lenses, facilitators will discuss strategies and tools for building sustainable communities and how to prioritize and practice collective well-being.
Decolonizing Wealth, Work, & Finances
This session will focus on challenging and dismantling Western, capitalist views on wealth, finance, and success. We will take a look at the underbelly of the financial system and how it disproportionately impacts marginalized populations, such as low-income people of color. We will also review concepts of domesticity and how homemaking and child-rearing has been historically discounted to society’s detriment. Using equity & racial justice lenses, we will then provide information on more accessible and meaningful ways to invest, make mindful career moves, save towards retirement, and create equitable home environments.
Ancestral Reconstruction
Well-being isn’t just about being physically healthy. It’s about how we relate to our communities, our past, and the world around us. Research in epigenetics shows that our health and well-being are closely linked to our ancestors. This means that things like diseases, trauma, and behaviors can be passed down through generations. This is especially true for historically marginalized communities. Ancestral Reconstruction is meant to center the well-being of our humanity by tracing back our lineages and uncovering the ways our ancestors lived, adapted, and thrived. Once we are able to reconnect ourselves to our ancestors, we can begin to connect these practices to cultivate our shared future. Engaging in Ancestral Reconstruction practices that focus on our connection to our ancestors can support employee well-being in mindful ways, it can support our co-navigation of differences, and it can help us dream of new systems that collectively engage us all in a shared community.
Learning Outcomes:
-Participants will learn about historical contexts around well-being concepts through reconnection, collective care, and intentional discussion.
-Participants will learn and engage in ancestral digging exercises and techniques.
-Participants will learn innovative well-being techniques using movement, sound, somatics, breath, and earth medicine.