Ayurveda…AyurWHAT?!?! Often heard, little understood. This is how many people react to the term `Ayurveda´. Although, for some people it is barely impossible to imagine life without yoga and Ayurveda, there are others who find an Ayurveda retreat as exotic as mixing banana with avocado: very different but an amazing experience and so was our Ayurveda retreat!
A brief introduction to Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian healing system that considers mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of each human being . It is a system of medicine that prevents from sickness, cures diseases and manages health. More important, in the practice of Ayurveda, people are distinguished and based on three elements that are called doshas. These doshas are: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Each individual encompasses these doshas in varying proportions.
Where to go?
Already back home I tried to include some methods of Ayurveda and what I knew about it in my daily routine. But now, being so lucky travelling through India I did not want to miss out the chance of visiting an actual Ayurveda center. I was extremely excited to finally dive into the practices even more! In South India, the small village, but with a high tourist density, Kovalam, is best known for Ayurveda retreats. There you can find a wide range of Ayurveda accommodation: from luxury wellness temples to small retreat centers with familial atmosphere. Our choice fell on a small center that was located on a hill outside of Kovalam: Dr. Nisha´s Vedic Remedies. For us, with only few rooms, daily consultations and individual treatment, this was the perfect place!
What to expect during the retreat
Before your treatment can start a consultation meeting with the doctor is essential. This appointment is to get to know you, your energy, dosha composition and current health condition.
During the entire stay, there are some basic rules one has to follow in order to maximize the benefits of the treatments and medicine. These rules vary according to the individual. One (wo)man´s joy, is another (wo)man´s sorrow. What´s good for you, is consulted with the doctor.
- eat three warm meals per day
- drink enough water around 2-3 litres per day
- read a book, or four 🙂
- listen to Dr. Nisha
- soft exercising
- black tea
- meat, fish and eggs
- dairy products
- raw food
- sugar in all forms including fruits
- strong physical exercises
- sun bathing or direct sun on your head and neck
- cold water
Good news, you won´t starve during your Ayurveda retreat. Quite the contrary is true, the food is delicious at Dr. Nisha´s place and we even could prepare our own Puttu! Ayurvedic food builds the basis of your therapy and should relieve the body from additional pollution. Hence it is crucial to follow the above rules so that your body can focus on cleansing instead of digesting heavy food. Generally, all meals should be vegetarian, cooked, served warm and flavoured with a little amount of spices. Sugar, for example reduces the beneficial effect of the accompanying medicine.
As important as an adequate Ayurvedic diet, as essentiell are treatment and medicine during the retreat. They are based on your dosha composition, length of stay and health condition.
The medicine is commonly orally administered in form of pills, liquids and capsules. It usually consists of up to 30 different local herbs that should support the healing and cleansing of the body. If and how you should take your medicine is consulted with the doctor. It could look like this: three pills one hour before breakfast and dinner, one spoon of liquid medicine before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Honestly, it was my first time ever that I had to take so many pills at the same time.
The variety of treatments is huge. Of course, also the type of treatment is chosen according to your dosha and health condition. Hereby a treatment schedule that should not be changed is prepared that.
- Kizhi: an intense massage of the entire body with warm oil and a bag of herbs, a herbal stamp that is massaging the body to stimulate the lymphatic circulation.
- Sirodhara: during this treatment oil is poured on your forehead. While at the beginning the sensation is quite strange, after a while you enter another sphere of being relaxed.
- Pizhichil: usually performed by two therapists who synchronically pour oil over your body.
On the roof of Dr. Nisha´s retreat center, there is this beautiful terrace with sea view. Of course, this is the perfect place to practice yoga, if the treatment schedule allows :). In any case, it is not recommended to exercise too much as the body needs energy to digest the treatment and to release the toxins.
Ayurveda is not wellness
One of many things we have learned during our stay, is that an actual Ayurveda retreat is not a wellness program with daily massages. It requires lots of discipline and patience; on top of that you get your daily massage.
Furthermore, in order to keep the benefits of the retreat as long as possible, we are advised to do our best considering the same diet also for the upcoming three months. This definitely won´t be easy, especially while travelling, but we will try and find out.
Don´t hesitate contacting us if you have any further questions or even contact Dr. Nisha directly in case you wish to book your next Ayurveda retreat!