A week or two with a focus on your health and wellbeing is a dream for any stressed person with a tight daily schedule. I was the lucky one, managing to find time to go on this kind of holiday. It was very much needed.
I choose to go to Kerala for several reasons. First of all, nature is amazing if you like palm trees, water, flowers, birds and butterflies. The atmosphere in the backwaters of Kerala is very relaxed. I think of this area as the garden of Eden.
After a lot of searching online, I found Ayushkamy and fell in love with the simple and charming retreat. It’s eco-friendly and local owned, but still, have the luxury the eco-tourist usually need. I like to stay at local accommodations, to keep the money locally is one of the things I want to offer the communities I am visiting.
Life at Ayushkamy is very pleasant. I have my own hut, facing the backwaters. I have everything I need, a bed with mosquito net and a roof fan, my own bathroom, a roof fan and a balcony with amazing view – my favourite part. The backwaters are only metres away, and the view to the water and the palm trees on the other side is very relaxing.
The food at Ayushkamy is very delicious and vegetarian, we do not eat the fish from the backwaters. Mahla is the chef and she will cook the food regarding your dosha. I didn’t know my dosha before I arrived Ayushkamy yoga and Ayurveda Retreat. What is dosha? I will explain further down in this post. The ayurveda doctor was waiting for me when I arrived and I got my dosha explained. I have a lot to do to get my body in balance. I appreciate the new knowledge and are looking forward to seeing the improvements.
The food is locally produced, actually, a lot is produced in the garden where we live. Mahla makes lovely dishes from the flowers from the garden, the papaya was picked and eaten the same day. There are so many coconut trees on the premises, and most of the local dishes include coconut.
Every morning at 0730 there is a yoga session with the Yogi Mahesh. Its a luxury start of the day, sitting there on your yoga mat facing the beautiful backwaters and having a session with a knowledgable yogi. Mahesh is very patient and will show you the correct way of doing the poses. I love the sounds from the birds and the leaves in the wind when I am doing my yoga. I really improved my yoga knowledge, to get the poses correct and about the breathing. I even was able to do the handstand and crow pose, I never thought I was able to get my feet upwards and my head to the earth. It was a very satisfying moment!
After yoga, there is breakfast, freshly made especially for you. You also get your ayurveda medicine if you have booked that kind of service, you do not have to include the ayurveda doctor to your visit. I did though, I want to try it all!
I have booked 2 daily treatments, what kind of treatments is told by the doctor. I was prescripted one body massage and one Shirodhara oil-drip a day.
The first 5 days I got one ayurvedic body massage every day. On day 6 it changed to a different style, the hitting massage. You will get this explained below.
The doctor wanted me to do a faste on day five. I started like every morning with yoga, then I got a brown drink which would start my way to the toilet. The drink did not taste bad, I wouldn’t choose it myself, but this was a part of the treatment. I was very excited and a little worried, my stomach did not explode like I was imagining. During the day there was no food, only water. I did not go far from my toilet, but there was no rush. Everything went quietly and well.
Every day I had fennel drink before yoga. Then a brown herbal drink and 2 herbal tablets before breakfast. This was herbs which should help me to get my dosha in balance. Before bed, I had to eat one teaspoon ghee (Indian butter) and 2 herbal tablets.
The last days I even got ghee (Indian butter) in my nose, this is supposed to clear the head. This was NOT my favourite, but I wanted to try it all.
The daily rhythm is like this: Yoga, breakfast, treatment, lunch, treatment, yoga and dinner. All to enjoy in beautiful and safe surroundings. I, as a solo female traveller in India, felt very safe and good taken care of.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda philosophy is said to be the oldest healing science. They want to heal body and mind, ayurveda is a holistic science.
There are 3 kinds of body&mind types in ayurveda: pitta, kapha and vata.
Everyone has a body&mind type from birth, most people are a mixture of the three. The combination you have is called dohsa, the ayurvuda doctor can tell you by checking your pulse. The dohsa type you are born with is called prakrti. If your dohsa is unbalanced, like mine, your current dohsa is called vikrti.
Ayurvedic treatment is the concept of balance, a dohsa out-of-balance are the seeds of future illnesses. The first thing to find out is why you are unbalanced.
After checking my pulse the doctor could tell me my dosha (mix of body types) and that my stress level was too high. My western lifestyle had made an imbalance, my kapha was too high. I have to reduce kapha and improve my pitta. My birth dosha was 50% pitta, 40% kapha and 10% vata
Which Dosha are you?
Vata – space & air
Vata dominant body types are thin and active, but the energy does not last long. Because of a lack of energy, they are know to use sugar, caffeine or eat too soon after a meal. They are also known to be creative, go late to bed, restless, curious, rapid speech and easily change their mind.
Vata is said to be the most important ayurvedic principles in the body, vata is air and wind move things. Pitta and kapha need vata. Its very important to keep your vata in good balance.
If your vata is out of balance you can experience worries, sleep problems, difficulty breathing, throat problems, fatigue, stomach problems, menstrual problems, lower back pain, dry skin, shakiness, poor blood flow or stress-related problems.
How to keep our vata in balance? Wake up early and feel the energy at the beginning of a new day. Have a nap in the afternoon, best before 1800. Maintain a regular daily routine and get to bed quite early. Enjoy warm food and beverages, prepare fresh food with sesame oil, butter, olive oil or coconut oil. Sorry to tell that you should avoid alcohol, caffeine and chocolate. Avoid raw or gas-forming vegetables like broccoli and large beans.
Pitta – fire & water
Pitta dominant body types are athletic with a well-proportioned muscular frame. They have often sensitive skin, active and fiercely competitive, passionate, dedicated, intolerant and irritable.
If your pitta is out of balance you can experience poor vision, acid stomach, acne, toxin in blood, become demanding, perfectionist or workaholic.
How to keep our pitta in balance? Eat the heaviest meal in the middle of the day and get to bed early before 2200. Pitta types tend to over-do it, try to keep cool and relax. Find time to enjoy yourself and do not overwork. Do sport but do not a competitive sport, walking in nature, yoga, swimming skiing biking are good choices. Favour cool, but not ice-cold, beverages. Eat freshly prepared food with cooling spices like fennel, coriander, cardamom and turmeric. Coconut oil and olive oil can be used for cooking. Avoid chilli peppers, vinegar, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and chocolate.
Kapha – earth & water
Kapha dominant body types have big bodies, big teeth, thick hair and large eyes. They often move slowly but have great endurance, tends to obesity, can be greedy, selfish and easily offended.
If your kapha is out of balance you can experience a poor sense of smell or taste of food, food cravings, digestion problems, laziness, lower back, weight gain, oily skin, loose or painful joints.
How to keep our kapha in balance? You can have a morning exercise sometime between 0600 and 1000. You should have a light breakfast and your main meal around noon. Make sure that you have lots of physical activity in your daily routine. Enjoy a light, warm diet with the use of greens and beans. The best sweetener is raw honey, but taken in moderation. Avoid peanuts, garlic, mushrooms and fermented products including alcohol.
Massages are used to get the dosha in balance
The ayurvedic massage takes a more holistic approach than traditional massages. Its focuses on emotional stress not just physical. Compared to other massages they do not concentrate on one muscle but make long stretches. It’s very relaxing you easily drift in and out of sleep.
The oil full body massage is called Abhyangam. The massage will take away blockages and improves blood circulation. It helps the joints to get more flexible and of course better skin complexion.
Herbal Bolous Staping is a little different. Together with the massage, you will be hit with a small hot bag with herbs, sesame seed powder and oil. The oil and herbs must, of course, is ordered from the doctor. This massage has the same benefits as the oil full body massage but is also reduce the bad cholesterol.
Shirodhara oil drypping treatment is to reduce the stress level in the body, the hot oil is poured in your 3 eye – or the middle point between your eyebrows. The oil used is made of herbs, milk and sesame oil. It felt really strange the first time when I was able to relax it felt nice. This treatment is also used to get better sleep and is good for the nerve system and brain. Lots of benefits. Oh Yes, you get plenty of oil in your hair and in the top of your head, but after a shower, you look normal again.
Ayurveda divides our body into three parts: The top part, from head to chest is dominated by Kapha. The middle part, between the chest and belly button is dominated by Pitta. The lower part, below the belly button is dominated by Vata.
Do Ayveruda treatments work?
I was willing to try out the ancient holistic ayurvedic treatments then the Norwegian health system was not able to help with my serious health issues.
It DID WORK! It’s fantastic. The western medicine had given up, what the treatments could change in 8 days. I have learnt how to live to keep up these great results.
The purpose of Ayurveda is to protect the health of the healthy and to alleviate disorders of the diseased