Modern lifestyle is dynamic and abounds in high levels of stress. This has caused many of us to lose the balance in our mind-body functioning. As a result, diseases of unknown origin and causes such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, severe allergic and psychological disorders have taken their toll on us, making our daily lives difficult.
Modern classical medicine fails to provide enough opportunities to stabilize compromised health. In many cases, it is unable to answer the questions How and Why a particular health deviation has occurred. This largely forces a number of affected people to look for an alternative. Accidentally or not, they may find that it exists in Ayurveda.
The Indian Life Science of Ayurveda has a rich experience of over 3,000 years of knowledge of how to maintain human health or heal various disorders. At the core of it lies the idea of a balanced flow of physiological processes in the body and mind.
Recently a concept called Ayurveda Retreat within the tradition of the ancient Indian science has grown in popularity. It is a sort of detachment from tension and stress in everyday life, which causes slight or severe health deviations. The concept of the retreat is designed to achieve a balance through the ancient methods of Ayurveda and Yoga.
Ayurveda Retreat brings about change by correcting two main aspects, namely nutrition and lifestyle.
Food and balance
Food is the most important area of human life that helps to maintain the body balance on a physical level. Ayurveda Retreat offers you ayurvedic nutrition that is designed for your body needs. Food is of enormous significance for carrying out normal body functions and offers nourishment to healthy body tissues. In contrast, bad eating habits generate disturbances in body-mind functioning generally known as disease by generating biotoxins or Ama.
Vegetarian meals: the Ayurveda Retreat concept offers food that is strictly vegetarian consisting of different kinds of vegetables, fruits, spices, and grains. The diet combines cooked food and raw vegetables. Ayurveda Retreat doesn’t stick to raw food or cooked food alone but provides a balanced combination of both that helps to maintain good digestion and optimal metabolism.
The ratio of raw food to cooked food varies according to the three dominant energies – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Larger amounts of cooked food are offered to individuals dominated by Vata
- Those dominated by Pitta have more raw food (the proportion is 70:30)
- Equal portions of raw and cooked food are prepared for predominant Kapha
- Breakfast in Ayurveda Retreat always consists of fresh juices from seasonal fruits or vegetables. Adding ginger as a spice is very important in the preparation of vegetable juices. As for fruit juices, black Himalayan salt can be used as a spice.
Common juices include:
- Nimba (Neem tree) – made from fresh leaves and served in the morning. The dose is 120-150 ml plus several drops of lemon
- Tulsi (holy basil) – made from fresh leaves
- Carrots – used for morning juices. The dose is 120-150 ml plus two grams of ginger paste. Suitable for treating conditions such as hypertension
- Aloe Vera – juice from its leaves is recommended to those suffering from constipation
- Bitter gourd – this juice is used very frequently in the program to alleviate metabolic disorders such as diabetes and high cholesterol levels
- Juice from all kinds of seasonal fruits except mango, watermelon and muskmelon
- Pineapples and oranges are the most common fruits served for breakfast in the morning
- Coffee, black tea, and all types of alcohol are strictly prohibited for the duration of the program
Lunch in Ayurveda Retreat is prepared with two important animal products, namely buttermilk and ghee
- Buttermilk is used to cure all kinds of digestive ailments
- Using ghee for cooking is of paramount importance for controlling metabolism
- Rice is served mainly for lunch. Various spices such as black pepper, cumin and ‘garam masala’ (hot spice mixture) are added to the rice to facilitate its absorption, along with a special soup for easier digestion
- Different vegetables are used to prepare salads and dishes for lunch
- The drumstick vegetable is commonly used to prepare a special dish
- Different kinds of lentils and beans are also served for lunch
Dinner always consists of:
- Vegetable soup according the type of personality
- Chapati – a type of Indian bread
- Salad of steamed vegetables (leafy or others)
It is recommended to be done with dinner before sunset.
A typical day in Ayurveda Retreat
- The day always starts 50 min before sunrise with a morning herbal detoxification decoction
- The morning yoga session is conducted in accordance with each participant’s individual stretching ability whereby everyone has a special yoga program tailor-made for them
Typically, morning yoga starts with ’Surya Namaskar’ (a complex of poses known as the Sun Salutation).
Morning yoga poses are done in the following sequence:
- Tadasana (mountain pose)
- Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute)
- Virasana (warrior pose)
- Trikonasana (triangle pose)
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
- Balasana (child pose)
- Deep breathing (pranayama)
The morning yoga session ends with mediation in a sitting position.
Following the yoga session, there is an Ayurvedic panchakarma procedure with abhyangam and herbal steam bath.
Abhyangam is a healing oil massage done for rejuvenation and relaxation
Different herbal oils are used for this treatment based on the type of dosha:
- Vata type – Dhanwantharam Thailam
- Pitta type – Ksheerabala Thailam
- Kapha type – Eladi and Lakshadi Thailam
Abhyangam always starts with head massage (shiro abhyangam). Head massage is an important part of the abhyangam treatment and it should be done for at least 10 minutes.
After the special massage involving application of healing oil (40 minutes), there is a steam bath procedure with herbal decoction lasting 5-15 minutes.
The afternoon treatment consists of a short Ayurveda panchakarma procedure such as:
- Shiro Lepam
Informative sessions about Ayurveda and yoga are conducted in the late afternoon. The idea of these lectures is to raise awareness of Ayurveda and yoga. The topics discussed help to develop the participants’ understanding about their own body mechanisms. In addition, the information can be useful in planning a future lifestyle and avoiding mistakes in daily routine.
Ayurveda helps individuals understand their own uniqueness in order to develop a unique lifestyle without comparison or competition with others. Yogic understanding teaches us to respect others as well as ourselves.
Ayurveda Retreat concludes with evening yoga.
The aim of the evening yoga is to teach our body and mind how to relax. During the day the body energies are active in order to do normal body functions. Mind and body are thus kept in alert mode. Evening is the time when one has to learn to switch off the mind or calm down in order to go to rest.
There is a complex set of yoga poses that help to achieve these goals:
- Viparit Karani
- Bhramari pranayama to calm the mind
- Vajrasana and Jathara Parivartanasana are performed to facilitate digestion
Ayurveda Retreat is a program that will teach you how to balance your lifestyle on your own, thanks to which you will be able to achieve longevity in good physical health and mental well-being.