Authentic Ayurvedic Retreat: Healing of the Mind, Body and Spirit
(This retreat has already happened–below is in regards to my experience a few years back.)
I’ve had people ask me to take them to magical India since I returned from my amazing 24 day retreat at Vaidyagrama in 2017. And it’s time to go back!
If you think you might be interested in joining me this year, or if you just want to learn about Vaidyagrama Healing Center, continue reading.
Vaidyagrama Healing Village is where real and authentic Ayurvedic Pancha Karma can be experienced on the deepest levels. Pancha Karma is a therapeutic, age old, and time tested approach to restoring the body to its ultimate level of balance so that it can heal itself.
Unlike popular ideas of what cleanses entail, Pancha Karma has three separate steps:
Purva Karma: Prepping the body, making it strong for a cleanse.
Pradhan Karma: The elimination process, where long held toxins are released.
Praschat Karma: Follow Up, rejuvenation phase or making the body strong.
At Vaidyagrama near Coimbatore, several Ayurvedic doctors assigned to you will do an assessment, review your history and take into consideration western tests and diagnoses. In conjunction with other doctors at the facility, they will come up with a tailored program after considering the days that you’ve committed to be there.
Many of the therapies involve medicated oils. But they will take care of you totally, providing everything that you need during your stay.
Outdoor gathering spot.
At Vaidyagrama, everyone has a different set of treatments in accordance with each individual’s current state of imbalance and goals for health. Even as an Ayurvedic practitioner, I could not choose my treatments since the team of doctors encouraged me to relax and let them proceed in the most professional, efficient manner that they’ve been trained in. Many of the doctors come from a line of Ayurvedic practitioners and are highly qualified in this field, steeped in the tradition.
The amazing Dr. RamKumar answering questions during our afternoon talk.
I have traveled in north, central, and south India and have found Vaidyagrama to be an amazing place for a retreat. It is NOT a spa, however (there is no pool or gym or cocktail hour 😉 but it is incredibly peaceful and super clean and imbued with a conscious design. Vaidyagrama was recommended to me by Dr. Robert Svoboda among others who have been practicing this ancient science for decades. I also got to know several of their doctors and have hosted Dr. Ramkumar, its founder and medical director, during one of his visits to the states. I will have to say that all of the doctors there embody the beauty, joy, and inner peace of the Ayurvedic path.
What a day at Vaidyagrama may look like:
*You’ll wake up to the sound of birds.
*Your herbal medicines will be delivered to you as most rooms have their own little dining table, separate from the sleeping area and porch/patio.
*There will be a morning fire ceremony at dawn that is optional to attend.
*You’ll get a morning doctor visit after or before your prescribed body treatment.
*Mid morning snack is delivered.
*Lunch is delivered to your room and is the biggest meal of the day.
*Afternoon snack is delivered to your room.
*Dinner is also delivered to you. You will receive medicines before and/or after dinner.
*There are generally talks during the day where you get to ask questions about health, Ayurveda, India, etc. Attending is optional.
*And there are sometimes talks in the evenings, also optional.
*There are optional garden walks as well and cooking demonstrations.
*On Fridays, you can participate in their cow puja. A real treat!
*One day a week, we all have a meal together with some type of fun presentation afterwards. In 2017, the village boys sang for us. And once, we sang for each other. It’s an overall enjoyable evening where you are served and can eat all you want of their delicious and healthy, yummy food.
Everyone gets a chance to feed the sacred cow during cow puja!
They do have internet in the social area by the tiny outdoor library (internet costs a little extra). They encourage a break from the electronic world but it doesn’t always happen. I did get on the internet a few times to post some photos and to stay in touch with close family. But I did pack my kindle and read uplifting and inspiring stories. I also checked out some of the books from their tiny library which is open for an hour or so in the afternoons.
Night time is quiet time, but someone will come to your room before dark to prepare your room and set up a mosquito net around your bed. There is no air conditioning, but the rooms are built to allow for air flow and there are plenty of fans.
Saturday night fun night.
My personal experience was quite amazing. I was sick for 6 weeks with a bad sinus infection earlier that year. The doctors assured me that my immune system would be stronger for several years after treatment. Though a statement like that may not be true for everyone, it was true for me. It was 2 years to the day before I experienced a (very minor and short-lived) cold. And my digestion had never felt better than during my stay there. I was able to feel that I had had some form of indigestion my entire life. For the first time, I connected to my gut in a way that I had never experienced before. And I felt so much heart there, the people being soft and simple.
My treatments involved a lot of oil. I had four handed abhyanga or massages, water and steam treatments, nasya, herbal poultices, bastis, etc. And I had several body workers during each session in the treatment room. I also had three doctors attending to my case as they work as a team. Note that women get women body workers and men get men body workers. The guys that I talked to who were experiencing treatments said that the male therapists were wonderful and attentive. I felt the same with the women. Deviki was the head body worker in my section and we developed a wonderful rapport. I will never forget her.
Deviki posed for the photo I took of her.
I personally loved the food. That was one of the things I dearly missed after returning to the states. The fare was varied and delicious! The lunches were quite large and were sometimes hard to finish.
My typical lunch
During the three days of the cleanse or Pradhan Karma, I thought that my food would be too limited; after all, no one has ever controlled my food intake before! But it was perfect. They assured me that I could have more if I got hungry. Please know that this process may bring up issues: mental, emotional and physical. And understand that since everyone’s treatment varies, your Pradhan Karma may be longer or shorter depending upon your condition, age and current state of imbalance.
My treatment room at Vaidyagrama. The tables are made from teak wood.
Also unexpected was how much I was addicted to go go go and do. I thought relaxing was the hardest part! The pace is not what any of us are used to and, speaking from personal experience, there’s just no way that I could duplicate what I experienced at Vaidyagrama here in the states or at home. I remember on day 19 or so, to my surprise, I didn’t want to leave– for the first time ever, my body and mind felt that they were deeply healing. I fantasized for a short while about moving there, especially when I went on the tour of the new little village that they’re building not far from the center. It was all very sweet.
I can not promise you the exact same experiences that I had. But I do know people who go there often and their experiences are always positive.
What I loved the most
*The naturalness of the building and the purity of the foods and treatments
*The peacock sounds
*The doctors and their sense of humor and depth of knowledge
*The lovely staff
*That the doctors are on call 24/7 as they stay on the premises in shifts
*The people I met. I had great conversations with folks from Australia, France, Germany, the United States (California, New York, New Mexico), India, Indonesia. Most everyone spoke English and the doctors teach and consult in English
The cost for 21 nights of Pancha Karma covers:
*Airport transfer from Coimbatore International Airport to the center
*All of your Pancha Karma body treatments, generally two a day
*All of your herbal medicines while in treatment
*Daily consultations with the Ayurvedic doctors
*All of your meals, snacks, drinks, served directly to you
*Morning, afternoon, and evening talks and pujas
*Roomy space for sleeping and eating. Most rooms have porches
*Bed turn downs and mosquito nets
*Access to me and our small group
You may also e-mail me and I will get back to you as soon as I can.