Tag: Ayurveda

Yoga and Ayurveda: A Perfect Partnership? An Interview with Insiya and Eoin Finn

In January 2018 Eoin Finn and Insiya Rasiwala-Finn will be leading a Blissology Yoga Retreat to Goa, India that also incorporates Ayurveda practices. This 7-night retreat on the shores of serene Morjim beach in Goa will help you find true health, balance, and profound healing. We asked the Retreat Leaders about Blissology and what draws them to both Goa and Ayurveda.

SEJ: What is Blissology yoga and how is it different from other yoga practices?

Eoin and Insiya: There is a still place within, a source of infinite joy, love and bliss. When we are in touch with this still place within, life ceases to be merely about us and we feel deeply connected to the well being of our body/mind, our personal relationships, our community and nature. Blissology is about deepening our awareness of this place so we can be a positive force in the world.

Blissology Eoin Finn
Blissology founder Eoin Finn with Insiya Rasiwala-Finn

Blissology was founded [by yogi, surfer and blissologist Eoin Finn] in 1999. It is a yoga system exploring strategies for bringing more joy, awe, love and bliss into our lives. Blissology is about mining for the source of love inside of all of us that is especially evident when we are quiet and present in Nature.

A Blissology Yoga class strikes the perfect balance between our ego drive and the infinitely kind and wise side of ourselves so that we treat our bodies, our communities and nature more sustainably and with more reverence.

We aim to make the world a better place by bringing more awe, joy and bliss into the world. Celebrating the interconnection of our minds, bodies, and hearts everywhere and asking what do we have to offer to Nature and Community and what does Nature and Community have to offer us.

Blissology retreats
Blissology yoga classes include time to meditate and connect

The type of yoga we practice is alignment based vinyasa yoga, which is about linking the asanas with our breath in an intelligent, sustainable way. We also adapt the practice to the seasons, the fitness level and needs of students and aim to tune in energetically to what we need in the yoga practice. Each Blissology class is a ritual with time to meditate and connect. In a nutshell you will feel alive, awake and relaxed after a Blissology practice. As Eoin often jokes: “Do not operate heavy machinery after class.” :-)

SEJ: Why did you want to offer a retreat in Goa, India – what makes Goa so perfect for this kind of retreat?

Eoin & Insiya: We have wanted to offer a retreat in India since some time and decided that Goa, where Insiya [Rasiwala-Finn – wife of Blissology Founder Eoin] spent many holidays while growing up in Bombay, would be an ideal landing spot in India. Goa, despite its popularity boasts relatively quiet beaches, a gentler landing to the chaos and bustle of India and the opportunity to practice yoga amidst the fresh breezes of the Arabian Sea. We also love Goa because it symbolizes the creative coalescing of so many aspects of Indian history with its Portuguese heritage blended in with the culture and spice of India. We are excited to visit local temples, the spice farms and experience a traditional puja or fire ceremony as well.

markets in Goa
The Saturday evening flea market in Goa, India

SEJ: What draws you to Ayurveda and how does it impact your own everyday lives?

Insiya: Ayurveda is a deeply holistic system of healing that is intelligent, intuitive and practical. I cannot imagine living life without following Ayurvedic principles as it offers insights that help us navigate all aspects of life, from the small to the large. To offer a specific example, when we live with Ayurvedic insights, we live more in rhythm with the natural cycles of nature, each day as well as every season. Some of us do this intuitively. E.g. we crave warm soups and stews in the winter, and raw greens and salads in the summer. This is a great example of eating what your body naturally craves according to a season. I personally follow specific Ayurvedic practices daily, which include waking up early in rhythm with the sunlight, taking the time to practice meditation or yoga in the early morning, to set a clear and focused tone for my day and not snacking all day, so I can give my stomach a rest between meal times.

SEJ: What benefits can people expect from learning more about Ayurveda and applying Ayurvedic principles to their lives?

Insiya: My goal from this retreat is to offer students a series of daily practices that they can begin to include into their everyday lives beyond the retreat. There is a rhythm to each day, says Ayurveda, and if we want to live a more balanced, vital and happy life, we must live in balance with these natural rhythms. An example includes eating our larger meal during midday, when our digestive fire is strongest (because the sun’s heat or fire is also at its peak). Every day, we will begin our days following some Ayurvedic cleansing rituals such as tongue scraping, jala neti to cleanse the nostrils and thus the brain; and abhyanga or oil massage.

Ayurvedic medicine and food
Ayurveda teaches to eat a larger meal around midday when the digestive fire is strongest

SEJ: How do Yoga and Ayurveda work together? What can participants expect from this combination of practices as well as the other proposes activities on this retreat?

Eoin & Insiya: Yoga is prescribed as daily medicine to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle; i.e. to live a life where you are attuned to nature. When we practice yoga with this awareness, it becomes a method by which we can find more balance, more relaxation, more stillness – whatever we really need opens up to us. We will also be sharing insights into understanding students’ unique constitutions on this retreat, so they can begin to practice with more of an understanding of how the yoga practice can best serve them.

paradise beach in goa
Aptly named Paradise Beach in Goa, India

With respect to the other activities offered on retreat, we will have a cleansing, healing ritual called a puja, where a priest will lead us through traditional Sanskrit chants and a fire ceremony to help us to experience more clarity and focus in our lives; we will also visit a local temple together and possibly visit some spice farms.

SEJ: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about this retreat?

Insiya: Only that both Eoin and I are continuously delighted by the incredible tribe of people our Blissology retreats attract from all over the world. 

If you’d like to join Eoin and Insiya on this Blissology Yoga Retreat you can read full retreat itinerary details and book your spot at Sacred Earth Journeys.

3 Ways Ayurveda Can Transform Your Life

Ayurveda, a system of medicine developed in India more than 5000 years ago, can have an enormous impact on your overall health and sense of well-being. Here we look at 3 ways Ayurvedic principles can transform your life for the better.

Ayurveda ceremony in India
A ceremony at Vaidyagrama, an Ayurvedic healing village in Coimbatore, India

Discover a sense of true balance

In Ayurveda there is an emphasis on balancing the three interdependent mechanisms known as doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. When there is imbalance disease can prevail. In our busy lives it is easy to lose our connection to what our bodies are really craving and opt for foods and lifestyle choices that throw our bodies and minds even further out of balance. Working with an Ayurveda practitioner is the best way to determine where an imbalance lies and how to bring harmony back, but we can also help ourselves by bringing consciousness to what we are feeling in any given moment. Instead of reaching for that candy bar for an energy boost or checking Facebook on your phone, stop, breathe, and hear what your body is truly craving – trust that you will know and then act on what you need, be it a warming vegetable soup, a vibrant green salad, or simply 15 minutes of total rest.

Ayurveda consultation
Ayurveda practitioner Vaidya Madhu working with a patient in Nepal

Trust your experiences & gain control of your own healing

In Ayurveda the practitioner and patient work together in an active partnership to understand the root causes of symptoms, with the practitioner fully respecting the patient’s individual experiences. This can be a welcome change to the predominately one-size-fits-all approach taken in much Western medicine. Even if you’re not lucky enough to currently be working with an Ayurveda practitioner, you can borrow this principle and start fully trusting your own experiences. Do you always experience a headache after eating certain foods or being in certain social situations? Do you often feel angry or irritable in cold weather but your partner seems energized by it? Your experience is unique to you and the steps you need to take to create balance in your body will be different to everyone else’s. That OTC painkiller might market itself as good for everyone, but to achieve optimum health for you, you need a more tailored approach, which starts with listening to and trusting your own experiences.

Ayurvedic medicine
Ayurvedic plant medicine

Honour the work of your body & mind

The Newari people of Nepal practice a 45-day post-partum regimen to restore a woman’s vital energy after the work of giving birth and during Panchakarma programs at the Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Healing Village in India patients are asked to take a break from treatment during menstruation in favour of full rest. In North American, it can be hard for women to take the time they need to fully recover from childbirth or take adequate rest during other times when their bodies are working extra hard such as menstruation or peri-menopause. Cultural expectations often contradict what a woman’s body is telling her, which can result in a loss of vital energy and distressing symptoms. Even if you are not be able to take all the time your body needs, you can still choose to honour the work your mind and body are doing during these key moments by resting as fully as you can. You have the power, for instance, to turn down social engagements and skip your regular gym workout for 2-3 days during your period while you rest and eat nourishing foods.

Ayurveda gardens
The lush healing gardens at Vaidyagrama, India

By listening to and trusting your own body and unique experiences you are already moving closer to a healthier state. When you provide your whole self with what it really needs you will experience an increased sense of well-being and a decrease in physical, emotional, and mental suffering. The very best way to understand sources of imbalance and develop an enduring respect for nature’s rhythms and cycles is to work with an Ayurveda practitioner.

In 2016-2017 we have two transformative Ayurveda retreats on offer led by experienced and gifted Ayurveda practitioners. The Ayurveda Health & Healing Retreat in India focuses on Panchakarma (PK) Healing Programs for Your Optimum Physical & Spiritual Health. On this retreat you will travel with Jaisri M. Lambert to the Vaidyagrama Healing Village for personalized programs with a team of Ayurveda specialists. Or you can travel to Nepal with Todd Caldecott and special guest Vaidya Madhu for an Ayurveda Immersion Program in the richly biodiverse Kathmandu Valley. Visit our website or contact us to find out which program is right for you!

For more information about Ayurveda you can read our feature-length interview with Todd Caldecott, or bring your own questions to ask him in person in Nepal!

 

~ Sacred Earth Journeys

 

The Art & Science of Ayurveda: An Interview with Todd Caldecott

In this blog interview, Todd Caldecott, clinical herbalist, Ayurveda practitioner, and author of the book Food As Medicine, explains exactly what Ayurveda is and why it is vital for our health now and for future generations. He also shares a delicious summertime Ayurveda recipe at the end of the interview for you to try at home! In February 2017 Todd will be leading the “Ayurveda in Nepal Immersion Program” – an amazing experiential adventure into the art and science of Ayurveda in the wonderfully biodiverse Himalayan region of Nepal. Full details on our website.

SEJ: What is Ayurveda and why is knowledge of Ayurveda important for our health and well-being?

Todd Caldecott: Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing that developed in India more than 5000 years ago, and is the oldest continuously practiced system of medicine in the world. Unlike most systems of traditional medicine that rely on a set of folk practices, Ayurveda is a highly sophisticated medical system. It maintains a rigorous approach that includes several branches of practice that correspond to similar disciplines in Western medicine, including internal medicine, surgery, and obstetrics. Ayurveda also includes aspects which are for the most part unknown or poorly developed in modern medicine, such as rasayana chikitsa tantra, a form of preventative medicine that includes anti-aging and longevity enhancement.

Ayurveda is also different from Western medicine in that it uses an entirely different system of logic to understand health and disease, based not on quantitative distinctions such as the acquisition of data, but on qualitative impressions that are experienced subjectively. This is to say, when it comes to understanding the manifestation of health and disease, Ayurveda is concerned with the individual experience and reality of the patient, and not objective determinants like blood tests that are measured against a statistical average. While I don’t think that any physician of Ayurveda today, including myself, would ever ignore a patient’s lab work, most would probably never need to see it in order to develop an effective therapeutic strategy. According to the theory and practice of Ayurveda, all we need to understand the basis of disease is to discern the relative balance of three homeostatic mechanisms called tridosha. Although it sounds simple, and it is, it’s also very detailed, and it takes a great deal of experience to become a skilled practitioner of Ayurveda. After 20 years, I feel like I am just starting!

Ayurveda consultation
An Ayurveda consultation

Unlike the practice of Western medicine, which is the purview of experts that have spent years and huge sums of money to acquire their knowledge, there is a natural continuum between the practitioner of Ayurveda and the patient. Not just because the patient is an active co-participant in the therapeutic relationship, but because both practitioner and patient must yield to the same universal principle of life, and the natural way of things. What is called dharma by Hindus and Buddhists, in Ayurveda refers to the natural rhythms and cycles of life. From the rising and setting of the sun, to the passing of the seasons, from the creation of life, its fruition, and eventual demise, Ayurveda is concerned with our proper alignment to this dharma. Not just the domain of experts, Ayurveda is a subject which concerns everyone because it is an expression of our relationship with everything. Thus Ayurveda exists as a continuum from a highly skilled practitioner to the experienced hand of a grandma. The cultivation of Ayurveda is to remove impediments caused by a failure to perceive the natural way of life. […] In Ayurveda, all life is interconnected. I believe that our future survival on this planet necessitates a deeper awareness and appreciation for the delicate web of life. In Ayurveda we have a system of medicine and health care that is exactly that.

SEJ: What are doshas and what is their relationship to our overall health?

TC: As I mentioned earlier, the three doshas can be viewed as three interdependent mechanisms that function to maintain homeostatic balance in the body. Thus when any one of the three doshas becomes imbalanced, the body’s regulatory systems become dysfunctional, disorder prevails, and disease takes hold. But the doshas aren’t physical objects that can be measured: they are not some mysterious “fluid” or “gas” that has evaded Western physiologists. Trying to relate the concept of dosha to a material consideration is a mistake. Remember, Ayurveda isn’t concerned with absolutes – it seeks to understand the relative balance between things. A dosha is thus a pattern of interaction comprised of many different cellular and molecular aspects of physiology, none of which specifically relates to a given dosha, but function collectively to yield certain patterns, promoting distinct subjective changes that can be identified on the basis of their qualitative impact.

In Ayurveda there are three doshas called vata (flatus), pitta (bile), and kapha (phlegm). I hesitate to use their translated terms, just to save you from thinking that this is the literal definition, because while they can refer to these eliminatory products, they also mean so much more. For example, let’s talk about vata, which is the most important dosha. Vata literally means “to move”, and relates to the active, motive force of mind and body, and when it increases, it promotes the qualities of dry, light, and cold, experienced by the mind and body in both subtle and obvious ways. Other qualities expressed by vata include restlessness, emptiness, brittleness, and harshness.

Ayurveda medicines
Ayurveda medicines

If you are familiar with yoga, you may have heard a term called “prana”, used to refer to the life force of the body. In Ayurveda, vata is quite simply prana in a disturbed state. Thus when vata prevails there is a state of dysregulation that impedes all the qualities of life and nourishment, allowing for decay and degeneration to set in, increasing the dry, light, and cold qualities of vata. When vata is increased, the body, organs, and tissues become dry and empty, and begin to atrophy and diminish. Exhausted tissues and organs lose their tone, become weak, and start to fall with gravity. With the motive force of prana in a state of dysregulation, digestion becomes erratic, circulation is impaired, the body becomes cold, and the immune system starts to fall apart. In this way, vata represents the end-stage of a condition, the latter stage of life, and ego-dissolution. If you’re at all familiar with the Hindu concept of the Trimurti, of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer, vata is represented by the latter. It is for this reason that Shiva is called the Great Yogi, his body besmeared with the ashes of the funeral pyre, meditating on the subject of death.

When we experience the qualities of vata, i.e. we feel too dry, too light, too cold, too restless, too stiff, too painful, too obstructed, and devoid of energy, we get a sense of this degenerative process. Obviously, the chronicity and severity of these various symptoms has a major impact on the success of any line of treatment, and so Ayurveda tells us to turn our attention to these qualities whenever they arise, learning how to keep them in check and restore homeostasis by applying the theory of tridosha. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

If the qualities of vata are increased, the corresponding opposite qualities are applied, such as countering dryness with moisture, lightness with heaviness, coldness with heat, restlessness with stability, etc. Practically speaking, this would inform a major change in diet and lifestyle habits, one that empirically generates an experience that opposes the imbalanced vata qualities. For example, warm oil massages, steam baths, the consumption of meat soups, and a regular routine are all useful ways to reduce vata. The beauty of this approach is that it uses the language of experience, not technology, to connect us to a solution. The practice of Ayurveda is expressed in a non-technical language that is easy to understand. Difficulties between the practitioner and patient are resolved because they speak a common language – the language of experience and feeling.

Ayurveda treatments
Preparing Ayurveda treatments

In this way, Ayurveda uses both halves of our brain. It is highly structured and analytical, and so accesses the rational left brain that is utilized exclusively by modern science. But it also uses the feeling/kinesthetic right brain to serve up connections not with numbers but with poetry and metaphor. It is said that there is an art to the practice of medicine, and it is a true statement for very good reason. Medicine exists to alleviate suffering, which itself is a subjective feeling, not an objective determinant. With the exception of a tiny minority of autistic people, none of us experiences life as a rational experience. We perhaps like to think we do, but of course we are just fooling ourselves. Consciously or not, we are totally caught up, “drunk” in the sensory experience of life. From the food we eat to our intimate relations, we are completely and utterly caught up in the feelings of life. It is why we live, and if anything, it is feeling that tells us who we are, connecting the mind and body as a poetic expression of life. Thus in the language of the three doshas, we have a way to explain and understand the totality of our experience.

SEJ: Why did you choose Nepal for this program?

TC: I have been studying Ayurveda for more than 20 years, and during this time, have spent time with many different teachers, in both India and North America. What has become clear to me is that there is a vast difference between the authentic tradition of Ayurveda and the system of college-trained physicians that comprises much of what is now called modern Ayurveda. For more than 5000 years Ayurveda has been practiced in India, passed down from teacher to disciple in an unbroken chain of knowledge and experience. The style and content of this traditional education, however, is very different from that obtained in a government-approved college, and time and again I have witnessed the practical differences between traditionally-trained and college-trained physicians. Of particular note is the Buddhist Bajracharya medical lineage of the Kathmandu Valley, which is now one of the oldest continuously practiced lineages of Ayurveda in the world, represented by the life and work of the late Vaidya Mana Bajracharya, and that of his son, Vaidya Madhu Bajra Bajracharya. Vaidya Mana and his son are hereditary Buddhist Vajrayana priests within the Newar community that have inhabited the Kathmandu Valley since before recorded history.

Todd Caldecott and Vaidya Madhu
Ayurveda practitioners Todd Caldecott & Vaidya Madhu

I first came into contact with this 800-year-old medical tradition through my colleague, Alan Tillotson, a practitioner for whom I have had a great deal of respect for many years. Alan met Vaidya Mana in Nepal during the early 1970s, when he was travelling and had taken quite ill, and ended up being restored to health by Dr. Mana. This was the beginning of a relationship that continued until Vaidya Mana’s death in 2001. Just before his death, Alan asked me to help him with the translation and editing of Dr. Mana’s work, a library that comprised over 45 separate treatises on medicine. In 2009 I travelled to Nepal to work with Vaidya Madhu, and we published the first book as Ayurveda in Nepal. During this time, I have also drawn upon the Bajracharya medical tradition in my own clinical practice, and for a decade now have had traditional medications prepared at Vaidya Madhu’s clinic couriered from Nepal to individual patients all over the world. Typically, I reserve such medications for very difficult or severe cases, and am continually impressed with their efficacy, and am both grateful and deeply appreciative of the great skill and knowledge it takes to prepare them correctly.

Ayurveda in Nepal
Ayurveda in Nepal

As venerable and ancient as this tradition is, it risks being eclipsed by the same factors found all over the world that are similarly leading to a loss of traditional knowledge. I chose Nepal for this program, not just for the majesty of the Himalayas, nor the interesting diversity of its culture, but because I believe that this medical tradition is important to the future survival of the human race. Having an intimate experience of its power, I want to share this knowledge so we can preserve these ancient practices before they are lost forever. My eventual goal is to establish an international research centre in Nepal, to help train locals on the sustainable use of medicinal plants and traditional healing methods, and fulfill Vaidya Mana’s dream to protect the future of Ayurveda in Nepal.

SEJ: On this journey, participants will have an opportunity to meet with Dr. Sarita Shreshta, Nepal’s first Ayurvedic OB/GYN – what approach does an Ayurvedic OB/GYN take, and what can women, in general, take away from this approach?

TC: I know that apart from Dr Shreshta’s knowledge and training in Ayurveda, she grew up in a traditional Newari community in the Kathmandu Valley that has maintained traditional methods for pre- and post-partum care for hundreds of years. In particular, the Newari people practice a 45 day post-partum regimen, during which time the mother is prescribed special foods and medications, receives regular massage therapy, and is kept protected and away from everyone except her family until her vital energy is restored. Such practices reflect the huge burden of pregnancy and childbirth, and the toll it can take on a woman’s health. The practices advocated and used by Dr Shrestha represent the proper respect and honour that is commensurate with the miracle of birth, the sacrifice of motherhood, and the creation of family. As they say down south for very good reason, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

Dr. Sarita Shreshta
Dr. Sarita Shreshta, Nepal’s first Ayurvedic OB/GYN (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Josh Greene)

SEJ: Do you have a favourite summer-time Ayurveda recipe you can share with us?

TC: Lassi is a favourite food of India, prepared from fresh yogurt, often mixed with various herbs and spices. Here in Vancouver, summer brings an increase in the qualities of hot, light, and dry, and this in turn increases both pitta and vata. While yogurt is generally good for vata, it is normally contraindicated in pitta conditions because sour-tasting foods increase pitta. But if you follow my recommendations below, with a couple of modifications we can turn it into a pleasant, cooling beverage that can be consumed to reduce heat and dryness. This beverage in various forms is particularly common in the northwest of India, into Afghanistan and Iran:

  • 1 cup fresh yogurt
  • 3 cups cool water
  • 2 tablespoons powdered jaggery
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink salt
  • 1 cup fresh rose petals, or 1/2 tsp rose water
  • 1 cup chopped mint

Let’s start with the fresh yogurt. Because the milk of the Holstein-Friesen cows that comprise 99% of the dairy industry herd contains a type of casein protein that is antigenic, I suggest using only Jersey, Guernsey, sheep or goat milk. Note as well that I suggest using “fresh” yogurt. Most yogurt found in stores is “old” yogurt, and is already quite sour and dry, whereas fresh yogurt is a thick liquid with a very mild sour taste. You can easily make your own yogurt by inoculating cooled, home-pasteurized milk with commercial yogurt, and letting it ferment for 2-3 hours at 110˚F/43˚C. After this, let it gradually cool to room temperature over the next 8 hours before refrigerating for storage.

Ok, got your yogurt now? Take this and blend it up with cool water, a little pink salt, and two tablespoons of jaggery or goor. The latter refers to a solidified cane juice product easily available in your local Indian grocery store. If you can’t find it, you can use muscovado, sucanat, or rapadura sugar. Blend well, and then add in a handful of fresh fragrant rose petals and a handful of chopped mint. If you can’t find rose petals, you can use 1/2 tsp of rose water. Blend for several minutes, strain well, and serve in a small glass. This is meant to be sipped slowly in the late afternoon, particularly when it seems too hot to eat much else.

Feel free to adjust the ingredients as desired. This is an example of a “sweet” lassi, but there are also “salt” lassis that are made with herbs such as cumin seed, coriander seed, ajwain, black pepper, and hing (asafetida), roasted in a pan and ground into a powder, before being blended with diluted fresh yogurt, pink salt, and one cup chopped fresh cilantro. Strained well and served at room temperature, this is a good remedy if your appetite and digestion becomes too weak.

If this interview has wetted your appetite for Ayurveda, visit the Sacred Earth Journeys website for full details of Todd’s Ayurveda in Nepal Immersion Program”, February 5-18, 2007.

~ Sacred Earth Journeys

Ayurveda for Healing: An Interview with Jaisri M. Lambert

This December, Ayurvedic consultant and practitioner Jaisri M. Lambert will be accompanying a group to the Vaidyagrama  Ayurveda Healing Village in Coimbatore, India for a unique healing program. The program is for those who feel ready to take the time to go more deeply within for Ayurvedic learning, rejuvenation, strengthening and cleansing. We interviewed Jaisri to learn more about the many benefits of this healing program as well as to hear what draws her to Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic medicine
Jaisri (centre) with our group at Vaidyagrama

SEJ: What is it about Ayurveda that most resonates with you?

Jaisri M. Lambert: Ayurveda resonates with me because it hasn’t changed over such a long time. When addressing my own chronic health issues years ago, it was a refreshing discovery that pharmaceuticals weren’t my only choice.  More I studied, more I found resonance with nature and my inner preferences for natural, simple living.

Read Jaisri’s blog journal about her stay at Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Healing Village

SEJ: What benefits will participants see from spending 21 or 41 days at Vaidyagrama compared to an Ayurveda program that is shorter or closer to home?

JL: Those attending the 41-day Panchakarma program are likely to have the most benefit, although it may not be possible for some to take time for this in-depth experience of cleansing and rejuvenation. The 21-day option is also likely to bring significant improvements in metabolic functions at all levels – physical, mental, spiritual. The main benefit to have the treatments in India is because the investment is about 1/3 of the cost as compared to Canada.

Vaidyagrama India
One of the healing gardens at Vaidyagrama planted by members of the Vaidyagrama community

SEJ: Would participants need to have any prior knowledge of Ayurveda or to have already worked with Ayurveda physicians to join this program?

JL: Prior knowledge of Ayurveda is best, I feel. Going with no knowledge of Ayurveda is not advised. It’s best if the participant is already following an Ayurveda program and has good understanding of what to expect, externally and internally. Mental equilibrium and maturity is advised.

SEJ: Can you talk to us a little about Panchakarma (PK) – how intense is it as a healing program and is it suitable for anyone?

JL: Panchakarma is the classical cleansing and rejuvenation science of Ayurveda, a most sophisticated body of knowledge of human life and the maintenance of good health for the purpose of self-realization. Both the 41-day and the 21-day program options are intense in their own ways, as an individual journey of self-healing under the care of expert physicians. Panchakarma can be done following the palliation phase of Ayurvedic case management, and is therefore not suitable for those with certain contra-indications such as active infections, use of anti-psychotic drugs, recent grievous loss and others. Consult with me to understand if you have any other contra-indications.

what is Ayurveda?
Ceremonies are an important part of the healing retreat

SEJ: What are you most looking forward to about this program?

JL: For myself, I’ve been looking forward to having an authentic 41-day Panchakarma experience for many years now. I’m looking forward to experiencing deep rest, restoration of my meditation practice, developing composure in all circumstances and learning about Ayurveda more deeply.

SEJ: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about this program?

JL: I feel the Panchakarma options offer the opportunity to address participants’ long-standing health concerns, especially on the level of spiritual healing. I feel this program will be remembered as life-changing, uplifting and strengthening, according to the person’s goals.

See 3 Ways Ayurveda Can Transform Your Life

Ayurvedic massage
Jaisri with a participant at Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Healing Village

To understand more about Panchakarma you can read our blog post Craving rest and rejuvenation? Try Panchakarma! For more about this unique healing program, visit Sacred Earth Journeys where we have the full program description along with the different program options. 

We’re taking bookings now for this program that will help you deepen your Ayurveda practice and work with incredible practitioners at the Vaidyagrama Healing Village.

~ Sacred Earth Journeys

Craving rest and rejuvenation? Try Panchakarma!

Panchakarma, Sanskrit for ‘five actions’ or ‘five therapies’, is rapidly growing in popularity amongst Western travellers who seek detoxification and rejuvenation of their bodies, minds, and spirits.

Panchakarma is a branch of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing that emphasizes prevention, balance, and self-awareness. Ayurveda is a way of life that deals not only with the body and mind, but also with the human spirit and consciousness. Ayurveda is the knowledge of life and longevity, and promotes balance within the body for optimum health and well-being.

When our digestive energies, known as agni (fire), are functioning optimally, our tissues are healthy, we eliminate waste products efficiently, and our bodies produce a subtle essence called ojas, which promotes physical strength and immunity. When agni is weakened, however, digestion is slowed and toxins become stored in the body. Continue reading