Festival founders Ram and Sonali Banerjee continue to lead us through their Ayurvedic retreat diary.
We were woken early by jet-lag but the bonus was being able to hear the morning birdsong chorus. Later in the day this would be replaced by the less than melodious call of peacocks that roam around SDJ. Not particularly shy of humans, but they can be magnificent.
The regime of medication meant that there was another herb mix for us to drink at 6am, followed by breakfast served in our room at 7.30. There was a flask with the breakfast and I called upon the God of Costa for it to be coffee. I guess my prayers were not sincere enough for coffee it was not. I still don’t know what it was but it made any one of Sonali’s herbal teas at home seem tame by comparison.
After breakfast we had our now daily blood pressure check followed by a visit from the doctor. I love these ‘home visits’. You just sit and talk as if you were in a Turkish coffee house – without the coffee! I know, the coffee thing is a sore point right now. The conversations brought a great deal of knowledge, which I will pass on through these blogs. Don’t hold me to them... I am just recalling whatever I can remember and find interesting.
We came to understand that Ayurveda is as much an ancient system to keep you well as to cure you. The body will age anyway, but diseases of the body are optional. Every disease has 5 preceding stages, 3 of which show no symptoms at all. The earlier you catch it, the easier it is to reverse but Ayurveda does not work on diseases, it works on the person. It balances the body so that the body can deal with the disease. But before there can be any treatment, toxins built up over years of inappropriate food, stress and lifestyle have to be removed, hence the oil massages.
So these home visits were actually consultations. We were being OBSERVED. Even the number of blinks per minute was being counted! Before you can be treated, they need to know what body type you are. Your body type has nothing to do with gender; it has to do with your basic inborn constitution. There are three ‘Doshas’ – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – each with their own characteristics. Every living thing is a combination of these three but there is only one that is dominant. Every action results in a change in the levels of these doshas and the more they are out of balance, the more susceptible to disease we become.
Ayurveda therefore offers a method to bring you back to your natural condition, which is the optimum for your body to stay well. It treats the person so that the person can treat the disease. It's at least 5000 years old and it is complete in the sense that it shows how to treat all living things be they plants, animals or humans.
Stand by as further conversations with doctors here will reveal much more…