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Ayurveda Journey - Week 1 Progress Report

Festival founders Ram and Sonali Banerjee continue to lead us through their Ayurvedic retreat diary. Today marks the end of the first week here at the SDJ Ayurvedalaya and it might be a good time to review current status.

The first week was spent largely on settling the body down and removing toxins so that any treatments may have a beneficial effect. This removal process has been through food, various medications and oil massages. Most importantly the effect of being here at this location away from the stress of life where everything is done for you also has an enormous mental effect that completes the picture. Over the week, my opinion on the food has changed. I did not like it at first, mainly because of not being used to the vegetarian south Indian diet and also the limited nature of vegetables recommended during treatment. As I start the second week, either the food has improved or I have adjusted. No matter, it has settled down nicely. There is plenty of it so no reason to go hungry. Luckily, some fresh apples and pomegranates proved to be a welcome break. By the way, pomegranates are supposed to be wonderful for purifying blood and it’s very good for the heart. The fact that they grow here in abundance is an added bonus.

The medications I did not care for but I took them with diligence. The oil massages I liked – what’s not to like? As for the peace and quiet, it works for me. What little I needed to do I could with the use of the available Wi-Fi. I can understand that some may find this boring but I do not fall into that category. A few good books, the internet and interesting conversations with the knowledgeable doctors is more than enough to keep me engaged. Besides, when all else fails, there’s always Sonali. Who could be bored with her around? So what has the first week achieved? Simply, I FEEL better. Why is more difficult to quantify. I feel lighter, not because I have lost weight, but I have greater flexibility. When you are able to carry your body better, you feel lighter. Sonali has noticed a reduction in shoulder pain she has been suffering from. Not bad for a week given that we are in the first phase and haven’t even stated treatment yet.

Interestingly, we have managed to bring our sleeping pattern forward by going to bed by 9.30pm and waking up at 5am or earlier. Apparently the hours of the day are also influenced by characteristics of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Sleep solidly during kapha period (four hours after sunset i.e. approximately 6-10pm), dream through Pitta period (10pm to 2am) and wake in the vata period (2-6am) when our sleep is most likely to be shallow. Everything in nature is said to follow the Ayurvedic cycles. For a better explanation, view the introductory talk given by one of the doctors here. There is so much to learn...

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