Ayurveda is Awesome, See for Yourself
I’m sure we are all familiar with the concept of going on a health retreat, the wellness travel industry has boomed in recent years with spa breaks, yoga holidays and spiritual journeys popping up every-where from Brazil to Bali.
However, believe it or not, retreats are not actually a modern day phenomenon born of our stressful times. In India, wellness retreats have been used regularly for quite a while...like 5000 years.
Ayurveda, India’s classical system of natural medicine, encourages the important concept of taking a break several times a year to rest and rejuvenate the body with a cleansing diet, detoxification practices, massages and yoga. And in recent years, this sage wisdom has been catching on to stressed out Westerners, with many finding these ancient Ayurvedic principles needed now more than ever.
So why go on an Ayurvedic retreat rather than a regular yoga holiday?
5 Things that Make Ayurvedic Retreats Unique:
1. It’s 5000 years old. They know what they’re doing.
Like I said before, Ayurveda is incredibly ancient, in fact, it is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. It also has a rich and complex philosophy behind it, with many Ayurvedic practitioners studying for many years before gaining qualification, and then often gaining experience in Ayurvedic clinics and hospitals under more experienced doctors.
2. Prevention is better than cure.
Ayurveda literally means “the science of life”, and the whole system is based on achieving harmony between your physical, mental and spiritual bodies. Through regular rest, cleansing and healthful practices we give ourselves a total tune-up, lessening the likelihood of manifesting stress and lifestyle-caused diseases later on.
3. Your program will be as individual as you are
According to Ayurveda, each of us is made up of a unique and different balance of elemental influences, known as doshas. Corresponding to air, water and fire, these elements can become imbalanced resulting in stress or disease. A good Ayurvedic practitioner will determine how you are imbalanced, and design a unique program of herbal medicines, specific body treatments, yoga poses and dietary choices to bring you back into a state of balance and ease.
4. You will relax like never before
How often do you spend a whole week to one month totally taking care of yourself? Many Ayurvedic retreats these days are held at beautiful boutique resorts and usually feature a good 2 hours a day of massages and bodywork. Add in some gentle yoga and meditation, clean food, plenty of time to snooze or read by the pool, and a stress-free environment and you will come home feeling like you are floating on clouds.
5. The destination is half the fun.
Maybe I am a purist, but I believe if you are going to indulge in an authentic, exotic treatment, get it done in it’s home of origin. The best huna massage is in Hawaii. The best shiatsu is in Japan. And the best Ayurveda is in Kerala, South India. For those of you who have a mental image of India as chaos and craziness, think again. Kerala is a lush, tropical wonderland of white beaches, swaying coconut palms and snaking jungle backwaters dotted with peaceful villages. This is the home of Ayurveda.
Experiencing it at its source really is half the fun.
Sharee James is the director of Ashima Journeys, a boutique tour company specializing in wellness retreats, yoga holidays and spiritual journeys in some of the world’s most beautiful and sacred locations. A qualified naturopath, yoga teacher and self-confessed travel junkie, Sharee takes great pleasure in creating unique tours and retreats that integrate local healing and spiritual traditions with an authentic and exciting travel experience. For new tours and updates, sign up to her newsletter on her website, and check out her Facebook and Twitter communities.
Images via: Be Conscious Traveler, @rtammy86