Panchakarma in Kerala. Personal experience of total detox

Luxury Travel Tips

Kerala attracted me for a long time – the cleanest province of India with rich flora and fauna and, of course, the birthplace of Ayurveda – the oldest science of natural medicine. In Ayurveda, the body is considered as a single interconnected system that feeds on mental, spiritual and physical food.

For several years, I had an internal request to go through Panchakarma (translated from Sanskrit – “5 actions”) – a complex of diet and rejuvenating procedures in order to establish a subtle connection between the mind, soul and body of a person. Being accustomed from childhood to struggle with one or another physical ailment, I wanted to understand once and for all how our biosuit works and ensure its comfortable functioning. Going to Kalari Rasayana, the oldest luxury-class Ayurvedic hospital on the shores of the picturesque Lake Povar, I expected to cleanse my body of ancient toxins and toxins, but what I received in these two weeks turned out to be much more and deeper than just a detox.

At the first consultation with the doctor, I get a plan for the next day. It starts with yoga at 5:30 am.
Then breakfast at 6:45.
7:30 am – Ayurvedic treatment.
10:30 – fruit juice.
11:25 – consultation with the doctor.
11:40 – consultation with a yoga instructor.
12:30 – lunch.
14:30 – the second procedure.
16:15 – juice or fruit.
5:30 p.m. Fish feeding.
18:30 – dinner.

The very first challenge faced by Panchakarma is food. The doctor makes an individual menu for everyone, based on the input received from you. The menu is dietary: everything is boiled, without salt and sugar. Spices are present, but only for therapeutic purposes, not for taste. Portions are tiny: if you really want, you can ask for supplements, but the sizes are calculated in such a way that the body receives only the necessary vitamins and nutritional value, so the request for an additive is already “from the mind”, which no one intends to please here. While eating, you can not talk, be distracted by books, the phone and anything else. Before and after meals, warm water is brought to your table to wash your hands. It is believed that one should not start a meal without praying and rinsing one’s hands.

Coffee and tea leave the diet completely – there are 2 thermoses in the room: one with hot water, the second with herbal decoction. That’s all the drink there is. Thermoses are filled twice a day. It is recommended to drink in small sips every half an hour and certainly in a sitting position.

On the first day, time is measured in intervals from and to meals. True, every hour it becomes more familiar. The mind stops asking for food, and the sensations of weakness and hunger are transformed into a subtle sensation of vibration in the body, and one begins to like it.

Every day I visit a couple of procedures – oil massages (no oil in Ayurveda anywhere); pikizhi – tapping with hot bags filled with herbs inside and rubbed with healing herbal powder on the outside, as well as various other procedures, of which there are many in Ayurveda, and they are selected individually.

Arriving for a consultation ahead of time, I became a witness and participant in the morning group prayer of doctors: this is an obligatory beginning of each day. Before each procedure, a prayer is also said.

In your free time, you can do your own thing: walk along the lake, meditate, read (there is a library). But you can’t sleep during the day – this is considered disrespectful to the sun.

Breaking habits is not as difficult as looking into your various thoughts and beliefs, which, against the background of such a lifestyle, begin to rise to the surface with greater intensity. Emotions come out – sometimes you want to suddenly cry, you have bad dreams, accompanied by anger. However, I learned the key a long time ago and apply it: do not suppress what comes up, do not run from your feelings, but look into their eyes. Where does this feeling come from? After a few minutes of such contemplation, you smile again and think: “What am I doing?” The doctor is very pleased with the manifestation of emotions, as this means that a deeper, mental, detox has begun.

On the third day, the “ghee days” begin: before lunch, do not eat anything (if possible, do not drink) except ghee with herbs. The oil is designed to absorb toxins from the inside.

The second person after the doctor is your yoga instructor. Yoga is a necessary component of Panchakarma, and it is of three types: morning hatha yoga, yoga nidra (yogi sleep) before dinner and karma yoga. Yoga practices help to more harmoniously integrate the purification process and experience discomfort in the form of weakness.

Every morning you consult a doctor. They ask you how you slept, how you feel, how your mood is. They take your pulse, blood pressure, weigh you. Every day time starts to go faster, or I’m slowing down – it’s hard to say. I begin to enjoy the measured pace of ordinary activities. The face most of the time is in a relaxed smile, and some films seem to come off the eyes.

A lot of work in Panchakarma takes place on an invisible emotional level, and this was the main surprise for me. I could not even think that Panchakarma works with such deep layers. Such experiences make vulnerable and even helpless, but from here more love and psychological well-being sprout.

And here comes a significant day, Purgation day – the day of bowel cleansing. You spend this day in your room (it is clear why). You hardly eat, only drink rice water, and the doctor comes to your room.

After this day, fruits begin to return to the menu, and the most pleasant procedures begin. My favorite is Shirodhara (Shirodhara, from Sansk. Shirah-head, dhara-stream). For about an hour, with the help of a clay vase specially hung on a rope with a small hole below, warm oil is poured on your forehead in a thin stream, moving it left and right. Feelings cannot be described in words. The purpose of the procedure is to relax the brain, remove mental stress; it is also effective for headaches, thyroid problems, insomnia, high blood pressure, poor memory, baldness and other problems with the scalp.

On the last day, I am given detailed instructions on how to eat properly, a list of specific foods, as well as the necessary medicines. They answer all my questions and say that the effect of Panchakarma begins to fully affect the body after 2 months. It is recommended to complete the program once a year.

Do I recommend taking it at the Kalari Rasayana Hospital Hotel? Definitely yes.

When you go through all these healing processes and are forced to stay in conditions of many restrictions, it is very important that this is accompanied by physical and psychological comfort. And everything down to the smallest detail here is designed for this. Accommodation in individual rooms and houses (houses by the lake must be booked a year in advance): snow-white sheets, dark wood furniture. When you check in, you are given three sets of snow-white clothes, which should be worn throughout the entire period. In order to always have a fresh set in stock, every day the used set is taken from your room for washing and brought the next morning.

The territory of the hotel is small, but everything is very convenient and compact here, so you do not feel any restrictions while staying here all the time. Kalari has its own library, a yoga and meditation room, a small shop with everything you need, a common dining room and treatment rooms, as well as space for walking. Absolutely everything – from the uniform of the staff to the decoration of the rooms and brassware, gives off sterility and a sense of taste.

At any time, you can contact a doctor or any employee of this health resort on any issue that concerns you – everyone here is very friendly, and you feel as if you are visiting your beloved relatives, surrounded by care and sincere attention.

The hotel stands right on the shore of the lake, and this makes it possible to walk with the observation of the measured life of fishermen and exotic birds soaring overhead. Fragrant flowers and medicinal herbs grow on the territory of the garden, which are used in your diet. Separately, it is worth noting the professionalism of the chef: the food, although it is not much, is divinely delicious.

Is Panchakarma suitable for everyone? I can’t find any reason why not. I think everyone should experience this at least once in their life. If only to see how much we can and should eat differently than we are used to, how much we overeat, how inattentive we are to the various symptoms of our body and mind, ignoring their signals or, even worse, drowning them with pills. I advise you to go through this in order to experience the relationship of the body-mind-soul from personal experience.

Here they give a taste of what it is like to live in moderation. Here are the keys to it. Respect the needs of your body, listen to your inner voice and, most importantly, do not lie to yourself.

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