Our trip around the world was always intended to be flexible and to follow the flow. We nevertheless feel very lucky and privileged that we were able to spontaneously include an Ayurveda detox program into our journey!
From Hanoi we flew via Kuala Lumpur to Kochi in Kerala, India. We were picked up in the middle of the night by a taxi driver who brought us to the Athreya Ayurvedic Resort near Kottayam. Embarrassingly, we could not tell the immigration officers which city we would go to (we simply forgot to print out the address) but somehow they let us into the country. Before hitting the road we made a short stop to get some tea and were given some toffee sweets for free! 🙂 Great first impression of India… 🙂
India! Initially we wanted to skip it because it felt rather overwhelming and a trip on its own. But here we are and our intention besides Ayurveda is to take a break from travelling and stop all the constant analyzing of new things we observe. (Something we seem to do automatically when we travel and we find it hard to stop 🙂 )
On day 1 my (Christoph) treatments began immediately. Tanja did not get any but decided to fully focus on her thesis. Dr. Sreejit took his time to fully examine me including looking at my tongue and touching most of my body parts to search for toxins or inflammation. This happened after I had already filled out a long medicinal questionnaire before coming here to which he replied by sending me an audio message about what I could expect from my stay.
Overall we were incredibly impressed by the professionalism with which the place is run! Before every new treatment patients get to see a video where the Doctor is explaining everything in detail and in most cases going through it himself. Highlights of these videos include him puking herbal water as well as explaining that for “social reasons” he would not take off his pants while explaining the process of enema 🙂
I went through a 20 day Panchakarma cleaning program. Ayurveda is 1000s of years old and was developed here in India. It seems to have especially many and effective ways to clean a body and get rid of all toxins. For this reason nearly all treatments start with an intense cleansing and detox phase. My treatments included:
- Purgation – using a laxative to clean your stomach (they are really happy when you tell them you ran to the toilet 7-8+ times 🙂 )
- Vamana – drinking about 3 liters of a special herbal water and then forcing you to vomit everything out again (to add to the fun I did this at 4.00 am 🙂 )
- Vasthi – enema with different herbal medicines
- Drinking Ghee which is similar to liquid butter. On day 4 of Ghee I drank 200ml and felt terribly sick for the rest of the day… 😦
- Oil massages for pretty much all body parts including special massages for head, face, back, legs and stomach
- Herbal baths
- Shirodhara – pouring liquids over the forehead including oil, milk, buttermilk and water. This is super relaxing and made me fall a sleep 9 / 10 times
- Nasya – cleaning the nasal cavity with different herbal oils and smoke of a herbal cigar and the spitting it out again. This is done because in Ayurveda the nose is the entry to the brain.
In short, all body parts are cleaned and toxins come out through each and every whole in the body. Not all treatments were fun though (you want to be woken up at 4 am to drink 3l of herbal water and then force yourself to vomit? 🙂 ) but overall I enjoyed them. There is just something cool and exotic about inhaling the smoke of a herbal cigar through one nostril and the exhaling it through your mouth while at the same time feeling the smoke to reach all different areas in your head … 🙂
It was also great to live in a simple place within rice paddies and focus on your health and relaxation. Nothing really to do apart from the treatments, getting three delicious vegetarian meals a day and enjoying the most romantic sun sets behind the paddy fields… Life could be worse!
We did see a bit of the surroundings as well though, see below. We walked through the surrounding rice fields, went to the local healer in Kottayam and also got to do a boat ride on the backwaters.
If I reflect on my stay there are a few thoughts I will definitely take away for myself for the future (apart from the health benefits):
- It is fantastic to be in an environment that slows down your rhythm dramatically. In our modern lifestyle we are always on but here you are forced to slow down. After a few days you are so much more relaxed and suddenly find the time to think about all kind of stuff.
- I got so much more aware about everything. If you have time and spend it all in the same place you keep discovering new things every day. What was also really cool was the silent zone for eating. Eating and doing nothing else can be quite an amazing experience, especially when the food is this good! 🙂 Also, it turns out when all you get to eat is rice porridge for a day of cleansing – you want to make the most out of it and enjoy eating it…
- I also became more aware about my body again. How much should I eat so that I can still digest everything before going to bed? How do I react to a day of purgation? Here you have all the time in the world to focus on this stuff… 🙂
I woud like to thank Dr. Sreejit and the whole Athreya team for their amazing support throughout our whole stay. We felt incredibly welcome here and I will recommend this place to everybody who is interested in any kind of Ayurveda treatment.
If you are looking for a real and authentic Ayurveda experience, we can only but recommend Athreya Ayurveda in Kottayam, Kerala.
If you are still not convinced, check out the reviews on Tripadvisor since they speak for themselves! 🙂