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How a Trip to an Ayurvedic Healing Village in South India Changed Me

I like to live up to the belief that I am a strong woman. That I can fight my wars and shine as bright as the sun on my own. Of course there are times I do break down and cry my heart out. But as I wipe my tears, I feel stronger. After numerous heartbreaks, the one thing I have learnt is that only you can make things right, no one else. And because you have one life to live, you need to move on. The good thing about this attitude is that there’s always positivity around, but the flipside is that I forget you do need healing from time to time.

When I recently went to Kerala to an Ayurvedic healing village called Kairali, little did I know that I would come back a different person. It was a work trip and we had a well-planned itinerary for three days to mostly explore the food aspect of Ayurveda. I told myself to not read up or look at any pictures of Kairali before my trip. I wanted to experience it without any expectations. I wanted to go with the flow.

Also read: How I Switched Off to Let Travel Transform Me 

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The peaceful setting at Kairali

So without any clue of what was to come and who were the people I was going to be spending the next three days with, I set off to Palakkad, a little town in northeast Kerala where Kairali was located. Soon enough I met fellow media professionals and the ever-smiling staff at Kairali and developed a bond with all. The property was an oasis of calm, with modern luxury cottages set amidst a beautiful coconut groove. Just watching all the greenery around and tuning into the sound of the flowing stream of water near the cottages made me stop and soak in the essence of the place. I found my mind decluttering.

Also read: Experiencing Punjab’s Farm Life at Punjabiat in Amritsar

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Sound of water

Next day we got into the routine, starting with a yoga session at 6:30 in the morning. I was surprisingly up and awake by 5AM and filled with this new energy to outdo my own inhibitions. The aim of the yoga session that morning was to activate different energy points in the body. The ever-smiling teacher guided us through different asanas, and shared many philosophies on the bond between the body, mind and soul. An important lesson I learnt that morning was, “Even if our physical body is not able to do something, we must allow our spirit body to push those boundaries. There will come a time when the physical body will follow.” It struck a chord.

Also read: Trek to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge in Meghalaya

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Morning yoga session

Even though the property provides one with all luxury, the food is guarded from all that oomph associated with fine dining restaurants. This isn’t to say that the food disappoints; in fact, its simplicity made me look forward to mealtime. There was a common menu for all, for all meals, which was displayed on a board for all to see. What I loved was that each meal was portion controlled yet came with a good variety of dishes that was always enough to fill me up. When I initially looked at the small bowls of food, I had wondered how was it ever going to suffice. But as I reached the end of my meal, I realised it was just perfect – neither more nor less. Ayurveda never encourages dieting, but only mindful eating. Sometimes we fail to see what’s enough and let greed take over. In my case, it’s most of the time.

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An Ayurvedic meal

Then came the treatments, which most of us equate to spa services. The Ayurvedic doctors clarified that the massages were ‘treatments’ because they were designed to treat people from specific ailments. Each oil used was equipped with healing properties, be it pain, stress, infections, etc, which were then massaged on the body to let the skin soak in the oil. The steam bath that followed the treatment was what we started referring to as ‘being momos’. Sitting in the traditional wooden box, it helped me let off some steam too. I started feeling lighter.

As part of work, I learnt about Ayurvedic cooking and the importance of mindful eating, I explored the organic farm and tasted fresh honey straight from a honeycomb, interacted with Gita Ramesh who was worked extensively to provide delicious Sattvic food at the property, and even met an astrologer who told me I have nothing to worry about in life!

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At the coconut groove

During my stay, I worked, made meaningful conversations, hung around with my new friends, ate healthy, lazed around in a hammock, drank lots of coconut water, did yoga early morning, went for treatments, walked around the coconut groove and most importantly, smiled a lot. Just three nights in Kairali, and it changed me. It brought so much inner peace.

Now I am back to my usual stressful life, but there’s this sense of calm within that I can’t quite explain. I only hope it lasts.

 

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Plavaneeta Borah is a lifestyle journalist, having worked with various media houses in India such as NDTV, BBC Good Food, Times of India and Femina among others for almost a decade. Cooking is her passion, and feeding people is her favourite pastime, apart from perpetually planning her next travel destination.

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