Bay local discovers path to relaxation in Southern India
A GOOD friend of mine had talked about a health retreat she had been going to in India for a few years. I had been promising to go...next year.
That year was last year.
Sure, I knew India. Taj Mahal, Delhi, the movie Slum Dog Millionaire, lots of people, beautiful curries.
To my surprise I experienced a wonderful part of Indian culture that was delightful to say the least.
Leaving the airport walls, I was shoved into reality as the cars, buses, truck, motorbikes and pedestrians all competed for a spot on the same street.
Yep this was the India I wanted to see.
After an hour's drive, the congested highway became a country lane and I arrived at my destination - Agnath House, Ayurveda Hospital, in Kerala.
I was greeted by my lovely hosts for the week, who I didn't know at the time, were to be my Ayurveda doctors for the duration of my stay.
Ayurveda Medicine was developed more than 3000 years ago in India.
It's based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit.
After a consultation I am given my schedule and routine for the week.
Each morning I rise at 6am to walk for an hour.
Walking through the country lanes of Kerala is like walking in a tropical paradise with tall palm trees, streams, lagoons, waterfalls, all surrounded by rich farmlands where no sprays or chemicals are used to grow the crops of vegetables and fruit.
The stillness is broken by the church bells ringing and songs of worship.
Returning from my walk a nice cup of tea is waiting, followed by a beautiful breakfast.
Having food made with love, freshly prepared for me from the fields I just walked past, is something I will treasure.
Then it's off to my treatment of a hot oil massage.
I can feel my body and mind unwinding.
I have never known such relaxation.
Sleep comes easily even though I have basically done nothing all day.
After a nutritious lunch there is a shorter specialised treatment time followed by "me time".
I can take a tuk tuk into town, read a book, take a walk in the garden, lay on a hammock in the shade, or chat to my neighbour.
In the late afternoon I am invited to join the yoga session conducted by a Yoga Master who is a national champion.
More wonderfully fresh food for dinner and I call it a night.
Oh yeah, and then do it all again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. This is heaven!
More than anything this trip was about giving back. Giving back to myself.
The way of life is simple and relatively stress free compared to my busy, on- the-go, cram-as-much-into-a-day-as-I-can way of life. I loved the easy pace and no-worry attitude.
Loving yourself is something you can do for yourself every day.
Whether it is doing a yoga session at sunset to just eating simple meals made with love or growing your own vegies or taking a walk at sunrise.
These are all simple ways to give back to you.
I loved the area I visited in Southern India and can't wait to return some day and see some more of India.
Maybe next time I will see the Taj Mahal.