I’m settling into my daily routine here at the Ayurveda Yoga Villa in Wayanad, India.
6:15 wake up
6:40 – 8:00 yoga and at 8AM, take 2 teaspoons of ghee
8:00 – 9:00 morning walk & take 3 caps of green tonic
9:00 – 10:00 breakfast
10:00 – 12:00 read and/ or write
12:00 – 13:00 ayurvedic treatment (oil massage)
13:00 – 14:00 shower and then lunch
14:00 – 15:00 read and/or write
15:00 – 15:30 daily consultation with ayurvedic doctor
15:30 – 16:00 check e-mail/ blog update
16:00 – 17:00 afternoon walk and at 5PM, take 2 teaspoons of ghee
17:00 – 18:30 yoga & take 3 caps of green tonic
19:00 – 20:00 dinner
21:00 lights out
Last night by 8:12 I was ready for bed! It’s easy to go to bed early when your dinner is prepared for you at 7 and you don’t have phones, computers, or TVs. We’re high up in the mountains and it gets quite cold here in the morning and at night. I had to ask for an extra blanket last night and put on my knit cap and fleece this morning when I went for a walk. I’m glad that I didn’t mail all the winter things back to the States from Paris. We can walk out of the compound here and into the neighborhood, which is comprised of a few houses, rice paddies, rubber and coconut trees. Tomorrow, I think I’ll walk the other way and see what I can find.
In the last three days I’ve met a few interesting people and this morning, I had a nice conversation with a British guy who lives in France. He came here to do a round of panchakarma, which I was surprised to find half of the guests here doing. It is a detoxification process that runs for 28 days under strict guidelines and supervision. John, the guy I spoke with this morning, had really no idea what he was getting himself into but the others I met (all Germans) had planned for this and mentally prepared accordingly. John told me that for the first three days all you get to eat are ghee (clarified butter) and rice porridge. The first day you drink 50ml of ghee, hot water, and rice porridge. The second day you have to drink 100ml of ghee, the third day it is increased to 150ml of ghee. You are put on a strict schedule to take brisk walks before the morning ghee, and to walk again after taking it. On the forth day you no longer have to take ghee but you’re still restricted to the rice porridge or oatmeal only. On the seventh day, which is where John is with his process, you get your first ayurvedic treatment, an oil massage. From this point forward comes a day where you are forced to vomit (2.5L of warm water followed by liters of salt water to induce you to vomit) to clear out all the toxins in your body. Once that process is finished, they start to introduce some regular food into your system and you take your ayurvedic treatments daily. Depending on your condition and based on the doctor’s diagnosis, I’ve been told that colonics and bloodletting are also prescribed. I’ve been a lot of people at meal times just taking porridge and now I understand better where in their panchakarma process they’re in. I’m really on a nice holiday compared to what they’re doing.
I’m really enjoying the food here so far. I find that it is still Keralan cuisine at its base but definitely modified to make it more satvic/ayurvedic. On the first day I was shocked to find a whole container of raw red onions in yogurt and I spoke to the doctor about it. At the Sivananda ashram we never had anything with onions, eggs, or garlic, but the doctor told me that in ayurveda there are no exclusions. He did say that for your dosha, you can eat more or less of certain foods. For me, he advised that I always drink warm water and avoid eating a lot of plant/vegetable roots. While I was happy to eat two meals a day at Sivananda, I am now totally on board with having three yummy meals. I’ve been taking photos of them but it’ll have to wait until my internet connection speed improves. For breakfast, we always get a large glass of freshly prepared fruit juice. This morning, it was strawberry… we get a vegetable stew, a starch like crepes, thin noodles, plain dosa, a small side dish (this morning it was coconut rice), and some fruit (grapes and bananas for breakfast). For lunch it’s a similar deal but you don’t get any fruit. Sometimes we get a little something sweet for dessert, like payasam. In three days I’ve yet to see a single food item get repeated. It took about four days at the ashram before I saw the same vegetable stew. I wonder how many days it’ll be before I see the same dish here…??? I’ll be keeping my eye on it for sure. The kitchen staff works really hard and I’ve come to like them very much. There are two ladies who cook all the meals and four guys who serve and clean. I feel weird having them serve me all the time so I usually take my plates and utensils to the kitchen when I’m finished. But I’m usually intercepted by one of the guys on my way and they tell me to stop doing it. As for drinking water, there is always a large pot of ayurvedic water being boiled on the stove. It’s got some herbs and leaves in it, and they’ve given us a hot thermos so that we can take the ayurvedic water back to our cottages. I get mine filled three times a day, at meal times, and use it for drinking and for my medication as well. It’s a really nice idea and obviously there are no plastic water bottles anywhere here.
I had originally reserved a “back garden” villa/cottage but when I arrived on Wednesday, the manager told me I could have a “lake view” villa for a few days. I will probably have to move today. I guess I’ll be able to tell better later on but I don’t think the location really matters. What I know is that I can see the mist rising from the river when I’m walking to the yoga studio in the morning, there are flowers blooming all around me, the sky is always blue without any hint of white clouds, and on the way to dinner I can see more stars than I have in the last few years (the constellation Orion is usually right in front of me). And I’m sleeping better now, even with a really thin mattress. I don’t think they make thicker or softer mattress here in India. I’ve slept in… let me count, 8 different places so far and all 8 mattresses have been terribly hard. At first, my boney hips and shoulders hurt so much I tossed and turned, and woke up sore. But now, my body is definitely used to the thin hard mattresses and last night I actually slept for 6 hours straight. I used to think I must have been a princess in my prior life (you know, like the princess with a pea under 30 mattresses not being able to sleep), but it turns out that my body can adjust. I’m definitely not a princess. But of course my doctor here attributes my better night’s sleep to the ayurvedic treatments. Maybe all the oil and the massages are beginning to balance me out…