My visit to the Kairali Group’s residential treatment centre at Palakkad began with a tinge of apprehension. Their office in Delhi had warned me that tea and coffee are not available at the Resort. I am a coffee fanatic, the more the better, and my anxiety levels had started to shoot up. No coffee during the entire stay how would I manage? I was already experiencing withdrawal symptoms!
After a short scenic drive from Coimbatore airport I reached the Resort – quiet, serene and nestled amongst acres of organic Ayurvedic farmland. I am told the resort has been designed keeping in mind the principles of Vaastu Shastra, with red oxide floors and a rare Valambari Conch shell in every room, and a gentle water body around every villa. Thankfully apart from my coffee I was not to be deprived of my other creature comforts.
I grab a drink of water (warm, infused with herbs) and go to see the resident doctor who will supervise out my de-tox program for the remainder of my stay. The doctor explains that the basis of treatment is a ‘Prakruti analysis’ which was leisurely conducted and included a physical examination and interview so that my personal health goals were met. Once my presiding doshaimbalance had been ascertained, he prescribed a preliminary detox and some curative medicines and lifestyle education to keep me connected when I left. My dosha was a combination of Pitha and Kapha, the doctor said that today more and more people had two dosha’s thanks to imbalance.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of lifestyle, diet and medicines and understands the five elements as the root cause of existence. These five elements are present in different combinations in each of us and are represented by the three doshas, or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshasaccumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the tridoshas. Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.
The intense and transformative Panchakarma sequence, world renowned and the biggest attraction of health tourism in India and certainly Kerala, is done with special medicated oils in combination with purgation, enemas, steam therapy and Ayurvedic massage, to remove toxins and restore balance in the doshas. The quiet atmosphere, special diet and gentle yoga and meditation that were part of the program at the retreat added to the wellness that I felt. Kairali offers numerous other tailor-made detoxification programmes that are oriented around specific health aims like stress relief, arthritis, sinusitis, migraine, post pregnancy care, beauty and weight loss.
Food at the retreat is vegetarian with little or no milk and milk products. It is delightful, tasty and beautifully presented. The cookery classes that are part of the program teach you how to cook recipes that are suited to all body types. After preparing myself mentally for the healthy, wholesome food that was presented to me everyday, I began to enjoy myself. My daily diet included coconut water, fruit (with the exception of bananas), red rice that was native to Kerala, idilisdosas, aapams (all fermented food that provides B12) lots of greens and vegetables rich in calcium, iron-rich foods and food rich in vitamin C (aiding the absorption of iron). The diet is rich in antioxidants and high in fiber.
Kairali has patented medicines, oils and products like shampoos and lotions that they manufacture. The Retreat also offers comprehensive courses on the theory and practice of Ayurveda.
I left a few kilos lighter and my desire for coffee a little less present in the warm glow of wellness that surrounded me. All I had to do now was to continue the good habits that I had learnt there.