Burned-out and tired. That’s how I felt a few weeks ago. The last months of my 12/7 rhythm had to take its toll at some point. The solution to my dilemma seemed crystal clear when a friend told me about her Ayurveda treatment in India. The next day the enquiry to the resort was sent. Lucky me, there was a cancellation at the Nattika Beach Resort and I was in. Minutes later the booking was completed and I started counting the days.
My very last real vacation was many years ago and I mean not to travel but to go on vacation – lying on the beach and reading, doing nothing, relaxing and admiring sunsets. My travels are usually anything but restful, because mostly I am on one or more missions and have little or no time for lazy beach days. My friend told me about the big garden, the daily massages, the delicious food and I fell for this Ayurveda thing without even knowing what exactly Ayurveda was.
Ayurveda literally means the wisdom of life. The traditional Indian art of healing is scientifically taught in India and accepted as a healing method.
What do the Ayurveda types mean?
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are so-called Doshas – energies that define each person. In Ayurvedic medicine, everything is based on these three types.
The Dosha Vata contains the characteristics of the elements ether and air and is responsible for all movement sequences in our body, i.e. our muscles and limbs, the internal organs and our nervous system. Vata is subject to the basic principle of change.
Vata types are enthusiastic and creative, they are quick learners and open for new things. They like to be active and when they are balanced, they are exceptionally friendly creatures. I am a Vata!
Pitta contains the elements of fire and water and regulates the metabolism, digestion and all biochemical processes in our body. The basic principle of Pitta is transformation.
Are you a Pitta type? Then you are structured, you can concentrate well and you are qualified as a teacher because of your thoughtful concepts. In addition, you enjoy sports and don’t mind comparing your skills with others.
Kapha comprises the characteristics of water and earth. It is responsible for the physical and mental strength of the body, regulates our body fluids and stabilizes our immune system. If you are a Kapha type, you belong to the lovable people, who don’t get upset and are very patient. The Kapha type has a good memory, his life has a regularity, however, he tends to move little and eat a lot.
What is the point of knowing the Ayurveda type?
What do I really do with the information, knowing my Ayurveda type?
The Dosha tells me what to eat and what I should rather refrain from. As the predominant Vata type, I should eat warm meals regularly. No surprise that my metabolism is completely messed up – I don’t eat regularly (unless I visit my parents, then it’s regular and a lot) and warm meals aren’t the daily routine either. I should eat cooked vegetables and not raw ones. I am only allowed to eat tomatoes in small quantities. Right…my favorite summer meal which is tomatoes with mozzarella has had its day. Who’s got a quick alternative for me?
Fruits should be eaten at least one hour before or after meals and should be avoided completely in the evening. The same applies to fruit juices.
How does Ayurveda therapy work?
Shortly after my arrival in Nattika in the southwest of India, my medical doctor awaited me for the first consultation. She went through my complete history, based on which she then determined my Ayurveda type. I was a Vata-Pitta type, whereas my symptoms concern the Vata Dosha.
After your Ayurveda type and diagnosis have been determined, you receive a detailed medical plan with all treatments, which is adapted to your current problems.
Warm, even partially hot oil with medical ingredients plays a decisive role in the treatments. During the Thirummal Massage, you are massaged synchronously from head to toe by two therapists. 4 hands make your body cuddly soft and fine. This massage prevents the ageing process (superb!) and preserves the cells (perfect!).
The Podikizhi treatment stimulates the circulation, burns fat (Yes, I like!) and dissolves blockades. Two therapists apply oil to you first and then pat your body with powder-filled pouches, whereby the pouches are dipped into hot oil again with each cycle.
The pouch treatment is also made with herbal pouches, it is called Elakizhi and is particularly popular for muscle problems and back pain.
The Naranga Kizhi is a massage with lemon-filled pouches dipped in oil, the temperature of the pouches being adjusted to your treatment plan. This treatment does not involve tapping but stroking. Afterwards, my suffering lower back received a massage with hot oil – marvellous.
The Siro Dhara is a continuous pouring of warm oil on the forehead (more precisely on the forehead chakra). It has a very calming effect and is used for chronicle headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders, depressions or states of tension.
Before every treatment, the doctors sees you for a short consultation to discuss the progress of the therapy and your well-being.
Some things to know about Ayurveda treatments in India
Are you nervous about being naked in front of someone? You should know that you will be treated by two therapists from head to toe across your chest and your bottom. Naked.
Women are treated by women, men by men. No exceptions.
The more you adhere to the doctor’s instructions regarding food and other things, the better the progress you will make during the treatment.
The best time for Ayurveda therapy is between June and August during the monsoon. The moisture opens the pores and the medical ingredients from the oil are absorbed even better.
The authentic Ayurveda comes from India, even though you can also find offers in Sri Lanka.
The Nattika Beach Resort
The resort is in the Indian state of Kerala, in the country’s southwest, right on the palm beach. From Kochi Airport it is a maximum of 2 hours drive and the hotel offers a convenient free shuttle service to and from the airport.
The resort has a huge beautiful garden. A hammock is a great place to stay for a few hours, and you can take a nap on the beach or by the pool. You are staying in one of 52 villas equipped with Kerala’s traditional elements and your own patio. The rooms are fitted with air conditioning, safe and even television. In the bathroom, you will find shampoo, shower gel, soaps and body lotion for your use. The room has passed my cleanliness inspection – I’m a little nerdy when it comes to hygiene…
In the resort, food is served according to Ayurvedic preparation. Vegetarian, of course. I’m a committed meat lover who had no idea how many and most of all delicious vegetarian dishes there are. A big toast to chef Joshi and his team. As a heads up: you will not find any alcohol in the resort, just as you will have to do without the afternoon cake buffet. In return, you will get various herb water, teas, healthy food and fresh fruit from the own garden.
The friendliness and attention of all the people working at Nattika Beach Resort is amazing. Whether at the reception, in the Ayurveda Center or in the restaurant – they all give every guest the touch of being a special guest and are extremely concerned about the well-being of every guest. The women who work in the garden throw you a friendly Namaste as you pass by, the chambermaid asks if you are satisfied with the cleanliness and the supposedly serious smoking man, who banishes the mosquitoes every evening with his smoke pan, has a friendly salutation for you too.
You will find harmony for body and mind in the daily meditation and yoga classes. During my stay, the Indian Yoga guru Abhiram Chaithanya was a guest and introduced us to his yoga world. The charming Jiji showed me many exercises for my troubled area, the lower back, in a private lesson. She was so sweet and wrote all the exercises in 5 pages down for me. I promise to practice at home.
The resort produces the Ayurveda oil itself. 22 different medical oils are produced with a monthly output of approx. 1000 litres. The healing “ingredients” are processed manually and added to the base oil, sesame or coconut. The oil boils in a huge vat for about three days until it is sieved and bottled.
Tip for your at home Ayurveda treatment:
Drink warm water with 10 drops of sesame oil in the evening and rub the body with sesame oil once a week, let it work for 45 minutes and then shower warm.
Oils remain on the skin, but the medical ingredients are absorbed through the pores. This process usually takes 45 minutes, after which you can wash off the oil.
Travel light - Your packing list for your Ayurveda holiday:
The hotel offers a laundry service. So don’t pack too many clothes. Leave makeup, jewelry and shoes at home.
Not very long ago, I would have laughed loudly at the suggestion of spending two weeks in an all-inclusive resort. My body and mind, however, were literally screaming for rest and so I tried to calm down in the south of India to find my strength again. I was not disappointed. The Nattika Beach Resort gave me exactly what I was looking for: Relaxation, healthy food, soothing treatments, yoga and friendly people around me.
The first few days I slept literally continuously. The first time of the day I fell asleep during the final meditation of the yoga class. Then I nodded off during the Ayurveda treatment in the morning, then right after breakfast at the pool and as soon as my head reached the sunbed after lunch, my eyes closed again. With every day I got fitter and suddenly I didn’t mind the alarm clock was ringing at 6.00 am for the yoga class. My body filled with energy and that alone was a wonderful feeling. After 12 days I felt really great. Even though the hotel offers some trips to the surrounding area, I deliberately decided not to do so in order to fully unwind.
I warmly recommend everyone in need for rest and relaxation to try an Ayurveda treatment at the Nattika Beach Resort.
A drop of bitterness...
Unfortunately, there is a drop of bitterness that does not directly affect the resort, but the surroundings. The beach section of the hotel was spotless. But as in many Asian countries, this changes abruptly when one walks away from the hotel beach. The garbage is dreadful. Environmental awareness? Unfortunately, there is no such thing. A family of six unwraps their ice cream on the beach and the paper of all six of them floats through the air. It’s the most normal thing in the world to drop the garbage wherever one is.
Why do I mention this in my article, which only describes positive things? Because I want to make my small contribution to raising awareness for keeping our planet clean. Because I would love to see the Nattika Beach Resort launching an environmental initiative as part of its corporate social responsibility activities (I know they are already doing some great CSR projects). If the children grow up like this and consider it normal to just drop their trash, the beaches and oceans will continue to be poisoned and the flora and fauna destroyed.
Disclaimer: This article was neither supported financially nor in any other way by the resort.