It’s hard to travel to India and not come back with new insights about the world, yourself, your health and your lifestyle. I visited Goa for almost two weeks and learned not just how colourful the country is (in every way possible), but also that I become a terrible person when I’m overwhelmed and sleep-deprived …and that I still have a lot to learn about bringing balance to my life.
Luckily, I got to opportunity to take a small step into the right direction by attending two classes about the teaching of Ayurveda: a system of medicine with Indian roots, as well as getting a typical Ayurvedic massage (that slightly terrified me). I also received a selection of natural products to take home that could possibly benefit my health in the long-run.
Interested? Let’s find out more!
What You Can Learn About Ayurveda in India
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda in Sanskrit (the sacred language of Hinduism and Mahāyāna Buddhism and the philosophical language in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism) means “The Science of Life”. Knowledge for this healing science dates back to over 5000 years ago and great emphasis is placed on prevention and maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life.
By creating a balance of body, mind and consciousness (according to your own constitution), you can start by making lifestyle changes that will keep this balance the long-term.
During my time in Goa, I got to speak to two doctors specialized in Ayurveda and they both make their message very clear to me: Modern day illnesses are more a result of an unbalanced lifestyle than anything else. In today’s world, where we hardy spend time to think about what we eat, don’t get enough exercise and enough sleep, there is a clear increase in ailments that could easily be prevented.
Quick Note: the illnesses that were talked about were things like respiratory problems, bone, joint and stress related disorders, skin diseases, allergies and the like, there was no mention of ‘curing cancer’ by eating carrots while standing on one leg or woowoo things like that. And besides that, carrots are gross.
While I am not a medical professional and this article is definitely not medical advice, Ayurvedic treatment centers are run by trained therapists and usually require admittance for a minimum of 7-14 days in order to get a consult and according treatment. I would still consider these as additional treatments and would personally always see a doctor at your local health clinic first and never stop taking prescribed medicine, no matter what.
That said, I think you can definitely make lifestyle chances at any given time in your life and today really is the best way to start with that. As Dr. Prashant of Art Ayurveda (on the photo below) tells us: “Simply popping pills to take care of immediate symptoms does not make the root of all of your problems go away. If your body is failing, there is a deeper cause to that.”
I think that I like to see Ayurveda as something you focus on especially on those moments where your doctor says there is nothing wrong with you medically, but still you don’t feel well, you feel ‘off’, you feel out of balance.
What I found interesting about Ayurveda, is that they look at the pattern of energy that every person has, which is different for everyone, almost like a fingerprint. It’s a combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics, which make up your own unique constitution.
The ‘trick’ to it, is that there are many factors (internal and external) that work to disturb this balance in your energy. When you know what these factors are, you can work to remove or minimize their effects. As they say so well: “Imbalace is Disorder”.
Without making this article a new entry in Wikipedia, I’d like to mention that in Ayurveda, there are three basic types of energy (dosha) present in everyone and everything: VATA (movement, air, ether), PITTA (digestion, fire, water) and KAPHA (structure, earth, water).
All people have the qualities of all these three dosha in them, but one is usually primary. In Ayurveda, the cause of disease is viewed as the lack of proper cellular function due to an excess or deficiency of one of these dosha.
This is about as deep as my introduction with Ayurveda went, but I can recommend scrolling to the bottom of this page for a couple of links to resources to learn more.
Where to learn about Ayurveda in India?
We got our Ayurveda lessons at two different places in Goa. First, we visited the Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village, a beautiful secluded resort-style retreat where you can do yoga lessons and fully recharge. Here, Dr. Prashant of the Arth Ayurvedic Health Center (which you can also visit to get treatments (link below).
Our Lesson at Ashiyana
Secondly, we visited the Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre, which is located on a small island close to Panjim, the capital city of Goa in India. Here, we also spoke to a doctor ánd we got to experience another part of Ayurveda which is very important: a massage.
The massage was something I had never experienced like this before. If you scroll down, you can find a video with the entire Snapchat Story of how it went down, but in short: you are asked to get naked, get sloshed in warm oil and have to sit in a wooden box.
Relaxing? You tell me!
After the treatments, you’ll get this dress to wear. So basically everyone walks around naked. How refreshing!
Watch the Video
Places We Visited
- Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village – www.ashiyana-yoga-goa.com
- Arth Ayurvedic Health Center – www.arthworld.com
- Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre – www.devaaya.com
Read more about Ayurveda
- A Brief Introduction and Guide – www.ayurveda.com/…/intro_ayurveda.pdf
- Test to Discover you Constitution – www.ayurveda.com/…/constitution.pdf
- Reference And Reading List – www.ayurveda.com/…/reading-list-and-references-about-ayurveda
- The Daily Routine – www.ayurveda.com/../the-daily-routine
Blogs from my new friends Erin (The World Wanderer) & Erin (10 Miles Behind Me) about their experiences with Ayurveda in Goa:
Go Team Erin!
Disclaimer: I got to learn all about Ayurveda during the #Escape2Goa Campaign with Leave UR Mark and the Goa Tourism Board. All experiences where covered by them, all opinions and photos are, as always, my own.