04 October, 2014

The Yoga Saga

We are all very busy, aren’t we?  We are so busy that we don’t have time for many important things, including our own health...  We run after money thinking that it will be able to give us happiness. While money can buy things which can make us happy, we all know that money cannot bring happiness by itself.  Money can bring worries. If we neglect our health and pursue what is supposedly the most important pursuit for us all – our careers – we could be in for serious trouble!

Look at the irony… we run after money, neglecting health and manage to accumulate money. Somewhere in between our body threatens to do a tool-down-strike. We then spend that money to get our health back!  

Would it not have been better if we had spent some time on our health, right from the beginning? It would have solved everything, right? So, what can we do now?

That is the question I was forced to consider when the body started creaking & groaning under my sustained abuse. My friends -  Sadique Neelgund  of Network FP and Gaurav Mashruwala, a fellow financial planner, introduced me to Kaivalyadhama. Thanks guys.

Kaivalyadhama  ( www.kdham.com ) is a yoga institution that was started in 1924 that is laid out on 180 acres ( most of it not yet developed ). They teach Yoga & meditation and also do research in these fields. Apart from these they use Naturopathy and Ayurveda for therapies for the easing the stress and giving relief to the tired multitudes who throng there. We booked for a Sunday to Sunday course between 21- 28th September, 2014.

Reaching there – The institution is headquartered in Lonavla ( they have branches in Mumbai, France & US ). That took us a flat 2 hours to reach there. It is just about a kilometer from the main market.  You need to take a turn just after Kailash Parbat.  Gaurav  had joked that after the course, the food weary make a stop at Kailash Parbat and imbibe the nourishing butter Pav-bhaji, before proceeding! But, that’s your call. We did not do that ( Gaurav, please note… ).

Lodgings – Once there, we were allotted the rooms. We had opted for simple twin sharing rooms, without AC.  They have AC rooms, Deluxe cottages etc. too. The rooms were comfy, clean & had a tidy bathroom! They call this the Gupta Yogic Hospital & healthcare center. Once we had settled in we had to consult the doctor there. He would understand your case and suggest the therapies needed. Our family opted for Naturotherapy sessions, en masse.

The routine – The typical routine was like this… you get up at about 5.30AM and complete you morning ablutions and at about 6.15AM, go for a morning cuppa… except that this cuppa would neither be tea/ coffee. You had a choice between herbal tea or herb laced diluted milk. Herbal tea is not tea at all. It has lemon grass, elaichi, tulsi etc., in it. I was not allowed to have even this. My naturopathist suggested hot water with lemon & honey!

After that, we head for Kriya Suddhi. This is to clean the nostrils of the muck that we have accumulated due to the “pristine” air quality in most of our cities L

We need to pass water through one nostril and get it out of the other nostril.  There was another… you need to insert a rubber tube through one nostril and get that out through your mouth! Viva!!! I did it!

In this process you will retch and will have a NDE ( Near Death Experience)! I always want to be encouraging!!!  Along with hang gliding, para sailing & sky diving, pencil this as something you should do before you leave behind your mortal coils!

After that, there is a Yoga session at 7 AM.   It will take some doing for all of us, with our super rigid frames. But, you can come out in one piece as the benevolent Yoga Sir keeps asking you to do the postures, “within your limitations”. Some people were so limited that they simply slept through – just kidding!

Breakfast is at 8.30AM. I’m reserving a separate section for food – it deserves one! After that we went for Naturopathy sessions anywhere between 9.30 to 11 AM. It could be leg massage and steam, full body massage, mud bath, mud packs in abdomen and eyes, magnetotherapy etc.  These therapies take out the weariness & stress in our bodies. 12 noon is lunch time. Again, there are therapies starting at 2PM- 3.30 PM. Once we complete that, one could choose to get those forty winks. You could imbibe the herbal tea if you care for it at 4 PM. I missed it most days. At 5 PM, there is a Yoga session, with the same benevolent teacher!

At 6.30PM is the Pranayam session ( first three days ) . This goes till 7.15 PM.  The next two days we had Tratak session, which was to practice concentration, eminently conducted by Mrs.Jyothi Soni ( Jyothis abounded in this place; so you need to remember the surnames if you don’t want to get Jyothis mixed up !). Her claim to fame was a “Soham, soham” song, which she rendered in a haunting voice which we savoured, lying down on the mats in darkness, during the session! We recorded her song. She tells me that this happens every week! I helpfully suggested that she should release an album!

The last day was a meditation session by Pro.Bhogal who kept saying that you may feel something, something, which I first thought was hunger and later dismissed!

Dinner follows at 7.30 PM. You can keep going back for more and finish atleast by 8.15 PM in time to attend a lecture by one of the inhouse experts. I consistently gave it the skip, inspite of rave reviews by attendees. I wanted my “me-time”. I would go for a walk at this time. At around 9.15 – 9.30PM, it’s lights off and a deep, dreamless slumber.

Culinary delights – This should probably bring the memories of Thai, Lebanese, Mediterranean, French & creole cooking to you… Sorry guys, they have hitherto evolved a style that defies a name… I call it kdham cuisine, for lack of a better appellation ( I’m no bard like Shakespeare!). Michelin three star stuff, no less!

So, let’s start with the morning breakfast to understand the gastronomic delights… It could be upma or one of the other name-defying goodies which could be washed down with… you guessed right, herbal tea or diluted milk! My naturopathist recommended carrot juice & dahlia kichidi to me. I did not mind it one bit, for it was certainly no worse than what the others were subjected to!

Lunch was a more elaborate affair. You get a plate, a wati & spoon.  You ladle out a vegetable into your plate and dal into your wati. Vegetables were just boiled with a dash of salt. According to naturopathy you should not use chilli or pepper in your food.

You could have roti and /or Rice. You also get salad.  My naturopathist helpfully suggested that I cut our rice and dal, from this elaborate spread! I was not to be thwarted – I used to have lots of chappaties & veggies/ salads. Dinner was similar, only that there was a soup instead of salad.
Though I might have scared you, the food was bland, but wholesome. It was Frugal with a capital F. But that was intentional and is to do us a whole world of good. No real complaints on that front. Foreigners  ( 30-40% ) loved it. It seems that the place will be filled with them for the next 4-5 months. Kdham may consider opening KFC like eateries across the western world based on the response!

Call to Action - The place was idyllic. It was a serene island, away from the hustle and bustle that we all are used to. The campus was green & welcoming, persuading one to take long walks.

The doctors, therapists, workers & interns at Kaivaladham were truly helpful and committed. You could see that they care by the way they talk to you. I would highly recommend Kdham to all of you. Don’t you worry about the food. It is minimalistic, but wholesome. I used a bit more sarcasm & leg-pulling than was required.

The cost with naturopathy was coming to about Rs.9,000/-pp for one week course, in our case. This includes stay, food & naturopathy therapies ( two per day for six days ). The place has a good library for those interested to read a bit.

For the city dwellers like us, a weeks’ relaxation is absolutely necessary. You can book online. Call them if you need to know something more. This would be one of the best decisions you will be making. Go for it!

Here are some photos of the place...


Author :  Suresh Sadagopan    |   Ladder7 Financial Advisories   | www.ladder7.co.in

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