Ayurveda: heaven, at last
Wednesday, 25 Nov 2009 — Ayurveda is a 3,500 year-old holistic health system developed in Kerala –Â where we’ve been visiting for the last week before our return to Bangalore. The name of our resort, Ayurvedagram, means “Ayurveda Village,” and we’re excited to slow down after our harried travel schedule. (We were actually supposed to go see the amazing Mysore palaces, but we couldn’t possibly spend another 3 hours each way — meaning much more in reality — to go.) We arrived late the prior night, and in the daylight we can see how truly beautiful this resort is. It’s about 15 traditional, historic Kerala buildings which were disassembled, transported, and reassembled here, set in gorgeous, lush grounds. The Kerala houses are what I’d imagine traditional Japanese houses look like — with open-air courtyards of various types, shingled roofs, and sparse yet beautiful interiors. Our room is set on a gorgeous courtyard with a large double-door, and a traditional latch secured with padlock and skeleton key (!). April is up early enough for Yoga, and I join her a bit later for a traditional, very tasty Kerala-style breakfast. All the meals here are vegetarian, and if I could eat vegetarian like this at home I’d be far less likely to eat meat.
Again, the coffee is really, really good … and we discover that along with the locally grown coffee, our milk comes from “Bessy,” my name for the local cow wandering the grounds, our local “milk factory.”
We meet with the Ayurvedic doctor who explains much of the theory and philosophy behind Ayurveda, then takes a full history and visual exam of us. In Ayurveda (at least my attempt at an explanation of it) there are 3 natural states:
- Kapha: solids and water
- Pitta: fire
- Vata: air and space
Each has a set of characteristics associated with it, and people are inherently born with predominately one or a combination of these types. According to this doctor, most people are one type … some people are a combination of two … and rarely is one person a balanced mix of all three types.
After our exam, it’s revealed that April is primarily Vata (air & space) and secondarily Pitta (fire) — a Vata-Pitta. I’m Kapha (solids and waters) and secondarily also Pitta — a Kapha-Pitta. Since balance is the key in Ayurveda, it’s very fitting that April and I balance each other out with two opposite traits (Vata vs Kapha), yet at the same time share one in common: Pitta, which is passion or energy. My groundedness balances here airiness, and there are a multitude of characteristics that fit each of us — it’s very interesting.
The best part of it all is that the doc “prescribes” us treatments: lots of massage. I go to mine right away, and it turns out it’s a “synchronized” massage: 2 masseuses rub a fine, soft powder (ground fruit I later discover) in unison. It’s magic, and at times I feel like there is one person with 4 hands, or maybe it’s just magically floating hands. This was greatly needed after the houseboat, travel days and bumpy roads.
Lunch is again fantastic. We take a few classes, and it’s time for my second “treatment.” (Since I have to leave at 4:30am the next day, I squeeze 2 days of treatment into 1.) This time it’s a synchronized hot oil massage — apparently the oil mixed individually based on doctor’s orders. Again, it’s heavenly. April gets her first treatment as I watch the enormous globe of a sun set on my last day in India. April and I “confer” about what we learned today, and life is very, very good.
We sample the Ayurvedagram dinner (yum!), try to get 15 minutes on the hotel internet (connectivity has been practically impossible this trip!), and we “sneak out” of the resort to go into town for a late dinner with Anil and Deepa (our new friends, and developer of the upcoming Creative Offering website that we’re here working on). We end up at Highnote, a Bangalore bar/restaurant that could be anywhere, yet could also only be in India. It’s on the 4th floor, overlooking much of the city. The roof is tile — some with glass insets so we can see the moon. The large windows appearing to flank all 4 sides actually only exist on 1 side — the other 3 are open to the view of Bangalore below. April gets gently pressured into singing with the house guitar player (she’s oddly shy about stuff like that), and sings a beautiful rendition of a Cyndi Lauper tune whose name escapes me. (Time after Time?) She adds another city/country to her long list of performances. We really enjoy the company of our new friends, talking about cultural differences and similarities and the things friends discuss. It’s a perfect cap to a perfect day, not at all tainted by the fact that we have a 30 minute drive back to our hotel and end up packing and repacking all of our luggage until 2am — just a couple of hours before I have to leave for the airport.
(Note:Â TheÂ full photo gallery from India is here, with the post above covered in photos 1599 – 1675. TheÂ other posts on India are here … and the reason why we’re on this trip is the non-profit website we’re creating,Â Creative Offering.)