Pancha-what? It also took me some time to get to terms with the Ayurveda concept of a Panchakarma treatment. Having worked in a highly demanding profession for 4 years I figured it was time to give my mind and body a true break. So, I took my suitcase after yet another intense work day and left from the office straight to the airport. Ah yeah, before I forget to mention it, I left my job for good that day. For years I have been living with that urge of some day leaving the concept of corporate employment behind and becoming the CEO of my life. I only realize later now how truly symbolic that day was when I stepped out of my old agency’s building and literally stepped onboard a plane right away. Good-bye old structures, and hello new freedom. And hello again, Bali.
Ayurveda? Panchakarma? What are you talking about?
Ayurveda is the Science of Life with its roots in India which strives for a healthy balance between mind, body and spirit. Following the values of the holistic health care system any imbalances of that harmony result in diseases. The focus is therefore on nurturing the body and mind with preventative and curative methods. The Ayurvedic Way of Life is based on the existence of 5 core elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements form the core of the 3 energies, that are known as ‘Doshas’: Vata (space/air), Pitta (fire/water), Kapha (water/earth). The essential focus is keeping the doshas in a healthy balance based on the constitution of each individual. Now, this might sound a bit ‘wo-ho’ for some people. I also didn’t quite know what to expect but ‘spoiler-alert’ it was completely mind-blowing.
The Ayurvedic method is completely natural and is a Detox Program that is prevention-oriented and based on the use of herbal medicine. No, don’t think Detox Juice Programs you might have heard about from Instagram Bloggers. The Panchakarma treatment is a complex and thorough program that combines a nutritious diet tailored to each individual’s needs, body treatments, yoga/meditation and mindful practices. To reverse the imbalances you go through detox cycles that consist of three phases: preparation, detox/cleansing, and post-therapeutic. Depending on how long you’re doing the Panchakarma for you might run through multiple cycles.
When reading ‘detox/cleansing’ you might wonder what that actually means. Well, it means exactly what you think it does. There’s 5 different ways of ‘cleansing the body’ (I won’t go into detail here). When my detox day was coming up I was very much NOT looking forward to it. Like most people I was having really hard time the first 3 days. You wouldn’t suspect how much stuff comes up once you unwind and give your body and mind time to rest and re-set. Every even just slightest heavy feeling from the past 5 years came creeping back and unloaded on top of me. I consider myself to be a very reflective person. Yet still. I think this shows you how much we store in the subconscious. And that every experience we make is a part of us and while we shouldn’t give it our ongoing attention we should treat it with awareness. The entire experience was super intense and yet such an enlightenment.
A typical Panchakarma Day
6:00 Good Morning Call by Gong
6:45 Yoga & Meditation
8:10 Doctor’s Examination
8:15 Breakfast + Morning Medicine
11:30 Treatment (Oil Massage, Herbal Steaming, Stamp Massage etc.)
12:30 Lunch + Noon Medicine
13:30 Doctor’s Consultation
14:00 Educational Talk
15:00 Afternoon Treatment
16:00 Ricefield Walk
17:00 Restorative Yoga & Meditation
18:30 Dinner + Night Medicine
The first and last day include ceremonies at the close-by temple with a ‘Purification Ritual’ upon arrival and a ‘Letting Go Ceremony’ towards the end of your program. What’s very special about the program at Oneworld Ayurveda is the daily 1:1 consultation with the doctor and daily adjustments to your individual diet.
When researching Ayurveda retreats across the globe I was searching for places in Sri Lanka. It’s a place I’d never been. I didn’t find a good fit though. And then I saw it, this jewel in the jungle in the middle of the famous Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Bali. I cannot recommend this place enough. Close to Ubud you’ll find complete isolation to focus on yourself. There’s only a total of 12 rooms which assures a low number of visitors. Fun fact, you won’t really need any clothes as you’re the entire time either in your robe or in your traditional gown. It’s actually an interesting scene when everyone is gathering at dinner in their white gowns. Although your main focus is on your own journey you really grow together with the others, it becomes a very intense family vibe. Though you can always choose to go within and dine in on your balcony!
The Magic of Ayurveda
It’s funny. When I think back to that ‘famous’ detox day I really wasn’t fond of spending 10 hours alone in my room. I was even considering ending my 7-day program at one point. You truly cannot imagine how much toxic stuff is released from your biochemical system during a Panchakarma, it’s truly cleansing but also tough. So, I cannot thank myself enough for giving my body and mind this unique opportunity. And contrary to all expectations, in the end the famous detox day even ended up being my golden ‘A-Ha’ moment of the retreat. Who would have thought that “flushing” my body would truly flush my system. You are also advised to do a digital detox the entire duration of the program which I didn’t find challenging at all. It really gets down to the core when all you accomplish is reading your book and coloring mandalas. But I guess that’s exactly where the magic lies. Allowing yourself to be in a situation that slows down your entire system! Isn’t it funny that we call the ability of doing nothing magic these days?!
So, if you ask me ‘Who is this program for?’, I’d say for EVERYONE! If you truly look inside yourself you’ll probably find that there is some kind of tension physically or feelings of being overwhelmed mentally. For me, taking this program even just for 7 days (14-21 Days is the typical time frame) has already done the trick of lifting so much weight off my shoulders. Trust me you’ve never done anything like it and once accomplished you will praise yourself in a way you’ve never done before. Give it a try! Let me warn you though, while massages every day sound tempting you will soon feel slightly irritated with being the slimy slippery eel day in and day out.