One of my goals during this journey to India was to visit an ayurvedic centre and experience a ten day long detoxification process called Panchkarma. Unfortunately, time has been flying by and ten days seemed a little dear to spend far away from my family, so instead, I got a short 3 day respite at an Ayurvedic Centre called KARE.
Blessed by Yoga Guru BKS Iyengar at its founding ten years ago, KARE is located between Bombay and Pune in the still idyllic setting of Mulshi Lake, a fresh water reservoir surrounded by hills, foliage and small villages. With no cell phone reception or internet there, you are totally cut off from the larger world and that was what I needed to really focus on some quiet, healing time.
Upon arriving, you have a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor on site, who then works with you to determine an appropriate course of treatments for your stay, depending on your Ayurvedic dosha or mind-body proclivity. You proceed to your first treatment, a leisurely abhyangya (oil massage with herbs – very calming for the nervous system) and swedana, a steam where you sit up to your neck in a wooden box that is heated with steam from a pressure cooker – it was hot, wow, I think I lasted for a max of ten minutes.
Lunch, a beautiful and delicious presentation of all the tastes: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and astringent is offered next. You begin with a prayer, after which the only “sweet” of the day is eaten – now – when your digestive fire or agni is at its strongest – and usually consists of a small “katori” or bowl of some type of kheer. Our first day, it was a delicious saffron kheer – a carrot one was also quite memorable.
After hot rotis fashioned from a whole grain like millet or jowar, a filling lentil soup or dal, rice and a salad – made from a lightly steamed vegetable and delicious yoghurt dressing, you end your lunch with salty, spiced buttermilk or “chaas.” The chaas is served last as it is the astringent taste and according to ayurvedic principles it is the astringent taste that signals your body that it is now satiated. So, who knew, dessert first when your digestive fire is at its strongest – and then you get to slow down? Interesting.
Our afternoon consisted of a resorative Iyengar style yoga class, followed by a second ayurvedic treatment – eoin got a reflexology while I got a medicinal facial massage with herbal drops to clear my sinus passages, known as Nasya. There was a fruit snack and then an evening break to relax, read, hike, explore the area or play croquet – because KARE, for some reason has a croquet lawn.
Sitting by our balcony, taking in India’s chattering birds, the misty hills and even a sprinkling of rainshowers, was truly rejuvenating. After three days, we felt renewed and ready to take on the mad dance of India once more.
To learn more about KARE, visit: www.karehealth.com.
The best season to visit is between November through March.
Thanks for reading. Namaste!