My Ayurvedic Retreat at Kalari Kovilakom

My Ayurvedic Retreat at Kalari Kovilakom

28 June 2024
My Ayurvedic Retreat at Kalari Kovilakom

I had been looking for a place for a gentle detox; somewhere I could go for a couple of weeks for a bit of a mental and physical reset. Where I could eat healthily during my stay, join guided meditations, and take part in breathwork and yoga (I like these three practices and find they calm my somewhat overactive mind)...

I wanted to change my bad eating habits, which included a lot of snacks like nuts and chocolates between meals and to find a natural path that would lead to a permanent change in my mindset about food. Most of the high-end spas in Europe and the USA are not just incredibly expensive, but many involve fasting for days, something that does not sit well with me. The thought of not being able to eat makes me anxious. I know many people who love these clinics and we book them for many clients, but the high costs and methods mean they are just not for everyone.

For a long time, I have thought about a more holistic, natural approach to medicine. I have long been aware of the benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine and a few years back, I came across a group of hotels collectively known as CGH Earth, based in India. Being a member of The Conscious Travel Foundation, I try and prefer to work with hotels who promote responsible tourism. Their business model is based on sustainability with a commitment to the environment and local communities. When I investigated this further, it seemed like a good fit.

The CGH Earth ‘hospital’ I chose, was Kalari Kovilakom, in Palakkad in Kerala. In a nutshell, it is housed in the grounds of a beautiful old palace, bedrooms are air-conditioned, clean and simple (some with little balconies or terraces) and it has a beautiful garden you are encouraged to amble around each day full of herbs and flowers and which guests share with a busy family of much loved mongeese. On arrival you are given three sets of white kurtas, to wear during your stay, which means you can travel with carry-on luggage only, as you do not need any clothes or exercise gear (you are not allowed to wear anything other than the kurtas at anytime). The food is good and vegetarian; they grow many herbs and plants in the gardens of the palace to make their own powders and oils including the medicated ghee for the pancha karma. These herbs are used in the ayurvedic treatments you are encouraged to have each day. They have their own bio-gas plant and in-house laundry and it runs like a well oiled machine. They require a minimum of 14 days, a maximum of 28, so I booked 21 days, and headed to India.

What is Ayurveda?

My new friend Sonavi Desai, who I was lucky enough to meet at Kalari, explains it perfectly in her blog:

‘Ayurveda emphasises the connection between mind, body, and spirit. It is essential to maintain the balance between these to ensure good health. When this balance is disturbed, it creates blockages in the energy flowing through the body which ultimately manifest as disease. While treating disease based on the mind-body-spirit connection, there are several factors that Ayurveda takes into consideration: initial consultation, body type, the five elements that constitute the body (earth, water, fire, air, ether), diet, sleep, exercise, breathing, and mindfulness. The proportion of the five elements in the body determines the constitution of the person’. - Sonavi Desai

If you want to read more, please follow the link here >

Days pass quickly, with optional exercises such yoga, yoga nidra, prana breathing practices, treatments, breakfast, lunch and dinners (all included in the package). I don’t want to go into the details of the treatments as I think it is best to find out for yourself but I would be happy to discuss this with you. What I can tell you, is that it was life changing for me. I am much happier with myself. I learned that I do not have to overeat to feel satiated. I lost a good amount of weight which I have kept off, and for the first time in many years, I have learned to control and stopped feeling guilty about eating and drinking. If you go, I encourage you to embrace the treatments and take part in as much as possible. Try to really be positive about all the experiences and surrender to it…… be kind to yourself and the results will be magical.

Sarah x

Give me a call to find out more > 

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Sarah Mason

Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.

Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...

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