Your goal is to be more mindful, learn to listen to your body to eat well and relax for a healthier life-style? Then an Ayurveda relaxation week is a perfect kick-start to reach your goal. Here an account of a personal experience.
As the year was moving into its final quarter last year I decided I would do something totally different instead of giving in to the annual hectic activities and preparations ahead of Christmas. The Ayurveda relaxation week was the perfect way to wind down the year a week before Christmas and suitable for a single person like myself.
Incredibly powerful start to a day.
I arrived late at night and the first thing I woke up to was a Qi Gong lesson at 7:30 am. The class room has a glass front with a view onto the sea. As I am concentrating on my breathing, it starts to align with the soft sounds from the waves of the sea in the background. While the room was dark at the beginning of the lesson, we can see the sun rising over the sea through the big glass front as the morning progresses.
Next on my agenda was breakfast, after which I had an appointment with the Ayurvedic doctor, who examines me and asks questions to my lifestyle to determine my constitution based on the balance of three doshas. My constitution determines his advice for my diet and the type of ayurvedic massages I get each day for the next 6 days.
Of course, the true Ayurveda experience would have to be in India. But Madeira is closer to home and delights with colourful plants all year round. Although it was a week before Christmas, I was able to enjoy a swim in the sea at a comfortable temperature each day. Seeing Funchal at night was a worthwhile trip. I was amazed by the Christmas lights decorating the streets, reflecting the colourful nature of the island.
The mind experience
There was a class, in either Yoga or Qi Gong early before sunrise every morning. It was a good way to start the day more mindful. We also had two afternoons with a meditation lesson.
The body experience
As part of the ayurveda relaxation week, we received a different ayurvedic massage each day. Each massage lasted about one hour. There was lots of oil involved, but generally it was a pleasant experience. The only massage that I personally did not enjoy was the Sirodhara, where oil was gently poured onto my forehead. But others thought it was wonderful.
The food experience
Everything looked very colourful and was an exotic taste experience, because of all the different flavours from the great number of fresh herbs and spices used to prepare the meals. One evening we were invited to watch the cooks as they prepared and cooked the food. It made us aware, just how many different spices and herbs were used.
At mealtimes, large tables were available, so we could sit in groups. This was a great way to get to know each other and exchange our experiences, as many of us travelled on their own.