Greetings from the Village of Vaidyas – the famed ayurvedic physicians of South India. My Fall began with the usual schedule of hectic travel and long days filled with exciting but sometimes exhausting meetings with InnerAsia’s friends and colleagues throughout China, Tibet, and Nepal. This year, I decided it was time to devote some time to my own health and wellness and I travelled to South India to take advantage of an extraordinary 25 day retreat of traditional ayurvedic medicine. Wow! It was a wonderful experience. I may not be an entirely new man, but I am 18 pounds thinner and I know a lot more about staying healthy.
When I arrived at Vaidyagrama I quickly saw that InnerAsia and Vaidyagrama are similar in many important ways. Both are passionate about their mission to preserve and revitalize their centuries old practices and products. Both strive to achieve the highest standards of excellence in everything they do. And… both want to make a positive impact on the quality of life of the people they work with.
Improving one’s health and maintaining well being, of course, is a necessity, while beautiful rugs are a luxury. But while we can’t all be doctors, I hope our rugs add to a sense of well being and happiness in all the homes where they are found.
During my stay I followed a strict vegetarian diet and received a variety of full body massages by 2 therapists. Some used heated herbal balls wrapped in cotton, others with oil alone or oil massage combined with dry herbal powder and all of these were aimed at helping shed excess fat. I received nasal clearing with herbal oil to improve my breathing and was given eight medicines a day to restore my body’s natural state of harmony and equilibrium. I attended lectures on ayurvedic philosophy and practice and learned about the 3 columns of “dos” and “don’ts” and eating in moderation. 25 days later, I graduated from my very own, one person retreat on health and wellness and because everyone’s body type and constitutions are a little different, and the nature of health imbalances unique to each of us, I was able to benefit from individualized treatment designed just for me. I am now 18 lbs lighter, feel more fit and my backache has subsided. I am inspired and ready to change my life style and food habits. Like many Vaidyagrama alumni, I too will return, because working on one’s health and well being is an on-going work in progress and continues for life.
At the helm of the Vaidyagama clinics is Dr. Ramkumar Kutty, a visionary founder and erudite leader. He is playing a leading role in an ambitious plan to increase ayurvedic medicine’s contribution to healthcare in India and hopes to spread this message and build Vaidyagramas outside India. He believes that the Vaidyagrama model, with its dedicated staff of physicians, therapists and other caregivers and the peaceful setting of herbal and vegetable gardens filled with chirping birds and butterflies, can be duplicated globally to provide alternative medical services at lower cost and help make public health affordable for all.
Based on my personal experience and that of many other Vaidyagrama alumni, I believe Dr. Ramkumar will succeed in his mission to bring the benefit of ayurvedic medicine to an ever larger community.
By the way, the ayurvedic theories and practices used at Vaidyagrama have been part of Tibet’s highly sophisticated medical tradition for many centuries. At InnerAsia, we even designed a series of rugs, The Healing Botanicals, that highlight the beautiful herbs and flowers that are found in Tibet and are used for medicinal purposes. More on that another time.
See it for yourself: www.vaidyagrama.com