|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - April 2019|
My Panchakarma Retreat
by Randall Krause (Mokshadeva)
Before flying to India to attend the AHYMSIN Sangha meeting at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, I’d been experiencing a lot of stress, having just sold my business and my house too while also planning a move to a different state. Now I was at the ashram, attending the AHYMSIN Sangha gathering while recovering from the effects of jet lag, and I was feeling very tired.
One day it happened that I met Dr. Pratibha Mamgain, one of the two Ayurvedic Doctors Mamgain who are the main consultants of the Ayurvedic Centre at Swami Rama’s Himalayan Hospital complex. I talked with Dr. Pratibha about how I was feeling, and she very kindly offered to do a consultation with me. She met with me for about an hour, took my pulses, and made suggestions to help with my health. I was so impressed with the insight of her assessment that I asked if I might be able to do a one week in-residence Ayurvedic “pancha karma” retreat at the Ayurvedic Centre. She checked and let me know that although several people were already booked for pancha karma, they could accommodate one more person. So, when the Sangha Gathering finished, off I went to the Ayurvedic Centre.
Over the decades of studying and practicing yoga, I knew a little about Ayurveda and I’d worked with some Ayurvedic practitioners back in the United States with good results. But I’d never done a pancha karma retreat where one receives daily cleansing treatments intended to help bring balance to the body and enhance health. So, this was a first for me.
Arriving at the attractive and comfortable Ayurvedic Centre, I met Dr. R.K. Mamgain, Dr. Pratibha’s husband, and then was shown to my room. My room had a big window facing the mountains, a bed, desk, and bathroom with shower. Nothing fancy, but comfortable and sufficient. After a while, I met with Dr. Pratibha for the first of our daily consultations. She reviewed the notes from our previous consultation, set up my schedule for the day, and advised me to take daily walks around the beautiful Himalayan Hospital and University campus.
My week at the Ayurvedic Centre included daily consultations with Dr. Pratibha, daily ayurvedic treatments, three wholesome ayurvedically balanced meals a day, and plenty of time for rest, meditation, relaxation, and exercise. My daily treatments included luxurious ayurvedic massage by two technicians with warm oil along with two other daily treatments that varied. These other, varying, treatments included herbal steam treatments— in which I got into a steam box (with head sticking out) and relaxed in the heat of the steam, a special nasal and sinus treatment that included herbal drops in my nose and scented steam which I breathe, a back treatment that included very warm oil along my spine and strong massage, and special medicinal teas to drink after breakfast and dinner. Then there were the cleansing treatments to move toxins out of the body, one of which was a very bitter tea that brought on loose bowels, and the other was an enema.
None of these treatments were uncomfortable, although some symptoms were brought on by the cleansing which passed in some days.
There was a meditation room in the Ayurvedic Centre and a hatha room, so it was easy to do daily practice.
Also, the Swami Rama Centre — literally Swami Rama’s former apartment at the Hospital Complex where he took Mahasamadhi — was a three-minute walk from the Ayurvedic Centre, and I went there almost every day to meditate.
By about mid-week I felt vibrant and was greatly enjoying my time and the rest. I also enjoyed my daily consultations with Dr. Pratibha who was very insightful, kind and pleasant, and I felt great from the daily treatments.
At the finish of my stay, I returned to Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. The rest and the healing I’d experienced at my week at the Ayurvedic Centre left me far more relaxed and well.
These days, people flock to super expensive five-star spa resorts. I’ve been to my share of such places and paid their exorbitant accommodation and treatment prices, but those experiences always left me feeling a little disappointed. Truly, I’ve never enjoyed my stay as much at those five-star spas, nor felt as well afterwards, as I did from my stay at the Ayurvedic Centre—all at about one-tenth the cost. Next time I visit India, I plan to do another retreat at the Ayurvedic Centre right at the start to help overcome the jet lag and to start my time in India on a good footing. Let me know if you’d like to join me.