A fusion of Ayurveda • Yoga • Breath • Food
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is India’s ancient, 5000 year old science of healing, based on massage and herbal medications.
Derived from Sanskrit, ‘Ayurveda’ combines two ideas: the ‘science of life’ and the ‘art of living’. It aims to help you establish the balance of life’s energies rather than focusing on an array of symptoms. Prevention is key. Individualized treatments are the hallmark of Ayurveda and a vital component of Sonali’s wellness.
Ayurveda draws its concepts from Hindu schools of philosophy such as Samkhya, Yoga and Nyyaya. It believes in the interconnectedness of all living things: human beings are a living microcosm of the universe and the universe is a living macrocosm of human beings.
When the mind, body and spirit are in harmony, the individual enjoys good health. Illness occurs when this balance is disrupted through birth defects, injuries, age, and stress.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that people are made up of five basic elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether, and space. These elements express themselves in the human body as doshas. The Tridosha Theory, or Three-Humour Theory is the basis for identifying the dominant humours in the body. Vata, pitta and kapha govern the biological, physiological and pathological functions of the mind and consciousness. Your “dosha” determines your treatment and menu plan.
Everyone’s unique character is recognized in Ayurvedic remedies and celebrated in Sonali’s holistic wellness programs.
“Serenity is contagious.” Swami Satchidandanda
Ayurveda & Marma Treatment Centre
Your journey of transformation begins here, at the Coconut Lagoon. Sonali has chosen Coconut Lagoon for its nurturing ethos and for its authentic ties to the 2000-year old martial art form Kalaripayattu, which promotes fitness through massage and medicated herbal oils. Sonali has worked intensively with the Coconut Lagoon Ayurvedic master, the doctors and the masseurs to evolve a therapeutic treatment programme…with stressful lives. Although the aims of the therapeutic retreat are serious, Sonali does not believe that the location should be severe or sterile. She wants your senses to be alive to the sounds, smells, textures of the natural world.
Located on Lake Vembanad, Coconut Lagoon is the perfect location for a gentle retreat from the world. You will stay in a cottage constructed from the remnants of old local mansions, or tharavads, with lemongrass-scented floors, flower strewn beds, filtered rose-tinted water. With your bare feet planted firmly in the sensory world, you will begin the serious business of re-establishing your physical and spiritual equilibrium. Helping you find your rhythm is, for Sonali, sacred work, as it is with the staff at Coconut Lagoon.
“We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and by our serenity, make others more tranquil.” Swami Satchidandanda
Finding your rhythm
‘Every detail of the trip was carefully planned with wellness in mind: the resort, the food, the choice of treatments and the outings. The yoga – done in an exquisite pavilion at sundown, overlooking the water and dramatic sunsets – was the highlight of my day. Sonali is a dedicated and inspiring teacher.’ Jayne S.
Yoga is an important and deeply pleasurable feature of your retreat. Every morning begins with a gentle session, moving to the early songs of tropical birds and soft breezes, and subtly awakening you to yourself through breath and movement.
Your daily practice is a search for the rhythm so often lost in the busy routines of daily life. With over twenty years as a private yoga teacher, Sonali tailors her program to meet your individual needs so that you can experience the deep transformational effects of your practice.
Prepare to breathe
The slower pace of the yoga on this retreat is intentional. Your Ayurvedic treatments are best reinforced by ‘soft yoga’ that does not stress the body or mind. Nevertheless, Sonali aims to work on 108 energy points, rather than yoga’s usual 7, through breathing techniques and postures.
The effects can be revelatory, freeing, and joyful, opening the mind and body so that you can glimpse your essential self, the true you. All the equipment is provided so no need to pack mats and bolsters.
Through the body, for the mind.
As the sun sets over the lagoon, your evening session is aimed to further decompress and relax you to prepare you for sleep. Pranayama or or the practice of regulating the breath, leads you to be aware of your own natural, unique breathing pattern.
Without breath, there is no life, yet many of us never gain an understanding of how deeply our breathing patterns affect our well being. The way we move, think, and act impact on the vitality of the ‘prana’ or the energy that flows through everything. In response to stress or ill health, our breath can grow shallow and distorted. ‘Pranayama’ or the practice of controlling your breath teaches you awareness so that you learn to calm and energize your body with a variety of techniques
In combination with your Ayurvedic treatments and morning yoga, Sonali’s evening session focuses on breath awareness. Conscious diaphragmatic breathing helps you open up your body and balance energy currents: it also lengthens the spine, expands the lungs, and strengthens and protects the heart. Our aim in the evening is to still the body, to find space, to soften and to restore. Consider this session your mental detox. Breathe in tune with your body could be changed to let your breath gently release all your tensions and untie the knots within.
One becomes very aware during these lunches of eating to live, rather than living to eat.
Healthy, wholesome food plays a key role on your retreat. Think of your menu plan as your dietary prescription, or food meds. Unlike Western concepts of nutrition with its focus on calories, fats, cholesterol and serving sizes, Ayurveda advocates personalized meal plans based on your body type, or dosha. These individualized meals work with your body constitution to help you achieve your health goals such as weight loss or gain, lowering of blood pressure, stabilizing of blood sugar, or simply de-stressing.
You might find yourself eating fresh pineapple for breakfast while others are served porridge, or banana.
Lunches are served on glossy green banana leaves and eaten en plein air with a view of the lagoon. Homemade buttermilk aids digestion and a large variety of delicately spiced vegetables, rice, potatoes are served in small portions. Yes, you can have seconds, even thirds!
Dinners are served by the pool or in the main dining room and it is hard not to be aware of the love and attention the chefs have used in the preparation of your food. It all seems effortless but we promise that your food has been prepared with thought, dedication and love.
Depending upon your body type you might have homemade buttermilk, which aids digestion, along with a large variety of delicately spiced lentils, vegetables and red rice served in small portions. Yes, you can have seconds, even thirds !
You will eat two of your meals in silence. While this may sound daunting, it needn’t worry you. Most people find the experience a revelation, as it allows you to engage with your own private rhythms of breath, something that generally eludes up in social or boisterous settings. Sonali believes that we hold our emotions in our gut and that the practice of silent eating connects us to the quiet rhythms of chewing, breathing, swallowing and helps us reclaim the fire of our digestion. Silence reinforces that you are on a retreat: a retreat from the world, into ourselves to understand our pure self.
“This was an extraordinary opportunity to step back, decompress, reassess and reset my priorities, beliefs and behaviour in a nurturing and supportive environment. If you are receptive to all that is on offer at CL, I don’t believe it is possible to return home unchanged.” Jon B
People so often lose their rhythm. Retreats help them find their way back into life. Through breath and movement, we locate our inner dance, and access our true self.
When was the last time you were nurtured?
Sonali’s India provides a unique fusion of Ayurveda, yoga, pranayama (breath), food and culture. At its core is the understanding of the need of each and every one of us for the healing touch: to be nurtured, attended to, and loved. Sonali’s rejuvenation and detox retreats offer you a safe place in which to experience the vulnerability that is necessary to transform yourself. The rare experience that she shares is for wellness wanderers who are ripe for true change.
“Sonali has taught me to use yoga as a way of creating a deeper connection with my life-purpose. The physical benefits are great, but the mental and emotional benefits are amazing. I feel lighter, happier and healthier. She is brilliant, wise and patient.” David C
Who Benefits From Wellness Treatments?
- Hormonal imbalances
- Nervous system disorders,
- Depression, joint problems, digestive disorders, insomnia.
- Whiplash, ski, football or rugby.
- Patients recommended for hip and knee replacements could try this programme, before they opt for the operation.
- You have an old injury that is acting up.
- You have noticed that you are getting stiff and your joints are aching.
- You were an athlete and you are now paying the price for all that wear and tear.
- You are hoping to lose some weight and improve your eating habits.
- You have been meaning to stop drinking alcohol but can never find the right moment.
- You want to take a break from alcohol, sugar, caffeine and meat.
- You want to slow down.
- You are recovering from an illness or injury.
- You have been through a difficult experience and need a time out.
- You are run down, used up, spat out.
- Arthritic people
- Overweight people.
- Underweight people.