Panchakarma is the
classic Ayurvedic detox - a time-honoured treatment at the core of Indian
natural health for millennia - and we are about to witness its modern revival.
Spa industry leaders are united in their expectation that Ayurveda will become
a leading therapy worldwide by 2014. Thanks to the unprecedented impact of
Deepak Chopra’s natural health programs, the spread is fuelled by a wave of popularity
in the US, and looks likely to permanently change the wellbeing industry. This
is great news for Yoga practitioners worldwide – meaning a significant boost to
our creed, and for some of us, our livelihoods.
Expand your Yoga
business and create an excellent reputation in the process.
There are multiple
chances to expand your business operations along these lines, and organize
Ayurveda and Yoga workshops at your own studio. As is already the case in
natural health clinics all over the West, your students can undertake a
Panchakarma course from home, administering some of the treatments themselves,
and attending the clinic as an outpatient. However, there is something lacking
from this experience. The proper experience of Panchakarma requires total
engagement with the process, for a minimum of 14 days. For the proper
experience, at the cheapest cost, India still presents the best option, where a 14-day Panchakarma at even the
most luxurious spa comes in at half the cost of its Western equivalent. Savvy Yoga teachers and Ayurveda practitioners can do
wonders for their business, and most importantly, the health of their students,
by organizing guided Panchakarma packages in the very home of Ayurveda –
Kerala, South India.
How to organize
your own Yoga retreat.
Running Yoga tours
from your studio is an increasingly popular way to prove your authority in the
industry, as well as to build a close-knit community among your students back
home. It is the perfect basis on which to build an exotic retreat – a group of
close practitioners undertaking the journey of a lifetime and forming an
unbreakable bond in the process. It’s a recipe for success, and all that’s left
to do is to be the perfect guide for your students, pairing your knowledge of
Yoga and Ayurveda to create the perfect retreat experience.
So,how do you enable
your students to get the most out of the intensely rejuvenating experience of
Panchakarma? And what does a Yoga teacher need to know in order to guide their
students through the key phases of a Panchakarma detox?
Three Steps to the perfect Yoga and Panchakarma
Retreat: a guide for Yoga teachers
Phase One: Surrender
Panchakarma packages are always unique to the individual, they all have one
thing in common – the purva karma
phase. These are the ‘preparatory procedures’ required to break down your
toxins before building you back up again. This usually takes the form of
‘oleation therapy’ where the body is lubricated inside (by drinking medicated
ghee) and outside (by oil massages and steam baths) – a process of 3-5 days.
It is vital that
retreat-goers are guided to let go of their daily rhythms of life and surrender
as fully as possible, while their body undergoes this intense detoxification
work. Many feel exhausted at this time, and they should be psychologically
guided to help themselves to gain the most from this period by unconditionally
surrendering to the process.
There should be no
pressure to ‘do’ anything, and full permission to completely let go. Even the
practice of Hatha Yoga may be unnecessarily exhausting at this time, so we
recommend Yoga Nidra as a deep guided meditation to aid psychological
surrender, and Yin Yoga as a technique of minimum exertion to encourage the
patient to settle comfortably into their body in this vital period.
Phase Two: Purification
It is common for
patients to experience a new surge of energy after the purgation of toxins
accumulated in phase one. The body is prepared for rebuilding and emotional
adjustment to this unusual process should be well underway. The second phase
will bring more challenges, as the pradhana
karma phase commences – the time of the traditional ‘five cleansing
actions’ after which Panchakarma is named. This week long period continues with
deep cleansing processes, while the body is restored by nutritious food and
restorative practices. Hatha Yoga provides the best possible toolkit to open
the body and mind to absorb the changes of this period.
restorative Hatha Yoga sessions twice a day, to be taken at the patient’s own
pace. It is most important to focus on pranayama and meditation during these
sessions – patients will benefit highly from techniques to help them handle the
emotional changes they will experience. Pranayama and meditation give just the
tools required to witness the emotional detox of the body, and allow it to be
experienced from a safe space, without drawing the usual stressful distinction
between ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ experience.
Phase Three: Future
The final days of your
Panchakarma retreat are known as the paschata
karma phase – the time when doctors and therapists traditionally work
closely with each individual to find the most sustainable lifestyle practices
for their needs. Consultations with the Ayurvedic doctor will grow longer in
duration, and as a retreat organizer, you are well advised to consult with the doctor
to provide tailored Yoga recommendations for each client.
It can be fun to
incorporate special workshops into the final days of your retreat – presenting favored Yogic techniques for Vata, Pitta and Kaphadoshas. There is
no exact rule for everyone of course, and most of your students will identify
as a combination of two of the Ayurvedicdoshas.
However, giving them a good grasp of the principles involved in each dosha, and how to balance the respective
tendency of each can open up a whole new approach to their Yoga practice.
First steps to creating your own retreat.
For a truly authentic
experience of Ayurveda to suit all budgets, India is the obvious choice. Considering
that the full experience of Panchakarma should last 14 days or more, it is
vital to offer an experience that offers the best holistic luxury, while
remaining affordable for your clients. As the world capital of Ayurveda, Kerala
– ‘God’s Own Country’ in South India - is a leading choice. Kerala offers a
variety of Panchakarma Centers and Packages, and some of the most beautiful
natural surroundings to be found anywhere in the world. As the leading
destination for tourism in India, and one of the leading destinations for
health tourism in the world, it is sure to be the perfect trip for a group of
students seeking a transformative and authentic experience of the real India.
Kairali Yoga’s The Ayurvedic Healing Village represents the leading choice for group retreats, offering luxury villa
accommodation and the best of holistic health care in one of the world’s most
incredible natural environments. Contact us for more information on how
you make the dream a reality and host
your own Yoga and Ayurveda retreat.