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Imagine the perfect vacation where you can have deep relaxation and Ayurvedic healing treatments, combined with yoga and meditation guided by Gyandev and Diksha McCord, plus a variety of delightful Indian cultural experiences - all at Kerala’s finest seaside Ayurvedic retreat. Gyandev and Diksha have been leading this retreat for the past 14 years and have built solid relationships there. This can be yours next winter at a certified Gold Leaf Ayurvedic facility that has been recognized as the best Ayurvedic resort in Kerala for more than ten years. It features excellent doctors and therapists headed by Dr. Raman, and exceptionally good food, Ayurvedically prepared.
You will stay in a charming classical Keralan cottage - a small brick building with thatched roof made of coconut fronds. Certified Gold Leaf Ayurvedic facility. There are two types of cottages: ordinary cottages (for one or two persons), and special cottages (with ocean view) All rooms have their own spacious modern bathroom.
The facilities are clean and well maintained, and the setting is a tropical paradise: lush with palm trees, tropical flowers, and green lawns, terraced down to a point just above the Arabian Sea. You’ll stay in a traditional Keralan cottage, with the sound of the ocean soothing you day and night. A short walk brings you to a broad, peaceful, uncrowded private beach with chairs, umbrellas, and towels provided.
These rectangular buildings feature spacious, modern indoor bathrooms and showers. They are uphill from the beach, in the main part of the resort.
These are similar to the ordinary cottages, but they are round and slightly larger and feature a lovely view of the ocean. Some are located close to the beach, but most are uphill from the beach, in the main part of the resort.
All rooms are simple, clean and comfortable, with electricity and a telephone (no television). Air conditioning is provided by a ceiling fan and by the ocean breezes, which freely enter your cottage through open windows and ventilation spaces. The soothing sounds of the ocean can be heard throughout the day and night. Hammocks, comfortable chairs, and tables are outside of all the cottages.
In addition to the clinic and restaurant, other services include an internet cafe, an Ayurvedic drugstore, a gift store, a clothing store with tailors, a swimming pool, and a yoga hall. The staff is extremely well trained and full of hospitality. The doctors and therapists have extensive experience.
Although the resort is frequented primarily by Westerners, the atmosphere remains thoroughly Keralan. Its spacious grounds include many cottages and Keralan houses. Its Ayurvedic clinic includes therapy rooms, doctors, and massage therapists.
Please note that if you book a shared cottage and, upon arriving at the retreat, you or your roommate decides to change to a private cottage, both of you will need to pay the single occupancy rate (provided another cottage is available, of course). Also, if you request a shared cottage but there is no one to share with you, you’ll need to pay the single occupancy rate.
Traditionally, Ayurvedic healing has gone hand-in-hand with the practice of yoga and meditation, which complete the wellness equation by bringing the spiritual dimension into play. During the retreat, you will practice Ananda yoga, a gentle style that can be adapted for all body types. Ananda yoga particularly emphasizes awareness of inner energies and using them to cultivate soul awareness.
Your Ananda yoga practice in Kerala will include instruction in how to approach yoga from an Ayurvedic viewpoint, to help balance and heal your body type. As you quiet your mind and enter your blissful internal paradise, you will discover an eternal wellspring of joy, peace, and healing energy.
If you are new to meditation and yoga, you can receive basic instruction in these classical techniques for self-transformation. Gyandev and Diksha will also be available to help experienced meditators go deeper into their practice.
All activities are optional, and you can choose from a pleasantly full, yet relaxed, schedule of activities.
Your day will begin with two hours of guided sadhana (spiritual practices) on the lush lawn beneath coconut palm trees. You can enjoy the soft ocean breezes as you look out upon the Arabian Sea.
You’ll start with guided energization exercises (developed by Yogananda to recharge all body cells with vitality), followed by Ananda yoga asanas (yoga postures), chanting, and guided meditation. Often these sessions will be designed specifically to incorporate the certain principles of Ayurveda.
After sadhana, you’ll walk up the steps through the lush foliage for a delicious breakfast in the open-air restaurant. The buffet includes fresh juices, a variety of local tropical fruits, herbal teas, coffee, and delicious, Ayurvedically-prepared dishes.
On some days, at about 10:00, you’ll gather either on the lawn under the coconut palms or in the yoga hall for an Ayurveda class with Diksha. You will learn the basic principles of Ayurveda, and begin to understand how to work with your bodily energies. Diksha will also give you helpful advice on how to get the most benefit from the treatments and the retreat.
After lunch, you will consult with the doctors before enjoying your Ayurvedic treatment. For some people, the consultation and treatment will precede lunch and some people will choose not to eat lunch at all, either because that helps them better absorb their treatments, or because breakfast and dinner make for plenty of food.
The rest of the afternoon is spent consciously relaxing amid the palm trees to fully absorb the effects of the treatment. Later on, you can take a walk along the beach and enjoy the sunset.
Then comes a marvelous Ayurvedic buffet dinner. Often, your day will culminate with delightful entertainment, such as traditional Indian dance or music.
Please ask your instructor for documentation.
Keralan art, music, and dance have been highly developed for millennia. Two or three evenings each week will offer performances on the outdoor stage next to the restaurant. These will include classical Indian music and dance - including Bharatanatyam, the beautiful and renowned form of Indian temple dancing.
You’ll also experience a unique Keralan tradition called Katha Kali, which is a theatrical representation of Indian mythology, in which the performers wear elaborate costumes and masks and tell stories through dance, music, and mime.
Five excursions are planned during your retreat. One of them is a day-long “backwaters boat trip” in a traditional Keralan houseboat. Kerala is famous for its canals and lakes, which interconnect most of the region. You’ll enjoy your peaceful ride past lush vegetation and simple villages, culminating in a small village renowned for its boat-building crafts.
Another half-day excursion will take you to an Ayurvedic village where fabrics are woven and dyed with natural medicinal plants. You will also visit a Krishna Temple, a Hindu temple, and be a part of the traditional puja ceremony.
The other planned excursions include:
Combining a fun-loving spirit, keen insight into the spiritual life, and genuine warmth, Nayaswami Gyandev makes the inner quest seem both natural and doable. Since 1983, he has taught Ananda Yoga to thousands of students and trained hundreds of teachers around the world, often forging deep and lasting bonds of friendship and inspiration. Gyandev’s devotion to sharing wisdom shows through the many resources he develops, like online newspapers and forums, videos, and new courses to help students deepen their experience of yoga, and give teachers more tools, and insights for their own classes.
Nayaswami Diksha has been a popular Expanding Light teacher since 1997 as well as the director of the meditation teacher training program. She is a native Israeli who came to the U.S. in 1990 and is a powerful and dynamic woman who has shared yoga postures and yogic teachings across the United States, Canada, and Europe. She teaches many different courses at The Expanding Light. Diksha is also an outstanding chef and very knowledgeable about the yogic diet and Ayurveda, an Indian system of natural health and healing.
This Ayurvedic healing and yoga retreat will take place in an Ayurvedic resort in Kerala, India. The Ayurvedic resort is a perfect facility for this experience. Located directly on the Arabian Sea, it has a calm, sweet, rejuvenating atmosphere - vastly different from tourist destinations. The ocean water is warm and clean, though occasionally there are strong currents that make it not ideal for swimming.
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Your retreat package includes two vegetarian buffet meals each day for breakfast and dinner plus any special orders during those meals; you can purchase lunch and snacks at very reasonable prices.
The food is one of the most remarkable things about the resort. In a word, it’s fantastic. The fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients are fresh and of high quality. Each dish is expertly prepared using the principles of Ayurveda. Keralan cooking is extraordinarily tasty - often made with fresh coconut and coconut milk - and the cooks take special care not to make the dishes too spicy for Westerners.
There is a variety of fresh juices, including coconut, pineapple, papaya, watermelon, apple, and orange, plus a wide variety of tropical fruits native to Kerala, including over 30 varieties of banana.
At the buffet tables, each dish is labeled so that you will know whether it is appropriate for your Ayurvedic constitution. There are always numerous dishes that are fine for everyone since they are balanced for all three doshas. In addition, you can special-order dishes that have been recommended for you by your doctor to enhance the therapeutic effects of your treatments.
Keralan art, music and dance have been highly developed for millennia. Two or three evenings each week will offer performances on the outdoor stage next to the restaurant. These will include classical Indian music and dance – including Bharatanatyam, the beautiful and renowned form of Indian temple dancing. You’ll also experience a unique Keralan tradition called Katha Kali, which is a theatrical representation of Indian mythology, in which the performers wear elaborate costumes and masks and tell stories through dance, music, and mime.
The ocean water is warm and clean, though occasionally there are strong currents that make it not ideal for swimming. Lifeguards are on duty from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. every day.
Ayurveda teaches you how to establish a harmonious and balanced life. It includes dietary and other lifestyle guidelines, as well as the use of herbal preparations and therapeutic massage with medicinal oils. Many of the herbs used in the oils are grown on the property, and many of the oils and medicines are prepared in the resort’s own laboratory.
Two kinds of treatments are available during your stay: rejuvenation therapy and purification therapy.
The therapy is exactly that: soothing, healing massage, and other treatments intended to nurture your bodily tissues and restore your natural vibrancy. Ayurvedic massage is quite unlike other forms of massage, employing specially medicated oils. It can be as deep or as gentle as you like. Women treat women, and men treat men.
Purification therapy does all what is mentioned under rejuvenation therapy and more, offering special cleansing treatments to remove bodily toxins that can impair wellness and harmony.
Your personalized therapy program will be determined via consultation with the Ayurvedic doctors, If you wish, you may purchase additional treatments beyond the seven treatments that are included in the package price. Please note that the purification therapy might require two or three additional treatments.
The Ayurvedic clinic is under the direction of Doctor Raman, professor of Ayurvedic medicine, Sanskrit scholar, and an Ayurvedic practitioner for more than 40 years. His staff of doctors are all university graduates with a B.A.M.S. degree (Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine).
The massage therapists are highly skilled. They often come from generations of Ayurvedic therapists and are thoroughly trained at the clinic’s massage school. The therapy rooms are charming Keralan-style - quiet and calm, with a thatched roof of coconut fronds.
Please book your flight to arrive at Trivandrum International Airport (TRV). Transfer from and to the airport is included. The organizer will pick you up from the airport.