Last year I was on the search for a retreat and struggling big time to find the right one for me. I searched for Australian retreats that looked and sounded wonderful but the cost was so high and if you wanted treatments you had to pay extra. I wanted a retreat that wasn't just a detox and then as soon as you are back home i you slip straight back into bad habits. I was looking for a retreat that would help me on my quest for improving my wellbeing and health long term. My mother had seen The Little Sage took a group to a retreat in Bali called Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat and Spa, so I thought I would research it further. I was immediately enchanted with the photos and although I was unsure what to expect as I had never done anything with Ayurvedic... I decided to make the booking.
I was nervous on my way to Sukhavati as I can tend to get travel anxiety on the initial part of my trips but when I arrived I was instantly overcome with a feeling of peace. Sukhavati Bali is an amazing retreat. There are so many unique points of differences that I think make this place so special. Overall what I like about Sukhavati, is not only is it beautiful and relaxing with all the great treatments which are included but there is also the medical and wellbeing side you get from the Ayurvedic approach to health and happiness. The program is a great balance between seeing the Ayurvedic doctors to get your assessment, getting spa treatments, health talks, time alone, time with other guests, yoga and meditation. The grounds and rooms are a magical place where one can truly find peace and inner truth. Everyday you find a new small detail that takes your breath away and warms your heart. The staff from the managers, the cooks, spa therapists to the groundsmen are truly lovely. The food is nourishing you from the inside out and you can feel its healing benefits almost immediately.
My retreat was facilitated by the magnificent Tegan Wallis, of Veda Wellness in Melbourne. She is a wealth of knowledge on everything to do with the Ayurveda Lifestyle and is just a beautiful soul who made the whole experience that extra bit special. Tegan combines the ancient insights of traditional mind/ body medicine with the fruits of modern medical research, and delivers this wisdom in a practical way to help people achieve a happy, healthy and vibrant life. She believes that perceiving your food as medicine; practising yoga and meditation; experiencing laughter and love are all keys to gaining and sustaining health. Tegan is hosting another retreat at Sukhavati in July so if you thinking about taking a retreat I encourage you to whole heartedly dive into this amazing experience. I spoke with Tegan who took some tome to answer some questions on what Ayurveda is, the benefits it brings to the body, mind and soul and also how Ayurveda has personally helped her Awaken to Life.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the oldest and most comprehensive medical system in the world. Originating from India it is over 5,000 years ago. The word Ayurveda is an ancient Sanskrit word that can be translated as ‘The science of life’, therefore Ayurveda contains knowledge on everything that is beneficial to life and consciousness and everything that is damaging. It is a natural medical system that utilises food as medicine, lifestyle, herbal medicine, cleansing therapies and exercise as a way to balance and strengthen the mind and body. It is a way of life that lives in harmony with nature and reconnects you with your true self – one that is happy, healthy and vibrant.
What are the doshas, and how do I find out what dosha I am?
Ayurveda is based on the theory of the tri-doshas. The Doshas are governing forces present in the universe, and even within us. They are responsible for all functioning of the mind and body. The Doshas are made up of the 5 great elements being space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements combine to make the Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha and Kapha Dosha. Each of these doshas have certain qualities and characteristics based on the elements they are comprised of. Vata, for example is made up of the space and air elements, so has the qualities of the ‘Wind’. Being dry, light, and mobile. Each doshas has a specific function in the body, and we contain all of them within us. Take Vata for example. The main action of Vata is movement. So it is responsible for all movement of the body. This includes the beating of the heart, respiration, digestion and the functioning of the nervous system.
When we are born we have more of one doshas present in our physiology then the other, and this gives us our unique mind body make up, which we simply refer to as your ‘ Dosha’.
You are mainly a Vata, Pitta or Kapha type. By knowing this it gives you great insight into your personality traits, likes, dislikes, emotional tendencies, what your inherited strengths are, what conditions you may be predisposed too, and it gives you guidelines as to which foods and lifestyle is best suited for your unique self to stay in harmony. To find out your dosha, it’s best to see an Ayurvedic consultant. They will take your pulse using the ancient art of pulse diagnosis, to give you an accurate answer. But there are many quizzes you can do online also that are very general, but a good starting point.
How does adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle improve health and wellbeing?
The Ayurvedic lifestyle is living in harmony with nature. By adopting a daily routine, a seasonal routine, and living in balance with your dosha, you are rolling with the flow with the laws of nature. Its like you are floating down stream with ease, instead of swimming against the current burning up all your energy getting nowhere. By adopting this lifestyle you gain more energy, you are more at ease, and are more resilient to stress and destructive emotions. You are also connecting to a source that leaves you feeling whole and connected on a deep level.
What are a few easy ways I can start incorporating Ayurveda into my life?
1. Get to bed before 10pm and rise early.
2. Choose warm cooked meals over raw, cold, dry foods.
3. Develop a regular yoga practice.
4. Start your day with a warm ginger tea.
How did you discover Ayurveda?
I studied Naturopathy initially, so it was during my degree that I heard about Ayurveda. It always sparked my interest, but it wasn’t until I went to India and experienced my first Panchakarma (an Ayurvedic purification and rejuvenation program), that I really felt the benefits in my mind and body and thought ‘yeah’, this is the way! I still love my Naturopathy and incorporate it into my consultations, but for me Ayurveda really is the complete holistic view on health and wellbeing. It’s very logical, practical, and is supported by an ancient and rich body of knowledge (known as the Vedas).
How has Ayurveda Awakened you to Life?
Ahhh, where to begin! I think physically, mentally and emotionally it keeps me in a state of balance that has deeply strengthened my resilience to the stress and demands of modern life. But mainly it has awakened me to, and is guiding me down the path of self-knowledge and self-realisation.