Day 35 / Day 100
Each day on Waihi Beach Wellness Facebook page I have been writing a short article about an aspect of wellness. I have decided to blog because at times the posts are too long for facebook and may be better suited as a blog on my website.
Mary Burmeister had a lifelong journey of teaching and healing with the art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Over her lifetime she spoke her wisdom and philosophy of Jin Shin Jyutsu through lectures and treatments. This book, ‘What Mary Says’ captures as closely as possible the essence of Mary’s teachings through quotations she used.
I would like to share some of her sayings with you because I love her wisdom and how it has changed my life and hope you enjoy them too.
I am my own destiny.
Such a short sentence with such profound meaning.
As I see it, my interpretation and understanding is that each thought we have is energy. That thought when spoken becomes powerful at manifesting in our life. Our words become actions and habits and values and our values become our destiny. My destiny is different from everyone else’s in the world and so it can only be mine. My path in life is different from everyone else’s so it can only be mine. Once we accept that we are responsible for our destiny, it is life changing.
No more victim mentality – just empowerment.
Today when in Tauranga, a lady retailer said to me ‘ A really special thing happened to us last night.’ The lady works a lot and said yesterday night she couldn’t really afford to go out for dinner but she wanted to spend time with her darling daughter. A few friends got together with their daughters and went for pizza from Phoenix on the Strand and had a lovely time. When she went to pay she was told an annonymous person had taken care of their bill. They couldn’t believe it and felt overcome. What a lovely world we live in and the evidence is when people do things like this.
Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Mandalao, an elephant sanctuary, Luang Prabang, Laos.
The Sanctuary Visit
The guided tour consisted of a lady from Portugal, the guide and me. After being driven along a very pot holed road, we sat in the café overlooking the sanctuary with a cup of tea and listening to an elephant expert. He has worked with elephants for 27 years, worldwide, and is an international consultant who works with sanctuaries, zoos, and works towards eliminating cruelty to elephants. What a smiling, gentle knowledgeable man! Spending half an hour with him was a real experience.
We were given socks and Ninja boots and set off down the hill to the river where a banana boat was waiting to ferry us to the other side of the fast flowing river. Three villagers brought the elephants – Aunty, (38 years old) Mum (35 years old) and Baby -Mr Kit, (18 months old) to the river where we were given bananas to feed them. Feeding elephants was an experience because their trunk came right up close and took the banana and the elephants seemed so big. I realized how gentle the elephants were. How amazing to know they would always remember me from now on.
We went into the shallows of the river and threw buckets of river water over the elephants’ bodies. The elephants loved the water and dirty skin became a little cleaner.
We followed the elephants along a track into the jungle. It had been raining a lot last night and the track was thick mud up to our knees in parts. Then we followed the shallow stream. The elephants led the way and we followed.
If they wanted to stop and eat, we stopped. Mr Kit (the 18 month old baby) was mischievous and at times wanted to do his own thing. Elephants can’t kick with their front legs because they need to stand on them for balance, so you don’t stand behind an elephant because they can’t see you there and might get a fright and kick. Little Mr Kit was cute and clumsy and had a mind of his own.
By the end of the walk with the elephants I had fallen in love with them – especially Aunty. When I hugged her and patted her face gently and looked into her big eyes, it was like interacting with a person. I felt she enjoyed our communication. Her big ears flapped and I sensed her nestling closer.
We left the elephants with their care givers and walked back, past paddy fields, sugar cane and corn fields in very hot sun. A delicious lunch of stir fried green vegetables, sticky Laos rice, chicken curry and another dish steamed in banana leaves awaited us.
By the time I got back to the hotel, I was exhausted, exhilarated and full of memories of beautiful elephants.
Years ago Denis and I rode an elephant in Thailand and felt ashamed we had been encouraging cruel practice.
Some tourist elephant centres and illegal logging firms treat elephants cruelly. They work the elephants from 8am to 7pm each day and chain them at night. Elephants need 6% of their body weight in food (equivalent to 30 McDonald’s biggest burgers) and they eat for 18 hours a day in the wild. An elephant weighs about 280 kg so it eats about 17 kg of food a day. Each time their trunk goes down to the ground, it can pick up 300gms of food, so they need to eat for a long time to get the food they need. Half of the budget from the sanctuary goes to supplementing the elephants’ feed – they supplement 40% of the elephants’ diet – 30% with bananas, corn and sugar cane and other crops and 10% with minerals to keep them healthy.
Elephants that are used to work long and hard are very skinny and malnourished. Usually elephants live for 80 to 90 years, but when worked so hard, in tourist centres or illegal logging, their life span is 50 – 60 years. Also elephants need a constant temperature of 25 degrees calcius to thrive, so is it fair to place elephants in cold countries?
Poaching is also a problem. When baby elephants are poached, the mother and aunty will protect their baby with their lives, so poachers shoot them too. So not only is the baby lost, but others in the herd are lost as well.
Elephants are also killed and their ivory tusks removed. Although this practice is illegal it still happens and is sometimes done in a cruel and inhumane way.
The place I visited yesterday was almost an exact opposite. The elephant sanctuary has been open to tourists for 4 years and borders a river, extending up into jungle covered hills. The sanctuary employs the local villagers to grow corn, sugar cane and bananas; tend the elephants daily; prepare morning tea and lunch for tourists; clean the café / toilets etc. If elephants eat village crops, the sanctuary’s management pay for the crops. It is a win/win for both parties. All the elephants do is eat, walk, bathe and sleep, so it is elephant heaven and the villagers have employment and a source of money.
Did you know? … Buddhists believe elephants are close to humans in intelligence. Humans are born with 27% of their brain capacity because they only have to lie, sleep and eat and elephants are born with 35% brain capacity because they have to stand, eat and sleep. However, an elephant’s brain keeps growing until they die, whereas ours may develop poor memory and recall.
Elephants have been around for six and a half million years, and humans have been around for only a percentage of that time. Elephants live in a matriarchal world where males visit to breed and then leave. A pregnancy is 22 months for a male and 21 months for a female baby. Males can mate after 8 years, so the mother sends the 8 year old male away. The young male joins a gang and they go around fighting and acting like young males until he meets a female and changes his ways.
Elephants help their habitat in different ways. Elephants only digest 40% of their food, the rest is excreted, which is good fertilizer for the habitat. They don’t like standing their excrement and prefer to poop in running water, flushing it away. When elephants break overhead branches, grass is able to grow and feed small animals. They love to eat creeping plants – convolvulus – which left unattended will kill trees by smothering them.
An elephant has an amazing memory. Their brain’s frontal lobe is bigger than humans and all other mammals and they have the best memory. ‘Elephant memory’, ‘an elephant never forgets’. Elephants are very helpful for autistic children because they have the same brain system and they are a family animal.
Intelligence Test for Princess
The expert told us about his favourite elephant called Princess. She was born on the same day as him 24 years ago.
He gave an intelligence test for Princess in which he put a banana within reach and walked away. Princess looked around and saw no one was watching and ate the banana.
Then he put the banana further out of reach over a fence, but laid a stick within reach. Princess used the stick to hook the banana towards her and then ate it.
Then he put the banana further out of reach, with a stick and a piece of string. Princess ignored the stick and used the string to pull it towards her and ate the banana.
Then he put the banana further out of reach over a higher fence, so the stick, or the piece of string wouldn’t reach. Princess called another elephant and co-operated with the other elephant – one had one end of the string, the other elephant had the other end and they pulled in unison so the banana came close. Princess then ate the banana.
Then he put a mirror in front of Princess.
Princess stopped and stared at herself. Then … drew a cross on Princess’s forehead. Princess looked at herself in the mirror and traced the cross with her trunk. When he did the same exercise with a monkey, the monkey looked at the mirror and kept looking behind the mirror. A dog kept barking at the mirror.
Sometimes … teases Princess and instead of going to her first, he will pay attention to another elephant. Princess will snort and walk away and ignore … until he apologises and makes a fuss of her.
How Elephants Communicate
Elephants communicate well. When they are happy their ears flap backwards and forwards. Their tail flaps. Because elephants don’t have sweat glands they need to flap their ears like huge fans to keep the temperature lower. They don’t have sweat glands because some days in the wild it may be very hot and they may not be able to get to water for several days.
When humans are excited they secrete adrenalin. Adrenalin is also secreted with anger. An elephant will sense adrenalin and stick their ears out.
They trumpet when warning or if they are angry. A long sound is questioning, ‘What is happening?’
E-e-e-e-e-e means I want to play.
A low purring sounds is happiness.
Elephants can smell and hear from 7km away. They sense vibrations through their trunk and ears and an elephant will stop, put their trunk up with ears open wide. However, this means they can smell their favourite food grown in nearby villages and because elephants eat a lot, villagers’ crops can be destroyed, so they kill elephants.
When elephants meet others they put their trunk down to sense the other and touch the top of their mouth on their own face (this is where their special memory bank is). Then they never forget the other. If their ears flap, they feel ok. about the meeting.
When they bang their foot up and down they are wanting to talk to you.
If you are ever in Laos and if you love elephants but are only interested in visiting places that are kind to elephants and you would like to learn more about them, please visit Mandalao
The story of Ayurveda goes back 5000 years. The statue that depicts Ayurveda has four hands and each is symbolic of what Ayurveda stands for. One hand holds a shell (longevity); another holds a plant (where all medicine comes from) and the other holds a pot of medicine (symbolising healing)-and another holds a book – the scriptures were originally written on palm tree bark which is virtually indestructible whether it be stored under water or in the air. The scriptures have also been written on silver and the very important ones on gold. There are different branches of Ayurveda, like our medical doctors ie surgery, paediatricians etc. On the shelf below the statue are the objects he holds in his arms.
These medicinal raw ingredients are in small bottles for easy identification.
In Ayurveda the most important thing in life is health. Without health we have nothing. Ayurvedic doctors train for 5 full years. Part of their training is to know all the plants they work with, at least 600 – how they are prepared, how they heal and when they are used. There are more medicinal plants in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world – over 13000. India comes second with the number of plants used for medicine.
The medicines are all made fresh daily. An Ayurvedic doctor prescribes medication for the patient. This medication is different for every person because the whole person is treated, not just the illness. Ayurveda believes the medication is the most important in healing – therapies take the medication to a higher level eg. In Ayurvedic head massage there are many different oils that can be used and the oil suited to the person, their body type and ailment is selected. The massage is about getting more medicated oil into the body and to work meridians for energy flow and circulation.
We saw all the cauldrons with fresh batches of medicine brewing. The ayurvedic doctor showing us around asked for each of our room numbers. He consulted his book and could tell us which cauldron had our medicine brewing. My brew had 7 ingredients. The room was very hot and steamy and I felt for the workers having to work in such hot conditions.
Back 5000 years ago before scales, seeds were used as for weighing.
A lady was weighing ingredients and mixing with water ready to boil the mixture. Because there are no preservatives all mixtures are used within 48 hours and fresh baches are made each day.
We saw barrels of elixers brewing. They stay in these barrels for 2 months, similar to the process of wine making.
This leafy plant is the raw ingredient used for pain relief.
These huge cauldrons have oils in which plants have been steeped in and cooked for a long time and reduced down for potency.
Outside were squirrels enjoying a meal of plants.
This tree’s leaves are used for pain relief.
In this room Ayurvedic doctors are making up packages of medicine for each client, labelling them and they are delivered to the cubby holes at the Health Centre for clients to collect after their treatments.
No patient is treated the same as the next. Ayurvedic doctors consider it a privilege to heal and often do not charge for treating.
Arriving in Sri Lanka
From the time we arrived at Colombo, Sri Lanka at 2am this morning I feel a sense of excitement being in the home of Ayurveda. For the next 7 nights my dream of experiencing a week’s panchakarma in an Ayurvedic Resort in Sri Lanka is coming true. (A panchakarma is a time to chill out, focus on restoring good health and detoxing. It is usually done at a change of season. Spring is the optimal time and autumn also a good time.) However, it should be for 10 days to 3 weeks and I am here for 7 days.
Barberyn Ayurvedic Resort
Barberyn Ayurvedic Resort is a place which focuses on Ayurvedic treatment. It is the original Ayurvedic Resort in Sri Lanka and was established in the 1980s. There is a chain of three now, the latest is ready to be opened. Apparently there are 750 workers employed. You can only stay if you receive treatments. Barberyn is considered an authentic Ayurvedic Resort with fully trained doctors etc.
Your stay starts with a doctor consultation and you are prescribed medication and treatments designed for your condition. Some have real health issues and others use it to stay healthy by coming once a year. The whole focus is on good food, rest and relaxation, treatments and medication. The resort like a 5 star hotel – overlooking the ocean with a beautiful swimming pool. It has beauty rooms, fine dining restaurant, tailor services, library, yoga and tai chi classes and a gift shop, with many staff keeping everything working like clockwork to ensure comfort.
Day 1 – the 2 hour journey to Beruwala
I was starting to wonder if Beruwala was fictional as we meandered on our two hour journey along motorways – our little car speeding along at 120 kmh, and through small villages ( one of which we stopped at a tea shop laden with tea), palm tree and rubber tree plantations. Traffic is similar to India but without the frantic, mass populated roads and the multi lined tolled motorways are as good as anywhere. It can still be hair raising though with not many rules for tuktuks, cars, trucks and buses all vying for room.
After a couple of hours, down a long drive way in which the other cars had to stop and reverse to let us pass, we came to a picturesque Sri Lankan resort bordering the ocean and nestled amongst tropical trees. As the car pulled up a smiling Sri Lankan man opened my door and led me to reception where I was given a beautiful lotus flower and a fresh fruit juice. In the background surf crashed on a reef. My first impression of the resort was its characteristically Sri Lankan character with open walkways, thick white concrete walls, dark teak joinery and many smiling workers continually raking leaves from walk ways. It is a big resort with about 90 staying at this time. For some reason they seem to be mainly German and Japanese. The resort is sprawling with low rise rooms, some bungalows facing the ocean, two whole blocks for treatment rooms with many therapists, a huge restaurant and reception area, shop and library. There is a quietness about – a gentle hush. It is as though there is no one else about. Although at meal times in the restaurant are busy.
From the time I arrived it was action. After my fruit juice I was whisked off to see my room. Lunch was being served now and I needed to have a consultation with an Ayurveda doctor at 2pm. Treatments were following so the afternoon flowed very quickly.
A darling qualified Ayurveda lady doctor took more than 30 minutes to diagnose, using questioning, visual cues, especially the tongue and energy pulses on the wrists, blood pressure and blood test results. From here a programme was designed for the next 7 days.
I was amazed how the whole process – from treatments to medicine to eating plans – flow so seamlessly. Although there are over 70 people staying there is no waiting for treatments –we go from one treatment to the next. My medication is waiting in my cubby hole after the last treatment with instructions about when to take it. In my room is a thermos of boiled water so I can take medication with warm water as prescribed.
My treatments are an Ayurvedic head massage in which I sit in a chair and my scalp and back are massaged. Then I am moved to a table and my face is massaged. By now I am dozy with relaxation. I am given eye drops as part of my medication plan. Then another lady comes in and I am given a 4 handed massage, which may be considered rather confronting – I am wearing a pair of knickers only and the whole body massaged with long sweeping strokes, even around the breasts are massaged vigorously with lots of hot oil, finishing with heated balls (like poi) with herbs and medicated oil pressed into the skin. The massage is a way of getting the skin to absorb the heated, medicated oil and the bolus are heated with herbs and medicated oil also.
From there I am taken to a row of loungers and I lie down. My stiff shoulder, hip and lower abdomen are covered with hot medicated pastes. Aloe Vera is rubbed on my face, cucumber slices placed over my eyes and a mosquito net to cover me while I lay there for about 30 minutes.
Then I shower and am given a herbal bath with a lady pouring the herbal warm water over my body the whole time. After that I go to the acupuncture room where the acupuncturist strategically places needles and I lie there for about half an hour. My treatments are now finished.
Later in the week I changed from the herbal bath to the steam room. This wasn’t for the faint hearted. I had to lie in the large coffin shaped wooden contraption with my head sticking out. It certainly got hot in there. In fact the first time I thought my bottom had caught fire. When I told the lady she looked rather alarmed.
My medicines don’t taste very nice. All medications are plant based and natural, so the body can assimilate well. They are not sanitized like synthetic drugs, so they are not guaranteed to taste or look good. I have been given some powder to add to warm water to be taken after dinner; two lots of pills (they looked like baby cannon balls) and two different lots of medicine – one to be taken on rising and before bed and the other after meals. I just hold my nose and drink! Once I learned the one after lunch and dinner is made like wine, it somehow tastes more palatable.
Yoga class is at 5pm, optional of course, but this is a highlight for me to join someone else’s class so I rushed off to join it. A delightful Sri Lankan lady took us through an hour and a half of intermediate yoga. Always good to see just how different each teacher’s personality contributes to what is taught. I have to remember that I am usually double (or more) the age of the fit young bunnies at the classes and to be kind with myself. I am sure I will limber up with 4 hours of yoga a day and in a room without air conditioning.
Dinner – I feel a bit strange eating by myself. The deal here is that you sit at a table – the restaurant is organized by room numbers. Because I am here on my own, I eat on my own. My room number happens to be situated right up the front in the middle of the restaurant and I feel very conspicuous, so I have organized my chair so I look out at the ocean with my back to the other 70 or so tables. Everyone is on their own journey and there isn’t opportunities or maybe desire to meet up with others. I guess language is a barrier too with people from all over the world who have come here to heal. Everyone seems to be on their own journey.
Oh I love the food – how can food be so healthy yet so divine! It is sheer delight to lift the big stainless steel covers to discover what astronomical delight awaits. For breakfast and lunch there would be about 20 different dishes – always lots of tropical fruits as well and about 8 different desserts. For dinner we are served and on one night there is a Sri Lankan buffet and on another night there is an English type buffet – for me, I am given herbal tea and fruit juice and a soup to start and I am served 3 courses after that. The portions are small but filling and incredibly tasty. There is no meat here and with the food has incredible variety.
Up at 5.40am for yoga at 6am. A lovely class with lots of talking about mindfulness, how we make choices in our lives, a huge focus on sun salutes and some pranayama and relaxation. Breakfast was divine. J The morning is free so I am catching up with laundry and computer. Another divine lunch – at lunchtime there are lots of desserts which I suppose I shouldn’t be enjoying so much. Treatments start at 2.15pm and once again there is an Ayurvedic head massage, a full body massage with 4 hands, hot herbal compresses put on shoulder and hip, hot herbal bath with water poured continually and methodically over my body and an acupuncture session. Not much time to shower and off to yoga and then dinner. Haven’t done much today but feel ready for bed early. I suppose 4 hours of yoga and 3 hours of treatments and lots of good food may be doing wonders for me.
Yoga today was with different teacher who I enjoyed more. She led us slowly into the session with meditation, pranayama and gentle asana, but by the end of the session I was sweating after all those sun salutes. Breakfast was as delicious as ever – soup, herbal tea, fresh fruit and a plate of many different Ayurvedic tastes. There is also the European selections and cereal selections but why not sample all the different food while I can – enough time for porridge when I am back at Waihi Beach. Today I received a complimentary facial from the beauty rooms. I fell asleep so hope no noises escaped from my mouth! My face feels so smooth now without being greasy. Today I tried to get my treatments changed to mornings but there are no spaces left in the morning because the resort is too full. I missed out on a tea plantation tour and a turtle hatchery tour, which are both in the afternoons. Oh well, I have been going to start a book, so that is what I will do each morning in my alone time. Sitting on a lounger overlooking the reef isn’t such a hardship.
The only change in treatments was today I had a steam room instead of an herbal bath. This is for weight loss. When I saw the room I was horrified. There were 4 big teak, coffin- looking furniture. I asked if I had to get my head in too (if she said yes I was going to run away). Anyway my head was sticking out the end supported and the lady sat beside me which was comforting. I stayed in there for 10 minutes and felt like my bottom was on fire at the end. Luckily I am used to saunas so it was manageable – only just.
I can’t believe it is Day 4 already. My excitement and anticipation has changed to a feeling of being settled in and going with the flow to experience everything fully. I am feeling really good. It is hard to explain, but I feel so healthy.
I love experiencing Ayurveda. The whole establishment is about peace. I love how Ayurveda treats the whole person; no one here reminds you to do anything – opportunities are here and each person has a choice, a responsibility and if they are willing to help themselves, they eat according to their plan, take the treatments and medication.
I am settling in to an enjoyable daily routine. The 6 am yoga session is fabulous – a gentle entry into the day with meditation, pranayama and working up to sun salutes. The class is not as strenuous as the intermediate class at 5.15pm but I enjoy that class too. At the end of yoga I look forward to breakfast. After a few days have passed I realize I prefer sweetness for breakfast – rolled oats and trimmings along with fresh fruit, rather than the curries and Sri Lankan food.
After breakfast I visited the tailor and a delightful lady is going to copy a favourite top in the loveliest fabric for the equivalent of $17. I pick it up Sunday morning. There was a visit to the herbal garden and pharmacy so I went along. It was amazing. I took photos and have a blog about it.
I am starting to feel really good. My hair looks glossy, my skin feels smooth. I can’t think of why I would be stressed. What a wonderful place this is – probably because I weighed myself and weigh 2 kg less than last Monday. The best part is I haven’t felt like I am dieting. I am hungry at meals but very satisfied afterwards (Why wouldn’t I be after 3 and 4 courses) maybe the difference is the type of food – no meat and the whole emphasis on whole, fresh produce prepared very imaginatively and tastily.
I now understand why I am having the treatments I am given. The Ayurvedic head massage is for my sore shoulder. The full body massage with special hot oil and the warm pastes applied to my shoulder and hip and acupuncture treatment is to help the shoulder and hip joints. The steam room is for weight loss. Then there are all the medicines to be taken at different times. So I think it is a combined effort of medicine, treatments, food, yoga and rest. What a wonderful way to nurture the body, mind and soul. Love it, love it, love it.
The yoga session in the morning is getting so much easier. I need to keep that in mind with my yoga classes – how it takes time to get one’s body and mind tuned into a different teacher: their way of speaking and teaching and how the asana are done. I have empathy for those coming to my classes.
Breakfast is just as scrumptious as usual. Today I am feeling a little bored. I am focusing on writing in my free time in the morning. Lunch comes around quickly and as usual I can’t resist the gorgeous desserts. Today the treatments seem to take forever and my mind is a little bored. I can’t believe it has taken a whole week to realise there is an amazing library here. I have taken out three books and have a day to read them! Yoga was lovely. Dinner was beautiful. Instead of a set menu served to us, on Saturday night there is a buffet with Sri Lanka theme. I had to have two platefuls because everything looked so delectable. I tasted the best fish I have ever eaten in my whole life. It is called fish ambulthiyal. I am going to google it and prepare it back home. Tonight I enjoyed sitting with a lady from London for dinner. She reported she had been horrified to see a crocodile walking past the car park. I was horrified too. I decided to check out that story. I am feeling better now I have some reading to do and back in my room I don’t feel so bored with my lovely books.
Oh dear. My last day. No yoga this morning because it is Sunday. There is a meditation class tonight which I will go to. I got up and did some yoga on my own – not nearly as much fun. At breakfast I asked the doctor who sits by the buffet, whether there are crocodiles around here. She said no, but there are things – I think she said giant modos – they are harmless and live along the waterways. What a relief. I couldn’t understand how people could be swimming and fishing in the ocean with crocodiles around so I feel happier knowing they are safe.
Another delicious lunch. Then I visited the doctor for my final consultation. She listened to my pulses, listened to my blood pressure, checked my tongue, asked about my health. Then she asked more questions and determined my body type, gave me some guidelines to keep in balance when I am home. She also gave me some oil to rub into my shoulder and suggested I do simple exercises for my shoulder. What a darling lady – softly spoken and gentle and gave me as much time as I needed with lots of information.
It was a little sad knowing I wouldn’t see the ladies giving treatments either ever again or for a year or more. All of them are smiley, friendly and although many have limited English, their actions and smiles make up for lack of words.
I attended the meditation class taken by a kind-faced monk dressed in orange robes. He spoke about how yoga and meditation are to control our monkey mind. A message I will remember from him is that if you think nice thoughts, speak nice words and do nice actions you will have a happy life. And if you are worried today you will probably be worried in the future. What you are now counts. He showed us a very effective and easy way to meditate – basically as you breathe in silently say ‘I am breathing in’ and when you breathe out say ‘I am breathing out’. Do this for 10 minutes a day and clear your monkey mind.
Day 8 – Back to Colombo
I am all packed, will go to yoga at 6am and have a shower and breakfast and the car is picking me up at 9am. What a fabulous week it has been.
The trip back was so speedy, the car was a BMW and we sped along the toll road at 150kmh. Back to Colombo. I am so annoyed that I haven’t learned my lesson – walking along the road knowing where I am going and quite happy. A man starts walking alongside me and starts chatting asking where I am from etc. Then he suggests a tuktuk ride to the mall where I am headed, I agree and a tuktuk miraculously pulls up. The tuktuk delivers me to another place that sells gems and tea. What a rip off. I have learned, if someone is friendly they probably have an ulterior motive. What a sad world!
My thoughts…The philosophy of Barberyn Ayurvedic Resort as printed in the Directory in my room; ‘The vision of Barberyn is human development, which rests on the sustainability of life, both physical and spiritual. We believe that sustainability encompasses the sanctity of life, human consciousness and inner peace.’
How profound is that! And after being here a week, I believe Barberyn Ayurvedic Resort truly lives up to its philosophy.
Ayurveda is a science about self –healing – taking responsibility for our health, knowing and practising healthy routines, how we fit in with universal energy (days, seasons, years), which food is best for us, what lifestyle is best for us. We observe and know ourselves to see when we are in and out of balance. We know how to get back into balance quickly without illness manifesting chronically in our body.
We service our cars regularly so they work well for us. Do we look after ourselves so we function optimally? Do we even know how to? Or do we wish to know how to? Do we have time to do this?
Food and medicine come from nature and we need to look after nature. Ayurveda says health is the most important thing in the world and without good health we have nothing. When one is healthy and has longevity, one can give back to society and society will be healthy
While I am here, it is easy to see how many unhealthy choices I make in my everyday life. Do I really need to have that drink and believe if I don’t I am depriving myself? Should I be buying meat at the supermarket because it is easier? Do I need so many sweet things in my diet when I am overweight? Why do I still overeat when I know I am overweight and have to carry extra weight around with me 24/7? Do I need to watch TV for later than I know I should because it is hard to get up and go to bed? The list goes on.
This retreat has given me time to reflect. My goal is to now become more mindful throughout each day. I enjoyed mindful eating here and could savour each mouthful and be aware of my thoughts. When I did share a meal with a lovely lady we talked so much I can hardly remember what I ate. It was fun, but certainly not as relaxing and probably not as good for my digestive system.
This retreat is a wonderful place to have the time to focus on good holistic health – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. There is no television, silence is encouraged when walking around, and cellphones are not encouraged in the restaurant. The day is divided into eating, resting and getting treatments. Staff are very polite and there is no stress in any way.
Results from Week in Barberyn
When I arrived the doctor asked what my main concerns were, I said I wanted less ama on my tongue (digestion) in the morning and lessen the middle line in my tongue (digestion and liver), my right shoulder and left hip were stiff. The doctor suggested I needed to lose weight because as one gets older, if we carry weight we get lots of aches and pains. I am very good at ignoring this issue of weight control. My excuse is that I love cooking and eating (which I do). My blood pressure was OK; 100/70 Vata and Pitta were aggravated and tongue coated.
Now it is Day 7 and in the meantime, there is less ama on my tongue, which suggests I am eating far more healthily here and digesting food better. The line on the middle of my tongue has definitely got smaller. In Ayurveda the tongue gives a lot of insight into the person’s health. Despite 4 hours of yoga a day, my right shoulder and left hip do not ache, and they only have pain in certain movements. I am sleeping more restfully and wake up feeling fresh. I feel lighter in body and mind. The doctor said my vata and pitta were pacified, my tongue was clear, my blood pressure good and lost 1kg without feeling hungry. She also gave me some medicated oil to continue to rub on my shoulder at home.
This retreat has definitely given me time for self-study and I am going to adjust my eating to focus more on vegetables. I have certainly not denied myself – there have been 3 courses for every meal, but the focus has changed on the type of food I am eating. There is no struggle here to have 5 fruit and vegetables a day – there would be at least 30 different fruits and vegetables prepared tastily.
The staff don’t usually speak fluent English so it is not possible to hear stories of healing but I have heard many true stories during Ayurveda studies. If I had a terminal illness, I know I would be coming here!! The medication may not taste good, but it is natural and based on thousands of years of practice; the doctors are well trained and the system focuses on the person not just the symptom, treating everyone as unique. The whole environment here is conducive to healing mind, body and spirit.
What a dream it would be if our hospitals in New Zealand were along the same lines as here – the emphasis on the individual taking responsibility for their own health; treating the individual holistically and uniquely and not focusing on the symptom; a healing environment which nurtures body, mind and soul; medicines from nature and not synthetically manufactured;
I recently bought this book online after a client recommended it. And I am pleased I did. Barbara is a physiotherapist who has had a lifetime of results working in the area of spinal pain. It is a self-help book and is full of information, good sensible ideas with some humour and lots of tips for daily living – all easy to read. Great to see a few yoga asana in there too.
After 40 years of working as a physiotherapist she certainly comes from a position of knowledge and wisdom. Lovely to see a NZ author with such powerful messages to share for all of us to prevent and rectify spinal problems, including neck pain and headaches. I love the way it is very achievable and I started to think – ‘oh my goodness, I have been getting into such bad habits, no wonder my shoulder is giving me messages.’ Every chapter has a lovely mixture of science to understand the problem, how we can self-treat and hot tips for us to make a difference to our lives.
I will certainly be doing what she recommends, for example, a simple thing like getting into and out of a car – I need to keep my knees together and go in bottom first.
I also learned that my husband’s choice of foam chip pillow, that I have thought was terrible for many years, is in fact a good choice, because of the moveable filling in the pillow. The head can sink into a hollow with support under the neck where it is needed.
Barbara says to find the right pillow – give it the two finger test: place one finger on each side of the pillow, fingertip to fingertip, and work the filling away until fingers touch. If you can’t move the filling the chances are high that the pillow will be less comfortable than one where you can. Barbara says that kapok, foam chip, feather and down or poly fibre balls are usually good pillow choices.
A great book to buy for someone who needs to visit health providers for back or neck issues, or to have on your shelf to remind you about how to keep healthy. After all, a happy back a happy life.
Yes, it is true – Jin Shin Jyutsu really works and it is easy to do if you don’t want any jet lag after a long haul flight. During a plane trip from London to Auckland via Hong Kong I held each of my fingers and thumb gently. When I wasn’t eating there wasn’t much else to do except watch a film or snooze so it was easy to hold my fingers.
And no jet lag.
What do I need to do to avoid jet lag?
Hold your thumb gently and relax. Soon you will feel a gentle pulse in each hand. Move on to holding the index finger, then middle finger, then ring finger, then small finger – all one at a time and then do the same with the other hand.
How does it work?
All 144,000 energy functions end in fingers and toes. On a physical level, each finger and thumb is related to an organ, vertebra, muscle and nerve. On a mental and emotional level each finger and thumb is related to an attitude. By holding fingers in different ways we can make 680 mudras to send energy to any part of our being. By holding the finger or thumb we are harmonising all those parts of the body and attitudes.
Our hands become jumper cables to our life force energy. We want our energy to flow freely (otherwise we suffer symptoms and illness).
How can we have a more harmonious life?
Not only does holding fingers prevent jet lag, it is also a wonderful habit to do each day of our lives. There is always time in our day to become mindful of how we are feeling and hold our fingers.
So a good plan is to become aware of how we are feeling and which attitude we are experiencing and then hold the corresponding finger or thumb. Drop the shoulders, breathe fully and relax. And notice how the attitude is harmonised.
Don’t vent anger- harmonise it
Have you noticed that when you feel angry and vent it, the venting of anger only makes more anger. Yet if you relax and hold your middle finger you are harmonising your anger and anger disappears.
So easy yet so hard. How many of us are able to be aware of when we are experiencing fear, anger, sadness, anxiety or too much effort and have the presence of mind to harmonise the attitude by holding our finger and relaxing?
Imagine being able to do this – we would be living in a harmonised world –– we would be harmonised, so our relationships would be harmonised and our world would be harmonised.
2016 numerologically is 9. The number 9 is about endings. So we are into a new 9 year cycle in 2017.
Now is a great time to reflect on the past 9 years and refocus for the next 9 years ahead.
We are already well into our first month. I wonder if you are serious about changing all that which didn’t work for you last year – because if we keep thinking the same way, we will get more of the same. This is fine if you are happy with your life as it is, but if it was a hard year with lots of stress, or you would like to enjoy life more – now is time for a change.
If I don’t change direction I could end up where I am going. (Jin Shin Jyutsu)
When you have time to sit alone, preferably in nature or in a peaceful environment here are some ideas to ponder on…
How you would like to be in 9 years from now?
When you have a good vision it is about working towards it in small steps. Every magazine we read is full of tips and techniques for a stress free life. They are inspiring, but have little impact unless we ourselves have a strong foundation / a philosophy of life and how we want to live / belief system / spiritual practice on which to apply the tips and techniques. Without a strong spiritual base life can be confusing.
What is your philosophy for living? How does it help you enjoy a happy life?
Being a yoga teacher and loving the Ayurvedic philosophy, (a sister science of Yoga about self-healing) and a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, I embrace each of these philosophies and their truths. Everyone is on their own path and will have different belief systems, but the point is, we all need a strong foundation.
Life can be cruel and without a strong foundation, inner chaos results with stress and illness.
Stress… we hear so much about it being bandied about, but it is real and most illnesses stem from stress.
Now is a wonderful time to reflect on stress that was part of your life in 2016.
Stress is our interpretation of our environment/ situation – it is not so much what happens to us, but how we interpret it. We all have lots of potential to suffer from stress:
Changes in living arrangements, deaths, births, jobs, friendships;
Bombardment of information through TVs, ads, news, emails, social media, tele marketing;
Electromagnetic pollution through radio waves, microwaves, electro-magnetic forces, cell phones;
lifestyle choices of eating processed foods, lack of sleep, chemical pollutants on body (make up, shampoos, soaps, cremes) and in house (cleaning products, modern carpets etc.) ;
Stimulants in diet (caffeine, sugars, alcohol), pharmaceutical and addictive drugs;
Social challenges of high cost of housing, high cost of living, solo parenting, lack of support, child raising, isolation; ill health, relationships at work, fears and phobias – the list goes on.
But then, Peace is not in the world; it is within yourself. (Jin Shin Jyutsu). With our modern society stress levels it is so important to find inner peace.
The only true way to find inner peace is through self-study. This is not the reading books type of self-study, but actually paying attention to yourself through your body, mind and emotions. Only you can do it.
My thoughts and my feelings create my destiny. (Jin Shin Jyutsu)
Each thought is energy. Our thoughts become our words, become our actions, habits and attitudes and our destiny. Jin Shin Jyutsu harmonises our thoughts for good health and longevity.
Without good health we cannot live a full and enjoyable life, so where can we make changes?
I believe the best starting point for self-study is to become aware of how we breathe. Breathing correctly means we receive energy to every cell in our body and breathe out correctly means we release tension and toxins from our body. Mindful breathing can change your mood in seconds. This sounds so easy but it is so hard to be aware of our breathing throughout each day.
The breath is our best teacher. Be aware of how you breathe when you are stressed and you will see how you are affecting your body – shutting off oxygen and nutrients to each cell and damming up toxins from leaving your body. Stress is like a giant tourniquet.
Every breath well lived makes yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow ecstasy. (Jin Shin Jyutsu)
How many of us can truly say we lived every breath well and yesterday was a dream?
Getting back to some hard questions that we find difficult and hence don’t really make the changes we need to make…
What values do you hold dear to your heart? Can you name some? Once you can name your values, each choice and decision you make needs to enhance your values
Do you have strong boundaries? Boundaries protect us and without them we are at the mercy of anyone and everything. Who can you let in close and who do you need to keep distance from? How can you improve your time boundaries?
Let’s make 2017 a year of good choices. And good choices need to begin with a strong foundation, solid values and boundaries and a healthy lifestyle – then we can really enjoy life. The choice is yours.
We go where our vision goes. (Jin Shin Jyutsu)
- A yoga class or workshop is a good way to start xx
Economics isn’t my field at all. But the big picture of abundance for the whole world’s population excites me.
How cool is everyone being able to live with abundance and not poverty? I feel hopeful we are going down this global track of abundance for the whole world, not just abundance for some privileged people.
An end to gobal, cheap and nasty products that put our local businesses out of business because they are so cheap; yet to be cheap – human lives are made miserable?
An end to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?
Amin Toufani is a director of strategy at a university in USA and is speaking at a Christchurch summit this week. He has a Stanford MBA and master’s degree in economic policy and a degree in artificial intelligence.
In an article in the NZ Herald this morning Amin talks about the pace of technological change means our fundamental assumptions about economics need to be revisited. He said radical solutions are needed because the central bank policy of fighting deflation is now exhausted. He believes the idea of the universal basic income – a guaranteed wage for everyone – will eventually have to be adopted. He says, ‘We are going to get there, it’s just a question of when.’
‘Economists and governments need to reconsider their approach to scarcity. A lot of economic theories are predicated on the idea of scarcity. There is not enough of things to go around. It is true that exponential technologies will disrupt a lot of jobs but on balance there will be a lot more abundance in the world.’
Fabulous news for the world. But with banks and a few ultra-powerful and rich families holding the strings, how long will it take for the world to all enjoy abundance and not just a tiny percentage of the world population.