A travel in India is a nice occasion to discover a brand new way to take care of yourself. There is no distinction between the body and the soul, as in Western countries. Learning about that makes you wonder about your beliefs, and also helps you to find a new balance. I spent three months in India. I took the opportunity to experience and learn new things. It enriched my spirit. I would like to share my experience with you. Maybe you would be interested in trying them after?
Meditation’s origin relies in Chinese Taoism and Indian Buddhism. In Western countries, this activity is not well understood. I found this definition in a French dictionary is: ‘action to reflect, deeply think about a topic, or something’s realization’. In fact, it is the total contrary of the buddhism belief, in which meditate is not reflect but focus on physical feels such as breath or surroundings. It is a way to ‘disconnect’ the brain. This activity helps to focus only on the moment, the present, without thinking about the past or future. Meditation has a lot of benefits and allows to reinforce the spirit, and feel better in our body.
There are several forms of meditation. In India, I discovered the Vipassana Meditation. I joined a 10 days silence retreat. It has been a strong and impacting experience, but also very difficult. I would recommend it only to people who are highly motivated.
Before even thinking about retreat, it is easy to initiate yourself to several methods in States like Goa for example, where there are a lot of centers that offer classes for tourists. However, it may be difficult to distinguish the good to the bad centers. It may be better to test several addresses. I recommend you the Love Temple at Arambol, which is a center that offer several classes such as yoga or meditation, or even ‘Tantric Meditation’ (kind of sexual meditation?). Thanks to breath exercises, the body release all the stress, welcome new energies… The goal is to enter in communion with the surrounding energies from the environment and people. With a little bit of practice, it helps to unblock the energy flow and reach the ecstatic state. Doing this, we learn a lot about ourselves and the relationships with others.
Yoga is getting quite popular in France. It has been created in India more than 5000years ago. This activity consists in taking poses and focus on breathe. It develops the muscles in harmony and helps to relax. Yoga is close to meditation as it helps to focus on the present and gather the energies.
Just like meditation, there are several forms of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga that is more practiced in Western countries and that is more focused on poses, Bikran Yoga practiced in 40°c rooms, or Kundalini Yoga that focuses on make the energy flows along the spine and align the main seven chakras.
In Goa, there are a lot of Yoga classes in different centers. Again, you have to try to assess the quality of the content. It is important to listen to your body, and don’t surpass your limits: if Yoga is seen as ‘soft gym’, you can hurt yourself so be careful. I insist on this point because I had back pain!
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that thinks about human as whole: it is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It is a preventive medicine which goal is to help the body to gets stronger and prevent sickness. The first step is a diagnostic that studies all the physical, physiologic and psychological aspects. Ayurveda recommends many several practices for lifestyle in general: food, sleep, physical activities,… Most of the remedies are plant or massages based.
Ayurveda can be experienced all around India. But it is a little bit more present where it has been created: in the state of Kerala, in the South of the country. For the first session, I recommend you to try the abhyanga: a full body massage with oils. A lot of different institues in India offer such service. Based on my experience, I can tell that it’s not necessarily in the luxury hotels’ spa that you get the best massages, so keep an eye open!
The most complete experience is to have a full Ayurveda course that lasts several days in a center in Kerala. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do it, but that is definitely something I want to try!
You can easily live all these three experiences in India during an individual travel. Otherwise, you can also book a themed travel. Have a look at the different Travel Agencies and choose what suits you the best ! And you, which experience would you like to try?