Koral Ilgun

Koral Ilgun

A Blissful Retreat
from Koral Ilgun

My wife and I were very fortunate to join Gyandev and Diksha's 2008 Ayurvedic Retreat in Kerala, India.  The experience was nothing less than spectacular.  All aspects of the retreat far exceeded our expectations.

On Feb 12, we arrived at the Trivandrum airport and there we were picked up by a very courteous and professional driver from the Ayurvedic resort, where we were going to be staying.  We checked into our beautiful room that afternoon.  We stayed at the deluxe housing, Kerala House. This was a house built in the traditional Kerala style with four spacious units in each.  The units were very clean, simply decorated but comfortable.  The air was soothingly warm and humid.  That night we slept with the pleasant sound of raindrops hitting palm leaves in the garden and of the roaring ocean waves in the background.

Next morning, after a welcome ceremony and after meeting our fellow retreatants (total of 28 wonderful people), we had private consultations with Ayurvedic doctors.  Based on this consultation our doshas (the three basic body types that determine an individual's constitution) were identified.  Based on our dosha and our current ailments each of us received a specific treatment plan, ayurvedic herbal medicines and a recommended diet.

Suzanne Ilgun

Suzanne Ilgun

Before this retreat, I had never had an Ayurvedic treatment before.  I savored each treatment session and looked forward to the next one every day.  A team of two therapists was assigned to me.

The therapists were very professional and treated me with great respect and dignity. Each session lasted about two hours and they were all very nurturing and rejuvenating. Each session started with a full-body massage, first one therapist at a time and then both therapists massaging in synchrony.  This was followed by the specific treatment of the day.  One of my favorite treatments was Shirodhara where warm herbal oil is continuously poured from a special vessel onto the center of the forehead, inducing a state of deep relaxation. The experience is nothing short of blissful.

The entire retreat staff from housekeepers to gardeners, from doctors to receptionists, were always very pleasant, professional and heart-warming.  The food was by far the best Indian food I had anywhere else in the world.  Everything was cooked fresh with local produce and the variety was excellent.  I never forget the taste of the red chubby plantain bananas.  Such creamy texture and so sweet.  I never thought a banana could taste so heavenly.

The retreat experience wouldn't have been complete without the extraordinary guidance of Gyandev and Diksha throughout our stay.  Diksha gave us very informative classes on Ayurveda and on how we can most benefit from this retreat experience. Gyandev completed the picture by leading morning sadhanas (spiritual practices) with emphasis on Ayurveda, each day concentrating on a given dosha and giving us guidelines how we can use our Yoga and meditation practices to balance our doshas and to compliment our Ayurvedic experience.

In addition to the retreat experience, there was also plenty of opportunity for sight-seeing, shopping and visits to temples.  Gyandev provided many trivia about the area's history and culture, and told many delightful stories of saints and temples.

All in all, the retreat was a life changing experience.  It was balancing to my body, relaxing to my mind and nurturing and uplifting to my soul.