NAMASTE!

Nº1:  THE WORLD’S FIRST AYURVEDA TOURIST RESORT

DR. SEENA RAJINDRA IS ONE OF THE SENIOR AYURVEDA DOCTORS OF THE SOMATHEERAM, THE WORLD’S FIRST AYURVEDA TOURIST RESORT. SHE BELIEVES THAT IF WE TREAT ONLY BODY, IT WON'T WORK - THE MIND AND THE SOUL SHOULD BE INVOLVED. 

SOMATHEERAM AYURVEDA VILLAGE (Somatheeram) formed a part of Somatheeram Ayurveda Group, which pioneered the concept of Ayurveda Hospitality in Kerala, India started in 1989. Ayurveda resort, built in Kerala traditional style is located right on the shore of Adimalathura beach at Chowara, 9 km from Kovalam and 21 km from Trivandrum city. 

SOMATHEERAM AYURVEDA GROUP is the winner of thirty-two "International, National & State Awards" for "Excellence In Ayurveda"; six times winner of "State Award" from Government of Kerala as the "Best Approved And Classified Ayurveda Centre"; three times winner of "National Award" from Government of India as "India's Best Ayurveda Wellness Centre".

THE ROOTS OF AYURVEDA GO DEEP INTO THE SOIL OF KERALA, WHERE IT WAS PRACTICED AS FAR BACK AS 5000 YEARS AGO. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS CONNECTION?

We use to say, that we are "ayurveda people". Tradition of ayurveda is deeply connected with Kerala, mainly because of its natural richness. Only in the Somatheeram herbal garden, we have more than 600 varieties of plants, which provide the ingredients for various ayurvedic medicines. The herbal medicines are backbone of ayurveda. People have a positive affection towards the ayurveda because it originates in nature, doesn't have any side effects, but very vast preventative and curative measures. 

WHAT DOES AYURVEDA MEAN PERSONALLY FOR YOU? 

Ayurveda is the ancient system, which is called the science of life. I studied it at Kerala University in Trivandrum. But after 28 years of being ayurveda doctor,  I can say, I am still in process of learning.  Everyday I learn something new - as the doctor and as a human being. 

Last 6 years I am practicing ayurveda in the Somatheeram. This place became my second home. I come here every day, even the days I am out of duty. I come to see and talk to my patients. Their trust is a very special bond and commitment between doctor and patient, but also relation between two human beings. 

SO, IT IS KIND OF SPIRITUAL CONNECTION…

Yes, I believe, ayurveda cannot work properly without aspects of spirituality or mental health balance. All the medicines, treatments, internal and external therapies, all are based on the spiritual aspects of a person. If we treat a patient only for the body, it won't work. The mind and soul should be involved, only then ayurveda can function as holistic system.

"I believe, ayurveda cannot work properly without aspects of spirituality or mental health balance. All the medicines, treatments, internal and external therapies, all are based on the spiritual aspects of a person. If we treat a patient only for the body, it won't work. The mind and soul should be involved, only then ayurveda can function as holistic system."
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DR. SEENA RAJENDRAN

IN THE PAST VAIDYAS (TRADITIONAL PRACTITIONERS OF AYURVEDA) KEPT THE KNOWLEDGE OF AYURVEAD. HOW DO YOU SEE THEIR ROLE TODAY?

The mastery over the legacy of eight families of vaidyas (Ashta Vaidiyas) and their followers treated Keralites for many centuries. They were almost the only opening for people needs curing from every kind of ailments. 

The problem, which we face now, is that, in the past vaidiyas kept their knowledge for themselves. The wisdom of ayurveda was spread mostly verbally and not all the healing practices were noted down in written form. We also lost the ability to learn from the healing process itself. Nowadays ayurveda doctors spend many years memorizing syllabus at the universities, but the practical experiences are bit neglected. There are lots of limitations and ayurveda is becoming more institutionalized. 

WHAT ABOUT MYTHOLOGY OF AYURVEDA?

When we study Ayurveda, we should learn the history of it, which have been traced to around 5,000 BCE, when it originated as an oral tradition. The first recorded forms of Ayurveda as medical texts evolved from the Vedas. But there are various legendary accounts of the divine origin of ayurveda. According to mythology, we believe it was received by Dhanvantari from Brahma. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE DHANVANTARI, THE GOD OF AYURVEDA?

Every day before we start our treatments we pray to Dhanvantari, god of Ayurveda. According to the ancient text Charaka Samhita, the knowledge of ayurveda is eternal and is revealed in each of the cycles of creation of the universe. When needed, God Vishnu himself incarnates as God Dhanvantari and reestablishes the tradition of ayurveda in the world to help relieve some of humanity’s suffering. 

COULD YOU INTRODUCE SOMATHEERAM AYURVEDA BEACH VILLAGE RESORT?

Somatheeram Ayurveda Village (Somatheeram) belongs to Somatheeram Ayurveda Group founded by Mr. Baby Mathew. Somatheeram, the first ayurveda project started in 1988 and Manaltheeram in 1990. Both resorts are offering the same ayurveda treatment programmes and services. The only difference is the location. Somatheeram is situated on the top of the cliff and have beautiful view on the bay. Manaltheeram is almost touching the Chowara beach. 

NOTE: More about the resort, you can read in article: SOMATHEERAM AYURVEDA VILLAGE
NOTE: More about the story of Somatheeram group, you can read in interviews:  SOMATHEERAM: BABY MATHEW Nº1 and SOMATHEERAM: BABY MATHEW Nº2

WHICH ARE THE MAIN AYURVEDA TREATMENT PROGRAMMES IN THE SOMATHEERAM?

They are: Rejuvenation Therapy (Rasayana Chikilsa), Body Purification (Shodhana Chikilsa), Slimming Programme, Stress Management Programme And Beauty Care Programme. But the final decision of the programme will be always taken by the consulting doctor. Duration of the treatments may vary according to the direction of the doctor and process may change depending upon the patient’s body condition. Even for standard programmes, the approach to patients is always individualized.

NOTE: More about the ayurveda treatment programmes, you can read in the interview: SOMATHEERAM, DR.SEENA RAJENDRAN Nº2

HOW DO YOU PREPARE INDIVIDUAL AYURVEDA TREATMENT PROGRAMME? 

It helps us, if we get some information about the patients and their health conditions in advance. Especially, if they have serious health problems, we ask them to send report from their doctors. After arrival the patient is interviewed by two doctors. We have prepared quite a long and detail questioner about patient’s daily routine, habits, health history and conditions. After evaluation of the questioner the doctors prepare diet and treatment programme. We allocate two therapists for each patient, who take care about him or her during entire stay at Somatheeram. There is a rule that ladies gets female therapists and gentlemen get men therapists. Even for repeated clients we always try to allocate the same doctors and therapists, if possible. We keep all the healing and treatment records. 

HOW MANY DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS ARE WORKING IN THE SOMATHEERAM? 

All the treatments take place under the supervision of 25 qualified doctors and around 70 well-trained therapists, who strictly follows traditional methods and values, but at the same time keep high level of modern standards. We have our own training programme for therapists, minimum 6 months our own training is required before we employ them. There are 22 treatment rooms including two steam baths available in the ayurveda center. At a time, we can give around 20 treatments. 

"People have a positive affection towards the ayurveda because it originates in nature, doesn't have any side effects, but very vast preventative and curative measures. "
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DR. SEENA RAJENDRAN

YOGA IS INTEGRAL PART OF AYURVEDA PROGRAMMES. HOW DO YOU SEE PURPOSE OF IT? 

Yoga is supplementing ayurveda treatments - connection of body, mind and soul is the main common philosophy. Every Somatheeram ayurveda programme includes yoga lessons in different levels according to patient’s need. It can be very helpful for body pain problems such as back pain, neck pain or head ache. But the most of the patients have stress-related psychosomatic diseases. We must treat not only the physical problems, but also mental conditions. It is very important to balance body treatment with the peace of the mind. 

During the day we are providing yoga lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced level yogi practitioners. Every morning and evening, there is meditation session. Patients can take also private lessons on request. 

DO YOU PRACTICE ANY FORM OF YOGA PERSONALLY? 

I practiced yoga during my ayurveda studies, but unfortunately currently I'm not getting time to practice yoga.

AYURVEDA SAYS, THAT ALSO WE ARE THE UNIVERSE. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS CONNECTION WITH ASTROLOGY?

Ayurveda says that all the living and non-living things in this universe are made up of five major elements called Pancha Maha-Bhootas, that is, earth, water, fire, air and space. Similarly, our human body is also made up of these five elements and it is in the form of three major energies, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Through this nature forces we are part of universe, planets and stars. There is a very close relation between the universe and ayurveda.

DO YOU PRACTICE ASTRO-AYURVEDA?

Not in Somatheeram. We have a visiting astrologer, who can prepare patient’s chart on request (quite a lot of people are interested in this field), but we do not consult any treatments with him. 

THE COSMIC ENERGY ALSO IS CONNECTED VASTU SHASTRA (INDIAN FENG SHUI). WAS IT CONSIDERED WHEN SOMATHEERAM WAS BUILT?

In Kerala, if people build something, they always consult it with Vastu Shastra expert. For example, if the kitchen is situated in a proper place, there won't be any negative energy in that house. It should be in the Agni Kon and our prayer room should be in the Ishanya Kon. It gives the good foundation to the house and household. In Somatheeram each and every building was constructed according to Vastu Shastra. I believe, this is one of the reasons, why our hospital is prosperous.  

YOU HAVE MENTIONED KITCHEN AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE HOUSE. WHAT ABOUT THE DIET? DO YOU BELIEVE, THAT KITCHEN CAN BE ALSO FARMACY? 

Food can be the medicine. What and how we are cooking and eating, influencing our body, mind and soul. If we have a proper diet, we can live without any problems for a long time. If food is adulterated and it is not suitable for our body, we start developing diseases very easily.

COUL YOU DESCRIBED AYURVEDA DIET PLAN IN THE SOMATHEERAM?

After the first consultation with ayurveda doctor, patients get the diet plan suitable for their doshas. It depends on their health conditions and treatment programme. 

Our ayurveda diet is pure vegetarian. It is based on local recipes, but we try to serve organic vegetables and fruits, which are available also abroad, it helps foreigners to adjust to ayurveda diet. Between the main meals, we served fruit juices and ayurvedic herbal water.

We do not serve non – vegetarian dishes. (Meat is not prohibited according to ayurveda, but is not recommended during the treatment process) and we do not serve alcohol, coffee or tea. Also smoking is not recommended. 

IN THE RESTAURANT YOU HAVE BUFFET SYSTEM…

Yes, in the restaurant breakfast, lunch and dinner is served as a buffet, divided according the doshas into three categories – vata, pita, and kapha. For some serious cases or also for slimming programme patients, we cook separately or they can take some food from buffet after the consultation with Dietologist.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF DIETOLOGIST? 

Dietologist is present in the restaurant all day long and consults diet plan with ayurveda doctors and chef. Sometimes the diet plan can be changed from one day to another, if health condition of the patient has changed. But mostly, she is there, to avoid confusions, because not all the people are familiar with ayurveda principals and local dishes. 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KERALA AND TAKE A TREATMENT?

Althought European clients prefer dry winter period, the best time for ayurveda treatment is monsoon period, which starts in June and lasts till middle of September.  Andit is also important to mention, that rates are much lower during that period.  

 

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 IN INTERVIEW  WITH DR. SEENA RAJENDRAN Nº2 - we will ask more questions about specific ayurveda treatment programmes.

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AYURVEDA DOCTOR

DR.SEENA RAJENDRAN

"All the medicines, treatments, internal and external therapies are based on the spiritual aspects of a person. If we treat a patient only for the body, it won't work - the mind and the soul should be involved."

INTERVIEWED BY

ZUZANA ZWIEBEL

Founder & Director of Ayurveda Trails, healing collection of (extra)ordinary people and their stories, whose experiences are transferred into various trails shared by travelers.

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