*Rasa Ayurveda Clinic - Traditional Healing Centre for Women
Trivandrum, Kerala, India
See their website: www.RasaAyurveda.com
These notes were from Evans trip to Rasa Ayurveda* in February 2009 Kerala, India
This blog was originally written by Evan in February 2009, following her trip to southern India where she participated in an in-depth three week Ayurvedic intensive. In the years preceding and following she has studied with Vasant Lad, an author, Ayurvedic physician, professor and director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her love of this ancient tradition inspired her creation of her Ayurvedic skin treatments, which feature the harmonizing herbs of Tulsi, Frankincense, Neem, Sandalwood, and Fenugreek.
When we updated our website a couple years ago, we started fresh and left our old blogs behind. Missing some of these old stories, we thought we’d republish some of our favorites. Hope you enjoy.
By the time we land in Trivandrum (now called Thiruvananthapuram, and it takes me the entire trip to master pronunciation) we had been traveling for many more than 24 hours, of that I am sure. We left SFO at 3:45p flying Emirates Air winging our way nonstop towards Dubai, UAE. We had a great flight, it was only about 1/2 full (apparently January is a good time of year to fly) and therefore Anita, Jan and I each had a row to ourselves so we were able to stretch out and sleep...Which was good since this was a 16+hour flight.
The lay-over in Dubai gives us a few hours to walk around and explore the airport, which is gorgeous, and this is just the airport. Our return trip allows us to spend a few nights and explore Dubai, but that's a story for another time...
We finally land in Trivandrum in the wee hours of the morning and even though we don't know who will be here to meet us, quickly find our names on hand-held cards and introduce ourselves to Vyshak and Vino, our 'main' guys, who greet us with smiling faces. We are loaded into a car festooned with fresh jasmine garlands and are soon weaving our way through quiet streets to the serenity that is Rasa Ayurveda Clinic (RasaAyurveda.com).
Upon arrival we are served a plate of ruby red pomegranate seeds and tiny bananas and drink cool glasses of vetiver water. Afterwards we are each shown to our rooms. Vyshak heats water for each of our 'baths' and I am finally able to sponge away 26+ hours of smelly, cramped, stressful travel. No hot running water and two big pails for showers, but I am clean and content.
The next day after breakfast we have our initial evaluation by Dr. Geetha and are given our scheduled treatments along with nourishing drinks tailored to our doshas. The first day I have an ahbyanga, a massage where I am slathered with a warmed oil called mukuttu (a cured combination of: coconut, sesame and castor oils) by two sweet-faced women followed by a long, invigorating head massage. My series of treatments finishes with svedhana, steam therapy. Svedhana draws excess Pitta out of the body and encourages the balanced flow of Vata. I am placed into the warm hug of a tightly woven, coconut-palm enclosure. Steamy mist slowly encircles my body, the moist heat easing and soothing the creaks and groans of cramped, jet-lagged muscles.
After the treatments I am given a specific drink which serves to revive me just long enough for the short trip down the marble stairs to my rooms where they fill my bath bucket with hot water and instruct me to wash, rinsing with a mixture of grains. That evening, I fall into a deep sleep. The next day's treatment expands to include shirodhara. Warmed oils rhythmically applied back-and-forth over the third eye area of the forehead by a cooper vessel which sits suspended overhead.
To say a shirodhara treatment is deeply relaxing would be a master of understatement. I feel my awareness slip away into a place of peace, silence and refreshment. This is a treatment that profoundly quiets the central nervous system. Depending on the constitution (prakruti) and current state (vikruti) of the individual, and the season of the year, coconut, sunflower and other oils are sometimes used, as well as herbal infusions in water, milk and buttermilk. Shirodhara pacifies Vata, nourishing and calming the nervous system, who doesn't need that?
In the languid hollow of sultry afternoons at Rasa, I can be found rocking slowly back-and-forth in the colorful hammocks that are strung between coconut trees (Kerala means 'coconut' in Malayalam) watching the clouds drift by and listening to the songs of birds and the lowing of the neighborhood cows.
The whisper of humid air against my skin feels lush and soothing. Sound and scent awaken me in the mornings. In the quiet of the dawn I can hear the call to prayer from a neighborhood mosque and later, the music of flutes and chanting from a nearby Hindu temple. The perfume of fragrant smoke from morning fires permeates and fills my tiny room. I am going to stop now, it's early evening and the electricity will be going out soon, they light candles here instead. More later...
Ayurvedic Skin Care Kit
Evan’s Ayurvedic Treatment Protocol begins with the complete cleansing action of our Coconut Cream Cleanser. Follow with a generous misting of one of our fresh Tulsi Facial Tonic HydroSoul, and apply Argan Serum to lock in moisture and hydration. For blemished and congested skin, our Neem Immortelle Serum, a combination of infused and cured oils, is an ideal choice. Our Lemongrass Facial Polish is recommended for skin refinement, deep pore cleansing, and a gentle, non-invasive exfoliation without disturbing the skin’s protective mantle.
~ Certified Organic — A full facial treatment protocol
~ Harmonizing for all skin ~ created with traditional Ayurvedic preparation methods and the sacred herbs of India
~ Free of preservatives, emulsifiers, and fillers — 100% pure plant material
Coconut Cream Cleanser
~ For all skin, especially sensitive, dry, or troubled
~ A gentle, traditional non-invasive cleansing oil, featuring silky virgin coconut oil, vetiver and sweet orange
~ Makeup remover, skin cleanser, moisturizer and conditioner all rolled into one.
Tulsi Facial Tonic Hydrosol
~ For all skin, especially congested, blemish-prone & traveling skin
~ Protective, vitalizing, awakening and hydrating
~ Abundant in antioxidants, and pH balancing
Argan Intensive Facial Serum
~ For all skin — especially dry, sensitive, over-processed and over-exposed to the elements
~ Al Amal Co-operative argan oil, woven with therapeutic, rejuvenating essential oils
~ Deeply nutritive and moisturizing; rich in EFAs, squalene, phytosterols
Neem Immortelle Purifying Infusion
~ For all skin ~ especially congested, troubled, blemish-prone
~ A remarkable blend of two deeply balancing herbal oil infusions - a traditional Ayurvedic infusion of Neem leaf cured into sesame oil, and beloved Immortelle infused into olive oil.
~ Multi-functional — can be used as an oil cleanser or a facial serum
Lemongrass Facial Polish
~ For all skin
~ A gentle plant-based exfoliant
~ Reveals clarity and glow, smooths and refines complexion, balances uneven pigmentation