Dr. Shirish Deshpande, Ayurveda Dr. at Port Salvi Yoga & Ayurveda Resort
As resident Ayurveda Doctor at Port Salvi Ayurveda centre, can you tell us about your background, experience and what brought you to Port Salvi?
We are a team of ayurveda experts from Pune city in India and we rotate here at Port Salvi during their season from February through until November. We have been working in this way at Port Salvi Ayurveda Hotel for over 15 years. Professor Deshpande was the first to visit the hotel and he went on to form the existing team.
We all have Postgraduate Masters in Ayurveda and Yoga. When at home in Pune city we are all practicing doctors in private ayurveda centres and each have twenty years of experience. We are armed with experience in therapeutic procedures, yoga methods, herbal supportive remedies etc.
What is ayurveda? And what is an ayurveda cure?
Ayurveda is a term from Samskrit, an ancient scientific language. Ayu = life + veda= science, so it is to study ‘the science of life’. An ayurveda cure is a health program whose aim is to purify, detoxify and heal the body and mind. It is an holistic approach to find balance in physical disorders and psychological imbalances.
What are the Doshas and how important are they in personalizing an Ayurveda program?
Doshas are the biological energy in our body, there are 3 distinct types and they govern the functioning of the mind and body in different ways. The body is a form of 5 different elements, earth, fire, water, air and space and each Dosha reflects which of these elements are dominant, for example VATA: space and air; PITTA: fire and water; Kapha: earth and water.
What benefits would you have by doing an ayurveda cure?
Rejuvenating and cheering up the body systems are the main aims and benefits of ayurveda.
In our busy day to day lives, we do many things which go against our body-nature. Not necessarily in one day alone, but cumulatively heavy toxins gather in deep channels. Just like we spring clean the deep corners of our homes, an ayurveda cure cleanses the rusty materials out from our body-channels. ‘Aama’ is a toxin which cannot be shown by any microscope, but shows itself in many ways, such as heaviness and frequent ill health. Aama is eliminated from body channels by ayurvedic treatments.
What does a typical program day look like?
Dina-charya is the word in ayurveda for a healthy daily routine.
Morning is a time to have pure ghee, (a clarified butter made from cow´s milk), which improves digestion, activates enzymes, has a pacifying effect on the gut and promotes glowing skin.
Guests will have different types of massages and therapies using personalised biotype-oils, which help the body to bring the deep-rooted toxins to the main elimination tract, from where they are more easily removed.
Tridoshic food – lunch is at 1pm and dinner at 7pm. Guest will enjoy local and seasonal produce and vegetables all cooked with mouth watering aromatic Indian spices and herbs. We feed the stomach and the Doshas and both are left satisfied! In the evening meal guests will tend to have a deliciously tasty and healthy soup as the first course. Yoga – we have a daily class (except for Sundays) at 17h00 for 50 minutes. This is a spiritual as well as therapeutic session and includes easy chants & pranaayam (breathing variations) and provides holistic support to the cure. Relaxation techniques are great stress-busters.
What is a Panchakarma cure?
The Panchakarma cure is a fivefold detoxification treatment involving massage, herbal therapy, and other procedures. There are five basic internal cleansing methods and 60 sub-procedures, as each biotype presents different health issues and tolerances, the treatments can be adapted or the panchakarma cure modified if necessary.
What are the main ayurvedic treatments?
Abhyanga (oil massage), Sarvanga Seka (whole body massage with oil), Shirodhara (oil gently poured onto forehead for relaxation), Nasya (nasal oleation for detox), Basti (oil enema to oleate and purify), Synchronal massage, Pinda Swedan (herbal rice ball massage), Kati Basti (local pooling of warm oil), Netra Basti (eye purification & nourishment).
Why is the use of warm oil so important in ayurvedic treatment?
Warm oil can be more easily absorbed by the skin´s pores. The ringmaster of body functioning is Vata, and can be identified by its dryness, movements and temperature (cold). To pacify and satisfy its functioning and to balance the Doshas, the warmth of the oil is very important.
What is the basis for the ayurvedic diet?
It said in India that, “the route to happiness is through our stomach.” Dinacharya (daily food regime) and Rutuchrya (seasonal changes in life pattern) are very well elaborated in ayurveda. To determine food patterns “some logic and some science” is needed. Cooked food is the base of the ayurvedic diet. Herbs and spices are used in the ideal proportions to enhance health, assist nature and to encourage the elimination of toxins. There are six different tastes madhura, amla, lawana, katu, tikta and kashaya (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, sharp and astringent) and they are the basis of providing balance to the Doshas.
Is an ayurveda cure suitable to lose weight?
Yes! Meda (fat) has two shades, one which is necessary for activity and the other stored as an unnecessary reservoir. Lekhana (scraping) of such unwanted fat can be achieved by selecting proper oils, powder-packs applied to the body, herbal steam-baths, basti (various enemas) and balanced food. The correct combination of herbs and spices play an important role in fat metabolism and of course exercise plays a very important role in healthy weight reduction.
Is yoga and meditation an important part of ayurveda?
The basic principles of yogic and ayurvedic science are very similar, so they go hand in hand and both work on body and soul. Yoga mainly focuses on manas-shuddhi (mental purification) and ayurveda focuses mainly on sharira shuddhi (body detox), ‘balance’ is the purpose of combing these two sciences.
How can people best prepare at home before an ayurveda program?
There may be few misconceptions out there and some people may think that, ‘passing a stool once every 3 days is normal’. However it is not, our body needs to clean out the intestines daily. Observe your hunger, is it more noticeable in the morning or evening? If you are allergic to any oils or food types then please let us know before arrival so that we can take proper care and adapt your meals accordingly. If you do have any recent x-ray/scan/blood reports, please bring them along. This will provide us with an idea of your health history and could result in us modifying the ayurveda program.
What feedback do you get from clients during or after their ayurveda cure?
Before energy can be restored and the system refreshed and through the passive exercise of massage, many guests can feel tired. This is very normal especially while the toxins are being flushed and eliminated from the system and it is important to have relaxation during the first few days. The body however does regain high amounts of energy in a short period of time as it is cleansed inside and out. “Feeling lighter and fresher” is common after the cure as well as improved digestion, less feelings of hunger and improved skin quality.
On returning home should clients adapt their diet or avoid certain things to prolong the benefits?
On the final day of the cure, the ayurveda expert will provide information and recommendations to follow at home. Depending on the basic dosha biotype and personal health, simple tips and advice are given such as do’s and don’ts regarding food, oil for self-massage, herbal mixtures etc all of which help prolong the positive effects of the cure.
Are there certain situations where an ayurveda cure is not advisable?
Women should avoid following an ayurveda cure during their menstruation. If you have severe infections or a fever leaving you feeling weak we would also not recommend you follow a cure. Age wise dos and don’ts are there. The best would be to send us some information outlining your basic health information detailing your expectations, any illness and a health summary and this way we are in a better position to make recommendations or adapt the program.
Do you have any important tips that people should know?
Mainly the “Reason”- ‘why’ is purification necessary?
Knowing your biotype gives you a better orientation of choosing a healthy lifestyle.
If the biotype analysis is taken from a book using a chart of questions this will give you a basic idea. However a thorough biotype analysis can be achieved with various clinical examinations if carried out by an expert such as pulse, abdomen, movements, tongue, talking , thinking, emotions etc.
Food - use spices and herbs in everyday cooking.
The Ayurveda diet is a healthy version of Indian food, however not all Indian recipes are appropriate for every individual.
Common remedies such as ricinus for vata, aloe vera for pitta and lemongrass for kapha can be administered quickly and easily.
Mind – de-stressing can begin when we make the decision to improve our health and happiness. Just like physical rest, our mind also needs breaks from constant thoughts. We should give our mind a ‘healthy break’ everyday by practicing relaxation techniques.View