Ayurvedic cure : 1 week at the Tapovan center in Normandy
You have been advised to do an ayurvedic cure or someone close to you comes back from a cure and advises you to do one but you don’t really know what it consists in? The concept of a cure speaks to you but you are not really familiar withAyurveda? Discover in this article what Ayurveda is, what a cure consists of, where to go for a cure, what benefits to get and what rituals to adopt on a daily basis! The founder of Yogom has tested it and tells you about her adventure. Nothing better to make your own opinion and decide to leave or not!
What is Ayurveda?
- L’ayurveda in Indian means “ayur” (life) and “veda” (science, knowledge).
- The term ayurveda is translated as “knowledge of life or longevity”..
- Ayurveda is the traditional medicine originating in India but also practiced in other parts of the world. Indeed, Indian academic institutions related to traditional medicines have succeeded in giving Ayurveda an international visibility.
- The WHO has even recognized Ayurveda as an advanced traditional system of medicine system of medicine that includes medicinal, non-medicinal, manual and spiritual treatments.
The 3 doshas
Ayurveda is very complex but bases all its principles on 3 elements which will be named: doshas. The doshas are the energy forces of nature as well as the elementary principles that allow us to better understand ourselves, the world around us and therefore to live in better harmony with it.
- There are 3: Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth)
- A ayurvedic doctor or numerous online questionnaires or that you can find in books can help you to determine your constitution.
- Although we each have a different doshic constitution (dominance of one or two dosha or balance between the three), we can have imbalances linked to the changes of seasons that we have not taken into account in our way of life and our diet for example.
- The Ayurvedic art consists in knowing oneself but also in knowing the seasons and the rules of dietetics in order to be able to maintain our balance throughout the year and throughout the major changes in our lives.
What is an Ayurvedic cure and why do one?
What are the benefits?
It is a wellness stay whose goal is to take care of yourself, to relax you but not only. The goal is also to:
- Detoxify and purify the body
- Relaxing the body
- Calming the mind
- And strengthen the immune system
What does a stay consist of?
It consists of:
- of a diet,
- of massages and body rituals,
- of rest,
- of asana exercises,
- of meditation,
- of breaths,
- of walks
- and daily life hygiene rules.
How often should I go for an Ayurvedic cure?
It is recommended to do it every year in order tomaintain a good quality of life rather than waiting until you really need it.
This is the whole principle of Ayurveda: the prevention before the cure.
Here are some examples of reasons why you might want to leave:
- Maintenance of your lifestyle regularly, desire to strengthening of your immune system
- Changes : season, job, move
- Anxietynervousness, anxiety, burn out, need to let go
- Suffering bereavement, separation, illness, depression
- Want to combine massage and introspection!
What are the differences between a cure and a retreat and a youth?
If you are wondering what is the difference between an Ayurvedic cure, a spa stay in Marrakech and a VInyasa retreat or a youth or meditation course I give you some answers. All of them are meant to relax and reconnect you with yourself but each of these possibilities has its own specificities and I don’t think you should go for the same reasons.
A retreat is a solution to consider if you need to do some introspection and to refocus or even to clarify your situation but you also want to practice a physical activity, in this case yoga, and you like this discipline. Unlike an Ayurvedic cure or meditation retreat, the desired letting go is found in the practice of asanas, the downtime can be dedicated to moments of isolation, meditation but not necessarily in austerity and emptiness. This can be in a jacuzzi, a spa or by going to visit a village and do more fun activities. There is a difference between a yoga vacation where you will indeed seek distractions between practice times and a retreat where you will seek to be alone during free time to reflect and take stock but in nice places. Discover our article on pensions .
It is similar to a yoga retreat in that it is through the activity of meditation that the search for introspection and well-being is found. As with the yoga retreat (unlike the vacations), free time will be used to maintain a form of meditation: relaxation, Hatha, mindfulness walking, readings. This is not a time for celebration!
A fast can resemble a retreat by the silent and introspective side but the objective remains mainly the search for health by the food aspect.
The Ayurvedic Cure
The Ayurveda cure has for central element the body care: modelling and various body rituals. Like a retreat, a cure seeks to minimize all sources of mental solicitation and therefore distraction, so there is a lot of emptiness, free time where nothing is really to be done because it is not advisable to do anything. This can be very confusing and even frightening. It is a dizzying invitation to let go. A cure includes sessions of soft hatha and meditation but to be practiced in a free way or à la carte and thus in small measure compared to the time of the treatments and the time of emptiness. It also has a dietetic objective without being in fasting, it is a vegetarian, ayurvedic and light food which aims at detoxifying the body.
The spa stays: you keep only the modelling of the ayurvedic cure, you replace the vegetables by gazelle horns, the free time by hammam and the visit of the medina and we are there!
Questions to ask yourself before choosing your wellness stay?
All this to say that I think you should ask yourself two questions before deciding where to go and with what formula to take a vacation and take care of yourself:
- What do you like the most or what do you want to pay more attention to?
- In what state of mind are you? Are you in a lot of pain? An Ayurvedic cure is certainly more appropriate than a yoga retreat. You are in good shape and doing well but you want to introspect, you need to see more clearly on some aspects of your life? So go on a meditation retreat. Do you feel like doing a little sport and getting together with yourself to take stock? Retire. If you are too well and want to be massaged the ayurvedic cure or the young will not be very happy 😉
Where to go?
Going to France or abroad?
To make it simple 2 options are available to you:
- Go to India for an ayurvedic cure : especially in the Kerala region known for that (see for example big banana island )
- Staying in France and finding an ayurvedic center
I will tell you about my stay at Tapovan Normandy but I also know that there is another smaller center with less cures but similar: Divali Farm in Burgundy. It was recommended to me but I did not test it.
Tapovan: the largest Ayurvedic center in Europe:
- Founded by Kiran Vyasone of the pioneers of Ayurveda in Europe. He is a lecturer and author of numerous books on Ayurveda and Ayurvedic massage. Find in our article his interview on ayurveda : he explains how to find half of your medicine in your plate and the other half in your garden !
- Tapovan is located in a large estate and consists of a beautiful farmhouse. Several houses live together in the middle of flower gardens, fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Birds’ songs, Norman freshness, country light, dew, etc.
- In one building is the reception, in another the careIn another, the restaurant; in another, certain talks or conferences; in another, physical practices. Each activity has its own dedicated space and this means that to get from one to the other you have to take a few steps through the vegetation and fill your lungs with fresh air!
- Several cures are offered throughout the year almost every week Wellness cure, the one I did called Ojaskar, slimming cure, letting go cure, rejuvenation cure, etc. That’s what makes it so convenient, the day you decide to go, it’s not hard to find a place because even if the cures are very popular, they are often available.
Testimonial of my Ayurvedic treatment at Tapovan
The Ojaskar Ayurvedic Cure:
I chose the Ojaskar CureOjaskar is the most popular Ayurvedic treatment, simply because it is recommended for people who have never taken an Ayurvedic treatment before. Ojaskar means “which increases the light of the body / its immunity”. This is the ultimate wellness cure. The objective is to bring the body to a deep relaxation, a detoxification of the body, a physical and mental letting go. The program is quite mysterious and it is part of the game of the cowardly recovery. They deliberately give you little information about the nature of the care to force you to trust the team and to let go ! You’ll just know that you’re expecting to receive some oddly named treatments: Abhyanga, Kansu, Pichauli, Shastishalipinsweda … You won’t ask for more, these names sound exotic enough as it is!
Why I went on an Ayurvedic cure:
I had been dreaming of going on an ayurvedic cure for a few years. A friend of mine had told me about Tapovan at a retreat that I particularly liked, so I had a lot of confidence in her. I had always told myself that after giving birth I would go there for a cure because it seemed to be the ideal context. A few months after giving birth I didn’t have the strength nor the desire to go on a physical activity retreat, I was physically and mentally exhausted, drained of energy, a bit broken and disoriented by this new experience of motherhood. With the covid I obviously couldn’t go so it was 18 months after I gave birth that I finally went. Besides, I might not have dared to give myself this wonderful gift: the reality is that it was my wonderful husband who gave it to me! It is true that 18 months after my delivery I was in better shape than 3 or 6 months later! I think I would have enjoyed it even more before. From a mental point of view I was also quite well before leaving, I didn’t have a desperate desire to be alone and to think as it was the case in the past when I decided to go on a welfare retreat. It was only as the week went on that I realized how different my mental state was from a few years ago and how far I had come! I was fine and didn’t need to think about it because I’ve been relatively aligned for some time! I could have gone on a yogic retreat or to a spa in Marrakesch! It’s true that I didn’t like this emptiness at the beginning like all the curists but when I came back I understood that doing nothing was not doing nothing but rather doing nothing and it’s two very different things. Doing nothing actively, i.e. consciously, is extremely beneficial. I often tell my son: at night we make rest and therefore energy. I, who often find it difficult to take a nap during the day on the weekend because I think it’s a waste of time, have changed my outlook and approach this question of rest, letting go and lazing around in an evolved way.
Planning of the ojaskar cure
As you will see the cure offers a huge number of hours of rest, it is really disconcerting at the beginning but it is what is needed to understand this idea of letting go, this idea of just being.
Learning to rest:
I don’t want to break the mystery of Tapovan’s program so I’ll try not to give too much away but roughly speaking there are 3 hours of treatments per day. During these 3 hours you are in a rest room in a bed of your own. The first two days you will think that it is a giant waiting room and then you will gradually begin to understand that this time spent in bed is an integral part of the treatment, it allows you to integrate the benefits of each treatment, to rest without doing anything because you will not really be allowed to have books. If you are really feeling restless, you can go to the Zen room or the adjoining reading room, but that’s all! At the end of the stay you will gladly stay in bed between treatments, you will have understood the objective!
Becoming a curist is a whole concept!
Until then I was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a business owner, a friend of but this week spent at Tapovan I became a curist!
Each day you will receive one or two massages and one or two body rituals:
- body massage with oil, back, legs, feet or hands,
- massage with rice pudding or hot oils,
- 7 postures massage,
- castor oil in the eyes,
- coconut oil in the navel,
- pichauli oil on the fontanelle,
- and also and especially the famous Gandouch (a mouthwash with sesame oil)
Activities during free time
In addition to the time spent in the rest room during the half day of rituals, you will also have a whole other half day to do nothing!
So what do we do?
- Staying in your room sleeping, writing or reading
- Go for a walk on the beautiful beaches of Normandy : the famous beach of the small slabs for example or Veulettes-sur-Mer
- Stroll through the magnificent gardens of the of the Tapovan estate: the vegetable garden, the flower mandala, the fruit trees, etc.
- Meditate in the beautiful, well-heated Zen room with a magnificent Indian swing!
- Practice a gentle Hatha at 8am or 4pm
- Lie down in a Nidra after dinner
- Attend Kiran Vias’ evening talks in the evening after the Nidra or watch films on Ayurveda
The meetings and the community aspect
As always during this type of stay you will meet people! And what a nice surprise to meet people who wanted to go to the same place as you? And yes, this choice already represents a big common point and you will meet people with whom you will have pleasure to exchange and share. It is then up to you to decide whether to remain silent at lunch and dinner time or to chat. Of course, sometimes you will meet people who are more rewarding than others. I have always come away from each of these stays (spa or retreat) having made some great encounters and I have always kept in touch. What is great about these stays is the immense respect for everyone and the kindness!
What do we eat during an ayurvedic cure?
You will have 3 meals during the day although the breakfast is really the lightest and most surprising. You are on full board and do not have to cook!
- In fact, when you wake up upon awakening you will be offered germinated seedsa soy soup and a puffed rice cake. No more coffee, tea, butter and jam! No fruits either, those are reserved for lunch.
- At lunch You will also have raw vegetables, a legume, vegetables and two tablespoons of starch (brown rice, bulgur, semolina, etc.). Fortunately spices and gomasio are there to brighten up your already colorful plate!
- Drinks: all meals are accompanied by hot waterAll meals are served with hot water, filtered water and water in copper carafes as well as spiced herbal tea and Chai in the morning.
- Finally, in the evening you will also have raw vegetables, a soup, vegetables, legumes and starchy foods and 3 dried fruits or rice pudding.
- Satiety I never felt hungry during the week and I felt like I was eating less salt.
- Digestion The digestion was easy, I quickly felt light compared to my digestion post pasta my great passion 😉
- Cravings What I really missed was sugar, I was in total withdrawal! Especially in the evening after dinner at 5:30 pm, my nighttime cravings made life difficult for me… and unfortunately the craving did not go away on the weekend. Maybe a little, but I still threw myself on a chocolate bar when I arrived at the Paris train station… The dinner time will also confuse you: 5:30 pm.
- Young intermittent During the week, you will be happy because you will eat less and lighter. The most difficult time is finally between 6pm and 7am the next day or even between 6pm and 12am since breakfast is light. It is almost a young intermittent : super good for the immune system and very detox, your stomach is less solicited, it rests and strengthens!
What material to bring for an ayurvedic cure?
Big question when I was packing my suitcase! Luckily, the Tapovan Center sent me a list of supplies!
Tapovan Supply List:
- Bring your own bathrobe
- Please bring slippers, flip-flops and socks
- A isothermal gourd to carry your herbal teas or hot or cold water during the day.
- A comfortable outfit
- Rain gear
MY PERSONAL LIST
I would add to this list:
- I spent a week in my bathrobe and my pijama, or rather in my little Shakti Yogom suits ! Too comfortable, soft, one piece of clothing to put on!
- My Ayurvedic tongue scraper to do the ritual every day!
- My Yogom folding mat easy to transport because foldable and especially washable at the end of the stay in machine!
- My mini sheep wool knee pad to place on the travel mat which is very thin to give it an extra thickness under the buttocks in sitting positions and under the knees in some Hatha postures.
- A blanket if you come by car and have the space! See the merino wool blanket from Yogom.
- A big scarf to wrap yourself in during walks and Nidra!
- A notebook to write down my thoughts, to take stock, to note all the good advice you will receive during the week!
- Some booksfull of books to fill the void 😉 !!!!! I had taken the book written by Kiran on Ayurveda, another book I already had on Ayurveda, a small book “The Feminist Terror“which was lent to me and is a very quick read and finally an personal development book written by Stéphane Perez. See all the books offered on the online bookstore Yogom
- Scrubs, masks and creams because you’ll have time to take care of yourself and do all the things you don’t usually do!
The 5 ayurvedic rituals easy to apply in everyday life!
This ayurvedic cure was unexpected, surprising and not always easy or pleasant although the massages were just great but I sincerely think that it regenerated me for several months. I have never had so much energy and I feel very light. I didn’t really lose weight during the week, although that was one of my goals, but when I got home I was less hungry and so I lost a kilo in a few days.
If you can’t go on an Ayurvedic cure, here are the 5 little things I would advise you to do on a daily basis to improve your health:
- Drink a glass of water (hot if possible) when you get up
- Scratching the tongue with the big tongue
- Make Gandush (sesame oil mouthwash) during your shower for example a tablespoon
- Eat sprouted seeds for breakfast
- Eat more legumes and less starches!
If you become a fan of this type of stay, go to the next step with the Panchakarma stay: it is a process of purification of the body rather violent but which cleanses the toxins in depth. Find out more!