KARE and Sukham Ayu

Have you noticed that there are more and more people veering towards spirituality in modern times? Even Westerners are looking towards the East for its ancient healing practices and way of life. There is an inclination in the present generation towards Yoga and Ayurveda to reduce tension and stress. Many spas have mushroomed in a short span all over the world offering treatments that promise to grant one the nectar of youth and transformation.
Is it really possible to enjoy life to the fullest and achieve fitness? Can one not achieve holistic health at home or does one have to depend on gyms and spas? Or are you wondering why talk about stress/spirituality in a food blog? What does the state of mind have to do with the food you eat? Spirituality and food – do they even go together?

Well… it is possible to view food as a means of healing your body and mind rather than just a ritual that should satiate hunger and offer taste. I discovered this through ‘Sukham Ayu’.

Jigyasa and Pratibha of Pritya recently came out with a book – Sukham Ayu – dedicated to cooking according to the ancient Ayurvedic texts. It is not that owning the book or cooking from it alone guarantees a good body and an enlightened mind! It is not as if I am going to end up slimmer and trimmer after a few days of moderation! To gain full benefit you have to incorporate the insights offered in the book into your daily life.

More than the book this post is about the concept of food in Ayurveda, and using it as a means to achieve a happy long life – Sukham Ayu as the book says!

After going through the recipes and the text in the book I was keen on knowing more about the making and the reason for such a book so when the two authors asked me whether I would like to visit KARE and learn more from the man who was their inspiration for bringing the book forth, I immediately agreed. A few emails back and forth between them (Prathibha and Jigyasa) and me, them, and Dr. Roli and Dr. Roli and me…, and I was all set for an interview with Dr. Kalmadi and to know more about KARE!
Dr. Kalmadi – Image courtesy: Pritya.com
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Visiting KARE situated near Mulshi Lake in Pune was a great experience as I had the dual joy of spending a day in the lap of Mother Nature and also getting acquainted with the wonderful team at KARE.

Read on to know more about the gentleman and his muse – KARE!

The reception area of KARE by night – Image courtesy: Pritya.com

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We started at 6:15a.m. one pleasant Saturday morning having left our kids with their cousins. It was a lovely smooth drive as the Mumbai-Pune highway is well maintained and we were able to locate KARE quite easily thanks to the detailed landmarks provided by Dr. Roli during my telephonic talks with her earlier (Site map here). After the upward turn at Chandni Chowk in Pune, Nature seemed to have donned a fresh look as the weather turned breezier and we were greeted with more open space, passed many green fields as we drove uphill before we reached the scenic Mulshi Lake. A sharp upward bend opposite the lake area takes you to a wicket gate and a road beyond.
KARE from the reception area
My husband waited as I walked up the steps of what seemed a resort. I noticed a few scattered cottages and a small room hosting a few gym machines (in an Ayurvedic Centre? You will know why later!). I was sure I had come to the wrong place when the steps opened into a large airy dining area. One of the guests assured me that we had indeed come to the right place and guided me to the reception area. There I saw Dr. Rohit Rangappa.

It turned out I had entered through the wrong entrance! After the initial introductions, we learnt that Dr. Rohit and his wife Dr. Roli both had been students at Bhartiya Vidyapeeth Deemed University and joined KARE as newbies. They have grown so attached that they are still continuing after five years. I had read about the KARE team already at their site and one thing that had me intrigued was ‘pulse diagnosis’, and the site had mentioned that Dr. Rohit was a specialist at this. I had to know what it was, and he promised us that he would demonstrate it later. Oh BOY!! It was impressive! Ah…ha…more about that later;). Lets get introduced first!

The KARE team

The KARE team

We were served refreshing herb tea (without standard tea leaves or milk), and then Dr. Rohit took us on a tour of KARE. The first thing I noticed was the silence, calm and peace in the area only interrupted by the notes of the bulbuls as they flitted from one tree to another. The guests had had their breakfast and were lounging in the hall overlooking the lake. Tranquility reigned!

Nature

We were taken to the yoga hall inaugurated by Guru B.K.S. Iyengar, and were surprised when we saw the number of ropes and different props (demonstrations by Shri. B.K.S. Iyengar here). Though my husband is by far the fitness enthusiast in the family, he too had never seen a yoga hall of this kind. It was here that we were introduced to a new branch of Yoga called ‘Iyengar Medical Yoga’.

Here is what Dr. Rohit had to say on the subject:

Iyengar Yoga is a form of yoga conceived by Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar. It is a method of yoga where one uses props to perform the asana properly and thus help the body gain maximum benefit the asana offers. Persons who generally cannot do certain asanas like Sirsasana due to lack of practice or due to certain physical conditions, may also attempt it under the guidance of a qualified teacher with the help of props like ropes and derive its benefits. It is especially beneficial to people suffering from sciatica and related conditions. Similarly, ropes are used for performing the back arch and the bridge (shown below) helps in performing Viprita dandasana. Iyengar yoga is meant for all. By using these props even difficult asanas can be performed with a certain amount of ease.

He performed these for us using the props – take a look:

Sirsasana on ropes

Sirsasana on rope

Back Arch with ropes and Viparita Dandasana on Bridge

Yoga on props

After that he moved on the Zen Meditation hall. The hall has mellow lighting and low seated cushions for guests who wish to meditate. Meditation is recommended on a daily basis as it has a calming effect on the senses but one may concentrate on any form of their choice.

Zen Meditation Room

From here Dr. Rohit went on to show us the ‘age reversal hut’. I found this quite fascinating as I am sure any woman would. Imagine being away from the humdrum of daily routine and pampered with oil massages, ayurvedic packs, regular nourishment and cleansing of the body and mind – isn’t it heaven?

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The hut is completely built with treated mud and has a central room with filtered natural lighting from the roof. It has no modern amenities save a mirror and an extra bed outside. The age reversal treatment is a long one stretching upto 40 days (that was the catch!) where the guest is treated to complete skin and body treatments (internal and external) to help them detoxify and rejuvenate. Forty days is the recommended duration of this treatment. If the idea seems daunting think of the Kerala massages you will receive at the hands of excellent masseurs and, I am sure it will seem quite an indulgence.

The tour was followed by a light and healthy breakfast of fresh fruit….

Fruit platter

…..followed by moong dosa and chutney (You will find the recipe in the next post) accompanied with herb tea.

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We were already taken in by the surroundings when Dr. Kalmadi arrived sporting a crisp white shirt and black trousers. The distinguished look made me a little nervous as it struck me that I was just a blogger doing an interview for the first time and that too without a recorder!! How was I to record the interview? My fears were put to rest after a while as the interview did not happen like a ‘Q&A’ session.

Dr. Kalmadi turned out to be a friendly and calm person and put us at ease with his informal approach. It was more of a discussion and we were soon talking about so many things other than just KARE or Sukham Ayu. While in conversation I realized that KARE was not a spa or a resort but the result of Dr. Kalmadi’s drive to bring Kerala’s ayurvedic tradition to the rest of the world, and hence I call it his muse! Dr. Prakash Kalmadi was an allopathic doctor who turned towards Ayurveda and saw it as the road to complete health. KARE is his attempt to introduce Yoga and Ayurveda into the daily routine of every individual, and ‘Sukham Ayu’, he says is a collection of what is cooked in the KARE kitchen.

Out in the open dining area facing the lake, he shared his ideas, knowledge, a few easy asanas and the aspirations he has for KARE. Here are the excerpts that I hope will kindle your interest in Ayurveda and Yoga, and also clear any doubts you may have regarding the benefits of Ayurveda.

How did the switch from Allopathy to Ayurveda happen?

Many years back I used a lead a totally different lifestyle. At that time this place (indicating the reception area) served as my weekend home and the rest of the area was a golfing green. My lifestyle was quite hectic and took its toll. I suffered from severe spondilysis, backpain and such things. After trying out various allopathic treatments and still ailing, I met Dr. Srinivasan Nair who suggested Ayurvedic treatment. I underwent a Podhi session (treatment done with Herb Boluses) in Pune and after just the fourth session out of the seven sessions, I experienced so much relief and derived so much energy that overnight I changed my lifestyle. I stopped non-vegetarian food, drinks etc., and decided on bringing a complete Ayurvedic centre from Kerala closer home to Pune so that others could also benefit from Ayurveda. This switch happened on 31st January 1999.

How can Ayurvedic approach help in achieving holistic well-being?

Ayurveda does not recommend the same treatment for all individuals like Western medicine does. The body type is first identified and accordingly the guests are educated about what is right and wrong for them in terms of food and lifestyle. Ayurveda is not a cure but it is a guide to lead the correct lifestyle.

There is suddenly a lot of interest in Ayurveda and Kerala Ayurvedic Centres. How is KARE different from these other centres?

KARE combines the benefits of Ayurveda with that of Iyengar Yoga. It is not only a physical treatment with care given to nutrition, diet and treatments but also that of the mind by way of performing yogasanas. Most centres in the name of yoga teach some basic breathing exercises which is totally incorrect. Breathing exercises such as pranayama should be done only under the supervision of a good yoga teacher, and not by following books. In fact our Guruji, Shri B.K.S. Iyengar takes it up as the last step of yoga. Initially it is best to learn yogasanas under a teacher and then practice it regularly. At KARE we have the best teachers (Shri Ratanlal Shah) to guide our guests through yoga, we have genuine trained masseurs from Kerala for our oil massages, our diet is custom made for each guest and we have a team of dedicated doctors and dieticians who look after every aspect of the treatment and maintain a log of treatment given to each patient.

Is it possible to cure medical illnesses through yoga? What is the mode of treatment adopted?

Many people come to Ayurvedic doctors only as a last resort in which case we cannot really do much about the damage that has already been done. However even in such cases we have succeeded sometimes by only helping to rejuvenate what has not been damaged. When people come to us at initial stages of illnesses we can help them in getting rid of it completely.

Mode of treatment: We first examine and identify the body constitution of the individual – whether vata, pitta or kapha. After that the doctors diagnose their ailments while maintaining a log of this. Accordingly the doctors alongwith the nutritionist and yoga teachers decide on a complete health package. These involve ayurvedic treatments, oil baths, yoga exercises under the guidance of Shri Ratanlal Shah and under the supervision of Dr. Shetty and diet as designed in consultation with our dietician, Snehal.

Could you tell me more about the treatments that are done here?

At KARE we have guests who come just for relaxation and detoxification, people who are interested in doing a one month course on yoga, and also those who have serious illness like Cardiac disease, Arthiritis-Osteo/Rheumatic, Colitis, Motor neuron disorders, Chronic Renal failure, Paralysis, Parkinson’s and many more.

(For the various therapies given at KARE, please refer here)

Do you also take up weight loss cases?
Again that depends on the body constitution. Depending on the predominance of vata, pitta or kapha(terms explained later) the individual also has a certain limit upto which he/she can lose weight or slim down. We do not go against nature and set realistic limits after determining the constitution. It is not as if those who are slim are healthy but yes, one must practice yoga regularly and go for walks and maintain an active lifestyle to achieve good health. Those with a predominance of vata are generally built thin, can eat a lot and still not gain weight but others are not all that lucky! That is why they probably have come out with a T-shirt that says “Vata Wannabe!” (Laughs……) In a nut shell – we do take up weight loss cases also but also make people aware that one should take up weight loss only to become healthy and not to achieve that perfect shape! You just cannot go against Nature! (I breathe easy….maybe it is my goodbye to the ‘vata wannabe’ brigade….?!!)

What is your daily routine, Dr. Kalmadi? (This I asked as I felt it would serve as a guide)

I alternate my stay between KARE and my home in Pune. I get up early and perform ‘Surya namaskar’ (Sun salutation routine) at 6:30a.m., followed by an hour of yoga. This is followed by ayurvedic massage about 3 or 4 days in the week. I have breakfast at about 8:30 and walk to my office (2kms. when in Pune). I have my lunch at about 1:00p.m. consisting of 2 phulkas and a light subzi. All my cooking is done in cow’s ghee as it is naturally therapeutic as per Ayurveda. One thing I am particular about is not using refined oil in my food. In fact anything that comes attached with the word ‘refined’ is sure to have lost its nutritive value, so I advise people not to use refined oil or refined flour. I have dinner latest by 9:00p.m. and it is again very light. When I am in Mulshi I walk for nearly 5 to 10kms everyday and perform yoga for at least 2hrs daily. (Please note that Mulshi Lake is an open area with hardly any traffic and lot of greenery)

 

I work like most people in a 9 to 5 schedule. For many people the regular work hours can stretch upto 9 in the night. Do you have any easy exercises for people at work?

I recommend that one should get up early and do yoga for at least half an hour. You can start with active standing poses (tadasana and its derivatives), forward bends (virasana, paschimottasana), backbends (viparita dandasana), inverted poses (sarvangasana, sirsasana) and end with the
supine pose (savasana) .

Bharadvajasana – This is great for the back and benefits diabetics also. It stimulates the liver and pancreas.

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Viparita dandasana – This stretches the chest and elongates the heart flushing out the coronary arteries. One can do this instead of sirsasana. Guruji calls this pose a passive bypass surgery. After doing this for 5minutes everyday you will not have to enter an ICU all your life!

Viprita dandasana

Virasana or vajrasana – This is to be done after consuming food as it aids digestion and improves circulation of blood and helps in keeping the bones cancer free.

Veerasana

One thing you should avoid is butterfly strokes of the thighs – you might just end up damaging your spine!

How would you compare allopathy with ayurveda?

Allopathy may have instant cures but it does not help the body rejuvenate while healing, which is what Ayurveda does. This is because Western medicine does not teach diet and nutrition as part of medical schools. While in allopathy treatments are the same for a disease, in Ayurveda treatment is for the entire body and not only for one condition. The concept of treating all individuals in a similar manner does not exist in Ayurveda as we believe that the composition of the five elements is different in different people and treatment is devised according to each individual’s composition. Ayurveda treats the condition as well as the whole body and mind. I am not saying that allopathy is wrong, but I do feel that Ayurveda needs to be accepted as an equal in medicine. I am looking forward to the day when Allopathy and Ayurveda will be used together to treat patients!

Do you grow your own herbs required for the treatments here?

We do have a small herb garden but we procure our herbs fresh from Kerala. (I interrupt – Why Kerala?) Basically though Ayurveda was prevalent all over India most of these places were invaded at different times and the texts were burnt or lost. Kerala was never invaded to that extent hence you still find that ayurveda is still a way of life. (He described the natural beauty of Kerala assuming that I would relate well and he was quite surprised that though a Palakkad Iyer, I had never been there before – I should now!)

What about the vegetables and fruits?


We dabbled for sometime in growing our own vegetables organically here but it is such a distraction that now we procure all our vegetables and fruits from organic farms at Gultekdi.

What is your view on genetically modified vegetables?

This whole concept itself is wrong as modification of natural genetic composition is equivalent to insertion of cancer cells which will no doubt lead to neurological problems. I am completely against it which is why we insist on organic products.

What kind of cooking do you stick to in KARE?

At KARE we do not use tomatoes, potatoes, brinjals and cucumber. Both tomatoes and potatoes are neurotoxic in nature – you can see the direct impact in America. They use a lot of both these vegetables and also have maximum cases of neurological disorders. Brinjals are heavy for digestion so we just do not recommend it. Cucumbers are vata enhancing in nature and is not recommended in Ayurveda as it leads to colon related disorders.

We were surprised and I guess it showed – after all we use tomatoes in most gravies to enhance the taste, don’t we? Are not cucumbers said to make a good salad?

Dr. Kalmadi immediately said – “We do not ask you to give up anything completely.” “One can practice moderation and consume these items in very small portions, and avoid using it on regular basis.” Moderation is the key to good health. In fact we do not even recommend raw salads. All the salads served at KARE are steamed to make them easily digestible.

 

What is your aim when you treat people at KARE?

While treating them we also try to educate people about the good and bad choices in food, lifestyle and exercises. We make sure they follow it while they are here but we can’t go beyond that. After that we have to leave it to their choice.

What was your role in ‘Sukham ayu’?

The concept is KARE’s and the cooking follows the pattern of cooking in the KARE kitchen and the recipes tried at KARE since last 10 years. Pratibha & Jigyasa have done a lot of research on this book for nearly three years and delved into Ayurveda before coming up with this book. I wanted only that credit should be given to KARE. Many of the recipes you will find in the book are the ones we cook.

How did the collaboration for the book come about?

It just happens that Jigyasa is known to me well, and I was invited for the launch of their earlier book “Cooking with Pedatha”, in Bombay. While there I met them (Jigyasa and Pratibha) and suggested cooking therapeutically with Ayurveda and they immediately took to the idea. This was followed by a visit to KARE. They were so impressed by the place that they came for a ten day stay and decided that they had to bring out this book. I must add that they have researched a lot before the book was finally brought out.

(Dr. Rohit Rangappa had earlier informed) –
They were really excited about this. I remember they used to look up the ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita and ask us all kinds of questions about the properties of the ingredients used. We looked up many of our books just so that we could answer them correctly!

Why a book on ayurvedic cooking?

I want this book to reach everyone, and I want it sold at every ayurvedic centre so that everyone benefits from the knowledge cooking healthy. When I see that treatments are not followed up with proper diet I had decided upon my mission in life. I want to educate not only people but also doctors about the right kind of food. I cannot stand it when prominent public figures go around endorsing wrong food stuff. Sugar substitutes are carcinogenic in nature and yet we have celebrities endorsing it as ‘healthy’. Look at the misconception created by Saffola! Refined oils are bad for heart and yet wrong advertisements have created a wrong impression that it is the best! The worst of all is the way canned juices are marketed as ‘fresh’ and without preservatives! I do not recommend this to anyone. I was surprised that a doctor whom I knew was consuming canned juices as there was no time for preparation of fresh ones especially when ill. I want to break these myths. Fresh cooked food or fresh fruits can never be replaced by any method.

You are quite against the word ‘refined’! What is the alternative to refined oil? What do you suggest the best medium for cooking?

As per Ayurveda it is cow’s ghee. (I told him about vegan diet followers and ask for another substitute) If you have to use oil go for double filtered oil rather than refined oil. Sesame oil is also a very good cooking medium.

What is panchakarma? What are the benefits one can derive from this?

Panchakarma is the term we use for detoxification. One has to undergo treatment for this at KARE for at least a fortnight for complete results and maintain the diet plan recommended by us at least for 4 or 5 days a week. The type of lifestyle you lead plays a very important part. We agree it is not possible to stick to a strict diet or routine these days but at least one should make time for at least an hour of yoga everyday. Maybe half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, get enough exercise by way of walks. We do not recommend going to the gym at all.


At this point I remembered the gym equipments – walkers and cycles – we had seen on our way up to the dining area, and asked:
Why do you have those machines in that case?

Have you seen the empty meditation/yoga halls in some hospitals? They do not believe or offer yoga as a part of their medication but still have a meditation hall. We almost never use or recommend gym training but a few machines have been kept as a convenience for guests if they are on a daily regimen.

Which are the good Ayurvedic Medicine Schools in India? What is your advice for the youth aspiring to go into Ayurvedic Medicine / BAMS?

We have about seven Ayurvedic Medicine Schools in Pune and many good colleges in Mumbai too. All of them are quite good. What I do not like is that the youth go for a BAMS (Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree only when they do not get entry in MBBS or they prefer using it as a backdoor entry for regular allopathic practice.

(A list of Ayurvedic schools is given at the end of the post alongwith a useful link)
Justify Full


The Army Sports Institute (ASI) had got trained Olympic level sportspersons selected from all over the country by KARE. What was the role of KARE in this endeavour. What are the benefits sports persons can derive from Ayurveda?

We provided massages for the athletes/boxers to help them with their injuries and also to strengthen their muscles. Shirodhara is very good for increasing concentration. Netrabasti gives brilliant results for archery. Other treatments like podhi kizhi, ela kizhi etc., are also beneficial to athletes.

As P and I had satisfied ourselves completely we decided to go on to the subject that interested us most! Pulse diagnosis:), and spoke to Dr. Rohit Rangappa about this.

What is pulse diagnosis?

(Dr. Rohit Rangappa is a specialist in this field and he has been involved with care for over five years now alongwith his wife – Dr. Roli Rangappa.)

Pulse diagnosis is an ancient method wherein the ailments of the body can be accurately traced by studying the vibrations sent by the nervous system. This is a science that one can learn but expertise comes with lot of practice, and is not to be confused with miracle healing or other such superficial treatments. (Dr. Rohit has specialized in the field and is able to predict with 90% accuracy the ailments even without the patient divulging his/her medical problems in the past or present)

 

Dr. Rohit demonstrated this method of diagnosis on us and we were surprised that even though we were not ill/traumatized at the time of diagnosis yet he had very accurately pointed out the physical problems we had faced earlier, and those which we were likely to face later – for instance my lower back pain, acidity problems and related pains. All this without my not having said anything to him about any of these conditions!

After this Dr. Roli put forth a questionnaire to identify our body constitutions as per Ayurveda, whether vata, pitta or kapha. We both turned out ‘pitta-vata’, to which Dr. Roli exclaimed – “Great, at least you can follow a similar diet!” Snehal, the dietician provided us with a food hierarchy
chart that showed the type of food best suited to our body type, that which should be had in moderation and that which were not suitable for us. Meanwhile it was time for the sumptuous spread called lunch! Dr. Roli educated us as to the ‘sequence of having food’. Surprised? She also explained the meanings of the terms – vata, pitta and kapha and the concept of food in Ayurveda – something that not only nourishes and vitalizes the body but also heals. Read further for healing your body and rejuvenating yourself through food:

Please explain the terms vata, pitta and kapha in a layman’s language. What types of yogic exercise would you advise for each body type?

Ayurveda is a basic science as it relates one with the Universe. According to Ayurveda Universe is ‘macrocosm’ and every human is a part of it by being a ‘microcosm’. The three basic elements that govern the universe are undoubtedly Air, Sun & Water. In the same way, the basic elements which govern the human body are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata is the air element, Pitta the fire element and Kapha is the water element of the body. All the actions and motions of the body are attributed to Vata be it voluntary or involuntary such as our speech, walk or even the beating of the heart. The food we eat is digested due to Pitta, the fire in the stomach. Our body has a shape and is bound together because of the water element, i.e., Kapha.

Though each of us have all the three elements only two of these will decide our body constitution. Our body constitution is decided at the time of conception of the foetus in the womb, and never changes after birth or later.

Have you ever wondered that you and your neighbour (for instance) may shop for similar food items from the same super market, buy almost the same kind of groceries, you may even have the same food item and YET while he gets gassy from consuming it you get acidity. Closer still in your own home you may notice that similar food consumed by all of you may affect each one differently. Why is this? This is answered in Ayurveda as an individual’s body constitution, i.e. ‘Prakruti’.

Ayurveda believes that each one of us is unique and has his own body constitution which is defined and designed at the time of conception. This explains the subtle differences between individuals and explains why everyone is unique and that two persons can react very differently when exposed to the same environment or stimuli. It is important for each one of us to know our ‘prakruti’ so that we can avoid diseases, which may affect us. It helps in understanding some important physical and mental characteristics. So the apt knowledge of ones own prakruti helps immensely both in prevention and treatment of diseases.

Yogic Exercise:

For Vata predominance – Restorative postures like supta veerasana, supta badhakonasana, setu bandha sarvangasana.
For Pitta predominance – Calming & stabilizing like supta veerasana, badhakonasana, uttanasana, halasana, cooling prayanama [sheetkari & sheetali] and meditation.
For Kapha predominance – Dynamic poses as in sun salutations, standing poses, back bends and inversions.

While we were being served, Dr. Roli explained the significance of food, and the reason why one should ideally start with a dessert and finish with a ‘mukhwas’!

Ayurveda recommends food that is “Saatvic” in nature. “Saatvic” food is vegetarian based, has a light sweet taste, with mild flavours of spice, and is easy to digest. It consists of fruits and vegetables, and mainly emphasizes on freshly prepared and properly cooked food, consumed at the right time and in right quantity.

Considering the body’s constitution, with a proper combination of all the six tastes we follow the standard Ayurvedic eating ritual. According to modern dieticians we should consume a ‘healthy balanced diet’ to maintain our health for prevention of diseases. A balanced diet includes all the six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent which supplies all the nutrients in adequate amounts in accordance with an individual’s age, sex and physical activity.

The food prepared at KARE imbibes the principle aspects of Ayurveda viz., viruddha aahar (contradictory food combinations), order of tastes in the meal and ingredients recommended by Ayurveda – rock sugar/ jaggery, rock salt and cow’s ghee.

Order of Taste in meals:

According to Ayurveda there is a specific order of tastes in the meal which is – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent & astringent.

When we start eating the food, our digestive fire is at its strongest. Hence, we should eat sweets first as they are heavy and can be digested easily at the beginning of the meal. Generally we eat sweets towards the end of the meal when the digestive fire becomes slow as it is busy digesting the food already taken. This leads to accumulation of toxins in the body giving rise to indigestion which is the root cause of all diseases – ‘Rogaha sarveapi mandeagnau’.

We can have the dals & vegetables together as they are a combination of salt, sour, bitter, and pungent. One should preferably end the meal with some astringent. Astringent taste constricts the taste follicles on the tongue and satiates us. There is no further craving for food and one has a balanced meal, whereas if we eat sweet at the end, the mouth waters and we eat more and land up overeating.

What is it about KARE that you like?

The whole environment here is so friendly and the staff has always been like a family to me. It is not only me but you will find that no one here seems to be working. We serve with sincerity.

What does Dr. Kalmadi emphasize most?
Work sincerely with a smile or you are out!!

(I did notice that the staff seemed happy at work!!)


Lastly I asked her about the different terms such as pizhichil, shirodhara etc. as we have all heard of it but it is not clear as to what each one is about. Dr.Roli elucidates:

Pizhichil:

Pizhichil is a type of hot fomentation or swedana as lukewarm oil is poured over the body in a specific rhythmic manner. Pizhichil is an oil bath involving both swedana and snehana (oleation). Lukewarm herbal oil is poured, all over the body in a specific rhythmic manner continuously for 45 minutes and simultaneously the body is gently massaged. It is an excellent treatment for rejuvenation of tissues and needs to be done by at least 2 to 5 therapists. It is used in cases of arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, general debility, nervous disorders etc.

Shirodhara:

In this process warm herbal oil is poured on the forehead continuously in a specific manner for about 25 minutes a day and slowly the duration is increased. In shirodhara the temperature of the oil poured on the forehead is maintained throughout the treatment and the stream of oil should also be same in order to achieve best results. It is very relaxing treatment for brain and nervous system so it is carried out in a very peaceful environment under the guidance of doctors and trained therapists. Shirodhara is beneficial in cases of insomnia, stress, depression, hypertension, epilepsy, insanity, migraine and sinusitis. It is also a beauty treatment.

I hope you enjoyed the visual and enlightening tour of KARE and Ayurveda as much as I did. I also cooked a few of the healing recipes from Sukham Ayu and will share them with you in the sequel to this post. Do let me know whether the interview was informative and whether you would like such posts in the future! Your feedback will be a valuable asset for me:).
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Below is a list of good Ayurvedic Colleges in Maharashtra and more here

R.A. Podar Medical Ayurved College
Dr. A. Besant Road,Worli, Mumbai-400 018 Tel : 022-4934214

Asthang Ayurved Mahavidyalaya
Sadashiv Peth, Pune- 411030

Bharti Vidhyapeeth College of Ayurveda,Katraj,Pune.

Smt. K.C. Mittal Punaravasu Ayurved Mahavidyalaya
Charni Road, Mumbai 400002 Tel: 2056468

Dayabhaii Mawji Majithia Ayurved Mahavidyalaya
Shivaji Nagar, Arni Rd, Yavatmal-1 . Tel : 44234

Ayurved Mahavidyalaya
Ganeshwadi, Panchavati, Nasik- 422003 Tel : 73112

Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya
Rasta Peth, Pune- 411001 tel – 624755

Ayurved Mahavidyalaya,
Sion, Mumbai -400 022 Tel : 4072176

Ayurved Mahavidyalaya
Boradi, Shirpur, Dhulo District -42542 Tel : 84234

Next on TONGUE TICKLERS…… – Recipes from Sukham Ayu.

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  1. thank you Harini, for posting this information. I am bookmarking the post.

  2. Beautifully documented interview Harini – thank you so much for sharing this wealth of information.

  3. Wow, it is such a wonderful experience going through this post, thanks for sharing it with us, It reminded me of the yoga classes which i used to go in Rashtrothana parishat in bangalore who adapt BKS Iyengar yoga, what a lovely place may be next time when i visit india and come to pune to see my sister i should go and see this place, I must e-mail ur post to my sis who lives in pune & even saw that you have posted map that would be quite handy…, I still like to write so many things about this post…, i will be taking a lot of space if i keep on writing my feelings, but I would like to say that it is a very superb post…., thanks for sharing…

  4. Ramya Vijaykumar

    Amazing post and I lately myself fell into spirituality and a different kinda one too and the treated mud hut and those nice exercises mmm should keep us fit those… Shall definitely refer back though have starred it!!!

  5. A well written post covering all the minute details. Thanks for taking us for a virtual tour of KARE.

    You truly have a journalist gene in you. I am sure, its not far, when we get to see your writing on print media too.

  6. the moong dal dosa looks so much like regular one and yet so healthy.. waiting for recipe 🙂

  7. Mints, Laavanya am glad this turned out informative for you:)

    Jayasri, yes! It was an awesome experience. Am waiting to accumulate a few days of leave at office for a longer hiatus there!! You should give the place a try if you find time!

    Ramya, isn’t it the best resort?! I am a practical spiritualist;)

    Jayasree, YAY! YIPPEE!! Thanks:)

    Nags, it is more like pesarattu!!

  8. That road is our favourite for long drives & picincs. 🙂 You should try that route in the monsoons Harini …. all fog and clouds and green & green. 🙂

    And we do go to KARE … but only for the Satvik food at their restaraunt. 🙂
    I love their garden too … so many varities of saplings at one place. 🙂

  9. This is a very informative post.
    Looks like you had a wonderful time and gatherd lots of info to.
    Wish i could expirience this too.

  10. Wow Beautifully written post. Very informative. Thank You for sharing it with us.

  11. thts a nice post very informative,..:-)

  12. That was a lovely article harini, very well written

  13. Was waiting for this.Thanks for the detailed info.I can see it was a great experience.

  14. Fantastic post!

  15. Jai Ho,

    In reality, less than 1% of people follow these long term.

    Nothing new here.

  16. Well written post, the place is serene!

  17. Thanks all!

    Sharmila, I didn’t know about the restaurant. I have heard about Mulshi Lake’s beauty during the monsoons. Maybe I will also see it this time!

    Anon, we all know Yoga and Ayurveda is ancient but than good things need to be reiterated! Jai ho!!

  18. That must have been a very memorable and eye opening experience. I have read a book by another Ayurveda Doctor and I have read about eating sweets first and a couple other points mentioned here.

    In that book I also read that honey should not be heated (whereas in Western desserts it’s always heated), then garlic should not be consumed regularly especially during menstrual cycle and while pregnant. But can be consumed after child birth. Thought that book doesn’t have recipes it was also sort of comprehensive. Now I’m very eager to get Sukham Ayu too.

    And why do you want to slim down? You look great.

    Regarding fat free oatmeal cookies, I found this recipe in Susan’s blog
    http://www.fatfreevegan.com/desserts/oatmeal_cookies.shtml

    You can use flax seed powder instead of egg replacer.

  19. you sound so professional dear !
    Don’t know about how much benefit could people derive from places like this, but considering all the greenery, silence, discipline there, such places surely soothes mind !
    Great job done…hats off to u !

  20. Wow! You are quite the writer… lots and lots of good information.

  21. Tremendous wealth of information and thanks for doing this Harini. I have not read through the whole thing, but I will come by and read through more.
    I will wait for your moong daal dosa recipe.

  22. Kitchen Flavours

    This is another feather in your cap…you have journalism skills tooo…What a post….Hmm ayurveda has so much to offer….Love the peaceful place…Scenery locations….calm and pleasant…Hats of to you…You have done a splendid job…

  23. I was looking forward to this post, Harini. Congratulations on this write-up.

    That’s a lot of detailed work in there. And yes, I can see this place is really as beautiful as you said it was.

  24. what a beautiful place. thanks for the tour.

  25. That’s truly a comprehensive coverage – gives us an insight into the many activities at KARE and the man behind it – the dynamic Dr. Kalmadi. Am proud to be associated with the Sukham Ayu project. Congrats Jigyasa and Pratibha for the coverage.

  26. Beautifully written. Lovely experience for you, I’m sure.
    I really want to go into that hut 🙂

  27. I was a regular reader of your blog but never commented. Lost touch for so many months. Aain came back for Taste and Test event. I am so very impressed about this narration. Great job Harini! My sis being a Siddha doctor, I have heard and practised many of the rituals described here and I adore the Siddha (similar to ayrveda but originated in Tamilnadu) very much! Its a lifestyle science taking us to mukthi in a healthy way! Thanks a lot!

  28. The detailed description of Kare is great! I am discovering the recipes of Sukham Ayu and am enjoying the experience – every bit of it! Ayuverda made simple, comprehensible and achievable is what I can say about the book!

    Aruna

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