When was the last time you sat under a banyan tree and read a book? When did you perform yoga at sunrise? When did you relish a simple sattvic meal? When did you go to bed early so that you could enjoy a good night’s sleep? Ask an urbanite and you are likely to get answers like ‘Never’, ‘Can’t remember’ etc. That’s how fast-paced life has become — busy but not enriching.
Nirvana Nature Cure, a naturopathy centre, offers a holistic environment to make life more enriching. On a Friday morning in February, when we set out for this health retreat, it took us just an hour’s drive from Pune to reach our destination and as soon as we entered its gates we were cocooned in nature. If you are amidst nature, the surroundings ought to be serene, which Nirvana is all about, the silence broken only by the occasional chirping of birds.
Alighting from our vehicle, we walked through the path lined with marigold plants leading us to the reception. Upon our arrival the courteous staff offered us sweet lime juice, which is not the usual welcome drink served at other places. So we knew that everything would be natural and nothing synthetic at the health retreat for the next few days we were to spend there and it was truly a relaxing, rejuvenating and sublime experience.
Close to Pune and Mumbai
Situated in Talegaon, which is 120 km from Mumbai and 35 km from Pune, the residential wellness centre is spread across 6 acres. Its close proximity to both the cities makes it an ideal destination for those looking for a wellness getaway amidst nature while enjoying the goodness of naturopathy, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation and a purely vegetarian diet. Additional amenities include over 35,000 sq ft of living space, a world class yoga and naturopathy treatment centre, a gym and a reading room.
“We have been fully operational for the second month now. Presently, we have 26 air-conditioned rooms; the plan is to have 50 rooms. The campus is built like a 5 star resort with state-of-the-art equipment at our treatment zone. What attracts people is the genuineness of our treatments, which are evidence based, and the staff has undergone training under the Ministry of AYUSH,” says Paresh Parekh, chairman, The Heritage Education Society, which is the parent organisation of Nirvana.
Naturopathic treatments combine healing traditions of ancient India, Hydrotherapy, Ayurveda, and modern scientific principles and technology. “Our wellness centre offers both traditional Panchakarma and modern detoxification, and our success programmes have been in weight loss, detoxification, treating spine problems, diabetes, thyroid, PCOD, PCOS, hypertension, psoriasis,” he adds.
To offer the best to customers, Nirvana has an efficient team, but the founders, Paresh and his wife Jayshree, too have been putting in their 100 per cent to make sure guests take home good memories. The Parekhs genuinely believe in a better lifestyle and they offer the same to guests.
An oasis of calm
The greenery that you see all around is mainly the effort of the Parekh couple. “Till now, we have planted more than 500 trees on the premises. We pioneered the concept of ‘Eat your landscape’ whereby we grow edible flowers and fruits instead of ornamentals; for example, we have tried to replace bamboo with sugarcane as much as possible. We recycle water and practise rainwater harvesting. We respect nature and we appreciate if guests show the same kind of respect,” shares Parekh.
You may find it a little surprising but visitors at Nirvana are addressed as ‘patients’. Ask Parekh and he replies, “That’s because we aren’t a resort or a hotel, and there’s no room service. One comes here for a specific treatment and once you check in, you have to follow a schedule.”
At the health retreat, your day begins at 5.30 am. There are no phones in the rooms hence a staff member will knock on your door for the wake-up call. From 6 to 6.30 am, you are expected to head to the dining area Indriya where you will be served your morning drink along with some nuts and dates. That said, for each patient the diet is customised as per the doctor’s advice after a thorough consultation.
At Nirvana, a comprehensive health assessment is done. Through this assessment, the experts look for root causes and facilitate the healing process with proven natural remedies, therapies and techniques. What’s included in the consultation is a full case history of the patient, a cellular health analysis, diet and lifestyle analysis, and vitamin and mineral assessment.
Kriyas and asanas
From 6.30 to 7 am, patients have to head to the treatment zone to perform kriyas like eye cleansing with triphala solution, perform jal neti and gargle with lukewarm turmeric-salt water. Yoga expert Ravi conducts sunrise yoga class from 7 to 8 am. Some of the asanas that we performed included Trikonasana, Butterfly asana and more, along with meditation and breathing exercises. After completing the asanas, ending with Shavasan, we underwent Ghee Nasyam.
A light breakfast consisting of fruits like apples, watermelons, strawberries at 8.30 am revitalised us for the next treatment session, which started at 9.30 am. Heading to the treatment zone, I underwent a Mud Bath. A special kind of mud, rich in natural salts and minerals, is mixed with water and then applied to the body. It took almost 45 minutes for the mud to dry, after which I took a cold shower to clean up. The effects were instantly visible — I had a glowing, rejuvenated skin, which felt soft and supple. Mud baths are used in the treatment of many skin diseases, and also help in the treatment of hyper acidity, gastrointestinal diseases and bronchial asthma.
But let us tell you right away that you do not get to choose treatments or therapies at Nirvana. The doctor advises what’s best for you, depending on your health condition. The previous day, I underwent Swedish Massage, which was relaxing, followed by a steam bath and then a shower.
My spouse, who accompanied me, was advised Infra Red Bath. “For this treatment, you have to step into a wooden chamber and slowly the temperature is increased to 60 degrees Centigrade. Sounds scary, but I was comfortable. It’s a 20-minute session and by the end of it I was sweating profusely,” he says sharing his experience.
He also underwent Deep Tissue Massage. “What I greatly appreciate is the skill of the massage therapist; this session helped in muscle recovery. Vibro Massage too is a muscle relaxer. The equipment used is very modern and thus, effective,” says my husband who is a marathoner.
Giving us an insight into the kind of treatment that a patient suffering from Type 2 diabetes has to undergo, chief medical officer at Nirvana, Dr S Subhash, BNYS, says, “It depends on several factors like the age of the patient, how long s/he has been suffering and whether the diabetes has affected other organs. The patient also has to undergo tests like HbA1c and how well the kidneys are working and so on. After which exercises like yoga asanas, pranayam and walking are recommended. The patient is put on a good diet, which includes less starch-rich food and if the kidneys are affected, then less protein intake is advised. But again, I would like to mention that the nutritional intake depends on the patient’s age and the severity of the disorder.”
Specific asanas, and treatments like Hydrotherapy, Mud Therapy, Manipulative Therapy, Acupuncture, Kriyas, meditation and Yoga Nridya (for relaxation) are recommended for Type 2 diabetes. “We monitor the patient’s blood sugar level every day. In most cases, the blood sugar levels are expected to be in the normal range within three days. That said, a minimum of seven days is required to treat Type 2 diabetes. Patients are given diet sheets and expected to make lifestyle changes to lead a healthier life,” adds Dr Subhash.
At the wellness centre, patients are served light, healthy meals and small bites. Lunch, which is served at 12.30 pm, usually consists of a soup, salad, 2 subzis and rotis; items are eliminated or added as per the doctor’s advice. At 6.45 pm, dinner is served which also is a detox sattvic meal. In between, you are served health drinks and juices depending on your health requirements.
Evening walks and sunset meditation and Trataka are part of the daily schedule. Before going to bed at 9.30 pm, patients need to practise Yoga Nidra.
The length of stay
At Nirvana, a patient must check in for a minimum of three days to reap health benefits. However, the doctor will recommend whether an individual needs to stay for 3, 5, 7, 14, 21 days or more for complete healing of their specific health disorder. Patients can be accompanied by guests.
“Ideally, after you have undertaken our therapies, you should follow the recommended lifestyle changes for a healthy life,” concludes Parekh.
(For more, log into www.nirvananaturecure.com)