Sunday, December 16, 2012

Barberyn Ayurveda Resort

I came to Sri Lanka to sit an intensive course in Ayurveda, the main focus for me being Ayurveda Massage. Along with the course Barberyn Resort threw in 900 Euro worth of treatments, which enabled us to experience first hand what we were learning.

Everything about the resort radiated relaxation. The buildings are open plan allowing the breeze to circulate through, they have high ceilings and feel spacious. The decor gives an oriental feel with several fishponds and the sound of falling water. The rooms are located just in front of the beach, some as close as 10m. They are very spacious, again with high ceilings and a balcony or porch. My room was about 50m from the beach with a balcony overlooking the ocean, through palm trees. Every evening I lay in bed listening to the roar of the ocean, the wind through the trees and the sound of falling water from the pools water feature – it was very relaxing.  The service provided by the staff was excellent. They were all very friendly and always on hand to make sure the guests were being looked after. I took note of how the resort operated and found myself thinking of how I could change my approach at work. 

Each meal was served in a restaurant that had rotating French Doors facing the ocean. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinner was from a set menu. I really enjoyed the food, but I can see it causing problems for fussy or unadventurous eaters. If I would have known that the food was mainly vegetarian with the only animal protein being white fish and served at lunch, I would have been worried. As it turned out, I didn’t miss meat until the final week and was more than happy with the selection of food on offer. The majority was served in clay pots, which really defined meal times and the Sri Lankan culture. Each food was labeled complete with a short description of the nutritional value: Mixed Vegetable Curry – Rich in flavonoids, vitamin A, B, C, E, zinc, magnesium, easy to digest, improves liver function, mild laxative.

The way of life in the resort was calm and peaceful; the other guests were friendly and always stopping for a chat, the pace was slow and know one seemed to have any troubles or problems. It was nice to chat with people of different ages and backgrounds – for the first time I really felt more like my old self prior to my accident. I became good friends with a girl called Nina. We were on the same connecting flight from Dubai and ended up neighbours in the resort. I really enjoyed her company and have made a good friend.

The main treatments offered were; massage, steam bath, herb bath, acupuncture, fomentation (heated herb clothes that are patted on the boy), and treatment in the herb garden (warm herb packs or pastes that are applied to aching parts of the body and left in absorb into the skin). When the doctor thinks your body is ready (usually after 7 day of the above treatment) you can opt for more in depth oil treatments (Shirodhara or Sarvangadhara) that focus on the mind/body and, or treatments to eliminate accumulated toxins from the body by induced vomiting or diarrhea, enemas and blood purification.  To compliment treatments and support further relaxation Barberyn offered daily yoga classes, several Tai Chi classes and weekly meditation classes. I took all the classes and have discovered new interests in yoga and Tai Chi.

The way I felt throughout my treatment was a bit of a roller coaster ride and I experienced good and not so good days. By the end of the fourth or fifth day I was feeling really relaxed and at peace with my self. I had a spring in my step and felt like a new man. Then a few days later I started to lack energy, my body ached and I had a dull but continuous headache. I thought this might have been due to my body needing to rest so I stopped exercising but my fatigue didn’t improve. One of the lectures revealed that the symptoms I was experiencing were due to toxins that had been collected from my body (by the treatments and medication) were ready to be removed via a purgation treatment. I opted for an induced diarrhea treatment to cleanse my stomach and colon, as my digestion hasn’t been optimal for some time. It’s not the most glamorous of treatments but I thought it made sense to have it done while I was eating clean food and was feeling relaxed. Prior to the purgation day I had to stop all medicine and not eat breakfast. I was given a decoction to drink at 7:30am then another at 10:30am. My bowels started to move at 12:30pm and finished 11 times later at 19:30pm. I had to rest the whole day and was on a restrictive diet of rice soup and dry toast for the next two days. I’m glad I had the treatment but I didn’t gain any noticeable benefit from it. I think the negative effects that I felt during my time here were due to a more vegetarian based diet. I believe that when I get back into my normal routine they will clear up – I guess time will tell.

Towards the end of my stay I had a Shirodhara treatment, which is a native treatment to cure diseases connected with the head, neck, eyes, ears, nose, throat and nervous system. The Shirodhara involves a stream of warm medicated oil failing onto the centre of the forehead from a clay pot that hangs above the head. I’d seen other guests after having the treatment with a constant grin and a weightless, floating like expression. Unfortunately I didn’t get to experience this feeling. I enjoyed the sensation of the oil falling onto my head and I did feel relaxed but I didn’t experience the peacefulness that I was hoping for.

All in all I really enjoyed my time at Barberyn, I have learnt Ayurveda Massage but more importantly was able to unwind and get the relaxation that I badly needed. I’ve not been convinced by the whole Ayurveda way of life - I think the main reason people come away feeling so good is because during their stay they can’t drink alcohol, fizzy drinks or coffee or eat processed food. On reflection I feel better now than when I arrived, which says it all. I am able to take away many things from this experience, I have discovered new interests, and learnt more about myself. I would recommend Barberyn Ayurveda Resort to anyone that is in need of a relaxation holiday - you can’t go wrong with the combination of treatments, clean food, sun and the tranquility of the resort.