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May 2005

         The present moment is inevitable. Take a deep breath and surrender to it.

Ayurveda is a totally natural and holistic approach to health and wellbeing, improving your quality of life with absolutely no side effects.
 Find out how you can benefit from this ancient and time-tested knowledge of how to manage stress and live a healthy life by coming to a Medical Ayurvedic consultations with Dr Rao.

Special introductory price for one hour Medical Ayurvedic consultation: R180.

Ask Dr Rao: If you have a question for either of the doctors, kindly e-mail or fax this to us, and we will choose one to answer in the next newsletter.

In our shop: We have made available a number of products to support you in moving towards a healthier lifestyle. At our centre, you will find: ayurvedic and vegetarian cooking books, a range of spices, pulses and grains, sesame and coconut oil, ghee, spice boxes, ayurvedic teas, Raja's cup, Almond Energy, incense and tongue scrapers.


  • About Drs Rao
  • Panchakarma/Detox therapy
  • Ayurveda for Africa: report on 3 day Ayurvedic Massage workshop
  • Recipe: Rasam
  • Spice: Terrific Turmeric
  • Diary of activities

Dr Sreedhar and Nayana with their son, Pranao, before leaving India

About Drs Sreedhar and Nayana Rao:
Both are from traditional Ayurveda families of South India. Dr Sreedhar completed his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery in 1997 followed by a Masters degree. He has gained much experience through working in rural areas as well as Ayurvedic hospitals, lecturing, researching medicinal plants and difficult diseases, as well as organizing Yoga and Ayurveda camps. He has much to offer and great enthusiasm for his work.

Dr Nayana is a very dynamic and warm Ayurveda consultant. She completed her Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery in 1997 and then worked in ayurvedic as well as allopathic medicine hospitals. She is passionate and inspiring in her learning, practising, researching and teaching of Ayurveda, Yoga and meditation. Nayana is highly experienced in treating and educating about women's imbalances.

Women, take the opportunity! Make your appointment to see Dr Nayana Rao between 26 - 30 May for your medical ayurvedic consultation. Men are also welcome.

Nayana teaching about herbal home remedies at our centre

We offer Panchakarma/Detox therapy under medical supervision

Ayurveda emphasizes periodic cleansing, generally at every change of season, as a way to restore balance to mind and body. Although the body has an effective system for filtration of impurities, toxins can sometimes build up too rapidly for the body to cope. Also, after the age of forty, the body's ability to purify itself becomes weaker.

How you detoxify is very important. Fasting and harsh cleansing can aggravate the body and cause problems. Ayurvedic therapeutic cleansing, called Panchakarma, is gentle and balanced. The word means "five actions," and includes special massages, steam baths, and mild herbal enemas. Performed under the active personal care of an ayurvedic physician, these luxurious treatments extend over a period of several days and are designed to flush out toxins from the body and nourish and balance the system, leaving you feeling rejuvenated, renewed.

How will I benefit from Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is a really good investment in yourself with many beautiful returns such as: feeling more harmony with yourself and your environment, experiencing contentment, being more present and positive, having more patience, love, respect and appreciation for yourself and others. Physically, the systems of the body feel stronger and more stable, especially digestion, natural sleep patterns are restored and deep-seated tiredness has been released, making space for a new zest for life.

When practiced on a regular basis, together with home self-care and positive lifestyle changes, further accumulation of toxins and tensions is prevented, thus reducing the likelihood of future imbalances/dis-eases developing.

Panchakarma/Detox therapy can give you relief from
Anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, sinusitis, stress, depression, high or low blood pressure, degenerative diseases, excess weight, eating disorders, epilepsy, addiction, liver and digestive complaints, piles, menstrual disorders, menopausal imbalances bronchitis, asthma, nervous disorders, eye diseases, skin diseases, psoriasis, backache, diabetes, chronic illness, arthritis, paralysis, headaches, tiredness, general low moods, constipation, Aids/HIV. 

 When should I undergo Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is beneficial for everyone at any time, for prevention of dis-ease. It is particularly beneficial during periods of transition, whether it is a change of season, a change in your personal life eg. marriage, divorce, a change in your professional life or a transition into a new phase of your life ie. between adolescence and adulthood, adulthood and the third age.

Now you can enjoy all the benefits of Panchakarma, and more, without leaving South Africa.
You will save on travelling costs. There is no need to go all the way to India when we have experienced doctors that have come to share their precious knowledge with us here.
You will not have the physical and mental stress that may occur through flying and travelling.
You will be in a familiar environment where climate, standards of hygiene etc. are known. Adjusting back to your home environment will be so much smoother.
Panchakarma with us will be more 'pampering' and suited to our particular needs, than is traditional in India.
As we (Margit and Samantha) did not grow up in an Eastern culture, we can help you to understand and integrate the wisdom of Ayurveda more easily into your life.
We can provide ongoing support to sustain your diet and lifestyle changes.

Could Panchakarma or Ayurveda be against my religious beliefs?
Ayurveda is not attached to any specific religion, nor is it against any religion, rather it enhances your personal relationship with the Divine, in whatever way you choose to express this.

What will I do during a Panchakarma Retreat?
Your retreat begins with a medical ayurvedic consultation to assess your individual constitution and imbalances and thus, your personal treatment plan for the week. Thereafter, all your therapies and meals will be designed to strengthen your immunity, reduce whatever mental, emotional and physical disturbances you may have and revitalise your whole system.

You will enjoy a nurturing daily rhythm which includes the following:

-     Ayurvedic Massage is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine. Massage was traditionally considered a necessary part of daily routine to nurture and nourish us physically, emotionally and mentally. Massage helps the body to efficiently circulate nutrients and eliminate toxins, thus it plays an important part in cleansing, and if practiced regularly, rejuvenating the body.

-     Panchakarma therapies:
"These are not invasive therapies, but are meant to go deep within to nourish the body and cajole it into releasing its waste, its toxicity. The tissue should not feel a longing for something given up. It should not be traumatic, like candy ripped from a child." Bri Maya Tiwari, Vedic monk, teacher and author
Therapies given to each patient in Panchakarma depend on the body type and health problems.
Vamana - Emesis therapy is useful when there is congestion in the lungs causing repeated attacks of  bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma etc.
Virechana - Purgation therapy is useful when there is rashes, skin inflammation acne, chronic attacks of fevers, biliary vomiting, nausea and jaundice etc.
Nasya - Nasal administration is useful to eliminate the excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas.
Basti - Enema therapy is useful in relieving constipation, distention, chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders, kidney stones, heart pain, backpain, sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches.

-          Yoga will help you to become more centred and grounded, as you bring your awareness into your body and breath using simple and gentle postures. Yoga postures tone every area of the body, and cleanse the internal organs of toxins, which is one of the goals of Ayurveda. 

-     Relaxation time will help you to unwind from your daily stresses.

-          Creativity with various materials such as clay, paint, crayon, collage and craft is a way to simply 'be' instead of always having to achieve and 'do'. Through creative expression, we can live in the present moment, without thought, thus relieving mental stress.

-          Meals prepared with ayurvedic principles for your individual constitution Through simple and wholesome new ways of cooking and eating, you will benefit from a gentle de-tox without a feeling of deprivation. Your meals will be vegetarian, mostly without wheat and dairy.

-          Silence, meditation, contemplation "Panchakarma is not a detox program. This is only its side benefit. It is a transformation in consciousness - replacing stress with silence." Dr John Brouillard, Ayurvedic physician
Most of the program will be in silence which adds to the regeneration of your prana or vitality.

-          Contact with Nature in our wild garden with magnificent views of the bay and mountains, and within walking distance from the sea.

-     Talks/discussion on Ayurveda

Join us for an Ayurveda Panchakarma/Detox Retreat at our centre in Hout Bay:

27 June - 3  July 2005       Cost: R 4 500 per person   

This includes all treatments, medical ayurvedic consultations and supervision, meals and cooking classes, yoga and relaxation, lectures on Ayurveda, guided meditations and art/craft. Guidelines to prepare yourself for the retreat, as well as home-going instructions and follow up programmes, if necessary, will be provided.

The price excludes accommodation which we are happy to arrange for you a stone's throw from our centre.

You need not have any previous experience of Ayurveda or Panchakarma in order to greatly benefit.

Next dates for Panchakarma Retreats: 5 - 11 Sept and 7 - 13 Nov 2005     

Ayurveda for Africa: report on 3 day Ayurvedic Massage workshop

In April, we invited people from Imizamo Yethu and Hout Bay Harbour Heights for a  free 3 day Ayurvedic massage workshop. The original idea was to select someone who could be trained for massage on a apprenticeship basis. Even though we created employment for one member of the group in the catering department, the original idea became a by-product of a greater vision.

We were a group of 14 participants, learning to give and receive simple massage. This, together with some Yoga stretching, allowed participants to create or improve body awareness. For most of the group, the simple vegetarian meals were their first experience of healthy, tasty food without meat. Respect for each other coming from different cultures and backgrounds created a safe space for everybody to be in and open up without being scared of being judged. Lifeskills were shared, calmness and some inner peace brought a measure of healing to all.

The group has met once since then to practice one of the massages learnt and everybody was encouraged  to use the skills with friends and in their family.

When we have funding, we will run these workshops on a regular basis for the wellbeing of individuals who cannot otherwise afford our activities. We can offer the workshop to 12 participants for every R3150 that we receive. If you would like to sponsor this "Ayurveda for Africa " project, please call us, or let us know of any leads for organisations who may be interested in getting involved. Thank you.

Account details: Ayurveda for Africa, Standard Bank, Sea Point, a/c no. 277 100 836

Testimonial from Michael: It was a good experience, especially the massaging was very good. I found out that there is someone out there who actually gives a damn about what people think, about what is going on inside the body. It was an environment where everything can flow out and surface and that helped for positive thinking and conquering your fears and to trust where the current takes you.

Recipe: Rasam

Set aside this rasam powder. Bring to boil in saucepan, add And bring to boil again. Add and Lower heat and simmer until tomato is cooked.
Then stir in rasam powder and
Simmer for 10 min. In the empty pan, heat add When they start popping, add Remove from heat and add to soup

1 T cumin seed

Dry roast in heavy bottomed pan together with

1 T black peppercorns


2 dry red chilies

When nutty fragrance is released, remove from heat and allow to cool. Grind in mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Mix in

a pinch asafoetida/hing


¼ tsp turmeric

1 litre water

2 small tomatoes, chopped


1 T jaggery/raw sugar

2-3 T tamarind concentrate (soak first in warm water and remove pips)

1 T ghee

1 T mustard seeds

A few curry leaves (use freshly chopped
dhania if unavailable)

This soup is excellent to have when feeling congested or at the start of cold or flu symptoms or in cold weather.
Halve the ingredients for a less potent (heating) Rasam.
Use with plain basmati rice or as a drink on its own.

T=tablespoon, t=teaspoon. Serves 3-4.

Terrific Turmeric

Turmeric is used internally and externally to purify the blood and the mind.  Use as a paste on wounds or bruises to slow bleeding and as an antiseptic.  As a natural antibiotic it protects rather than destroys the intestinal flora and promotes the production of bile. Because of its astringent, pungent and bitter taste, turmeric can aggravate air/ether and fire when used in excess.

Drinking a cup of hot milk boiled with ½ teaspoon of turmeric is an excellent remedy for a sore throat. It is also said to have the power to dispel evil influence and is therefore used in many forms of ritual worship.

Diary of Activities

May 2005  
23 May
5.45 - 9.30 pm  
Practical Ayurveda Evening

We will begin with a yoga class, followed by sharing and learning insights on our theme for the evening. This will be followed by a practical experience, for example, massage. The evening will include a tasty, vegetarian meal prepared with ayurvedic principles.

Please wear warm, comfortable clothes and bring a towel or yoga mat, cushion and a blanket. Booking essential. Only R90. 

26 - 30 May Book your Medical Ayurvedic consultation with Dr Nayana Rao. R180 for an hour consultation
29 May

10 am - 5 pm

Feel good with Ayurveda: Spend the day learning and practising beauty treatments, enjoying Yoga and relaxation and a nourishing vegetarian meal cooked with ayurvedic principles. R180
June 2005  
13 June
5.45 - 9.30 pm
Practical Ayurveda Evening - see above for details
18 June

10 am - 4 pm

Vegetarian cooking with ayurvedic principles - focus on grains. R180
27 June - 3 July Ayurveda Panchakarma/Detox Retreat

Today I will factor in uncertainty as an essential ingredient of my experience. In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of the problem, out of the confusion, disorder, and chaos. The more uncertain things seem to be, the more secure I will feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Through the wisdom of uncertainty, I will find my security.

                                             The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra

Thank you for reading our newsletter, we hope you enjoyed it.

We are looking forward to welcoming you here or hearing from you soon.

With much love, and gratitude for your support,

Margit, Michael, Sakhumzi, Samantha, Xolisile and Zinhle

 If you wish to read our previous newsletters, please see our website


Welcome to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre