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Contents of Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre Newsletter 5 - May 2004

  • Nalanda News
  • Sleep
  • Suggestions for re-creating healthy sleep
  • Warm Spicy Milk
  • The nourishing properties of cow's milk
  • Work opportunity
  • House to rent
  • Upcoming activities at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre 

Nalanda News

For those of you who are reading our newsletter for the first time, a big warm welcome. We wish all of you in South Africa a smooth and gentle transition into winter. 

We have been enriched and are deeply thankful to have had some of you join us at our Ayurvedic Autumn Retreat at Pringle Bay. The retreat was a soothing and relaxing experience of taking time out to experience a daily routine of ayurvedic massage, Yoga, ayurvedic diet and creative play.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success course is into its third week, and is so successful that on 9th June 2004, the next eight week cycle will begin.

We are looking for someone to work with us........ Please see the end of this letter for more details.

We are also looking for a house to rent for our out of town retreats. 

Our friend Jasmin, is running informal Ayurvedic cooking classes on the 8th of May and 5th of June in Plumstead.


"Happiness and vigour, obesity and leanness, strength and weakness, sexual vigor and impotence, consciousness and loss of sensory acuity, even life and death, depend on the quality of sleep."

Charaka, one of the earliest and most important ayurvedic physicians

At the end of every day, as the sun sets, Nature gives us an opportunity to slow down and reflect on the the day's events, to make a transition from being active and doing into being. This is a slow, gradual change to which our bodies will also respond by calming and settling down, if we allow ourselves to flow with the natural rhythms of the day.

From an ayurvedic perspective, the day is divided into six four hour cycles. From about 2am to sunrise as well as  2 pm to sunset is Vata (air/ether) time. It is at this time of the morning that most people suffer from insomnia, lie awake worrying about something, experience restless sleep or die. Death is the moment when we become ultimately ungrounded, hence its association with the more subtle, light elements, air and ether (space).

Being so changeable, this time of year tends to aggravate Vata. This could lead to anxiety, excessive mental activity and of course, insomnia. All of these indicate a predominance of the air and ether elements which needs to be balanced with the opposite qualities of warmth, heaviness, softness, oiliness and slowness. On the other hand, when in balance, Vata brings creativity, enthusiasm and vibrancy.

Suggestions for recreating healthy sleep


Create regularity in your sleeping routines ie. bedtime, waking time and if possible, mealtimes too

Going to bed before 10 pm is most conducive to deep, restful, healing sleep.

Regular daily exercise, suitable for your body type, when done early in the day, helps your body to slow down for the night.


Create a restful ambience in tune with the grounding, heavier Kapha (water, earth) time of day (sunset - 10 pm) by:

  • Listening to soothing music, classical or ghandharva (classical indian) music or singing. Try to eliminate disturbing sounds eg. use ear plugs

  • Surrounding yourself with soothing smells eg. lavender

  • Enjoying soothing tastes eg. chamomile tea

  • Restricting your mental activity to light reading of uplifting material 

Let your digestive system also rest by taking your light evening meal before sunset. Drink spicy milk (see below) if you get hungry later.


Keep the bedroom exclusively for sleeping so that this association becomes firmly anchored in your mind

Take a warm bath in the evening after rubbing your body with warm sesame oil, or at least your feet and scalp

Practise Yoga, stretch or lie on the floor doing slow, deep breathing for a few minutes before getting into bed

Drink warm water if you wake up in the middle of the night, warmth pacifies Vata

Other factors which affect sleep

Allow fresh air into the bedroom before going to bed

Sleep in natural fibres and use cotton bedding

Sexual activity which is excessive for one's particular constitution can cause insomnia

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants.

Warm Spicy Milk

Here is a nourishing and warming drink to enjoy in the evening if you have difficulty with sleeping or if you are sexually active. To reduce Kapha (water/earth eg. excess mucous, heaviness or weight in the body), substitute goat's milk.

1 cup milk (preferably raw and organic)
1 cup water
1/4 tspn ground cardamom
1/4 tspn dried ginger
1/4 tspn ground cloves
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg
1/4 tspn ground cinnamon

Cover and simmer over a medium heat for 15 min. Strain and enjoy.

Cardamom is balancing for all types and is particularly useful as a digestive aid as it relieves acidity.

Ginger reduces flatulence and helps clear out toxins.

The anaesthetic effect of cloves helps to calm the digestive system and reduces gastric irritability.

Nutmeg is a well known remedy for insomnia as well as digestive disorders.

Cinnamon soothes nervous tension, relieves nausea and stimulates digestion.

The nourishing, strengthening properties of milk

"Milk is the only common food in the world that can be collected with no violence whatsoever; in fact a contented cow loves to give milk."


So many people have allergies to cows milk products, this is due to many and complex factors, however, here are some ways to make milk more digestible which are worth trying:

  • Drink milk as a meal on its own, not combined with other food

  • Avoid cold milk, straight out of the fridge

  • Boil milk for 15 minutes before drinking it

  • Add spices such as in the recipe above, or turmeric, when boiling the milk

  • Use milk from 'contented' cows. Unfortunately, not many cows in our modern dairy industry are treated with the love and respect they deserve. So please support places that sell organic dairy products. 

Because we are all unique individuals, the suggestions we have given above may not be suitable for your particular condition. We hope that our suggestions will help you to get to know better what you need in order to enjoy your life more fully. To explore further how you can work with your own imbalances, please contact us.

Work opportunity

We are looking for someone to join us, who wants to start healing work related to our activities. You can benefit from what we have created as a Centre. We can help you to launch your career in healing related to Ayurveda (eg. yoga therapy, ayurvedic massage, meditation, head massage, ayurvedic diet advice, counselling) by providing you with a supportive environment, administrative back-up (computers, website, database, internet), and consulting rooms in a beautiful setting on the mountainside in Hout Bay. You can help us with your talents and help with administration.

House to rent

We are looking for a house that can accommodate at least 8 people, not more than 2 hours drive from Cape Town for occasional retreats of a few days. We would love to find an uplifting, spacious and light place with an open plan kitchen/dining area, fireplace, and a large garden or in a beautiful natural setting: sea, mountains or stream.

Upcoming and ongoing activities at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre

(click on those which interest you to find out more - this will link you to our website)

Ayurveda - Doshas, Diet & Digestion, 29 May 2004

Ayurvedic Massage - Give & Receive, 11-13 June 2004

Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - 9th June - 28th July

Ayurvedic Massage Retreats, over 1, 3, 5 and 7 days

Ayurvedic Winter Retreat: 25-29 June

Ayurvedic Dietary & Lifestyle Counselling

Weekly Yoga classes and individual sessions

Ayurveda Practical:  17th May from 17:45 till 21:30             Cost: R90
Spend an evening relaxing with Yoga, enjoying a tasty ayurvedic meal as well as practising and experiencing Ayurvedic Massage.

On behalf of the team at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, we thank you again for your support and wish everybody warm toes and hearts throughout the winter season.

We end with a prayer for self-knowledge:

Lead me from the unreal to the Real (through knowledge)

Lead me from darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge)

Lead me from death (limitations) to immortality (liberation)

Om shanti shanti shantih

With love and greetings to all of you

Margit and Samantha



Welcome to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre