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Contents of Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre Newsletter 6 - July 2004

  • Nalanda News
  • Touch - The Benefits of Massage
  • How to give yourself Abhyanga or Self-massage
  • Apple Chutney
  • Astringent, cooling apples
  • Upcoming Activities at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre 

Nalanda News

A warm welcome to all of you. We carry many of you who have touched our lives, in our hearts. We love to hear your news as we often wonder how you your journeys are continuing.

We had our longest retreat yet of three and a half weeks - Erik came from Pretoria, full of trust and courage, to stay with us. His stay was truly rewarding for all of us involved. See an extract from the poem he wrote for us at the end of the newsletter.

Our vegetarian, ayurvedic take-home meals have been tried, tested and enjoyed on a small scale, and we are in the process of putting together our advertising for this new venture. If you live in the Hout Bay area, you will be able to order these from the beginning of September. 

We still have space to welcome you into our upcoming Rejuvenating Ayurvedic Retreat in Pringle Bay: 9 - 13 July and have set a date for the following one: 15 - 19 September (see below for a link to our website and more details)

Did you know: your first Yoga class with us is free, so that you can  experience our style before committing to it?

Touch - The Benefits of Massage

Having recently attended the massage workshop here at the centre as a participant, I was reminded of how precious massage is and especially ayurvedic massage. Ayurveda teaches us that over-use, mis-use or under-use of our senses is often the cause of dis-ease. Using the sense of touch as an example, we can experience how dry, rough or synthetic textures make us feel uncomfortable. Think of those who used to punish themselves by wearing hairshirts! This kind of touch may aggravate Vata (ether/air element) as the attributes of Vata are dryness and  roughness. In Ayurveda, we balance excess of a particular element with its opposite qualities. 

Also, not being touched enough in a safe way can cause us to 'dry up' and become withdrawn from life. If touch is limited to sexual intimacy or to contact between parents and children, we are missing out on a whole range of other types of 'dances' which could literally save our lives, not to mention make us feel  so much richer and more nurtured.

Ayurvedic oil massage is exactly the healing we need to balance when our lives are lacking in physical touch, which often accompanies disconnection from our feelings and blocked energy in the heart area. The heart is where we are 'touched' by emotions. By allowing ourselves to give and/or receive touch or massage, we re-enter our bodies, we live in them again and therefore, mysteriously, we also re-enter our lives with a renewed sense of being fully present in the world around us. For me, this feeling lasted well into the days following the workshop.

Ayurvedic massage aims to balance the subtle energy channels of the body rather than exerting strong pressure on the muscles. 

Different types of touch and oils benefit and balance the different doshas, however, if in doubt, use sesame oil, it will still be of much more benefit than no massage at all:

Pitta fire types benefit from moderate pressure and speed with minimal stimulation. Coconut, ghee and sunflower oils are cooling and therefore balance Pitta.

Vata air/ether types or anyone needing calming, will prefer a light but firm and reassuring touch using slow, rhythmical movements. Too much pressure may aggravate the air element, causing the person to become ungrounded. Sesame or almond oils are heavy and heating, therefore best for Vata.

Kapha water/earth types benefit from deeper and more vigorous massage than the other types, as their bodies tend to function sluggishly when out of balance. Mustard and safflower oils balance Kapha because they are light and spicy, but can be mixed with small amounts of sesame and almond.

How to give yourself Abhyanga or Self-massage

"The more consciousness you bring into the body, the stronger the immune system becomes. It is as if every cell awakens and rejoices. The body loves your attention. Most illnesses creep in when you are not present in the body. If the master is not present in the house, all kinds of shady characters will take up residence there. When you inhabit your body, it will be hard for unwanted guests to enter."          Eckhart Tolle       The Power of Now

Giving yourself touch is one of the most powerful ways to bring your consciousness into your body, especially when it is done with patience and full awareness of each part of your body as you are touching it.

There are many different techniques for massage, do what feels right for you, and with love, this is the most important aspect.

Create some time in your day or week to try it out, and hopefully, it will be so enjoyable that it will become part of your daily routine:

  • Warm a small bowl of your chosen cold-pressed oil by placing it in a bigger bowl of very hot water or over a tea light oil burner
  • Make sure you will not be disturbed and that your space is warm
  • Apply the oil from your head downwards, using the open part of your hand, making circular movements over the joints and scalp and straight strokes over the long bones
  • Spend more time on the head including behind the ears and also spend extra time on your feet
  • Make sure to include the abdomen: using very gentle circular movements, start in the lower right and move clockwise towards the lower left. The navel is really the Grand Central Station of all the invisible energy lines in our bodies.
  • Cover yourself with old clothes which you don't mind getting oily and leave the oil on for about 20 minutes or more
  • Take a warm bath or shower to allow the oil to penetrate further

Do not massage: 

  • if you have a cough, cold, flu or fever
  • straight after a full meal
  • if you are allergic to oil

Apple Chutney  

The taste of this chutney varies according to the kind of apples used, but sour Granny Smiths seem to produce the best results. It is a great way to bring the sweet taste into a savoury meal, thus helping to make the meal more satisfying. The chillies and ginger provide the pungency. Allow 1-4 spoonfuls per serving. This recipe can also be used for other fruits such as peaches, apricots, guavas and pineapples or a combination of apples with one of these.

Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour. Provides 10 servings  

2 tblspn  ghee or oil  Heat  in a pot over medium heat. Saute
1 tsp  anise or cumin seeds  until golden brown. Add
1-2 fresh hot chillies, cut into thin rings  and
2 tsp minced fresh ginger  Saute for one minute. Add
1 tsp turmeric  and
1 pinch asafoetida (optional) Add
500g apples. peeled, cored and sliced Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add
1/4 cup water and
1 tsp ground cinnamon and
tsp ground nutmeg  Cook stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes or until the apples become soft. Add
1/2 cup jaggery or sugar Continue to cook the chutney until it becomes jam-like.

Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week.

Astringent, cooling apples

God is good to us
And so we thank you, God
For giving us the things we need
The sun, the rain and the apple seed
God is good to us.                                  
prayer before meal

Sweet apples are partly astringent while sour apples are mainly astringent  in taste, thus aggravating Vata air/ether, especially when eaten with the skin on. 

Nevertheless, a raw, peeled apple chewed thoroughly an hour or so after a meal helps to regularize the bowels, whilst also cleaning the tongue and teeth and may help to relieve bleeding gums. When I was little, I remember sometimes being allowed to eat an apple instead of brushing my teeth - what a treat! 

Freshly made apple juice controls diarrhoea as well as other pitta (fire) imbalances such as infections and inflammations in the digestive tract and bladder. 

Well-cooked with spices, apples are good for all doshas and make a healthy dessert or a delicious, warming breakfast food.

Here is the extract from the poem, thanks, Erik:

Nalanda is not forgotten
but about to be found.
In the heart of Hout Bay,
a piece of holy ground.

Followed by a verse on each of us, and then:

The Devas I praise thee, thy nature so pure
Nalanda is thy house, thy presence is joy
Thy stars of healing and spirals of light
Caress the wary lands and heavy of heart.

God's heart and thou heart and Nalanda's are One.

Thou are That and That thou art!


On behalf of the team at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, we thank you again for your support and wish everybody peace, health and happiness.

With love and greetings,

Margit and Samantha


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)

Rejuvenating Ayurvedic  Retreat: 9 - 13 July and 15 - 19 September A soothing and relaxing experience of taking time out to experience a daily routine of ayurvedic massage, Yoga, ayurvedic diet and creative play.

Ayurveda - Doshas, Diet & Digestion: 31 July or 4th September 

Ayurvedic Massage - Give & Receive: 8 - 10 October

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

Ayurvedic Dietary & Lifestyle Counselling

Weekly Yoga classes and individual sessions

Practical Ayurveda Evening:  26 July and 6 September from 17:45 till 21:30            Cost: R90 per evening
Spend an evening relaxing with Yoga, enjoying a tasty ayurvedic meal as well as learning about some practical aspect of Ayurvedic daily routine.

Renewal: 24 - 26 September 

In this weekend retreat with Sheryl Paddock and the Nalanda team, we invite you to take a refreshing new look at the mid-life/menopausal season of your life.  Practical guidance from Dr Deepak Chopra will assist you.


Welcome to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre