Written By K, Australia
I have suffered from an eating disorder for just on 25 years. Over that time, there have been limited moments of silence, and many days of torment in my life.
Three years ago I decided not to just accept the fact that this illness would be with me forever. I decided to look for treatments – both medical and holistic that might be able to support my recovery. We have been filming that recovery journey through a documentary series “A Peace of Nourishment”.
In April 2017 I found that silence I was looking for during a 21 day Panchakarma at Oneworld Ayurveda. However, due to filming activity, I did not feel that I was able to achieve the full benefits that OWA has to offer. It is for that very reason that I decided to return in January 2018 with no cameras in tow. After a busy six months in Australia, I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to return. The days before flying were full of hope, gratitude and anticipation to see the OWA doctors and staff who made me feel so nurtured and safe the year before.
I arrived on January 1st and was collected from the airport and brought straight to the Oneworld Ayurveda treatment centre. I felt a mixture of love and nervousness as I greeted Dr Ninnu again. He gently placed his fingers on my wrist and confirmed that yes, as suspected, my Vata was completely out of balance.
His job during my stay was to bring that back into alignment. I remembered from my first stay that we barely mentioned the words eating disorder. We spoke a lot about anxiety and by the time I left – I had none! Dr Ninnu then started constructing a plan for my Panchakarma that would involve two treatments per day, yoga, meditation and unbelievably tasty vegan meals. There would be no coffee or alcohol… both of which ramp up my anxiety terribly.
Having lived with constant shame about my body has meant that I usually feel some sort of anxiety when being touched. There is little connection to my body. Strangely enough, whilst receiving treatments by the Balinese therapists, which usually involve four hands, shame was the last thing I was thinking about. Complete peace and humility would be more accurate. I know that I have made the right decision to return. This time I am going to wo… harder than ever to find peace of mind. Yet it is not hard here… I have never felt so safe!
After a warm shower, all guests meet for dinner at 7pm outside the main dining area, beside a glowing fire. There is a variety of guests from different countries here for a number of reasons. The guests who have been here more than three days already look like they have had a long holiday. Skin is glowing and the atmosphere is full of contentment.
My favourite dinner is vegetarian lasagna that tastes better than the real thing… with a beautiful wine glass filled with warm herbal water. To help with the evening medicines, there were delicious little nibbles, such as dates or dried mango every night. My medicines were altered over the period of my stay, depending on my progress of bringing my Vata, Pita, and Kapha doshas into balance.
We receive our schedule for the next day with each evening meal. Everybody’s day will usually include two treatments, shared activities and the option to attend morning yoga and evening meditation.
At 8pm we all retire to our rooms and as somebody who sleeps poorly, I settle in and barely remember my head hitting the pillow. It may also have something to do with the luxurious king sized bed with ample soft pillows to snuggle into.
At 6am a melodic gong resonates throughout the treatment centre and I waken to do my aura cleansing and morning gratitude practice. I then head down to the yoga shala and am excited to see Tekok, our yoga instructor who has a smile wider than ever. There is a mixture of experienced yoga enthusiasts, and those of us who have barely done it before. Thankfully, all of the moves can be altered to suit flexibility and Tekok is very supportive in helping the less experienced to achieve the correct posture. As the days progress, I can feel my body starting to enjoy the movement. It is a good feeling and the evening meditation leaves me feeling encouraged about my future and with a strong of mind.
Each day I have an appointment with either Dr Ninnu or Dr Aparna, both are warm and full of knowledge. Knowing how you are progressing is an exciting part of the Panchakarma and both of the doctors are so accurate I am often surprised by what they say before I speak.
Day after day I am supported, strengthened, my anxiety minimalized. The food is nutritious, the treatments are healing, there are Ayurvedic classes, rice field walks, and many, many new friends bonding during this unique experience.
By the end of my PK I feel like a new person. Calm, grounded and hopeful. The doctors have helped me work on a plan for when I reach home… something I know will be vitally important.
Oneworld Ayurveda is not a specific eating disorder treatment centre, but it definitely reaches to the very core of anxiety which I believe lies at the heart of this disorder. For me, of every treatment I have researched, it has worked the best in bringing my mind to a peaceful state and making me feel balanced in this world.
I leave WANTING to make good decisions for myself. I leave wanting to continue connecting with myself and reaching out to others. I feel strong and have a love for myself that makes me feel like a more whole person.
The gratitude I feel towards the team at Oneworld Ayurveda is hard to put into words. They are now like my family – and I will definitely return!