I wonder how many places can change your world in a week? … Certainly there are places that blow your mind or that leave a lasting impression, but how many really change your world ?
In April of this year I flew to Koh Samui, Thailand to spend a week at the award winning Wellness Sanctuary, Kamalaya. Thinking that I would learn more about it before recommending it to clients, I did not imagine for a moment, that it would change me.
Programs at Kamalaya are all about promoting wellness in body, mind and spirit. At the time of booking you will choose one of the programs and answer a questionnaire. Examples of some of the programs to choose from include - Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga, Detox, Ideal Weight, Stress and Burnout, Emotional Balance.
On arrival you will have a consultation to discuss your goals and any concerns that you may have.
It is with some excitement that I received my program for the week. I could not wait to get started!
The setting of Kamalaya is as much a part of the experience as the program and the food. Climbing up the hillside from the beach, Kamalaya is like a small village, built around nature, indeed my room was built around a huge smooth boulder with part of it in my bedroom and part in the bathroom. Even the boulder had a spiritual feel to it. At night the staff lit tea lights in the nooks of the boulder, large and dark grey it reminded me a little of a sleeping elephant, I stroked it from time to time and it made me feel connected to spirituality that envelopes Kamalaya.
The first morning I went down for breakfast and learnt what I was allowed to have, and what I must have. Everything is labelled so it is easy to work it out. I can’t say that I enjoyed the Wheatgrass or the Spirulina shots, but I did learn that you should eat first…taking them on an empty stomach is .. well, not advisable! Pumpkin seed milk is also an acquired taste, I got used to it eventually, but I find it ironic that it is impossible to find at home!
My diet for the week consisted of vegetables and little protein each day – in the form of eggs and chicken (fish is allowed but I am allergic). There is no red meat on the menu and absolutely no carbs/alcohol/caffeine for me as I was doing a combination of the Detox and Ideal Weight Programs. I must confess that I gazed longingly at the rice and noodle dishes that others on different programs were allowed.
Diet wise, I found that day three I was craving a large diet coke. Day four I would have killed for a fillet steak and chunky chips, and a diet coke. Day five – nothing ! No cravings at all. If I had been handed a slice of chocolate cake or a steak sandwich, I would not have eaten either. Amazing! I felt good…and “clean”.
My daily program, apart from eating delicious healthy food and drinking fresh coconut water every day, was made up of four treatments/sessions a day. Over the course of the week I enjoyed Thai massage, private yoga classes, the infra-red sauna, mentoring and guidance sessions, acupuncture, Chi Nei Tsang (stomach massage), Lymphatic Drainage massages and Ayurvedic treatments. It was bliss!
I slept wonderfully the entire week and always woke up refreshed and energised. If I could have brought my bed home, I would. It was vast, comfortable and I had it all to myself.
I ate well, and seemingly, often! The food is divine and the DVD and Reconnect book with Kamalaya recipes are definitely worth bringing home. I also highly recommend taking a cooking class – hands on learning of great detox recipes and then you get to enjoy eating what you made along with your classmates. A delicious sense of achievement.
The Personal Mentoring Sessions and Nutritional Guidance sessions are also a must. The mentoring sessions helped me see what I could not see for myself, and the nutritional sessions helped me learn what my body needs and how it is affected by eating various foodstuffs.
One of the best things I learnt is that small changes, made daily, become new habits. Habits are something you do automatically and without thinking. Too many changes all at once are stressful and not sustainable, so you start by introducing one change at a time. For example here are some of mine: start your day with a glass of water and lime juice, make sure you spend 30 minutes each day outside, add seeds (e.g chia/pumpkin/flax/sunflower) to your cereal, find 30 minutes every day for yourself – to read, meditate, walk, paint, do yoga or something just for you. Pretty soon you feel a whole lot different and don’t feel like it has taken any effort – how clever is that!
At the end of the week I was sad to leave, I would like to have stayed longer, perhaps a few more days, or a week .. or even two. I felt relaxed, healthy and “clean”, my eyes were brighter, I had more energy and I felt at peace, and this feeling of wellness continued well after I got home.
P.S I confess that I am not quite so religious about my eating now, needless to say, it is easier when it is all done for you, but I try. On the whole I eat better, I enjoy the lime and water, I feel a calmness and peace inside, I enjoy practicing yoga and, .. I don’t beat myself up so much for not being perfect.