The transition of the year end is ideal for reflection, inward awareness and setting intentions. But few of us (including myself at times) have made this the sacred period of ending and beginning it can be. This year is different for me. As you read this, I’m at the Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Healing Village in Coimbatore, India, where I’ll spend four weeks engaged in personal panchakarma and self-reflection.
While I make it a priority to undergo panchakarma once a year to reset my agni and restore overall health, it’s been several years since I’ve carved out the time for an experience outside my own environment as profound as this. Vaidyagrama is a place of true healing, one that practices the same values I have built into Hale Pule. Here, Ayurveda works in harmony with nature and invites visitors into a rich spiritual existence. Both of these are essential, but easily overlooked, aspects of the healing that Ayurveda brings. If we aren’t living with the deepest respect and care for the earth and our surroundings, we will not find peace within. If we are not in daily communion with the God of our heart, we cannot find wholeness in our bodies. Visiting Vaidyagrama deepens my commitment to my own practices of holistic Ayurveda and Yoga by allowing me to see them from a different perspective in another part of the world.
Now, as in the past, long periods of silence and self-reflection have given me the best opportunity to honestly and accurately assess where I have been and where I am going. Silence is a tool I often reach for when I need clarity on something and a period of rest from busyness. Silence is a blessing for me, especially since I spend so much of my time speaking in my work as a teacher and practitioner. I love guiding students and clients to the next step on their journey to health, but I must first tend to my own garden so I can support others to plant theirs.
I expect to return from my time in India with a deeper sense of purpose and enthusiasm for the work we do at Hale Pule, as well as my own personal practice of Ayurveda and Yoga. We have done a lot of great things this year at Hale Pule, including launching a 400-hour Ayurvedic health counselor certification program. In 2016, we will build on this through intensives held on Kaua’i focused on Ayurvedic cooking and treatments. Much of the inward focus I am engaged in now is preparing me to lead this next phase of our work. What started as a spark to heal my own life with Ayurveda and Yoga is turning into a broader community of practitioners, teachers and students who see the kind of powerful transformations that are possible with the authentic practice of this work.
Life is continually unfolding – so it is never too late to improve your experience. With that thought, I hope you, too, can find some space in this transitional time for your own personal reflection. Instead of focusing on the outward, find time –four weeks, four hours or four minutes – to go within and set the intention and direction for how you would like your life to unfold in the coming year and thereafter. This is the most important gift you can give yourself. Honor it and make it a regular practice and I promise that you will come back to your true self over and over again. And each time it will be even more beautiful than the last.
Many blessings for a lovely 2016.