I was at the Nature Cure Camp at Sadhana Forms near Pollachi from 8-15 Feb 20 based on recommendations of a friend who had attended the camp. These camps are unique because they are offered as a gift to the participants who can choose to contribute to the next batch of participants.
Even before getting into any activity, I was drawn to the warmth with which we were welcomed by volunteers of aKarma Life. After a long train journey and a scenic taxi ride, the welcome was immensely comforting.
I was lucky to get placed in a tent with a wonderful person who soon became a friend. I came out to meet about 35 adult participants and 5 kids who would be my fellow travelers for the next 6 days.
The evening included a meal that was very low in salt. I did not enjoy it at all. In fact, I had a headache for the first two days, a big surprise to me as I associated the symptom with deaddiction from caffeine. Salt too is addictive! Hence, proven. To me at least.
Dinner was followed by an orientation to prepare our minds for the next 7 days. The night was eventful with strong winds and I did not sleep that well.
The second day was interesting. Getting up at 5.30am to a beautiful view of the farm, freshening up, self-observation and then heading for yoga. This was followed by an alkaline juice (what was this strange concoction?). Now (two weeks later), I’m having it religiously everyday.
Then started the therapies. Sun basking. Wow, that was an amazing experience! Novel to me but I could feel the benefit almost immediately. Then came the hydro therapy – spinal or hip bath. Suguna amma showed how my intestinal tract was hard (a revelation) and recommended massaging the path. This was followed by a head bath. Overall great way to start the day.
Next was a talk from Raghu about aKarma values and then came Dr Arun Sharma, the 78 year old Nature Cure practitioner who has been immersed in Nature Cure almost since birth. We received him with lots of love.
It was amazing to see how very approachable this man with years of experience and knowledge was! I feel very privileged to have learned from him those 7 days that looking back, passed very quickly.
Dinners and salads started tasting better after a couple of days of acclimated adjustments, our own involvement and the appreciation of connections.And two weeks later, I prepare salads and cooked food following Nature Cure guidelines, share the pictures with camp friends online and enjoy them.
The theory sessions were eye openers. Many of the points shared through the camp stood out for me:
- Subtler the food, higher its potency.
- Salt changes the composition of food, hence is added after the cooking process.
- Salt and spices are used minimally to avoid overeating because they artificially enhance the taste.
- Health and disease are one.
- There is no such thing as disease.
- An alkaline body may have no fear of infection.
- The morning alkaline juice is crucial.
- How acidic components in our foods change the alchemy of foods.
- Alkaline salad is e most important meal of the day.
- Our Vital economy, the energy management system within, is a matter of ample exercise, adequate rest, positive foods, positive thoughts and how we channel our inner creativity towards common good
Dr Arun Sharma shared many stories proving the efficacy of Nature Cure. He was honest enough to admit his own failings and moments of weakness, and how he dealt with them. That made the whole deal a lot more digestible. It also made me feel confident that I too could do this. There would be hits and misses but the idea is to consume what the body needs and not what the mind wants.
The winning over of the ego, intellect and mind was a very lucid point. How else does one have the openness and willingness to give something new and contrary (to previously held beliefs) a try?
The understanding of subtle foods – space, sun, air – water and earth was phenomenal. We know these things are important but the sessions made them a high priority in our consciousness.
Another highlight of the camp was a musical night in open air gifted to us with so much love by the very talented team of Shruti VisHwanath, Yuji Nakagawa and Shruteendra. It was magical and healing to listen to music with so much meaning sung with so much passion.
And the concert was a testament to how giftivism operates at aKarma. Suddenly a patch of land was cleared in the morning and video volunteers guided by (another) Mr.Arun and his son Surya arrived with ultra professional stage gear and cameras and lights. Seating arrangements happened and dinner of Sattvik idli was served to everyone. A couple who lost their way and arrived just after the concert ended got a special private mini concert from Shruti. One could sense that the Law of Unity was at work.
There are so many things to recount but then this post would become a book!
While the activities and learning with the teacher were invaluable, there were other things to cherish as well – working as a community in the kitchen, preparing a banana bed with Robinson, volunteering, making new friends, singing songs, getting inspired, learning from each other and the passion of the Akarma team.
Special thanks to Dhamu, Roopa and Suguna amma for the many delicious salads and meals that I grew to enjoy. And to Ananth, Nisha and Raghu for their constant efforts to facilitate, orient and make us reflect and document our observations. Hats off to their patience and persistence.
And thanks to Robinson and Rejitha for preparing green juice plants in small packets that we can carry home. And offering us organic vegetable seeds for us to experiment with growing our own veggies.
The Nature Camp was a beginning of another journey for me (with all my other experimentations). Now I trust my body will heal me. I am no longer afraid of any disease. I am clear on the Whys behind the Whats and that’s empowering.
By the end of the 7 days, my intestinal tract was much softer. I had fasted with ease. I felt highly energetic and light. I had probably built a few muscles too lifting the huge pots and pans. 😊
And I was enjoying the food, gross and subtle. I had renewed respect for the elements of nature that sustain us in such a beautiful way.
I hope to meet all the new friends I made again sometime and certainly visit Sadhana Forms whenever I can. I have been able to follow the camp routine with ease and the support of online community is helping a lot. Looking forward to how this story unfolds further.