I’ve just popped on some headphones and put on a ‘fireplace crackling logs’ soundtrack on youtube. Saturday night, chilling in at home, I haven’t picked up my mobile phone since 08:45am this morning, as I left off to Bhaktivedantor Manor, which is a Hare Krishna temple in Aldenham, which is the UK’s largest centre of the ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). The temple was donated by George Harrison of The Beatles back in the 70’s.
I went to the Bhaktivedanta Manor today because I had booked onto an Ayurveda & Yoga retreat day. I felt like I needed time out, do you know that feeling?
I had been to the manor 1 time before, as we went on a school trip when we were in secondary school, year 8 or 9, which i’m going to guess would make me 13 or 14, I even found a photo of us all dressed up, I am second row from the top, 4th girl in, wearing a pale pink/purple coloured outfit…
I wanted to go on retreat today at the manor, because I am fascinated by the Indian philosophies, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, so much so, that my travels took me to India last summer to learn about these topics further, so any opportunity to be around this culture I am all over it! There’s something to be said about being in an environment where you are around likeminded people, an environment where you can totally be yourself and flourish..
So about this culture…
I felt inspired and pulled to write this blog because of 2 reasons really…
1. Because, I attend a lot of workshops and a common conversation that comes up, and that came up just this week when I attended an addiction workshop held at the university of Hertfordshire, put on by Hertfordshire public health Connect on Wednesday, which was the confusion over what we should be eating.
As I mentioned earlier I am fascinated by Indian philosophies which includes Ayurveda. Ayurveda translates to ‘sacred life knowledge’ and can be traced back some 5,000 years in the vedas. It is a holistic science focusing on promoting a healthy lifestyle, health meaning, the absence of disease and a balance emotionally, physically and mentally. Should an imbalance i.e. disease arise, Ayurveda looks to heal the imbalance i.e. the root issue, as opposed to modern medicine prescribing medicines to treat a symptom, which often brings side effects, therefore cannot be called healing as it brings further dis-ease.
What’s happened over here, for example in England, is that, we have all these fad diets and different studies showing what we should and shouldn’t eat and people are left feeling confused. I asked Dr Prabodh Raghavan, who is a Consultant Ayurvedic Physician, at today’s retreat, “why is it, that we are so confused here in England?” Dr Raghavan replied and said, Ayurveda has been around for circa 5,000 years and it remains the same, nothing has changed. It is an ancient science. Whereas we in England seem to follow the constantly changing stream of media and have no idea what we should do now, with so many mixed messages, we are left feeling confused.
The retreat was lovely, we started with Yoga, then an Ayurveda talk with Dr Prabodh Raghavan where we were given work sheets to work out our Ayurvedic constitutions. We then did some singing along with musical instruments as our retreat host played guitar and we then we had some lunch. After lunch we had a cow tour of the grounds and then I caught up with our Yoga instructor as i’d told her I have a pain in my left ankle for some reason. She really kindly sat down with me and massaged it for me and as we were talking she told me a little story, which I found so profound and actually very funny. Which is reason number 2 for being inspired to write this blog…
The story was originally told by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who was an Indian Spiritual Teacher, born in ‘Kolkata’ in India in 1896, who established Bhaktivedanta manor in England in 1973 at the age of 77.
He said that when England invaded India, they took all that they wanted, everything, but 1 thing….. You know what they didn’t take?
I already knew the answer before she was telling me the story, because I knew what was missing here in England, by travelling to India myself. The best part of the story though, which to me, just magnifies the culture. Is that when A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to England, he said he came to give England the 1 thing they didn’t take and The Bhaktivedantor Manor was born.
This lovely selfless yoga teacher then asked me if I wanted to head over to the main manor, as we were on retreat in a separate barn. I was flattered that she wanted to give me more of her time and guess what?! We even saw a Bride and Groom in their colourfully glory as the’d just wed! We went up to the living quarters of Swami Prabhupada which was amazing and had such a wonderful energy, apparently George Harrison spent time their too. We went over to the bakery and gift shop where I bought some cookies and gifts too.
I hope you have enjoyed the read 🙂