We live unaware of the inner sound of our being, drowned out as it is, by the din of daily life. Only when everything else quiets down and we are at peace can we hear it. That’s why we’ve made sure, that the shouts of the modern world die down to whispers, at SwaSwara.

The inner voice of the Self. That echoes on a fabled beach, shaped like the very first sound of creation, Aum. A perfect setting, for communion of mind and body. Come, say hello to the song and celebration within you.

Photo: CGH Earth – SwaSwara is located on the western coast of India, popularly known as the ‘Konkan’ coast in the state of Karnataka in South India. Set a little away from the village of Gokarna, nestling amidst rolling hills and lined by serene coconut palms are 24 villas inspired by the homesteads, tradition and craft of the Uttara Karnataka region.


Dr.Dayananda, chief physician at SwaSwara, seven years ago, he married ayurvedic doctor Mrs. Shobha and they have decided to call SwaSwara their home. For them SwaSwara is place, where they balance way of living and working, but also male and female point of view while treating patients (or they prefer to call them guests).

Photo: CGH Earth

What does Ayurveda mean for you personally?

For me ayurveda is a way of living. I don’t look at it as just treatment.

Was Ayurveda part of your family heritage?

No. My family roots are in agriculture, which helped me get familiar with nature and plants. My father was a hospital administrator and his dream was me to become a doctor too. I was trying to get degree in agriculture, but for some reason i couldn’t get into that so when my distant relative told me about the option of studying ayurveda i just blindly joined. But when I realized deep connection of ayurveda with nature I started loving it.

Maybe it was your karma or destiny. Do you believe in it?

Yes, Karma took me there and it just went on. It’s a nice thing but it’s how you apply it to your life and how you can successfully do that in the current era.


Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

What does SwaSwara mean for you personally?

SwaSwara is a place, where we are working and living too. We call it our home and it makes this concept even more interesting. Resort is managed very open-minded. Normally management is always after how much money they can make but here it’s very different. Management doesn’t interfere with the final decisions that doctors have to take. That freedom allows you to work independently like in your own clinic where you take all the decisions.  SwaSwara is not hospital, but resort, so we are not able to heal everything that is why we are very honest with our guests. If somebody wants to come in for some serious ayurvedic treatment, we always ask them to come to us with all the data regarding the problem that they are facing. Using this we can add some questions of our own and check where it is going wrong. If we are confident about handling it, we suggest the necessary therapies and its benefits. If we cannot, then we also suggest to whom they can approach.

Can be SwaSwara compared to Ayurvedic Hospital?

SwaSwara is not designed 100 percent as a hospital, it is a holiday, wellness and rejuvenate purity center. It’s a mix of everything. Even someone who is well and can take care of themself can come here and we have different packages they can opt from which they can decide what to do. For example the ‘Swa package’ is more like a holiday package with an introduction to yoga, ayurveda, naturopathy, philosophy and everything. So there we don’t restrict much.We introduce them and tell them about their prakruti, diet and what they need to follow once they are back home and things like panchakarma will benefit them in the long run a year or two later. But if somebody comes for ‘Prana Package’ which is an exclusive ayurveda package, they have a detailed consultation and we put them on a vegetarian diet strictly and it is for 14 nights to 21 nights. If it is for 14 nights we give maximum priority to relaxing and rejuvenating.

If anyone would like to stay at SwaSwara for Panchakarma, what are the conditions?

We don’t touch much curative work or panchakarma in the 14 day period. Panchakarma is done only in the 21 night package, where initially you need to relax the person and then do panchakarma and make him better to go with the normal environment. Because nowadays nobody is relaxed, everybody is tense or in a hurry. So even if they want to go on a vacation it is all planned at the last minute and when they come here, especially the foreigners; the time difference, jetlag and work tension they come with takes 2 to 3 days to recover from. So in this time if you start to do Panchakarma it will be very tedious work so their body and mind gets very tired very fast, so we let them relax for 5days, a week or ten days depending on the person so they can get accustomed to the environment and this ayurvedic setup is more towards therapeutic treatment than in a Spa.

 In common spa you can book the treatments and go for it anytime and come back, there luxury and comfort are the main priorities. Here whatever we do, even one consultation or one massage, we consult with them well to see what oils we can use, which area needs more concentration so we can tell our therapists accordingly what needs to be done. Because everybody has one or two problems here and there like tiredness or tension whatever it may be, so if u work on these particular problem areas, it is more beneficial rather than just giving a full normal massage and sending them off and we use medical oils which are customized to each individual, even that will help them to heal. Meanwhile we give them the health assessment chart so they can know about their body type and everything and that assessment tells you what you need to continue doing back home. So it is a much more holistic approach to ayurveda and we don’t emphasise them to do it immediately. We just introduce, let them think, let them analyze and then come.

So basically it reflects meaning of the words SwaSwara – listening to yourself?

Yes, because ultimately, each person is the master of themselves. Especially when food and diet comes into question, the company that markets this says that this is the best that the food here is genius and so on and so forth. But whether it is suitable for you, this is not told by them, it may be allergic or not suitable for you but we always say that

When you prepare the menu for the clients, does everyone have a unique menu?

Yes, in case of the ‘Prana Package’.

But in the other packages like the ‘Swa Package’, do they all have the same menu? And can they choose between fish/non veg or vegetarian?

Like i said earlier, the ‘Swa Package’ is more of a holiday package, we don’t restrict them but we do suggest what might be good or bad for them. Some guests are here for less than a week so we don’t go into those details. But in the ‘Prana Package’ we plan the menu out based on the body type or disease because diet is a basic thing where if u have a problem then we change it. If u don’t have problems and it’s the body it’s called ‘Prakriti diet’. For example if you have a fever. You need to have very light and easily digestible food that doesn’t go with your prakriti aspect but in underline we need to consider those things as a minute thing but if you are a normal person the prakriti concept and vegetables, it is a defused and healthy diet.


Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

How is Ayurveda connected with Hinduism?

Frankly speaking there is no connection between Ayurveda and Hinduism but you cannot deny it as well. When ayurveda started in India we had only Hindus. Buddhism, Christianity and Muslim religion were not there at that point of time. Ayurveda’s main intention is preventing and curing diseases and this does not have any religion.

It has always been under debate whether Ayurveda’s roots lie in Hinduism but when you go deeper and deeper you can see that it’s just methods to make the body and mind relaxed and well and has nothing to do with religion. For example, when you are treating some psychosomatic diseases, we have some rituals, offerings, prayers or chanting and Ayurveda becomes more spiritual and Hindu. If you look at it superficially then it is not. Even looking into the chants as such, it is not the meaning of the words but the vibrations and the pitch created by the words and chants that creates a rhythm or pattern in yourself to become normal. It’s more about the sound than the religious roots, because sound has no religion.

What role play meditation & Art in SwaSwara?

At the beginning we have to define what meditation is. There are many ways to define it, but in my opinion, if you can spend some time, one or two hours, without disturbing yourself with any further thoughts then that’s meditation. I won’t say that you need to tie yourself or say ohm or chant, you can listen to music or talk to a friend or sit and observe what’s going on around you and enjoy. The same thing happens in art. When you are doing something e.g. you play with the colours & paint – you are in that moment, you are in the present, it is a joyful thing. When you are in the present, you are moving with that and you won’t notice how time flies by. That’s a kind of meditation in itself. So art releases a lot of stress.

In SwaSwara for guests is organised special yoga called art yoga, performed through colour therapy. Ideas, which guests have in their minds are drawn out and then analysed. It is really interesting process. Work with colours helps to release pressure; it is about playing and enjoying the colours rather than being serious about art. When you are happy, your thoughts are clear and you can think of yourself more clearly. Art helps you to relax and you need to relax your body and mind, without that you cannot benefit. Ayurveda, yoga and art are all combinations of mind, body and inner spirit.

What makes SwaSwara different from the other resorts?

SwaSwara is more of a wellness centre where a person comes for ayurveda, yoga, nature and self-realization. It’s not a place for parties and such activities. We say no to a lot of things like televisions in rooms and room service. We are not trying to restrict these things but the idea is to come out of your rooms, meeting and seeing people, talking to them, experiencing nature and feeling free. These days we are more materialistic.

On which principles does ayurveda work?

Ayurveda works on the principle of prevention. It is always prevention that’s better than the cure. Ayurveda tells you how to live in harmony with your environment and nature, which is surrounding you and it teaches you how to adapt to changes around you and live a healthy and happy life. If you don’t apply these principles, then you can face problems. This is when cure comes into the picture, which is secondary and not the primary importance of ayurveda. Maintenance and preservation of the body,mind and soul is always of primary importance.

How yoga is connected with ayurveda?

For example, if you divide yoga and ayurveda. Ayurveda ends where the relaxed body and mind are healthy. To go to the spiritual level, both body and mind must be healthy, only then you can do yoga. You cannot neglect the body but you can overview that the body can take care of it. So this is how you can differentiate between the two but as a combination they are one. Basically the Indian sciences which are always into the connecting with the higher self and salvation and those things, even ayurveda is similar.

Text:  Zuzana Zwiebel


ART OF TRAVEL: www.shaktitrails.com


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