Annual Naturopathy Training in Cebu, Maharlika Growing and Growing
by Vasudeva Wilfredo Menorias
This year in February the training was attended by 18 people from Mexico, Russia, Fiji, Australia, USA, France, Greece, Taiwan, Germany, and of course from Maharlika (Philippines). The need and desire is thus universal.
GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS
Wellbeing is a very important foundation of society. It is a vital factor for a society to function efficiently. In fact the world has huge healthcare expenditures, on average about 10% of the world’s gross domestic product, according to World Bank data. Many people are struggling with their health. In Maharlika alone, the following health statistics have been mentioned from government agencies and other reliable sources:
– Over six million people are diagnosed to be diabetic, and we are warned that for every diagnosed case, another one goes undiagnosed, which means there are 12 million diabetics in the country
– Last year, PhilHealth spent around 160 million US$ to assist patients undergoing dialysis, the majority of whom were diabetics
– Many people are not diagnosed with diabetes until they suffer serious complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, stroke or a gangrenous foot
– About 14 million Filipinos are diagnosed with hypertension
– One in five people aged over 40 develop heart failure and half of those will die in the first 5 years after diagnosis
This is not only true in Maharlika alone. Most countries have more or less the same, or even worse health realities. Most people consider disease to be the enemy and look for different kinds of intervention to manage symptoms. Despite our society’s attempts to address different kinds of disease, it seems that we are losing the battle. An epidemic is in our midst; things must be done differently to have a different outcome.
THE WELLNESS CENTRE
The mainstream approach is physical and symptom-based, while the alternative approach looks at the individual as a whole, addressing the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social dimensions. The Wellness Center is a proponent of an alternative approach which is anchored in natural therapy and yogic principles. It has an international presence with centres in India, USA, Taiwan, and its global office in Maharlika. It has been my privilege to receive Basic Naturopathy training in the global office. For me, the experience that I had is a turning point of my understanding about health. Looking back to when I still had no clue how to address my personal health challenges, I will never be the same again.
EXPERIENCES IN THE WELLNESS CENTRE
My previous work involved a lot of stress, so that I chose to give up my job despite my great career. Searching for answers, I checked online and found the Yoga Wellness Centre. Some of my friends had been there already and gave great feedback. For the past few months I was just looking at the online stuff of the Centre. I never imagined that I would be trained with its approach, only that one day I will be an advocate of holistic health. So I thought, this is my once in lifetime chance, I have to grab it!
Art WorkshopWhen I arrived at the Yoga Wellness Centre, immediately I felt the soothing atmosphere. The structural dome design of the building is awesome and is surrounded with ornamentals and vegetable plants. Any person would recognize that the cheerful and friendly staff contribute to an environment ideal for healing. Then I was introduced to the rest of the trainees from different countries, all with their own backgrounds. Despite the differences among the trainees, everyone was united in the yearning to know more about natural therapy and to experience a healing breakthrough. Diversity became an instrument for understanding various points of view which facilitate personal development.
Learning to extract clay to make medical
mud packsThe daily schedule is filled with activities which for me is habit forming. Not less than three times a day, we do kiirtan and meditation which enabled me to let go of any mental disturbances. I led the kiirtan much of the time during the training, which for me was a great opportunity. We also had a class by a famous yoga instructor from Singapore twice, aside from the daily yoga classes and asanas by different teachers. The training was also attended by two Acharya meditation teachers, so they were able to share their experience and expertise. There is also a time dedicated for cardio-vascular exercise with various options from treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical machine, zumba and others. Depending on each one’s health needs, we would have two personalized natural treatments a day. They ranged from hydrotherapy using mainly water such as Hipbath, Steambath, Spinal Compress, Hot Footbath and Colema to treatments involving other elements such as Mudbath and Sunbath.
Cebu OutingCooking classes are held in the afternoon teaching us how to prepare probiotics and other natural remedies, and of course beautiful sentient detoxing vegetarian meals; most of the trainees find the cooking method easy and the food tastes great. During evenings, activities range from art programs to sharing of experiences and watching empowering movies about health. Special programs were also done, such as having an experience of inner dance (manifesting inner feelings), visiting an eco-house, nature outings, and Bioenergetics which is a method of psychotherapy which aims to relieve muscle tension to enable emotional healing by doing series of physical and mental exercises.
Dada Dharmavedananda, the Founding Director of the Yoga Wellness Centre facilitates daily classes during the day. The classes are based on his practical knowledge on yogic natural therapy, medical facts, and personal experiences. He continuously involved the trainees in the discussion by asking questions to stimulate our thinking process on the subject matter. This paved the way for the theories and terminologies to better sink in our memories. Practically oriented classes were also given by the chief medical-in-charge, Chintamani and with the help of other staff on how to prepare and execute all the natural treatments used in the Centre. A series of classes for the treatments to be used for different kinds of diseases and healing symptoms was also given to prepare the students in their own naturopathic practice. On this note, all of us had a taste of the theory and practice of what is being done in the Centre, and what we can do in our own places. For example, we learned enough so that we can conduct weekend yoga detox retreats.
PRINCIPLES OF THE CENTRE’S APPROACH
The approach of the Centre is anchored in its guiding principles which make it different from the mainstream. First, people who come to the Centre are not called patients but students. The reason for me is that it is a learning process that takes place while students stay. Most have the time to listen to their inner guidance and also learn from the programs being
conducted. Second, as what the founding director always remind us, “Unlike many other naturopathy Centres, we do not aim at our visitors coming back often. Our main goal isn’t making a lot of money but rather creating better, healthier
individuals who can easily maintain the lifestyle they learned here at home.” On this regard cooking classes are being taught, natural treatments are using elements of nature, and a transition diet recommendation is given, all these will make it easy for the student to continue with a better lifestyle after leaving the Centre. Third, it follows a way of cooking that
enables detoxing by not cooking in oil, but instead how to cook with water in the most delectable way. If oil (extra virgin olive, coconut oil or other) is needed, it is used only when the dish is finished cooking so that the molecular structure will not change, making it nutritious and easy to digest. Fourth, graduated fasting, the graduated approach means that step by step, the food items are changed and reduced to prepare for the detox in relation to each student’s necessity and personal preference. Fifth, which is for me the most important; the Centre highly considers the mental, spiritual, and psychological aspects of healing with which all students and trainees are encouraged to participate during the scheduled time for kiirtan, meditation and yoga postures.
When the training is almost over, everyone felt deeper connection with each other. I felt comfortable with all of the trainees and all became friends. The day of the graduation was celebrated glamorously; we had a lot of fun with the ceremony. Of course, anyone will always remember the sentient plant based dishes which were prepared for the event. Training has come to an end; other trainees are going back to their respective countries while some continue with their journey to other places in Maharlika and in another country. While the fact that the training is over, for everyone it is the start of a new journey to make a better version of ourselves and impact our communities with the empowering knowledge of Natural Therapy. As for me, with the fact that there is an epidemic of different illnesses in the country, it is my responsibility and opportunity to share the great news that I learned from the training. While many are still relying on the mainstream method with their health challenges, a voice in the midst of the society is saying, “There must be a better way and that direction should be taken.” And the better way is the holistic approach, which is Natural Therapy.