Ayurveda clinic looks to open on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

Source :Tico Times

By Chrissie Long

The Eastern discipline of Yoga has made it into nearly every neighborhood, athletic center and wellness clinic over the last two decades, becoming a household word in the West.

But it’s taken a little longer for its sister science to travel overseas, and any mention of it in social circles has Americans tripping over its pronunciation: “Ah-yer-vey-duh.”

Recognizing the healing power of the practice, which has served as a parallel medical system in India, Ayurveda may become more familiar in the western hemisphere in part thanks to the efforts of 30-year-old Stanford graduate Celina de Leon. Partnering with doctors, medical practitioners and philanthropists in Costa Rica, she’s building the foundation for an Ayurveda clinic near the Central Pacific town of Quepos.

“Everyone in the world can benefit from Ayurveda,” said de Leon, who traveled to India on a Fulbright Scholarship to research the ancient medical practice. “Ayurveda not only targets disease and illness, but it also aids in a positive lifestyle.”

As a means to expand the local knowledge base of the centuries-old system, de Leon has brought Dr. Srinivas Acharya to Costa Rica where he’s delivered a series of lectures both in San José and at the Posada Natura Retreat Center in Londres.

The India-based doctor, who serves as director of the International Studies Program at the Ayurved University in Gujurat, said it’s only a matter of time before Ayurveda follows in the footsteps of yoga in the western world.

“ India is a country that is self-contained,” said Acharya. “There was never any marketing of yoga abroad. But yoga eventually came out on its own, and I believe Ayurveda will do the same.”

The practice is based on the body’s natural power to heal. Combining diet, sleep patterns, meditation, massage and yoga, Ayurveda is a science that seeks to achieve a balanced lifestyle both in mind and in body.

“There are so many methods involved,” Acharya said. “What doctors do is look into a patients’ lifestyle and advise them on what they need to adjust.”

Sometimes the advice is to eliminate day napping, other times it’s adding different dietary chemicals. Daily meditation, yoga, detoxing and massage therapy are also important components of a prescription.

The plans are to build the clinic at the 2,000-hectare Eco Era Reserve (www.ecoera.org) near Quepos, a refuge established by Gustavo Caldarelli almost twenty years ago.

“I came here to protect the environment,” said Argentinean-born Caldarelli, who’s backing de Leon’s initiative by incorporating the clinic into the reserve. “But I learned that one way to take care of the environment is to take care of the people.”

The Ayurveda clinic will be a branch of the Sankalpa Institute and will treat a combination of local and foreign patients.

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