Soukya : Holistic Health Center (Bangalore, India)
I went to Soukya Holistic Health Center (Bangalore, India) a couple of years ago and wrote the following review which I presented to the Founder of the space but didn’t see any serious intent by the management to act upon it. Thus, I decided to publish the Review to protect others from losing their money.
Thank me later! And yes, if you like the article and my insights, do write to me for alternate suggestions and I will be glad to help. Now get the popcorn (Non GM)) out !!
Most of Ayurveda’s medicinal concoctions and nutritional principles are revolving around milk, ghee and other by-products of cows. It is strictly mentioned that the cows breed must be of Indian origin, with horns on its head and a hump on its back. The hump is said to contain a special ‘Surya Ketu Nadi’ which act as a major healing force since gold traces are passed on to its milk and urine, which coincidentally have been scientifically proven recently in laboratories in Gujarat.
Moreover, the Indian cows are known to charge up the environment they live in, by heavily oxygenating their surroundings. This particular point is what I have read and heard, but not scientifically proven in my knowledge.
It has been observed that the cows here are not in accordance with the Ayurveda healing principles.
Unfortunately, they are not of Indian origin, in fact they are not even cows but a genetically modified version called URUS, which was brought in by the British, by cross breeding cows with some wild breed found in their part of the word. They are detrimental to the environment, their milk does not contain any similarities with real Indian cow’s milk. Their urine and dung is also not worthwhile for farming purposes. The only reason they were widely accepted was because their output was 5 times Indian cows.
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Attention was not given to the basics of a pose. For ex. while practicing Katichakrasana, we were told to only twist the upper half of the body. Everyone present were twisting their lower torso as well but the instructor was oblivious to the flaw and was involved in her own practice with no focus on how others are doing.
In another instance, a gentleman with no prior experience in yoga was attending the class. He had never practiced Surya Namaskar and the instructor was giving fast instructions, while he tried to keep up with the flow, his poses were all flawed and he was really struggling. The instructor did eventually try to help, all in vain as she could not stop the flow for others. Thus, it didn’t feel like a professional environment watching the instructor struggle in getting her subjects to practice appropriately.
I believe it is wise to have separate classes for complete beginners to get them acquainted with the basics so that they can keep up in regular classes without compromising on the techniques, which can be counterproductive. Also it would be wise if the instructor cuts down on the demonstration and spends more time observing and correcting the subjects.
Another point to be noted is that anyone is allowed to enter the yoga class at any point in the middle of the practice, which tends to disrupt the sanctity.
One time, My afternoon therapy went on for a while and although I had missed the yoga class, the therapist in a casual manner told me to enter the class midway. I refuted his suggestion, on the grounds that I have missed the first half of instructions and it is humanly impossible for me to get into the meditative zone which is intended. Along with that, I didn’t wish to disturb other practitioners, as I know being in their place that it is disturbing. The next day, I asked the instructor if I could be allowed to enter halfway through and she agreed, after which I inquired how it is possible for me to practice the meditation or breath work with incomplete instructions and she agreed to that also and said it’s better to avoid.
A minor point is that while instructing alternate leg raises or any other movement that involved alternating between both sides, she always ended with the side that we started with. Post class I asked her if this is a philosophy of the school she studied from, she denied and said she was not aware and must have made a mistake.
On one occasion, the instructor herself could not balance in Tadasana and slipped, which takes the practitioner’s faith away from the authority.
Such instances have clearly demonstrated that the yogic practice is taken quite casually and the instructor is not aware enough in moments which seems to be dismal as yoga is about becoming aware of the moment.
Additionally, not getting personal but completely from an objective standpoint, this place is where ailing humans come to find solutions live their potential. Not sure if it has happened before but I assure you that in the future people would flock to achieve good skin and other anti ageing results. It is a known fact that Yoga and Pranayama can play a major role in achieving that but to allow people to believe in it, the instructor herself / himself must demonstrate the physical traits that people wish to achieve. Thus, having a yoga instructor who cannot solve their own issues would lead us to either one of the following hypothesis. One that the science doesn’t work or two, what is preached is not practiced. It is safe to assume that the latter is true.
Some instances might be small and some might be big. But I assure you that my aim is to not make complaints regarding small issues but to allow you to get a sense of the culture.
There is no respect for silence zones (Includes everybody, even higher management). Not in the dining area, nor in the silent area behind the therapies section. Not in the shower area. Not in the waiting area for therapies. Not even in the therapy room. In the meal section, even if a group of people are chatting away to glory, nobody would even request them to stay silent. Even the staff doesn’t respect the silent pledge. They all are chatting most of the times to disrupt the silence. In the waiting area for therapy section, some security personnel will be watching loud news on their phone. During therapies also, the therapist would be chatting about things not related to the therapy.
Once during breakfast, I asked the server, about the chicken whose egg I was eating and he promptly responded that it comes from another organic farm. It disheartens me to observe how the term organic is used loosely, as I felt it from his vibes that he had no idea what he was talking about and in most situations, by using the term organic, he would get away with anything with a smile on the guests’ face. I asked him what the chickens are fed, in other words on what basis is it claimed organic?
In such an institution where health is the pinnacle focus, It is expected that if genuine enthusiasts make inquiries on nutrition, which is bound to happen considering people with good education and a will to learn would show up here, the staff must be on top of things. His reply, although accompanied with his standard smile felt quite cold, as he said that I can ask the reception. I responded by saying that it’s better that he ask the reception, in the process educate himself and save me from the unnecessary labor as a guest, so he can oblige me with information on my food that he is serving.
I asked him 3 more times and up until now, I haven’t got a reply and many promises broken by him.
All I was looking for was a deeper explanation of how and why things are organic, whether the chicken is caged or not, whether their beak is trimmed with unnatural means or not, or whether the are fed GMO’d crops or not, as I feel it is my right to know about my food’s background, especially in a holistic healing resort.
It would be wise to thoroughly educate the servers about nutrition and the ability to tackle in depth questions.
Another time, I asked for recipes for a salad and he said that he will give it when no-one is watching, since it is not permitted. I declined and I said I don’t need it if it isn’t permitted.
During Auriculotherapy, electricity went away and when it came back, the music didn’t come back and needed to be restarted manually. The team must be aware of these details and act to ensure my musical therapy experience doesn’t come to a standstill.
One night they sent my milk to the wrong room, so I didn’t get my nutrition that night. Twice they forgot to bring the cup of tea I had ordered. Not more than 4 guests at this time. Maybe it is wise for them to write down the order to ensure no inconvenience to the guest.
I had been facing major problems with the shower, not just me but another guest had complained. The speed would increase and suddenly decrease with the water getting cold and suddenly hot, respectively. After multiple requests, no action was taken.
During my Vasti days, the nutritionist mentioned how the doctor told her to avoid fiber in my diet, thus she wanted my ragi roti to be replaced and i asked if thepla would be fine and she said yes, and she would inform the kitchen. Next 4 meals all have been Ragi rotis!!
The doctor told me to use the herbal paste once, during my bath whereas I was not given any paste, upon inquiry, he found that out and instructed to do it next time.
Another time, after my herbal smoke therapy, while I was walking out, I happened to cross the doctor’s room and that moment I was being handed over my buttermilk by the therapist when suddenly the doctor noticed and told me to not drink it, not even water for an hour. If it was a strict contraindication, what if the doctor didn’t notice the buttermilk? Instruction of crucial precautions was left to chance.
First day, the doctor did the Nasyam therapy wherein he told me he would administer 2 drops of medicine in my nose and I have to breathe in from each nostril 3 times. Post that, the therapist used to put 6 drops and allow me to breathe only once from each nostril.
Therapies from different therapists are different. One guy is great at acupressure whereas another did below average makes you wonder if you are given the right treatment every time or not.
Small instances like not applying oil after Navra kochi whereas some therapists would and not putting rose water pads on my eyes during Nasyam whereas some therapists would seemed to be inconsistent.
There could be better coordination between the doctor and the staff and more uniformity between different therapists.
One time I asked the therapist to bring me a razor and shaving cream so that I can shave post therapy and after shower. He said that it is better I speak to the reception as they will not listen to him and act speedily if he told them. Another time I had requested the server to tell the chef to serve me sprouts for salad regularly if possible and if the doctor allows. He said fine. After a few nights, when he came to my room to give me milk, he seemed scared and he said how he has no problem serving me sprouts, but it is better if I speak to the nutritionist directly as they don’t listen to him. Also he told me to keep this a secret.
During therapy once, a therapist started to speak to me saying how they don’t allow him to speak to guests and they also don’t teach him details about acupressure points as according to him, Soukya is insecure that he would run away. He kept requesting me to not tell this to anyone otherwise he would be in trouble. While saying all this, obviously he was quite scared. I felt unnecessarily heavy in my therapy as I really didn’t want to be a part of internal politics during my healing experience. Another young man kept sharing how he looks down upon this job and he wants better things in life.
Another therapist once was joking how everyone is fat here and how once he was taking some female guests bird watching, how they were nice but a bit too fat and started laughing. He frequently cracked women related jokes without much heed from my side. Quite draining experiences. The culture at the staff level can be made much better.
It so happened that 3 times the therapist who was doing my therapy was not well at all. He would sneeze at least 30 times in the therapy, without exaggeration and regularly keep coughing. It is not a nice feeling to get a face massage from a sneezing machine, I assure you that! I had to request him to take an off and not do any therapies.
Also, one time I noticed chewing tobacco wrappers in the washroom near the reception, giving an icky feeling.
I am attaching an analysis report highlighting about each and every staff member there!
Also can do away with processed salt which lot of researches have pointed out to be detrimental to health, instead of regular Tata salt, maybe Himalayan pink salt can boost the nutrition of foods.
Avoiding plastic to cover hot porridge would be wise as recently the cancer research UK has pointed out how heated plastic can transfer carcinogenic compounds into the food.
Non stick teflon coated cookware can definitely be avoided and more traditional cookware like clay pots and iron skillets can be added in the kitchen to make the food nutrient rich instead of the cancer promoting tendencies of teflon.
Following are some of my subjective recommendations
You can avoid wastage by having a jug of herbal water in the dining as I never take more than a sip and the rest of the glass goes to waste.
Also, you can shift the placement of the aroma diffuser, which is placed right under the dining table and it comes in the way of placing one’s feet.
It would be wise to install a bell on the therapy beds as during therapies where subject is left alone, like auriculotherapy or liver packs, one might need assistance and there is no way to call for help. It so happened as one lady was discussing how her needles fell off and she felt frustrated to not have access to help.
Another important suggestion is bring the fervor of healing into the staff and not allow them to view it as a regular job. They must go through the therapies themselves and Soukya must transfer the good habits into their life as their healing powers will be very much enhanced. Also their quality of therapy delivery would go up as they know how it feels on the other side.
Bringing more seriousness and rigor in the system, with respect to following the health protocols is important. For ex. it was not wise of the staff to bring me a call from the reception while Iam in the middle of my lunch, and allow me to be engrossed in my food which is professed here.
It would be nice to have some bedroom plants, especially those that give oxygen at night to allow the subject fresh air in their sleep!