"Rasa” means “juice,” “essence,” “taste,” “top enjoyment.”Rasayana means 'rejuvenation. In Ayurveda’s theory, Rasa is a liquid matrix giving rise to our emotional range and supporting our physical wellbeing, longevity and experience of "juiciness" in this life.
Niika Quistgard founded Rasa Ayurveda in Kerala, India to welcome women from across the world to a one-of-a-kind women’s residential healing center, dedicated to personal revival.
Relying on Nature’s qualities and timeless life wisdom from East and West, Niika designed Rasa Ayurveda to bring the powers of traditional Ayurveda, protected quiet time, and healthy nourishment of the senses together to create a healing environment, reverent toward women and Nature.
Rasa Ayurveda was operated by MayaShakti Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd., India, Trips and Trainings by MayaShakti Ayurveda, LLC., USA. Both companies–East and West–on socially-conscious and ecological business principles.
Niika made the hard decision to close Rasa Ayurveda permanently after the unexpected death of her adopted brother and hospital manager, Sanjeev Kumar.
Her passion for reviving and restoring women and places–and humanity’s delicate and vital relationship with life’s beauty and functional interconnections–has only grown stronger. Her work has never been more potent, practical, wise and alive…
Founder/Designer/Director/Guide – Rasa Ayurveda
I’ve had a heartfelt relationship with Indian philosophy, spirituality and culture since I was a young teen. In the early 80’s, I traveled and lived in Maharashtra, India for a couple of years. While in India, I discovered Ayurveda–the science of life and longevity–and later undertook formal study. After certification in the U.S. and almost ten years of clinical practice and teaching Ayurveda for women in the West, I came to the Indian state of Kerala for my own session of Ayurvedic rejuvenation.
On my very first trip, I simply fell in love. Kerala is the sweet spot of India–the birthplace of Ayurveda, and Trivandrum especially continues to resonate with the life pace of ancient times. I liked it so much, I stayed on half-time and began looking for an opportunity to establish a women’s Ayurvedic healing retreat. I’d dreamed of creating a place to honor each woman’s power to heal her body, her mind, and even transform her life, especially in critical transition. A place where eastern and western women learn from and support each other. A place promoting conservation of native medicinal plants and sustaining healthy traditional practices of lifestyle and diet.
My teenage son joined me here for several months, getting to know Kerala and advising me in my quest. We enjoyed developing relationships with the loving people in our Trivandrum neighborhood. We also had the good fortune to forge close ties with Sanjeev Kumar (Sanju) and his family. Sanju is a skilled and caring Siddha therapist with more than 20 years experience treating patients from all over the world. Over time, Sanju became a true uncle to my son, and my heart’s adopted brother.
I’d noticed the positive effect Sanju had not only on the patients he gave therapies to, but even those he simply spoke with. As we found time, we shared many conversations about the true essence of healing and the value of happiness–enjoyment, juice, rasa–in life and health. He’d say to me, “Chechi” (chechi means sister)—”The patient herself is 40% of all healing. Without a good mind state in the patient, we can give so many therapies and so many powerful medicines, but if the patient is unhappy, how can they have their full effect?”
His respect for the divinity inherent in every body shone through his work and his words. He explained to me, “Chechi, we can think of what we do as therapists as simply removing rust in those places where there is rust. Our treatments cleanse off impurities and highlight the goodness of the body. We are not adding anything to the patient that is not already there itself. When the patient admits these treatments with 100 percent of mind, the results are outstanding.” I was delighted to have found this person who shared my conviction in the patient’s innate wholeness, no matter the imbalance that may be manifesting.
Continuing to explore possibilities for establishing a healing center, I talked with people and looked into locations, but the right situation didn’t present itself. My son had gone home, and eventually, I returned to my practice in the U.S., helping women discover the power of Ayurvedic knowledge and experience.
Five months later I made one more trip to India, thinking I’d have a nice visit with my Malayalee family, pack up my Kerala home and maybe let go of my dream for a while. This time, though, Grace flooded each day! Everything magically fell into place. First, Sanju’s employer moved out of town and accepted his resignation. He is only a fine healer and teacher, but also an experienced clinic manager. I knew he would be an enormous help to establishing the women’s healing center, and he agree to work with me. Next, a perfect center site became available right here in my neighborhood. Local supporters seemed to walk out of thin air to help us in the tasks of establishing Rasa. Clearly, the unseen force–the MayaShakti–was behind all the unfolding.
I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced and learned so much from my clients, patients, students, staff and community during my 7 years guiding the learning and healing at Rasa Ayurveda. In the healing environment made up of the local people and plants and the deep knowledge distilled over generations, we were all steeped in Ayurveda–hearing, smelling, tasting and being touched by Mother Nature–our ultimate healer, source and home. It is with much gratitude that I now carry timeless natural wisdom forward to revive and re-invigorate women’s lives, for the good of us all…
“I can only say Rasa Ayurveda is surely the place I was looking for to do my Pancha Karma treatment. I hope I will have the opportunity to come back in the future. I know now that I can feel very much at home in a place so different from Holland.”
A Traditional Healing Centre for Women
What is Pancha Karma?
Pancha Karma is the classic Ayurvedic regimen for purifying and rejuvenating the physical and emotional bodies.
Originally designed to bolster the health and longevity of royalty, Pancha Karma is a wonderful process designed to “hit the reset button” in our health and lives. Considered most valuable for protecting natural balance and preventing disease, the clearing and restoration available thru Pancha Karma is powerful preventative medicine. Through Pancha Karma, toxic residue, energies and blockages can be guided out and away from the body and mind before obvious symptoms become manifest.
Pancha Karma can also halt disease in some patients, reverse the disease process in some, and potentially heal previously damaged tissues in some women. At Rasa Ayurveda, we feel particularly confident treating digestive imbalances, sinus difficulties, joint problems, reproductive and hormonal disorders, overweight and underweight cases, some auto-immune diseases, “burn out” and other mental/emotional/nervous system imbalances. Post-chemotherapy patients have also benefited greatly from treatment.
A Pancha Karma program involves three parts:
1) Poorva Karma – Preparation
After an initial consultation, dietary and herbal practices prepare or “ripen” the body and mind for complete detoxification and elimination of excess doshic energies.
2) Pancha Karma – the “Five Actions”
As diet and herbal support continues, customized therapies act to coax toxins and excess doshic energies from deeper tissues into the digestive tract. These toxins and forces are then eliminated through those of the five actions determined most appropriate for you. The five actions of Pancha Karma are designed to eliminate excess toxins and doshic energies from the tissues and pathways of the body and mind to support health, increase digestive power, build the vitality of the tissues, nourish the nervous system, balance the mind and restore the senses to clarity.
3) Rasayana – Rejuvenation
Once body and mind are clean and clear, it’s time to build all the tissues with excellent nourishment for sustained well-being and longevity. A customized Rasayana program includes nutrition plan, herbal supplements, therapeutic self-care practices and lifestyle choices.
Pancha Karma effectively “hits the reset button” in body and mind, and almost always results in a true experience of “re-birth,” when a woman can experience what it is to be renewed in mind, body and spirit.
To learn more about some of the many traditional Ayurveda and Siddha Vaidya therapies offered at Rasa Ayurveda, click here.
Many choose to do Pancha Karma after a period of stress or overindulgence in poor dietary choices. Some make Pancha Karma an annual birthday gift to themselves, or do PK at every change of season. (That’s three times a year, according to Ayurveda.)
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