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International Ayurveda Symposium - 2013 Summary

A deeply awaited event at Tapovan is the International Symposium on Ayurveda.


On 11th year of success of this special event, many Ayurvedic doctors from all over the world, Tapovan students and Ayurveda lovers arrived from Friday 20th September 2013 on Tapovan campus in Normandy, 4 kms away from the sea.

The symposium started at 8:30 pm with chants and mantras followed by a much awaited event by Tapovan students: the Graduation ceremony! Indeed, students in Ayurveda, Ayurvedic massage, Ayurvedic dietetics etc. received their certificates and diplomas.


Saturday morning at 7:30, you could choose between asanas and pranayama or yoga lahari practical workshops.

Ustad Usman Khan, sitar maestro introduced us to Nada yoga, the yoga of cosmic sound. Sound and music can be considered as a potential medium to achieve a deeper unity between the outer and inner cosmos.


Simultaneously, Dr. Vijay Chauhan (Ayurevdic doctor and Vice President at Piramal R & D Herbal Overseas Business) discussed about 8 levels or steps of yoga as described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. Yama is the social behavior, how you treat others and the world around you. The five yamas are non-violence (ahimsa), trust and honesty (satya), non-covetousness or non-stealing (asteya), abstinence (brahamachrya) and non-possessiveness (aparigraha). The other five rules that relate to ourselves and our own discipline are called niyamas: cleanliness of body and mind or purity (shauca), contentment or satisfaction (santosha), austerity (tapas), study of the Vedic texts that lead to introspection and knowledge of the soul and God (svadhyaya) and surrender to God (ishvarpranidhana).


Dr. Falguni Vyas presented the magic and virtues of spices used in Indian cuisine. While mustard seeds increase our fire element and helps digestion, cumin seeds on the other hand cools you down. Turmeric, widely used in India, has great medicinal properties: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-disease and anti-cancer!


Around 11 in the morning, the conference of Vaidya Barot, eminent Ayurvedic doctor and researcher in the UK and Dr. Kostopoulos, Aallopathic doctor and ayurveda expert from Greece, started with the melodious chants of Mitchelée. Whilst Vaidya Asvin Barot explained the fundamentals principles of Ayurveda old of 5000 years, Dr. Kostopoulous explained how these ancient principles are verified today by modern scientific studies!


After an organic and Ayurvedic lunch, 3 workshops started. Dr. Chauhan talked about a vital stage of a woman’s life: maternity. Dr. Mauroof Athique, Professor at the Ayurveda College at Middlesex University in UK explained the basic principles of healthy and Ayurvedic eating: why fresh food contains energy (prana), how to do a diet (upvasa), why some combinations of food are incompatible, why do we create toxins (ama) and many more interesting questions. The 3rd workshop, Pankaj Vyas, Professor of Ayurvedic massage and yoga at Tapovan, demonstrated an Abhyanga, the massage of the full body with Ayurvedic oils.


The afternoon conference discussed about the scope and vision of Ayurveda. Whilst we know much progress has been achieved in the development of Ayurveda around the world, many obstacles still lie in the path such as lack of empirical studies and problems in exporting Ayurvedic medicines to Europe. Many allopathic doctors such as Isabelle Celestin-Lhopiteau are willing to collaborate with Ayurvedic experts in a joint-effort to apply Ayurveda in Europe.

In the Saraswati room at around 6pm, you could just walk in and Vaidya Barot would examine you and determine your dosha, prakriti and vikruti in few minutes! A fun and fruitful lesson for Ayurveda students.

Simultaneously, Anu Priya, yoga therapist from India, explained the various levels of consciousness in yoga, the 7 chakras and some kriyas to cleanse them.


At dusk, everybody gathered around the pond with lotus to chant some mantras with hundred and eight ghee lamps (diyas), to reconnect with the five elements (earth, fire, water, air, ether). Beautiful mandalas of light in space, enjoyable sounds and positive vibrations.


After dinner, the day ended with a beautiful cultural program. It started with a prayer to Lord Ganesha performed by Anandi in the Bharat Natyam dance form, followed by an item on the enchanting Lord Krishna and his mischiefs. Ustad Usman Khan, accompanied by Prakash Kandassamy on tablas, delighted the audience with his profound and spiritual sitar music till late at night.


Early on Sunday, everybody participated in the yagna, the chanting of vedic mantras by Pankaj Vyas and Lav Sharma. It purified the atmosphere and our minds.

Whilst Anu Priya was teaching yoga asanas, Vérnonique de la Cochetière in her workshop on how to get ready for delivery, led us to give birth to our souls.


The second round of morning workshops consisted of

-Isabelle Celestin-Lhopiteau and Isabelle Nègre  (both Allopathic doctors at the Palliative care department at the Bicêtre University and Hospital in Paris) presented with empirical data how pain can be reduced using alternative methods such as Ayurveda, hypnotherapy, Chinese medicine, yoga and even meditation! We even had a short practical session of hypnotherapy. - Nutritionist expert, Xavier de la Cochetière explained the importance of enjoying the present moment. - Jean-Jacques Malangin, Professor of yoga of eyes at Tapovan, showed how eyes can be appeased by using simple techniques.


This grand event was closed by His Excellency the Ambassador of India in France, Mr. Arun Singh and regional personalities: Estelle Grelier, former European Deputy and present President of the Community of Municipalities of Fecamp, and representatives of the Sassetot-le-Mauconduit town.

The Ambassador was happy about the popularization of yoga and Ayurveda in France and thanked the Director of Tapovan, Kiran Vyas for his efforts in this matter. Estelle Grelier too showed her willingness to support Tapovan and the cause of Ayurveda as a potential complementary system of medicine.

The 11th Symposium on Ayurveda ended with a festive lunch, cooked with love and organic vegetables right from the green house.

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