Yogashram for the body and soul

Dr Akhila Vinod believes in complete healing — physical, mental and spiritual

Published: 12th March 2022 06:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2022 06:43 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Dr Akhila Vinod spent around an hour staring at herself in a mirror one day. She was in Bali at the time, attending a yoga training session. 

“I was spending time with myself for the first time — a moment of self-reflection and realisation,” Akhila says. Akhila was settled in Kuwait with her family when she got the chance to attend the session in Bali in 2019. The same year, she was selected as the Indian representative for a global yoga meet in Rishikesh and a yoga, naturopathy retreat in Lebanon. 

Soon, Covid struck and she returned home to Kochi in 2021, with no plans of an extended stay. But when her client director Lal Jose and others enquired whether she will start her own studio, she thought why not. After just three months of planning, she launched Yogashram, a quiet and comfortable place. 

There, visitors are welcomed to a cosy corner with a pastel yellow wall adorned with mandala designs. This is where she conducts her initial session, where she gets to know her patients. She takes one hour to identify her patient’s history and lifestyle. 

“My concept is complete healing. I pay attention to their mind and body. I need to find the root cause of their pain or mental struggle to draw out a treatment plan for them. This includes dietary and lifestyle changes,” she says.

Then, they are moved to the yoga space. This is where she gives the patient training in various asanas customised for them. She also gives training in rope and aerial yoga here. There is also a healing room, where she provides acupuncture and cupping treatment, both ideal for relief from pain and inflammation. Aerial yoga is not practised widely in the state, especially in Kochi, she says.

Then comes a tea place, where after each session, she spends 15 minutes talking to the patient over a cup of green tea. On the floor, there are two small cloth stools for patients to sit. Along with the novel yoga and healing practices, the cosy studio room is a major attraction of her little studio.  

“I take up a case, only if I know I can help the patient. If the client is getting another well thought out treatment with another doctor, I never interfere with that. If they suffer from serious illnesses like cancer, I will give them sessions to complement their ongoing allopathy treatment or chemotherapy. I don’t differentiate between treatment methods — the idea is to heal the patient,” says Ahkila, a graduate in naturopathy from SDM Yoga and Nature Cure Hospital in Dharmasthala, Karnataka.

Gradual growth

Akhila left for Kuwait in 2007, shortly after she completed her internship. “There, one of my seniors asked me to fill in for her at a yoga studio that offers sessions for pregnant women. I worked there for two months. And by then, many doctors from the hospital had started referring cases to me,” she says. 

She started Yogashram just four months ago. The idea was to provide individual treatment for patients rather than normal group yoga sessions. Within four months, she says, she has treated more than 25 patients. “Each patient takes a different time to recover and heal. Pain-related issues take a month while weight loss takes a minimum of two months,” she says. For clients who suffer from mental health-related issues, Akhila says, she never completely ends the treatment. “In most of those cases, we need to go back in time to heal. You need a physical and spiritual routine to help them,” she adds.  

“My concept is not a total upheaval of anyone’s lifestyle. It’s impossible to ask every client to wake at 5 am and practice yoga. Many working people have different timings, some work at night and sleep late in the morning. I only help them to change some negative aspects of their individual lifestyle — maybe cut back on junk food, start spending time with family or exercise etc. Even I go to the pub and eat junk food sometimes,” she quips. She calls herself a modern-day yoga practitioner. 


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