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What should be the first thing that pops into your mind about India? Apparently, an expensive version of ‘The Biggest Loser.’

Photo: jurvetson

HERE’S A NEW way to sell India: it’s like boot camp.

Instead of your regular calming, relaxing (or at least eye-opening) yogic/meditative/slum experience in the country of Buddha, the Taj Mahal, and Bollywood, apparently the latest way to get Westerners into the country is to make it seem as if they have signed up at Gold’s Gym.

Just the purgation/core strengthening route instead of a step class.

In a recent article on the Jakarta Post site entitled, Nature’s Boot Camp, the author notes:

The average day begins at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of bhajan…once up, patients participate in yogic kriyas – a process that induces controlled vomiting or purgation of the nasal, stomach and intestinal pipes…those prone to migraines are encouraged to insert a thin piece of rubbery wire through the nose and out the mouth. Asthma patients often swallow a thin muslin-like cloth down the esophagus to remove blockages. Others drink repeatedly a mixture of hot water, salt and cardamom.

Sounds like a lovely time.

Yes, liquid-based diets are to follow, along with whirlpool baths and your everyday enema or colonic. But make sure to enjoy the “pretty setting with benches to view the sunset over a pristine lake and lots of greenery infused with rare species of migratory birds.”

Ok, given, I actually know people that have gone to India for such cleanses, Panchakarma’s and the like. I’ve been through similar cleanses myself, and believe in their curative effects for the sick.

This is how they are trying to sell India now?

But really? This is how they are trying to sell India now? How many desperate-to-be-skinny/ “pure” wanna-be famous people are salivating over their assistant’s computer right now?

I will make sure to not spend $1500 for an Executive Single Room or $8,000 for a Deluxe Hut a day to either a. see India, or b. do something that would cost me less than $100 for an entire cleanse at home. No thank you.

What do you think about packaging places in India as “nature’s boot camp”? Share your thoughts below.

Health + LifestyleSpirituality


About The Author

Christine Garvin

Christine Garvin is a certified Nutrition Educator and holds a MA in Holistic Health Education. She is the founder/editor of Living Holistically...with a sense of humor and co-founder of Confronting Love. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga, and performing hip-hop and bhangra. She also likes to pretend living in her hippie town of Fairfax, CA is like being on vacation.

  • Eva

    Ha. Who needs a special vacation package? I lost 10 pounds in three days when I went to India – you can do it, too!!*

    *Side effects include copious vomiting, diarrhea and abject misery.

    • Christopher Benn

      Eva…If you’ve a home… then stay there. Please don’t travel anymore. you would loose more pounds from your body.

  • Shelley Seale

    Ha ha to the above – Caroline Boudreaux of The Miracle Foundation always mentions her “India diet!”

    But seriously – $1500-8000 to do this? Even if someone wanted these incredibly unpleasant sounding procedures, I find it disturbing that they would pay that obscene an amount of money to starve, purge and lose weight, in the midst of a population in which HALF the people are literally starving, of poverty and disease. I wonder what they would think of someone spending more than they may ever see in their lifetime to achieve this. They could probably work off the same amount of weight by spending that money buying food and medicine, and traveling into slums and rural villages delivering it.

  • HyderabadChick

    Several of my colleagues lost a lot of weight while living/working here. One woman lost 35lbs. during her 1 year assignment.

    For some it’s because they avoid meat while here. They become temp vegetarians. For others, it’s the greater use of fresh over processed foods.

    Indians seem very conscious of elimination – to put it delicately. There is quite a focus on natural digestive aids during and after the meal. It seems that for the unaccustomed westerner, this can lead to ‘romancing the throne’. :)

  • Heather Hapeta

    loose weight in India????????? .. i have been twice . once for a week, and once for 6weeks and neither time did i loose even a gram.

    where-ever i travel I eat local food, street food and often break the ‘food rules’ about peeling, washing, cooking, etc that many westerners seem to be obsessed by. i have yet to come back to NZ with a pound (or kilo) gone!

    i live in hope!!! cheers from the kiwitravelwriter AKA the passioante nomad

    • HyderabadChick

      I know what you mean! I gained instead of losing..sigh.

  • Vikram

    I am in Indian and am saddened by reading this article which associates a great country to a boot camp!
    India is a country which has over 5000 years of documented history & culture and all the techniques explained derogatorily in the article above have been devised over 100s of years with experience, rather than formulated in a lab over a few months. These techniques are tough to perform, however they make your body and mind one. Losing weight is not a very difficult task but keeping it that ways is. Once you connect with your body you will stop thinking of fries and coke then is when you would have achieved the real essence (and result) of these techniques.
    The prices you have indicated are definitely on a higher side, though experiences shared thereafter by other people were restricted to only large cities. I suggest that you should understand the rejuvenation programs before buying one so that the inability of performing the techniques does not bring out the critique in you.

    • DHarbecke

      I don’t think the article is trying to reduce India to boot camp. The message I got is that a narrow aspect of India is being packaged as both marketable product and an authentic experience, and neither one applies in this case.

      The first sentence of the article states India is being sold as a cartoonish image of itself, and it’s wrong. It’s a shame that instead of trying to change incorrect views about a place or culture, some marketers play to the falsehoods. Some might pity or ridicule the folks who are taken for a ride, but the cleaner route is to help them become aware they’re being used.

      I sympathize with people who have trouble with weight and fitness. It’s difficult to change a lifetime of habits, overnight or otherwise. Yoga is a rigorous discipline, not entered into lightly or easily. But it isn’t necessarily made authentic by studying it at the place of its origin, or by paying a mint to do so.

      Good luck to anyone trying to change their lives for the better. And here’s hoping you steer clear of the cowboy gear made in Japan. (No offense to the Japanese…)

      • christine

        Thanks, Daniel, for explaining where you believed I was coming from, which is correct.

        Vikram, in just a few short words, I got nothing but love for India. I have studied the system of Ayurveda for years, and aside from that, have done many, many cleanses. Yoga is a part of my (almost) daily routine. As Daniel noted, I was lamenting the exploit of India for its vast traditions in order that a few people can make a lot of money (especially with so much poverty in the country). It is the capitalist way, but it saddens me as more and more traditional approaches to health rejuvenation are being used for pure monetary gain.

  • writerman242

    It’s simply a reflection of the shallow, materialistic, image driven, ego oriented and pathetic culture we in the so called ‘west’ have created for ourselves. Nowhere is allowed to be what it is; nobody can be who they are without risking alienation and being thought of as either ‘old’ or ‘weird’ or ‘un cool’ (is un cool one or two words?). three months of amazing travel in India with all kinds of extraordinary experiences is what I had for WAY WAY less than a deluxe hut. And that was including the air fair, the shots, the gear. Everything. Up to us to make sure we remain individuals, don’t give in to the hype.

  • SlowTraveller

    I think the article is rather unnecessarily sensationalist. It’s easy to pick out the strangest parts of panchakarma as, out of context, they seem pretty radical. I had several lengthy trips to India over the years. It’s a challenging cacophony of a country, with complexities and simplicities that make it both intriguing and unlevelling at times, however has to be one of the most vibrant and energetic places to which I’ve travelled.
    I am a part-time student of Ayurveda now, it’s a beautiful and fascinating study of the ‘science of life’ and the art of using food as medicine is a most considered and simple way to heal imbalances. The principles use diet and lifestyle regimens, in tune with the individuals own constitution and natural seasons to balance the body and mind (through to soul level).

    The inexpensive way Ayurveda can be administered has rendered it supported by the World Health Organisation for many years, as a system of medicine suitable for people of all socio-economic situations.

    Why not showcase some of the beauty of Ayurveda as a compliment to this article…

    • Christine Garvin

      SlowTraveller, I didn’t mean to make Panchakarma seem radical. I tried to make the price they are making you pay to take part in a Panchakarma treatment seem radical and ridiculous, and only something that Westerners would ever pay that exorbitant amount of money to do. And they know that.

      Trust me, I’ve gone much more “radical” than Panchakarma for a whole lot less money. And can’t say enough good stuff about Shiro Dhara (oil running on the third eye anywhere from 20-40 minutes…heaven).

      Anyway, here is a link to Ayurveda that I think shows it’s beauty:

  • 0×101

    If you meet anybody from India, ask him “what is your caste?”

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