Kheli Pama is one of those wonderful people who looks on the bright side of life and sees the world as a beautiful place. She acts upon her optimism through Body Awareness which seeks to lessen her client’s troubles and make them more in touch with themselves. She’s a vegetarian and good cook too! Loves her animals and, along with her husband, Yogesh, run Mount Joy Cottages, self-catering accommodation in Knysna.
Wicked Mike: Because so few people ever get to know themselves, the first attraction is the name of your practice – Body Awareness. What does the name mean to you?
Kheli Pama: The body is honest – when it hurts it lets you know…it has no excuses…when it feels good, it also informs you. Through the massage, you become aware of the body. The mind tends to want to deny that there is a body as the body requires care, attention, time. The mind just wants to reach the goal regardless! When you become aware of your body, wholeness arises…opposite the “mind stories” which take you away from yourself.
Wicked Mike: Tell us about the health aspect of it?
Kheli Pama: Knowing and accepting who you are provides deep relaxation. The massage gives you an internal shower. It cleans up the toxicities which are stuck in certain places. It activates the bodily functions without any effort from your side. You lie down – I do the work! Everyone deserves that!
Wicked Mike: And the health of the mind and spirit?
Kheli Pama: When the body is clean, it can directly reflect in mind and spirit. I specifically have a very restful environment to soothe the spirit needs. I work with the doors open while the sound of running water, the swaying of the trees and the songs of the birds present the possibility of taking your mind away; to remove whatever was bothering you.
Wicked Mike: Do you find that some of your clients actually come for the pampering rather than whatever they say ails them?
Kheli Pama: People do have ailments and when they mention that, most of the time my hands find it as well. I alternate soothing with deep work. The treatment, in the end, even after moments of pain, is also a pampering.
Wicked Mike: You recently returned from a long trip and spiritual journey to India. Which area were you in and what were you doing there?
Kheli Pama: I went to Amma, the hugging mother. She has an Ashram in Amritapuri, Kerala, South India. India was my dream. I am 56 and I felt that it was time to go! I initially booked two weeks Amritia Yoga and intended to travel after that but, after four days, having met Amma, and having immensely enjoyed the Ashram, I decided to spend all my time there. It is a place of prayer, meditation and fullness of life…at the same time. I loved it. If you want to know more, read my newsletter at www.bodyawareness.co.za.
Wicked Mike: Is it true that Amma’s hugged more people than anyone else in the world?
Kheli Pama: Absolutely! She hugged four days per week in the period that I was there, from the morning at eleven up to midnight…and sometimes even until two am! Everyone promised one, gets one! Sometimes up to three thousand people per day. It is an experience to watch her being with the people – she is an example of presence! She laughs, cries, consoles, advises, listens, shares, and then she hugs! I never saw a sign of tiredness on her at the end of the day! It is an experience to see someone being in the moment…and being close to her makes one more aware of one’s self.
Wicked Mike: What were her most notable qualities?
Kheli Pama: Love, compassion and selfless service.
Wicked Mike: Did you accomplish what you hoped to achieve?
Kheli Pama: More than that!
Wicked Mike: How does this affect your interaction with your clients? What can you share with them?
Kheli Pama: I found new inspiration. Clients pick up on that and through that they also get motivated. Of course, the clients themselves can better answer this question than I can.
Wicked Mike: You also run Mount Joy Cottages, self-catering cottages on your property. When did that begin?
Kheli Pama: Oops, that was a long time ago! In the days when there was no Waterfront or a Thesen Island.
Wicked Mike: If a tourist is reading this interview, what reasons would you give them to spend their Knysna stay with you?
Kheli Pama: We offer a home from home. The cottages are cosy and comfortable, overlooking the Knysna lagoon and perched above a large, magical garden surrounded by forest. The tranquillity and safety of Mount Joy welcomes and accommodates you. Even then, they’ll only be a short walking distance from the centre of town. We care for you. If you want, we love to meet you. If you like privacy, we respect you. If you need information, with pleasure we assist you. We want you to have a fantastic holiday. On top of it, you can bring your pet! To further our pursuit to provide you with every opportunity to relax, we offer massage, stress release and an opening to a meditative awareness. You can even come for a ten-hour programme divided over five or seven days!
Wicked Mike: If you could change something about Knysna, what would it be?
Kheli Pama: I wish health and prosperity for everyone!
Wicked Mike: What are your favourite things to do in Knysna?
Kheli Pama: Swimming and playing with the waves in the sea, enjoying the pools at Coney Glen, yoga at Lotus Studio, eating with friends at Mario’s, île de païn and Mon Petit Pain, strolling around town without any goal. Papagayo is my favourite shop! I enjoy walking with my dog around Leisure Isle and I loooove to hike in its surroundings…that’s just mentioning a few.
Wicked Mike: And the spots that you find the most beautiful?
Kheli Pama: Coney Glen, Robberg, Kranshoek and the Salt River mouth in Nature’s Valley. I love The Heads and the View Point…also the backside of Buffalo Bay where the river meets the sea.
Wicked Mike: You seem to have a wonderful life. Your own business, a beautiful home, an incredible garden and wonderful pets – that includes your husband, Yogesh:) What more do you want?
Kheli Pama: Continue my journey inwards, towards finding total peace within myself.