/ Wisdom for Living?

Wisdom for Living?

Aug 01, 2013

It Starts at the World’s Best Ayurvedic Retreats

These days, every spa worth its bathrobes offers ayurveda-inspired treatments, thanks to the ever increasing popularity of this 5000-year-old science of life.

Spa-goers love the signature treatments such as abhyanga–a gentle, full-body oil massage–or shirodara–where a constant flow of warm oil is poured over the forehead to sooth the sixth chakra or third eye.

But those massages are just the tip of the iceberg in this complex medical system. In India, vaidyas or practitioners spend at least five years in university-level study before certification and millions of people rely on ayurveda to cure everything from colds to obesity.

Vaidyas aim to create harmony between body, mind and spirit using nutrition, yoga, internal cleansing, acupressure and herbal medicines. Sessions typically begin with a diagnosis of your dosha or body energy which is a mix of pitta, vata and kapha.

Vata is the principle of movement and change is associated with wind. Vata-dominated people are thin-framed and enjoy change. Kapha, associated with earth, signifies protection, nourishment and stability. People dominated by Kapha tend to be heavier and more leisurely. Pitta–transformation and fire–means medium build and ambition.

Stress–environmental or mental–causes your body energy to become unbalanced, the goal of ayurvedic treatment is to bring your dosha back in line. For example, vata in balance results in creativity, liveliness and enthusiasm, but too much could mean anxiety, insomnia, dry skin or indigestion.

Intrigued? Pamper yourself at the following luxury resort spas and learn more about the wisdom for living at some of the world’s best ayurvedic retreats.

Ananda in the Himalayas, India

The setting of this destination spa is magical–a former residence of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal in the forested foothills of the Himalayas near Rajaji National Park. There are over 79 different treatments on the menu–from traditional ayurvedic options to hydrotherapy using pure spring water. In between pampering sessions, nature-lovers can trek, go whitewater rafting, fish or go on tiger-spotting safaris. A three-night Ananda Wellness Bliss package runs around $2275 (US) for a single person and includes room, board, daily yoga and hydrotherapy, and seven personalized treatments such as a wild rose salt scrub and hot and cold stone stress therapy. A sister spa, Shanti Ananda, welcomes guests to Mauritius.

Barberyn Beach Ayurveda Resort, Sri Lanka

This beach-side resort in the coastal village of Weligama offers a full range of treatments. Guests can even take ayurveda cooking classes–proper nutrition is a key component of the system, with food and drinks classified by taste and influence on doshas–to recreate the experience at home. Packages start at $125 per night including accommodation, meals, treatments, yoga and other activities.

Deepak Chopra Centers, USA

Best-selling author and spiritualist, Deepak Chopra, opened doors on his wellness facility in the San Diego area in 1996 and more recently in midtown Manhattan’s Dream Hotel. Both centers offer daily classes in yoga, stress management, meditation, nutrition and of course, ayurvedic massages. The Shiropada ($195 for a one-hour session in California) battles congestion with a head, neck and massage, steam inhalation and reflexology.
chopra.com/spa (California)
dreamny.com (New York)

Elemental Embrace, Canada

This retreat is tucked away on 12 hectares of woodland in rural Ontario and offers a full range of treatments. Guests can hike, swim, walk a reflexology path or a meditative labyrinth in between sessions. There are several themed packages: mummies-to-be and new mums can try reiki, massage, yoga and facials ($400 for one day or $900 for two nights including room and board); or for the truly committed, there is 28-day weight loss package complete with enemas.

Shymala Ayurveda Spa, UK

The Independent newspaper voted this central London spa one of the top five in the United Kingdom for its facial and massage treatments. Tucked away in a Holland Park townhouse is a taste of India, complete with rani pink chairs and a yoga studio. A one-day escape complete with a neem leaf facial, full-body massage, shirodhara and ayurvedic lunch is £295, while a full week of Ayurvedic-doctor supervised panchakarma (five-method) detox is £1700.

Taj Hotels, India

Several properties owned by India’s high-end resort chain house ayurvedic centres. For maximum atmosphere, head to Kerala, where descendants of eight families, known as the Ashtavaidyas, have practised traditional treatments through the generations. The Taj Green Cove Resort in Kovalum, on the southern coast, has a 2000 square foot spa tucked into its 10 acres of tropical paradise. Unique treatments include a plantain leaf wrap (INR 1800) that purifies the skin. The hotel is also an ideal base-camp for exploring Kerala backwaters and plantations. The Taj Ayurveda Center at the Taj Residency in Calicut uses local herbs, plants and trees to create its treatments. The Centre offers multi-day packages including a popular seven-day program.



  • PLEASE NOTE: Some of the contents of the newsletter may not be suitable for minors.

    Join A Community That Cares About What Matters To You!

    We Fearlessly Celebrate Our

    Desi Identity!