Set at the foot of the Himalayas, overlooking the spiritual Ganges river, world renowned wellness retreat Ananda is the ideal destination to discover the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest wellbeing philosophies, originally developed in India over 5,000 years ago this holistic mind-body health system is based on the body having the correct balance of nature’s basic elements – earth, wind, fire, water and air.
By understanding our bodies more and making some small adjustments to diet and lifestyle, wellness experts believe it can help manage everything from stress, weight through to the menopause.
Team Coco got to spend some time with Ayurveda Physician, Dr Matthew to find out more about the practise. Dr Matthew, told us “Ayurveda focuses on providing specific advice and guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health. In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone”.
The practice is based on the principles of three doshas: Vata – space and air, Pitta – fire and water and Kapha – earth and water. “Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body. ‘Prakruti’ recognises that each of us is born with a unique combination of doshas, and that this is responsible for the mental, physical and emotional differences between us” explains Dr Matthew.
Pitta types literally have more fire in them than other people, so can be hot headed, aggressive and impatient, as well as being intelligent and sharp. The Pitta dosha controls digestion, metabolism and energy production. The primary function of Pitta is transformation.
Vata governs movement in the body, the activities of the nervous system, and influences thoughts and feelings. Vata types tend to always be on the go, with a fast, energetic and creative mind. As long as the Vata is in balance, they’ll be lively and enthusiastic.
Kapha governs the structure of the body. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone and provides immunity. The primary function of Kapha is protection.
Kaphas are affectionate and forgiving.
After a consultation with Dr Matthew he confirmed my prominent doshas were Pitta and Vata (there are lots of questionnaires online if you want to find out more about your dosha type). To keep my doshas in balance I was given some small lifestyle tweaks and changes to my diet. The practice is focussed on listening to your body and recognising the changes so you can adjust your lifestyle to attain optimum wellness.
At Ananda there are number of retreat programmes which are tailor made for guests’ individual dosha and health goals. At the retreat they first establish your dosha balance then ensure your programme and diet reflects it.
Ananda’s Stress Management programme supports a well-balanced, healthy life by reducing stress and relaxing the mind. There’s a customised holistic programme of Ayurveda, Yoga, Tibetan and International experiences with Reiki Healing. The whole programme is designed to provide tranquillity to the stressed body and mind and to bring back the natural rhythm of the psychosomatic system.
If you feel like you’ve lost your mojo and need to reset then the Ayurvedic Rejuvenation programme will help you restore vitality to the body by eliminating toxins through traditional Panchakarma treatments and by enhancing the body’s immunity through a combination of Ayurvedic treatments, body type based diet and Yoga. The programme includes stimulating and purifying therapies, daily Yoga and Meditation and dosha-specific Ayurvedic diet to help reduce stress, improve health and address common ailments or simply delay the aging process.
Beyond the retreat you can indulge in mountain treks, guided nature walks and white water rafting. All of the wellness programmes follow a holistic approach towards achieving the best results in a safe, nurturing atmosphere expertly guided by a team of expert Ayurvedic doctors, skilled therapists, nutritionists, yogis and spa cuisine chefs.
For more information on the retreats at Ananda visit www.anandaspa.com
Ayurvedic Physician, Dr. Shijoe Mathew is Ayurvedic Consultant at The Circle, Brighton.