Come summer and it’s time for that much-needed break that many toil for while ignoring their health. With everyone leading hectic lives, we are so used to facilities for even the smallest things – most people whip out their phones to use the calculator. We aren’t in the habit of doing the small things which improve our body and mind because no one has the time to make the effort. So, what’s better than utilising your holiday to rectify your lifestyle by opting to go for health-related retreats – be it yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic treatments or treks.
Yoga expert Deepak Jha says that the aim is to make sure people don’t ignore their health. “People should opt for a week-long retreat at least once a year. The hope is that people will start exercising a little bit after the retreat,” he says.
Kriti Kala, recreation assistant manager at JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort and Spa, who has also been teaching yoga for seven years, says, “When people come to the hills, they come here for the nature as well as fitness. The open area and fresh air only enhances the experience.” And so, they organise treks as well as private as well as hour-long group yoga sessions. “During the daily yoga session, I consult guests about their problems and personalise each session accordingly. We do some warming up stretches, followed by yoga asanas for the back, core and hamstrings,” she adds.
Avnish, who has always been keep about yoga, has always wanted to meditate, a solution to a lot of physical and mental health issues people suffer from today. “I wanted to learn how to meditate properly because being able to focus is tough. I had tried to sit and try not to think, but the more you try not to think, you end up thinking! So, I was looking for some place that could teach me some technique.” And so, he signed up for a 10-day meditation programme at a centre in the outskirts of Bengaluru. “We couldn’t talk at all, not even via gestures. They took away our phones and books,” he says.
Woken up by a gong at 3:45am, their day would start with a two hour meditation session, followed by breakfast of poha or fruits. Another three hour meditation session would ensue at 8am, followed by an early lunch of chapatti with ghee, vegetables, sambhar or rasam. This was followed by some chores and a snack at 4:30pm – their last meal of the day. “There were two teachers who would talk to everyone for 10 minutes per week,” he says.
TREATMENTS FROM THE PAST
GO back to basics and opt for Ayurveda at Niraamaya Retreats with the plethora of treatments they offer, put together by Arun Aravind. These treatments, which date back to 5,000 BCE, originated as an oral tradition, he says. The first recorded forms of Ayurveda are said to be medical texts which evolved from the Vedas.
Their Body Purification and detoxification programme is one of the popular treatments, mostly opted for by those in their 30s, built to combat the modern day lifestyle while results in toxin accumulation. “This therapy balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha (the three bio-regulating energies according to Ayurveda.)” It’s one of the most tedious treatments we have, and we need guests to commit before they come in for this. You need to follow a diet even before you come in, and it’s primarily vegetarian. There are strict timings that guests have to adhere to,” says Dr Arun. The treatments lasts for 90 minutes everyday for at least 14 days.
The Relax and Rejuve or Rasayana programme is ideal for enhancing your immunity, besides being rejuvenating. It is believed that Rasayana was the secret of the long lives of the sages. This program keeps you in a state of ‘Niraamaya’, which means free from ailments. “We tweak guests’ diet and ask them to make sure that they don’t have a stomach bug or are constipated before they come because it won’t work otherwise. Guests follow an Ayurvedic diet and this programme is essentially for those who are already healthy and are looking to maintain their health. It’s more like a preventative care programme. It will help a person rebalance and solve issues related to the stomach, stress. It also helps with circulation issues and muscle pain,” says Dr Arun. The programme includes a 90 minute session everyday and needs to be done for at least five days to be effective.
The Niraamaya Spa Essence of Wellness integrates Ayurveda with Oriental and European natural healing practices. Guests can indulge in a selection of spa experiences to manage stress, nurture your skin, enhance immunity and slow down ageing process. The 90 minute programme needs to be followed for at least five days. Some of the other popular programmes include the Ayurveda Stress and Strain Buster, and Slim Body programme.
FALL IN LOVE WITH NATURE
MARRIOTT Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort and Spa offers nature trails as well as personalised yoga sessions.
TRAILS OF HEALING
Guests can go for nature treks and unwind amidst the greenery of the Garhwal mountains. All these trails are away from the main streets in Mussoorie and offer the perfect escape in the lap of nature. All their trails are walks through forest, and 75 per cent of their clientele is from Delhi. Kriti adds, “Guests usually experience a drastic change in weather and air, and we just want to make the experience more natural than anything.” Beginners can try their shortest one, the Pine Forest Trail, priced at Rs 1,200 (+ taxes). It’s essentially located in the only area with pine trees nearby and is just 45 minutes one way, though it takes lesser time to get back. If you want to end your trek at a a waterfall, then opt for the Kempty Fall Trail, which is essentially downhill, so people usually walk one way and come back by car, priced at Rs 1,500 (+ taxes). The Bird Sanctuary Trail takes visitors through a dense and green jungle for three hours one way at Rs 1,500 (+ taxes).