Most of us have indefinitely suspended our social lives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as life gets more and more hectic for working professionals struggling to juggle work from home, a need for calm, peace, and serenity arises. One way to de-stress and be one with yourself is by treating yourself to a wellness retreat. A wellness retreat not only promises travellers a much- needed break but also treatments that can help with their lifestyle problems and physical or mental ailments.
From the Himalayan mountains to the coastal stretches of Kerala, India is home to a variety of treatment centres, spa resorts, and wellness retreats offering preventive health care, stress management, fitness packages, and detox therapies. Here are our top picks that are worth putting on your post-pandemic travel list.
Mekosha is a modern Ayurveda retreat tucked away from the cityscape of Trivandrum, on the banks of the river Attingal Aaru, near Varkala in Kerala. It offers personalised wellness programmes that help a person transform from within, through age-old traditional therapies. Every detail at Mekosha’s Ayurveda Retreat has been put together to make sure the guest gets the most of physical, mental and spiritual healing. With a 400-meter river frontage, the property includes a private jetty, amphitheatre, organic garden, pool, roof spa, and bamboo grove.
Stress and cardiac care, or Manashanthi Chikitsa, at Mekosha focuses on fatigue syndromes, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, depression, anxiety, psychosomatic, and other stress or cardiovascular ailments. Ayurvedic therapies improve systemic circulation associated with stress and induction of sleep, and helps you attain a calm temperance. Internal medication combined with yoga and classical Ayurvedic treatments like Sirodhara, Thakradhara, Siroabyangam, Uzhichil, Sirovasthy etc. combat not just the symptom, but root causes of stress that seems to partner today’s hectic lifestyles.
All programs include:
• Doctor’s consultation with pulse diagnosis, analysis of dosha type, and determination of treatment plan specific to your ailments
• Daily one to two treatments (approx. 60 to 90 minutes) or more, depending on required treatment according to focus and prescription of Ayurveda doctor
• Gourmet cuisine (three meals) based on Ayurvedic principles, daily herbs, and wellness drinks
• Ayurveda cleansing rituals
• Yoga and meditation classes
• Weekly Ayurvedic cooking classes
• Nature walks with yoga instructor
• Weekly excursions
Book Your Stay: www.mekosha.com
Vana Retreat, Dehradun
Set on the gentle slopes of a lychee and mango plantation, the dense Sal forest to its west, the hills of Mussoorie to its north, Vana Retreat is an award-winning wellness retreat. There are no pre-determined programmes at Vana; every individual has a schedule that is custom-made for them, following an in-depth consultation with doctors to list your goals for your stay – de-stress, detox, weight loss or maybe some natural healing. The retreat offers Ayurveda healing alongside traditional Chinese medicine and Tibetan healing – Sowa Rigpa. There are on-site nutritionists, visiting monks and experts, Sufi singing sessions, and lectures. There are steam rooms, saunas, indoor and outdoor pools, infrared cabins, and a well-equipped gym. In the extensive grounds, there are also tennis courts, a herb garden, and lots of spots for yoga and meditation.
All retreats at Vana include:
• Arrival wellness consultations
• All meals
• Retreat activities
• One private treatment/session based on one wellness weight per night per guest
• Attire to wear
• Return airport transfer from Dehradun airport
Book Your Stay: https://vana.co.in/
SwaSwara is a holistic healing centre situated amidst lush forests close to the beach. A beautiful natural setting that is perfectly suited to the treatments, therapies, and activities, Swaswara aims to encourage the wellbeing of mind, body, and soul through natural means that nurture from the inside out. SwaSwaraoga and Ayurveda are the key therapies at SwaSwara, and it’s ideal for both yogis and holistic enthusiasts alike. They have resident teachers offering at least five Hatha yoga group classes a day for different levels of experience. To complement the ancient Indian practice of yoga, they offer authentic Ayurveda & Naturopathic treatments overseen by qualified doctors. To complete the experience, at the resort’s heart sits a thatched meditation dome with some incredible views. Freestyle spa facilities are not available at this holistic wellness resort. There is no shortage of other activities - from exploring your creative side with the resident art teacher, listening to spellbinding storytelling, or learning how to make some truly tasty Indian dishes in their interactive open kitchen. Facilities include a swimming pool, Ayurveda spa, yoga hall, and meditation platform.
All programs at SwaSwara Include:
• Ayurveda consultation prior to any treatment
• Relaxation therapeutic massage
• Ayurveda anti-stress massage
• Daily group yoga sessions including pranayama
• Daily group sunrise and evening meditation sessions, including chanting, yoga nidra or mind-sound-resonance technique
• Jal Neti - Yogic cleansing (every Thursday and Friday)
• Interactive cooking demonstrations by the chef (approximately four times per week)
• Guided group activities by the resident naturalist: bird watching, nature walks, and eco-tour of the resort
• Guided group art and pottery sessions with the resident artist
• Boat cruise combined with walking excursion to Gokarna (once a week, subject to weather conditions, not available in the monsoon season)
• Return Goa airport transfer
• Daily personalised Ayurvedic vegetarian full board for 5 days
Book Your Stay: www.cghearth.com
Ananda In The Himalayas, Uttarakhand
One of the first luxury wellness resorts in India, Ananda has something of a legendary reputation and stays on our list of favourites. Set in the Himalayan foothills and surrounded by lush forests, it is the perfect place to come for a wellness retreat and some holistic healing. Although Ananda is famed for its yoga, Vedanta, and detox offerings, it specialises in Ayurveda; you can expect your mind, body, and spirit to all feel nurtured by the extensive range of treatments and activities on offer here. The wellness centre also features 24 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pools as well as a gym to ensure guests can get their fitness fill too. Everything at Ananda is designed to encourage wellness. Comprehensive wellness programmes offered include Immunity & Rejuvenation (Ayurvedic programme), Panchakarma, Holistic Detox, Yogic Detox, Weight Management, Dhyana Meditation, Rebalance, Renew & Healthy Ageing, Stress Management, Yoga, Active & Core Fitness, and Pain Management.
All programs at Ananda Include:
• Individual Wellness (Ayurvedic) Consultation
• Ongoing progress checks with Ayurvedic Physician
• Detailed debrief and lifestyle consultation
• Fitness assessment and consultation
• One month post-stay weekly diet and lifestyle plans
• Post stay online consultations
• Morning Wake Up signature tea and fresh fruit bowl provided every day.
• Three Ananda Rejuvenation Spa Cuisine meals (breakfast/ lunch/ dinner)
• Hydrotherapy facilities: Steam, Sauna, Chill Plunge Pool, Kneipp Hydrotherapy Foot Bath
• Scheduled Spa Lifestyle and Wellness activities (group sessions)
Book Your Stay: www.anandaspa.com
Soukya Holistic Health, Bangalore
A must-visit according to Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, this holistic retreat is well known for its high profile VIP clients. Guests come here to address serious health issues including depression, thyroid problems, migraines, and diabetes. The program starts with an in-depth consultation with the doctor, followed up with a programme custom-made especially for you. It’s a fusion of the ancient medical traditions with Ayurveda, and all herbal concoctions and oils come straight from their very own organic garden. Diet is an important part of the stay, with delicious low-fat vegetarian food, the order of the day, freshly picked from the garden. Alternative therapies include everything from homeopathy and yoga to reflexology and acupuncture, all of which take place in the vast thatched shala. There are Ayurveda treatments ranging from shirodhara, (oil on the third eye), to abhyanga, (a blissful oil massage performed by two therapists), as well as nasal cleansing, and of course, enemas. It’s all about purging the system of impurities. The massages range from Swedish to underwater energy balancing massages. There are daily group blessings and the spiritual side is treated with equal care.
• Ayurveda treatments
• Daily individualised health consultation
• A personalised dietary consultation
• Therapeutic yoga sessions
• Sessions on breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques
• Freshly prepared, healthy ovo-vegetarian organic cuisine and herbal drinks (Full board)
• Recreational facilities include two km walking track, swimming pool, library, shuttle court, and other indoor games
• Weekly Activities include medicinal garden tour by their Ayurvedic doctor, cooking demonstrations on Healthy Vegetarian Cuisine, Doctor’s Lecture, Trataka, bird watching, garden tour, and musical programme
Book Your Stay: www.soukya.com