Slow steps to wellness

Kalyani Prasher | Updated on January 16, 2018

Divine mindfulness: Yoga at the ITC Grand Bharat

The Ayurvedic suite at The Royal Spa

A cynic finds that being healthy is do-able if it comes with a generous dose of luxury

It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that I am not a health-loving person. My lifestyle will make Baba Ramdev commit suicide, if I don’t die before meeting him, and I’ve been astounding holistic healers around the world with how little of the good stuff I do. They look at me and make sad faces, telling me that I should wake up at least five hours before I do and cut all my sins by half.

This is not going to happen. However, as I grow older, I am beginning to realise that some short interjections of healthy living might do me some good and I have tried, in the last year, to acquire some “good habits” with marginal success. I walk-jog regularly now, adding it to the cocktail of food, drink and sleep, and have been mulling over mixing in some more health. This is why, when I was invited to try out the new Wellness Retreat package at a five-star spa resort in Manesar, near Delhi, I leapt at it.

I figured I will be able to handle the stress of healthy living if it came with a side of luxury. Not for me those Kerala Ayurveda hotels (or shall we say concentration health camps) where they give you cabbage soup for a treat meal and beat you up from time to time. This luxury wellness retreat promised food that is prepared with the ingredients the Ayurveda doctor prescribes after your consultation but that doesn’t taste like water and mud; it has daily massages and beauty treatments; a session with a holistic healer and daily yoga and meditation. In between all this you luxuriate in your suite, looking out at the lovely golf course attached to the resort. This was my type of wellness. I could do this.

Or, so I thought. I sprang back in horror when the mild Dr Sree gently suggested that we fix the daily wake-up call at 6 am. He took one look at me and realised I’ve never seen the sun rise, and adjusted it to a “late” waking time of 7 am. This was when I had my warm water, lemon and olive oil concoction sent to the room — my first dose of health in what was going to be the healthiest week of my life. I followed this by 8 am yoga sessions, where we spent an hour trying to move my body in some sort of vaguely yogic way. By the second day, the friendly yoga teacher gave up all pretences and just sat back and laughed at my stiffness. On the third day, I was able to do 40 per cent of what he asked and had to reluctantly agree that yoga does open up your body and makes you feel quite limber.

Yoga was followed by the best part of the day: breakfast. The multigrain dosa breakfasts alone are enough to draw me back to do the wellness retreat, but over the four days I added some more. Healthy living can be adapted to your current lifestyle, improving it without taking it over. I’ve taken bits from all the various elements of the retreat: I now do pranayama from the meditation sessions; two or three of the asanas that are easy and good for the spine; I try to avoid the foods listed under Avoidable for my dosha by Dr Sree, and I try to wake a little bit earlier than I did. My existing life cocktail’s taste has improved indeed.

(Wellness retreat packages at ITC Grand Bharat can be booked at Retreats.html)

Kalyani Prasher is a Delhi-based freelance writer

Published on December 22, 2016

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