After my arrival at Four Seaons Landaa Giraavaru, in the Maldives, the first appointment on my schedule was a complimentary visit with an Ayurveda Doctor at the Herb Garden Spa to discuss recommendations for a healthy balanced life. Riding my bike around the sandy paths, right turn to mosey through a narrow lane decorated with gently lapping prayer flags lining the perimeter of the jungle garden. It was quiet and calm and as I neared a small garden room, I heard a soothing ommm, ommm resonating amid the towering palms. Sandals off, I dipped my sandy toes into the stone water bowl filled with flower petals and tiptoed into the spa. I was met by one of the expert physicians on staff at the Spa Ayurveda, he was dressed in elegant flowing white Indian Paithani tunic.
We strolled to one of the tranquil garden rooms, set within the vast Herb Garden. I resisted the impulse to photograph my session. Be mindful, my brain whispered, pay attention. I have to say, it was a bit daunting to sit quietly and listen to the soft Ommmm chant while the Doctor took my pulse and rested his head near my wrist for a few minutes.
The ancient practice ‘Ayurveda’ – the Indian “science of life” – is one of the world’s most comprehensive approaches to healthy living. It works by bringing balance to our vital energies – or doshas – through an individually tailored combination of treatments and exercise, as well as diet and lifestyle modifications. With a focus on treating illness, preventing disease and enhancing physical, mental and spiritual well-being, Ayurveda teaches us to live with insight and balance. Set within the Herb Garden, lulled by gentle breezes and healing aromas, the Ayurvedic Retreat is an enclave of ancient knowledge and infinite well-being.
The Doctor observations were spookily uncanny, although I am mindful of my diet i.e. almost everything I eat is organic, I avoid sugar, he was prophetically accurate in describing my two minor health matters. He mentioned no shellfish, I confessed I had enjoyed fresh lobster for three nights, how could I resist?! I always enjoy lobster on New Year’s with bubbly…as I know I should avoid it, but fresh lobster was an irresistible temptation in the Maldives.
The Spa Ayurveda offers a full roster of treatments and one can also enjoy various Ayurvedic Immersions, Explorations, or Absorbing treatments. There is a wide variety of detoxification treatments, including five therapies in Sanskrit, panchakarma uses a series of five elimination treatments to help remove deep-rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (the energies that govern all biological functions).
Ayurveda largely focuses on prevention, meaning one doesn’t have to be ill to benefit from a consultation with one of their ayurvedic physicians. Although some ayurvedic treatments may be taken without prior consultation, the spa highly recommends that Spa guests avail themselves of the complimentary 30-minute consultation offered to all Resort guests. The spa physicians consider the unique needs of the individual to recommend treatments, oils, herbs, food and activities based on individual dosha types. In addition, dosha-specific food labelling is available on all restaurant menus and throughout the breakfast buffet. Many guests come specifically for these treatments. One key note is that a family can visit and if a parent is participating in the series, the menus are clearly marked with your dosha food type, thus an entire family isn’t limited to a suggested diet.
Named “Best Holistic Hideaway” by the Condé Nast Traveller Spa Guide 2016 and “Best Innovative Spa Concept” in the Gala Spa Awards 2016, The Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat merges medically accredited therapies with ancient holistic sciences in a three-acre setting that stretches from the heart of the island to the middle of the lagoon. Ten open air pavilions including three dedicated to Ayurveda, offer bespoke wellness experiences that pulsate with life and wisdom, purity and health.
The Spa offers acupuncture, luxurious facials, has a Rossano Ferretti hair salon, yoga, tantric traditions and body treatments.
Each day, as I biked around the island, I explored the Yoga Energy Trail, following the 15 signposted stations around some of the island’s most scenic vantage points – from ‘tree pose’ overlooking the lagoon (complemented by the oxygen-absorbing and serotonin-balancing benefits of the sea breeze) to ‘hanging firefly’ beneath the island’s largest Banyan tree (surrounded by the deeply calming properties of the dense jungle greenery.)
Explore the Yoga Energy Trail alone or on a guided 75-minute group class. The asanas have been chosen to improve balance, strength, agility, flexibility and tone, while immersion in the sights, sounds, smells and feel of the surrounding nature further stimulates soul and senses, a thoughtful balanced program.
This is truly a unique venue whether you are interested in traditional massage therapy or taking a deeper look into an ancient practice…. And no, I didn’t order lobster again, waiting until New Year’s Eve! I am trying the Turmeric cleanser though.
At turndown, staff also leaves a bedtime Manipura blessing on your bed, a card explaining the Manipura Chakra, which is the center of vitality. It controls our energy balance to strengthen and consolidate our health. Gentle reminders to let go before you sleep.
Highly recommend exploring Four Seaons Spa Ayurveda at Landaa Giraavaru.