Spa Shangri-La in the Himalayas
I slept like an Indian baby...
At dinner, my Kapha menu was
presented to me. It began with a cup of hot water and a plate of
spices including cardamom, cinnamon, salt and chili. I was instructed
to make a tea with some of the spice mixture and sprinkle the rest
over my food. Then came a
delicious tomato thyme soup, Cajun-style tofu with star of anise
sauce, rice with vegetables and topped with a Soya mocha mousse
for dessert. The meal was satisfying and easy to digest -- light
and not too spicy. I slept like an Indian baby.
The next morning, I was awakened
with knock at my door. "Namastae" said a smiling attendant offering
me a cup of hot lemon ginger tea from his tray. Sipping my tea slowly,
I reviewed the two treatments scheduled for this new day.
One massage, two therapists...
first massage, a 45-minute treatment called Abhyanga, was done by
two therapists at once. I was told it would induce deep relaxation,
improve eyesight, and create a glowing appearance and it most certainly
did. Wrapped only in a towel, I was seated on a huge slab of jackfruit
tree wood, the traditional Ayurvedic massage table. Two female therapists
sang an Om prayer to me, and rubbed my crown with a herbal powder
to prevent colds. One gave me a head massage, then I lay on my stomach
and a medicinal oil was spread all over my skin. Working on either
side of me, they diligently massaged my back in figure eight motions,
working down to my legs. Next came my front, arms, hands and feet.
When the therapists were done, I was instructed to shower with a
herb paste made of turmeric and wash my hair with a herb shampoo.
"Don't use any soap in the shower, and drink lots of water" were
their parting words. Ah-h-h-h, the pleasure!
The Nasya sinus
treatment was next -- something I had never experienced before
and I was a bit apprehensive. Leaning back on the massage table,
I readied myself for the medicated oil which was going to be poured
in small drops down my nasal passages. Expecting to
gag and cough, I was surprised at how smooth it felt. After the
oil was poured, my nostrils were pinched shut and I breathed out
through my mouth, spitting out the oil at the same time. I cleared
each nostril with a lot of sharp inhalations and we were through.
No shower for two hours and no cold liquids for the rest of the
day, were my instructions as I was handed a cup of hot herbal
tea. Glowing, relaxed and breathing easily, I put on my Khurta
pajamas and contemplated the fact that I was actually here in
the Himalayas. How lucky I was -- enjoying wonderful tastes and
nourishing treatments that were absolutely new and exotic to me.
Rich with culture, filled with treasures
of history, and steeped in ancient wisdom, Ananda Spa is a place I could
return to many times. I was truly thankful for my experiences there and
the opportunity to see such a different way of life. And to top it off,
I didn't get sick. To find out more about Ananda Spa, you can visit their
website at: www.anandaspa.com.