It is no secret that happiness and contentment are a by-product of investing actively in one's personal health and wellness. Throughout history, given the time and resources, many have taken pleasure in improving their bodies and minds through exercise, healthy living, exploring new artistic endeavors and engaging in consciousness-building disciplines. The jet age brings to this equation the ability to invest in our health and wellness while also enjoying the satisfaction that comes from a compelling and challenging travel experience in a foreign country.
Yoga and ayurveda both have their origins in the Indian subcontinent, and aspects of both disciplines are still regularly practiced by a large portion of the population.
Yoga - "Yoking" or "Joining" in Sanskrit - is a system of physical and mental practices designed to promote inner peace and ultimate awareness that Atman is Brahman; that is, the self and the ultimate divine reality are one. Various breathing techniques and asanas (poses) are employed to purify the physical body and increase the stability and clarity of the mind so that one can strive for this higher level of consciousness. Besides being a wonderful way to relax the mind, many types of yoga practiced today contribute to increased physical strength, flexibility and endurance.
Ayurveda - "Life Knowledge" in Sanskrit - is a system of health and wellness that focuses on balancing one's elemental body systems and substances (called doshas) to prevent or cure disease. This is accomplished through controlled diet, breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness and various herbal medicine treatments.
There is no shortage of opportunities to learn about yoga and ayurveda from local experts in India. Yet in the same way that some people prefer visiting museums to scrambling over ruins, what constitutes "valuable personal time" is different for everyone. The good news is that you don't have to be a regular practitioner of yoga, a student of spirituality, or a fan of herbal remedies to find bliss in India.
Bring your watercolors; there are endless breathtaking scenes to render. Spend a few days with a local family learning to cook regional delicacies. Indulge in a daily Abhyanga ayurvedic oil massage. Learn to play the tabla. Design a wooden textile block and print 100 yards of one-of-a-kind fabric. Hone your photography skills in a wildlife sanctuary, a tribal village or an urban bazaar.
Try your feet (and hands and eyes) at Indian classical dance. Read a good book while occasionally gazing at snow-capped mountains, an empty beach, camels in the desert, or the lights of a city skyline. If your resort has a fitness room, run on the treadmill. If not, learn Kalaripayattu, a form of martial arts from south India. Eat fresh fruit for breakfast and gulab jamun with ice cream for dinner. Indulge in bespoke Indian fashion. Take a bubble bath in a 400 year-old palace. Explore new activities and ideas, but respect your true nature.
Planning a Creativity and Wellness Trip - India is blessed with an enormous range of retreats and resorts where travelers can reconnect with their hearts, minds and bodies. Some of these inspired locations can be visited for a day or two, while others offer more formal, multi-week programs incorporating daily yoga, ayurveda, meditation and spiritual teachings. Some are truly 'bare-bones' in terms of the accommodation and meals they provide, while others are luxurious, world-class resorts that cater to your every need. Finally, some are in quiet, remote locations, while others are in close proximity to vibrant bazaars, popular restaurants and sights of cultural interest. Our goal is to help you find the perfect location for your own, personal retreat.