Being an avid yogi and spa girl, India has always held an allure for me. A calling. And recently, I had the amazing opportunity to travel there.
Kerstin Florian is opening a few spas in India this year and next (more to come on that!) and so I combined business with some spa adventure. Post-meetings and guest-speaking at the Spa and Wellness Conference in Mumbai, I took a few days to visit several resort and day spas in the city. Mumbai did not disappoint.
I found such incredible contrasts in Mumbai, between the beige buildings, dirt lots, shanti towns and the notoriously terrible traffic and the amazing fruit markets, stalls of marigold, tuberose and mogra garlands (offerings to Hindu gods including Ganesha and Shakti), colorful saris, beautiful faces, boys playing cricket everywhere and anywhere. I experienced amazing hospitality, aromas of sandalwood and jasmine, outrageously flavorful vegetarian food, stories of the Himalayas, and of the progress and the lack of progress in this future economic powerhouse country.
The concept of health seems to pale against the immediate challenges that people face. Although India is known worldwide for its ancient, 6000+year-old practice of Ayurveda (“the science of life”), I found few here actually follow the system of traditional medicine, opting more often for the quick fix of western medicine. Ayurveda stresses the balance of three elemental energies or “doshas” in the body. Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). It is a system that helps maintain health in a person by using the inherent principles of nature to bring the body back into equilibrium with nature and one’s true self. Ayurveda involves a personal consultation which includes reading the pulse, herbs and beautiful treatments such as: marma energy balancing, shirodhara (head relaxation), abhyanga (oil application), garshena (brushing) and panchakarma (cleansing and rejuvenation program) and education.
One of the highlights of my trip was meeting a prominent man in his mid 60’s named Deepak, who was clearly forging the future of India. He possessed a rare explosive vitality, compassion, rich style and deep wisdom. I asked him for the secret to his vitality and his answer confirmed my belief in the power of lifestyle choices. He has practiced yoga daily for 40 years. He meditates 30 minutes each day, drinks green vegetable juice in the morning and adheres to a healthy diet (mind you he travels all over the world for business). I am convinced his regular meditation practice contributes to his charisma.
In next week’s blog, I will share with you Deepak’s yoga nidra meditation straight from India. This meditation has completely inspired me to meditate more regularly. After trying it, I hope it will inspire you as well.