Daily Pampering: Ayurvedic spa retreat at Four Seasons Resort Maldives

Resolutions don’t have to be reserved for the New Year. Those eager to commit to making 2011 life-changing can plan ahead by booking one of the new Ayurvedic spa retreats at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. Developed in conjunction with the Resort’s ila spa, the Maldives resort is offering one package for individuals and one geared towards couples.

The spa is the area’s most luxurious Ayurvedic spa and boasts a resident ayurvedic physician, garden and over-water pavilions for massage, ocean-side yoga rooms and special dosha-specific ayurvedic meals that are customised to individual programs.

The individual package, called the Zantaa Nidraa, (it translates to “peaceful sleep”) is a five-day package showcasing the benefits of yoga, pranayama, Ayurveda and the inspiring natural wilderness of Landaa Giraavaru to promote bliss, relax and purify the nervous system, and balance the sleep center of the body.

The Couples Connect Retreat focuses on turning “me” into “us.” Throughout the program, focused yoga poses and breathing, open-heart meditations, ancient Bija seed chanting and sensuous spa rituals place focus on the sacral/Swadhisthana chakra (the body’s pleasure centre) and encourage couples to open subtle levels of communication and learn new ways to deepen their bond.

Rates begin at $5,695 per guest and are available May 23 to May 28, 2011 and July 25 to July 30, 2011.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Food’s trip to an Ayurvedic health center in Goa

Although bizarre food was involved with Andrew Zimmern’s trip to the Ayurvedic Natural Health Centre in Goa, that wasn’t the main focus of the last part of Bizarre Food’s Goa episode. (see post) Much of Zimmern’s focus was highlighting the mind and body connection of the Ayurvedic method of achieving balance. Achieving balance is not so simple.

As he pointed out as he embarked on the road to health, along with its beach destination reputation, Goa is also filled with health centers. The philosophy of the centers is to help people become more healthy through food, exercise and clearing the mind.

One of the philosophies of the Ayurvedic method is, “Incorrect diet, medicine is of no use. Correct diet, medicine is of no need,” Zimmern said.

His trip to the health center was a hoot, a holler and a quick overview of what balance entails. I’ve always thought Zimmern seemed like a fun loving, decent, easy going guy. This section of the Goa episode cinched it.

His trip to the health center was a hoot, a holler and a quick overview of what balance entails. I’ve always thought Zimmern seemed like a fun loving, decent, easy going guy. This section of the Goa episode cinched it.

At the center he took in various center offerings with the idea of a weight-loss plan. A Hatha yoga class was the kick off. One thing I like about this form of yoga is that anyone can do it, even if you have the tightest hamstrings in the world like I do.

Said Zimmern, as he good-naturedly bent this way and that, “Yoga is a way to work with muscles without damaging the body.”

Although not mentioned, other reasons for doing yoga is to massage the internal organs and align the body. The end result also has a spiritual element.

“When it’s all over, we’re supposed to be more in peace and not in pieces,” said Zimmern.

If you notice in the picture of the yoga class, Zimmern is the only guy, but not the only non-Indian. Throughout the Goa episode non-Indians were in several shots, highlighting how Goa is a tourist destination for sure.

After yoga came the food. The Ayurvedic method of diet is to eat several different types of food to match your body type in order to achieve balance. Zimmern’s meal was to help him loose weight. Lentil and mushroom curry, mango pickle (yum), potatoes and rice were on the menu. There was more, but I didn’t catch all of it. The main point is to eat a balanced variety between foods in order to bring together hot, spicy, cool, sour and sweet. You don’t chow down on any one of the dishes.

The real fun began after Zimmern’s meal when he took in a couple of purifying treatments. When a guy whose belly pooches out some, disrobes, puts on a jock strap type covering and gets on a massage treatment for an oil treatment type massage, he has me hooked.

As hot oil was dripped on his head and massaged in, he quipped, “I may look silly right now, but this is fantastic. I know why the Beatles came here and say it changed their lives.” (The photo, from the center’s Web site is of the oil treatment.)

Other treatments, all designed to purify the body, involved being hit with small rice bags, being put in some sort of box like sauna with his head sticking out and having cold butter milk poured on him.

At the point of the cold butter milk, the chair Zimmern was sitting in broke, tumbling him to the floor. I began laughing (not at him, with him) and thought, what a guy. Instead of taking the “I’m mad as hell,” approach, he laughed it off, and while still splayed on the floor quipped, “I’ll just roll over, I’m too greased.”

The last part of his treatment, designed to burn the excess fat from his body, was to down an herbal drink made from purified cow’s urine. “Alright, so I just slug this down. . .Tell patients not to smell it first,” he told the person from the center who explained cow urine virtues.

Zimmern described it as being very sour and very bitter, and said he could feel the fat melting away. Somehow, I don’t think he believes cow urine is the answer to his weight problem.

His last comment as he put down the glass was, “I think I’m through here.”