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Ayurveda, Yoga & Spa


What is it? 

Ayurveda means the science or knowledge of life. It is an ancient, holistic therapy for body and mind, which has been practised in India and Sri Lanka for some 5000 years, using a combination of diet, herbs, oils and animal products. Yoga and meditation are practiced to heal and rejuvenate. It is believed that life forces, or doshas, of an individual must be balanced to enjoy good health. Ayurveda restores the balance of those energies, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

What can it do? 

The casual visitor to India may enjoy the de-stressing, toning massages and herbal baths as part of a holiday pick-me-up. However, serious treatments must be taken over a period of weeks or months and begin with a thorough medical review by a well-qualified specialist. It is claimed that many conditions can be alleviated or cured by Ayurveda, including arthritis, migraines, exhaustion, high blood pressure, depression, cystitis, asthma, and nicotine and heroin addictions. Whilst there is no published evidence, many ayurveda patients extolling the virtues of its effects are post-operative and post-chemotherapy patients.

Examples of treatment

Muhuna abyanga – face massage  
Uses oil or herbal cream to remove impurities and achieve smoothness. It soothes the nerve structure of the face. 

Shirsha abyanga – head massage
Uses oil to massage the head and nape of the neck to stimulate circulation, make nerve tracts flexible and resilient, promote hair growth and relax muscles. 

Vishesha sharira Abyanga – Synchronised/intensive massage
A gentle massage by two synchonised therapists using special oil to strengthen and invigorate the skin and tissue. Great for the lymphatic and immune system, leaving you in deep relaxation and harmony. 

Vishesha Prathikara - Special therapy
A senior physician will prescribe special therapy using herbal medicine and oil to cure special ailments. 

Shirodhara - Special therapy
Lukewarm oil is continuously and gradually poured on the forehead through a copper vessel while the guest is lying down on a special bed - recommended for headaches, depression and sleepiness, and bringing mental and spiritual relaxation. 

Sarwangadara – Pizichil
Warm medicated liquid/oil is poured on the body together with a mild massage. 

Pina Sweda – warm oil and herbal massage
Warm oil massage followed by a heated herbal-rice bag massage for relaxation, pain relief and stimulation of blood circulation. 

Vashpa Aggrahanaya – herbal inhalation
Serves to dilate and purify the respiratory tract.

Avagahana Sweda – herbal water bath
A warm herbal bath to relax tension, purify the system, alleviate pain and stimulate general well-being.

Vashpa Sweda – herbal steam bath
As many as 6 fresh herbs and 12 dried herbs make up the boiling pot which produces the steam for this remedy. It opens the capillaries and tissue crevices to induce sweating and excrete waste matter. 

Akshi Tharpana – eye therapy
A special treatment for ailments using herbal medicine.

Acupuncture – Chinese medicine
Ayurveda and acupuncture harmonizes well in specific cases. It is dispensed with the guests consent.
Panchakarma –Vamana, Vireka, Vasti, Raktha Mochana, Nasaya
Five ayurveda remedies used in the cleansing process of ones system, through which toxins and other harmful substances in the body are eliminated.

Where to stay?

Boutique India has selected Soukya and Shreyas for full and well respected treatments. Kairali Ayurvedic Resort in Kerala is run by a family with many years of experience; their knowledge and skills have been passed down by generations of the family. 

For more casual treatments or a less intensive course, check out the luxury ayurvedic spas at Surya Samudra Beach Resort or Shalimar Spice Garden Resort

One-off treatments and massages can be found all over India. After a busy day seeing the sights of Rajasthan many of our recommended hotels can arrange for private treatments in your room. 


What is it?

Though practised in Asia for some 5000 years, yoga has come to be appreciated by the Western world more recently, as its relaxing and health-enhancing effects have been demonstrated. 

From a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Union’, yoga connects mind with breathing to control the body and create ultimate physical health and mental peace. 

Yoga is also an integral part of Ayurvedic treatment with early morning classes in major ayurvedic retreats.

Which style suits you ?

The benefits of yoga are numerous and includes good health, happiness, longevity, mental stability, and increase in concentration. 

Hatha Yoga
The most familiar kind of yoga practised in the West. It consists of asanas (body postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises), and meditation and provides a balanced approach to the search for perfect physical/mental health and happiness. 

Raja Yoga
Raja, meaning ‘royal’, is considered the highest form of yoga. Meditation is its focal point. 

Karma Yoga
The path of service. The principle of karma yoga is that what we experience today is created by our actions in the past. We practise karma yoga whenever we perform our work, live a selfless life, and serve others. 

Bhakthi Yoga
The path of devotion, Bhakthi yoga cultivates an acceptance and tolerance of others. 

Jnana Yoga 
The path of transcendental knowledge and wisdom. This can only be achieved through the study of the scriptures and texts of the yogic tradition. 

Tantra Yoga
A ritual path where a respectful attitude is cultivated, encouraging a ritualistic approach to life. 

Asthanga Yoga
The eight-step path developed by the father of yoga, Patanjali. This promises to lead the seeker from ignorance to truth. It is an energetic form of yoga, often termed as "power yoga". Well known thanks to celebrity fans such as Madonna and Gerri Haliwell, this power yoga involves linking a special breathing technique with a series of progressive postures. This is meant to create intense internal heat and external sweat to detoxify your muscles and organs. 

Lyengar Yoga
A popular and widely recognised class, this focuses on precision postures and is slower-moving than some other styles – but intense. It can be easily picked up by beginners. 

Ashtanga – Bikram Yoga
The hot-room style. This involves a system of 26 sequenced postures practised in a room heated to 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s less focus on perfect posture and more on sweating and getting a good workout. It’s one of the more demanding styles and you will need to be reasonably fit to practise it. 

Sivananda Yoga 
This soul-calming style involves a series of postures, breathing exercises, relaxation and mantra chanting. It’s particularly good for people wanting to touch on the more spiritual or emotionally balancing side of yoga. 

The best time to practise yoga is either in the morning or in the evening as long as the stomach is empty. It can be practised by anyone, at any age, with any physical condition, depending on individual needs. For example, athletes and dancers practise yoga for restoring their energy and to improve stamina; women working at home use it for rejuvenating energy and reducing fatigue, and the elderly to feel strong and improve memory. 

Where to find it? 

Yoga is a part of daily life (twice daily) at Shreyas and Udaivilas, Oberoi. The serious yoga enthusiast and eco warrier will find peace at Paradisa Plantation Retreat located in the hills in the heart of Kerala. 

Guest wanting to enjoy yoga as light relief to their luxury holiday excursions or to stretch out after sunbathing, will find the evening and morning sessions at various hotels, like Marari Beach Resort, casual, and can be arranged at boutiques such as the Raheem Residency.




Many guests find Spa therapies are far less intense and more enticing when on holiday. India has many luxury spa within its larger and premier boutiques who will welcome non-residents. Delectable treatments are applied by therapists sourced from around the world at famous brands of Serena Spa, Banyan Tree and Jiva. 

Our recommendations as a treat after a hectic schedule of sightseeing: Devi Garh (Serena Spa) or Amarvilas (Banyan Tree)

Or to combine with a relaxing beach holiday at Surya Samudra Beach Garden 


What is it?

Meditation is the attainment of a deeply relaxed, though wakeful, conditioning. Metabolic changes take place with the release of anxiety – thereby reducing stress and helping to control pain. The calming effect impacts on both physical and psychological wellbeing. 

You may benefit from ranging styles of meditation – breathing exercises, chanting, praying, object focus or visualisation, or silent sitting. You will be advised by the recommended centres.

Where can you find it? 

Suitable for beginners: Surya Samudra Beach Garden is a relaxing and easy way in, and the Marari Beach Resort offers a free taster session.