Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

Finally, I was heading to Sri Lanka and excited as it has taken me nearly two decades to get there!  A lot changes in that time; initially my reason was for the remoteness and beaches, but now I’d discovered Ayurveda is very much a part of the Sri Lankan life.

Setting up Spa Wellness Travel in 2001 I was curious to Ayurveda and thought I could do little self-assessments on my family and friends what their dosha was, but I sooner discovered there are many components to Ayurveda. Sri Lankan Ayurveda has a long written history of almost 3000 years, but the knowledge has been handed down orally for many more thousands of years. Here is a brief insight to the complex structure of Ayurveda:
Just as the modern medicine is based on physics, chemistry, botany and Zoology, Ayurveda is based on Indian or Hindu Philosophy. The theory of macrocosm and microcosm. That is the man is an epitome of the greater universe. It believes that the matter is composed of five elements (Panchamaha buta).They are Prithvi (earth or hardness), AP (water or liquid), Theja (fire or energy), Vayu (gases state of matter) and Akasha (ethereal state of matter). It is said that matter to exist there should be Kala (time) and Dik (space). With the addition of Manas (mind) and Atma (soul), the matter becomes animate. These components are called the Nithyadravyas or eternal elements.It is very difficult to give exact English equivalents to there highly technical Sanskrit terms. In the universe there are the sun, moon and wind, in the same manner in all living things there are the motion, the liquid component, and the heat or energy component. They are called Vatha, Kapha and Pittha respectively. The human body is composed of Pancha maha butas ie the five basic elements. In the human body they are explained in terms of Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala. Life is the union of body, sense organs, mind and soul.The dosha are vata, pitta, kapha. The 7 Dhatus are Rasa (chyle or nutrient fluid), Rakta (blood), Mansa (muscle tissue), and Medas (fats), Asthi (bone, connective tissue), Asthi majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (reproductive elements or the vital substance). The three main Malas or excretions are purisha (faces) mutra (urine) and sweda (sweat). The doshas when exist in dynamic equilibrium help to maintain the human body in a healthy condition. Then they are called Dhatus. Any disturbance in this equilibrium causes malfunction and results in disease. In that event they are called Doshas. Thus Vata, Pitta, Kapha, are alternatively called Dhatu or Dosha depending on the effect they have on the functioning of the body. ~ Indigenous Medicine, Sri Lanka Government
After my water plane landed in Kandy it was a meandering hours drive through varying little Buddhist and Muslim villages that soon had me at Santani Wellness, Sri Lanka’s newest spa wellness retreat.  The architectural design of the lobby, dining area, spa centre and sixteen free-standing structures is award winning.  I loved the streamline and eco concepts embracing concrete, timber and recycled materials.  Meal time was filled with anticipation wondering what Executive Chef Wajira Gamage with a profiled career spaning France and Sri Lanka working with prestige such as Taj Hotels, Ceylon Tea Trails before joining Santani would be serving.  He advised:
“the philosophy behind his menu is based on the traditional Ayurveda principles. In Ayurveda there are six tastes or “Rasas” – sweet, sour, salty, bitter pungent and astringent, it is recommended that each taste should be included in every meal.  Thus, by incorporating all six tastes in your meal and adjusting the amounts to your personal constitution will help maintain a balanced nutrition and good health, as well as feeling satisfied and eliminating food cravings”. “Taste is made from the same elements that make up the dosha known as space, air, fire, water and earth. Each taste has an effect on each of the three doshas known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  When your dosha is are out of balance these six tastes can help repair these imbalances”.  

Then that takes us on meeting resident Dr Ravi Sooraj.  Always favouring a Shirodhara if it appears on a spa menu, I mentioned this to Dr Ravi, who advised “certainly, it will help with insomnia”.  Well, waking the next morning it was like I had been in a very heavy sleep, sure I woke during the night, but then instantly I was back in my heavy sleep of comfort.  My facial the next day deepened by level of relaxation and I can say the use of natural products had my skin glowing for days; as my friend, Laura, can attest to went I met with her days later.  Morning yoga and lazing by the infinity pool watching birds dart here and there with the hills and swaying grasses behind all made for a deserving time away from my work home routine!  That morning yoga class holds another fond memory with the sound of woman about to commence their work in the tea plantation. 

An Ayurvedic experience whether it be a singular spa treatment or a week long program, do I recommended it? Of course!  

BOOK any Ayurvedic package or a Santani Wellness package with Spa Wellness Travel before 31 May and you’ll receive:
OFFER: Santani special room rate must book before 12 May or Stay 7 / Pay 5 Nights with a Santani Wellness package.
GIFT: a Spa Ceylon Ayurveda gift with any Ayurveda or Santani reservation during May - I carry the Pink Lotus Almond in my handbag!

Contact Spa Wellness Travel at T: 03-5254 1411 or email us at Reservations

Food Habits...

I wake knowing I need to go for a power walk or do a few salutes to the sun and stretches, but before commencing my regime of activity it’s a drink a glass or two of water.  Without a doubt whilst in the midst of my morning activity, I will start pondering my morning meal. Will it be a green juice, porridge, organic weet-bix with unhomogenised full cream milk, sourdough bread with peanut butter, scrambled eggs and parsley on toast or will I skip it and simply go to my desk with a cup of tea and handful of almonds, time is the essence.
It was after staying at The Farm, that I started blending my green juice at home

There’s not too much routine to my consumption of foods as my daily routine is varied and I like to keep my meals varied.  But there are habits that I do have in place that are a staple:
- my sigg water bottle is always filled with water and with me if I have to head out of the office
- a glass of water is always on my desk, sometimes have fun creating a jug of water filled with herbs or fruits
- a delicious pink lady apple or two also accompanies me (especially in the car when I to see my nephew, he likes an apple)
- a quick meal out to break the desk monotony is a bakery pie + salad or toasty
- days are maxed to three cups of tea at the desk or a couple at the desk and a long black with hot milk on the side at café
- veggies in any quantity, format or combination are consumed at some point in the day
- rarely eat red meat and if its chicken its free range and fish is Australian
- downfall! I do love a cherry ripe, a lemon slice or starfish bakery made muffin

shopping that involves freshness + using recycled bags
TIPS to develop some good food habits:
- pack some nuts, sultanas or fresh fruit for snacks
- purchase a quality water bottle, stop the random purchasing of plastic takeaway bottles, once you have your own you’ll use it
- keep meals fresh as possible whether cooking at home or out – especially if eating out or having take-away you do have options!
- choose foods that are not deep fried, covered in sugar or laden with processed sauces
- herbal tea chilled or a few frozen berries in water instead of any surgery processed drink
- spend a week or so at a spa wellness retreat to experience the wholesome spa cuisine can kick start some good habits
just a sample of what Absolute Sanctuary a serving up from their LOVE Kitchen
What wholesome food tips or habits to you have?