Evason Ana Mandara
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Evason Ana Mandara
June 20, 2022 - Dressed in a kurta, compression boots, and Venom Back Wrap, Wellness Pioneer Anna Bjurstam joins us from Vana to share her joy that this transformational retreat is coming into our portfolio. Here, wellness runs deep to guide the entire guest stay.
With Vana coming into our portfolio this Autumn, Six Senses Wellness Pioneer Anna Bjurstam has made the trip to the Himalayan foothills of India. She’s working with the teams to weave in new experiences to the existing magic offered by this much-loved sanctuary for rebalancing, healing, and learning. “This is not rooms with wellness; it’s wellness with rooms,” she says. “There is a special healing energy to the property. You just don’t want to leave, which is felt by most guests, who keep extending their stay.”
Considering her hectic schedule and our late-night video call, you would forgive Anna for looking jet-lagged or at least a little tired. Not so. Dressed in the retreat’s white cotton kurta – part of Vana’s “all enter as equals” notion is to strip away the ego and leave all material differences outside – Anna is positively glowing. “It’s all the Ayurvedic oils!” she says, explaining that two Ayurvedic practitioners have been working hard on her to get as much medicinal oil into her system as possible through an Abhyanga massage and Shirodhara, which involved pouring warm oil over her forehead for 30 minutes. Her treatments, food, activity, rest, and in fact all elements of her stay, are highly personalized, based on her initial Doctor’s consultation. “Vana is a magical place, but what matters the most are the amazing hosts and how I feel taken care of in a way I have never experienced before. I am held every step of my journey by expertise and compassion.”
Vana works with both Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicine, as well as some Chinese Medicine and Western applications. According to the Dalai Lama, “Tibetan Medicine is one of the greatest legacies of Tibetan Buddhist civilization. It is a system that can contribute substantially to maintaining a healthy mind and a healthy body. Like the traditional Indian and Chinese systems, Tibetan medicine views health as a question of balance. A variety of circumstances such as diet, lifestyle, seasonal and mental conditions can disturb this natural balance, which gives rise to different kinds of disorders.”
Vana’s approach consists of analyzing your unique inborn nature or constitution and using natural ways to encourage your body to heal itself. Both Tibetan Medicine and Ayurveda teach that you are composed of three primary energies: movement energy (loong/vata), hot energy (tripa/pitta), and cold energy (baekan/kapha). As Anna discovered, “Tibetan Medicine is different from conventional Western practice because it emphasizes finding and treating imbalance, or ‘dis-ease’, as the first step toward healing and health. During the consultation, the doctor checked my pulse, tongue, skin, and eye tone, and also the energy points on my vertebra. I’ve worked in wellness for many years, but the diagnosis was incredible, like nothing I have experienced before. It goes to the root cause of the ailment to correct the imbalances.”
Starting with nutrition, mainly supplied by local farmers, Anna was advised on what to eat or avoid, and when. The guidance is logical and actionable and, therefore, easy to adopt. During her stay, a comprehensive list of requirements is displayed on a screen in the kitchen for the chef (definitely no cucumbers for Anna), and menus also take the six seasons into account, as each season affects the doshas.
“When you lower your imbalances, you operate at your optimal level. You experience less discomfort and feel more energy and vibrancy in the body. The difference is powerful, immediate, and long-lasting.”
While three nights is a good trial, to go deeper, you’ll be looking to stay at least a week or even 21 days or longer for an Ayurvedic Panchakarma retreat. With the initial consultation funneling your overall wellness journey, Six Senses will be adding a wellness screening and distinct programs – for sleep, women’s well-being, regaining energy and more – as well as an à la carte treatment menu of yoga, functional training, wraps, scrubs, facials, reflexology, reiki, astrology, acupuncture, and more.
Another addition, which explains why Anna is sporting a stylish NormaTec and Venom combo, will be a range of biohacking tools for guests at Six Senses Vana to use in their rooms and some communal spaces such as the upstairs library. The Venom Back Wrap amplifies the soothing power of heat with vibration to melt away stress and tension on your lower back. The NormaTec compression boots initiate recovery after a workout or exercise through gentle kneading, stroking of leg tissues, improved circulation, and muscular tension release. It is also good for enhancing sleep and detoxification.
While you come with an intention (even if that is just “I want to feel less tired”) and every stay above seven days is profound and hopefully transformational, it doesn’t mean you can’t combine Six Senses Vana with a trip around India, a stay at our sister property Six Senses Fort Barwara, or come with friends or family. A special Grow With Six Senses center will be introduced along with our Alchemy Bar, Earth Lab, and Cinema Paradiso to watch a Bollywood classic.
There will be classes, talks, and experiences to transfer wisdom to guests in synchronicity with what you need. Practitioners tune in to who you are, and you can trust you are in a safe pair of hands. You are not alone.
“While all the good bits will stay, there will be more opportunities to come together, communicate, and celebrate,” says Anna. “We’ll bring in more community and social elements such as dance classes and workshops. We’ll also delve into spiritual cultivation with puja offerings, reconnection rituals, and experiences to slow the brain down, tackle emotions, feel less lost or anxious, and nurture people’s mental well-being too. Because of the calmness, and I can’t express how totally beautiful it is here, with the amazing setting and art in the hotel, you disconnect from the outside. I don’t think you’ll go home the same person as you arrived. You’ll just feel more realigned with yourself.”