Jumpstart 2023 with a well-deserved wellcation
A wellcation combines wellness with a vacation and rejuvenates you with a dose of peace, energy, and focus. YS Life checks out a few wellness programmes and retreats around the country that promise to infuse you with all that you need to tackle the rigours of work and life this year.
The party season was over two weeks ago and we’re sure you had a blast. For some, the indulgence perhaps continues, with weddings and other social gatherings still hogging the calendar.
When you are done with all the partying and socialising, you may want to disengage yourself from all the noise around, reflect in a peaceful setting, and energise yourself, so that you can tackle the challenges of 2023 head on.
Here’s where a wellcation may help, as it helps you recharge yourself and get back on track, ready to tackle the demands of work and life in general.
‘Wellcation’ is a hybrid holiday trend that fuses healthy eating and drinking, spa therapies, and fitness activities to help people rejuvenate themselves. A portmanteau of ‘wellness’ and ‘vacation’, a wellcation involves zero-calorie menus, silence zones, healing workshops, immersive nature treks, and more.
The idea of a recharging vacation is picking up steam and this can be seen in the increasing demand for retreats, resorts, spas, and homestays. In fact, this trend has been on the rise after the pandemic as people are becoming more aware of the need to revitalise themselves inside-out.
And it’s not just the older people who are seeking wellcations, youngsters are also signing up for such experiences.
Celebrity interior designer Rupin Suchak, who had been to a wellness retreat recently, says the programmes at the retreat were enjoyed by youngsters too. “Normally, when we talk about a wellness retreat, we immediately imagine people nearing or above 50, but at a yoga centre I visited here, a majority of them were under 30 and many in their 20s. It’s all about raising the bar of being aware and conscious, which can happen at any time,” he says.
A lot of people are taking this well-deserved wellness break to shed the excesses of the last few months. Care to join them? YS Life checks out a few wellness retreats and programmes around the country that promise to infuse you with all that you need to tackle the demands of work and life this year.
Yoga and relaxing baths
At singer Akriti Kakar’s ONE at Goa, which she runs with her husband Chirag Arora, guests check into charming cottages, thoughtfully named Joy, Love, Grace, Hope, Heal, and Bliss.
A typical day at this place starts with a healthy breakfast, followed by a choice of yin, qi, and aerial yoga, and then a session of conscious dancing. Later, you can choose between a mud bath or an ice bath or opt for a dip in a pond crafted with natural river stones to help with acupressure and jets for the massage points.
Akriti says, “The thought behind ONE at Goa was to allow people to just be, breathe, recuperate physically, and disconnect to reconnect with themselves.”
If yoga is not your calling, how about doing your daily 10K steps in the mountains, accompanied by break-taking views, crisp air, and enticing cold weather? You can do all this and more at Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels in Chail, Himachal Pradesh.
At this six-acre property dotted with oak and pine trees, you can go ‘forest bathing’ as you soak in all that nature has to offer and also get some exercise through the on-site Oak Trail and Pine Trail.
The Kumaon, a luxury property in Uttarakhand, also has a selection of tailormade nature walks and trails that allow for a deeper connection with the natural heritage of the Kumaoni region. The property offers short excursions that help you leave behind the hustle-bustle of city life and immerse yourself in nature and meditative therapy.
Abhinav Trivedi, General Manager, The Kumaon, says, “There definitely is a rise in demand for wellness retreats post the New Year as an antidote to the partying and fun, as people want to feel rejuvenated and get back on track.”
If you are seeking offbeat trails and tours, there are memorable themes to choose from. For instance, at Six Senses Fort Barwara, in Rajasthan, wellness seekers can go on sustainability tours, local market trails with chefs, safaris, and mountain biking, in addition to trips to nearby villages and forts.
Power of sound, silence, and sleep
Last year, The Tamara in Coorg, Karnataka welcomed the Ātmīyaṁ Wellness Gathering’s (an invite-only holistic wellness event) first edition outside of Kerala with immersive art experiences, sound healing (the practice of using different sounds to improve physical health), and meditative concerts. This year too, The Tamara is arranging forest trails, yoga sessions, foot massages, and more.
It’s true that being still and quieting the mind helps you with clarity and purpose. Which is why The Tamara has curated packages around ‘mauna’ or silence.
Shruti Shibulal, CEO, Tamara Leisure Experiences, says, “There are treatments or anubhavas based on the concept of wellness and antar mauna or inner silence. People have said it helps them find tranquillity within them and fosters self-reflection.”
At the 25-acre Shreyas Retreat in Bengaluru, a seven-night ‘Silent Retreat’ is designed to help guests calm their mind and realign their goals in life. Guests wear a ‘silence badge’ and go on walking meditations. They use only a notepad in case they need to communicate their requirements. This solitary time is said to bring to the fore deep-seated emotional and intellectual issues and also address burnout and stress.
Dharana Retreat at Shillim, Maharashtra hosts wellness and transformative lifestyle programmes such as Art of Detox and The De-Stress and Sleep Program.
Remember the quiet, blissful moments you may have had at an art gallery? Yes, art can be therapeutic, and CEVA Education helps people experience just that.
Prachi Chaphekar, Founder, CEVA Education, recently curated art therapy sessions at her homestay Avabodha in Panchgani, Maharashtra—with meditation, followed by guests painting their feelings on canvas.
Prachi narrates how it made for a beautiful experience as it helped people release their emotions, channelise their energy, reduce anxiety, and become more self-aware.
“It is a great way to let go of the past,” she insists. “Everyone has realised in the last three years that it is extremely important to prioritise your own well-being, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.”
This summer, CEVA Education will be conducting a mindfulness wellness retreat with yoga, art, and other creative activities at Prachi’s homestay.
Agro tourism is helping urban dwellers, who have little or no connect with rural life, experience the charm of life on a farm.
At Centre Point, Nagpur, guests can sign up for a weekend package that involves exploring orange farms, picking oranges, and taking in the scenery all around.
Gurnoor Tuli Mohta, Branding and Strategic Head, Centre Point Hospitality, says, since the new year, there’s been a steady increase of visitors signing up for orange farm tours. “The activity also allows them to spend time in nature and reflect,” she says.
Roopa Kalyani Jatkar, who works at Cognizant, recently had an experience of farm life when she visited Palmwoods Retreat near Pune. She watched the locals do farming and milking cows and also did horse riding and archery.
She describes the experience, “It offered me the much-needed tranquillity and peace to reflect upon the year gone by and introspect, learn, and be ready to embrace the new year as a ‘new’ me.”
Weddings at wellness resorts
Wellness centres are also playing hosts to weddings and offering healing therapies and massages to the bride, the groom, and their loved ones.
A wedding at a resort is a great chance for people to club wedding rituals, wellness, and a holiday, all under one roof. This also shows how people are eager to include wellness on their big day.
Entrepreneur Simran Gupta, who has seen weddings at wellness resorts, recalls an NRI wedding at one such resort. “Instead of spending money at a splashy venue, the family headed to a wellness resort, stayed together, experienced good health, and signed up guests for massages and healing menus. And, on the last day, the couple got married,” she says.
You are what you eat
Food plays a key role during a wellcation, and hotels and resorts are well aware of this, as they present a curated menu made from pesticide-free local produce from organic farmlands, using simple cooking techniques.
Tejas Chavan, Director, Viveda Wellness Village, in Nashik, Maharashtra, says sustainable choices like sattvic food, vegan diet, and gluten-free food habits have become popular.
At the Dharana Retreat at Shillim, the focus is on a holistic transformation of the body, mind, and soul, through a synergy of wellness programmes including the Dharana Food Philosophy, which has its roots in age-old Ayurvedic traditions.
After all the year-end indulgences, there’s been a huge demand for organic food, which Dharana specialises in, says Srikant Peri, General Manager, Dharana Retreat.
So, what are you waiting for? Simply sign up for a weekend package (or a longer one if you wish to), lighten your load, and lose the flab. In doing so, you enjoy a much-needed disconnect from the chaos of daily life and go back an invigorated individual.
Edited by Swetha Kannan