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Marie’s Review of Vana Wellness Retreat

Vana is a luxury wellness retreat near Dehadrun in India with a mission statement to enhance wellbeing and to be of service to the world. We visited recently to explore a spiritual healing holiday with them. Vana believes that in aspiring to achieve the best spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual self, we can all live life more wholesomely.

Vana’s Philosophy

The search for equilibrium, learning and the inner journey are at the heart of Vana, always striving to achieve something unprecedented in wellbeing. Offering authentic traditions in wellness, medicine and wisdom, these offerings are brought together with creative thought, deep commitment and personalised support, all offered in spaces that pay homage to nature and the sublime. Nourishing cuisine, experiences for all the senses and a kind-hearted team complete Vana offering.

This is my personal journey at Vana

vana malsi estate
The road to Vana, Malsi Estate, Dehadrun

Day 1

I was picked up in a comfortable vehicle with refreshments and snacks at hand and the driver was very courteous and friendly and quite experienced. I was grateful that he took the most scenic road and he was very agreeable to stop so that I could take photos of the best spots along the way. On arrival  at the entrance gate I was picked up by a golf cart which took me to Kila – the main reception area (cars are not allowed up to the main centre).  My bags were collected by the concierge and taken to my allocated room.

After check in, I was introduced to my hostess who was to give me a tour and explain the schedule. Kila is a spacious area with a library, reception and boutique. This is a beautiful space where musicians are often invited to play instruments or sing. There was soft, relaxing music playing in the background. There was an immediate feeling of relaxation and a sense of peace and well being. There are several times during the day where silence is observed – as the hostess was whispering I understood the need to be mindful.

Vana Garden Room

vana garden room in india
Vana Garden Room

The immediate impression of the Garden Room is one of style, elegance, and luxury, with views overlooking manicured gardens,  a well-appointed resting space with queen bed and large TV, alongside a pristine bathroom with large, deep bath.  Natural organic bath soaps, bath salts, organic shampoo and conditioner were all provided.

The mini bar was stocked with an assortment of herbal teas, healthy coconut biscuits and sparkling and still mineral water.  I was directed to wear the supplied white robes (clogs are provided too!).

My first treatment was early evening at the Wellness Centre and was a classical Swedish Massage  (75 minutes). It was the most blissful massage ( I later spoke with another Vananasi who had the same experience – in fact, she said it was the best massage she ever had!). Firm but totally relaxing…

At the dining room, dinner was a la carte, with a comprehensive menu stating the number of calories, whether vegan or gluten free. Absolutely delicious!

vana healthy food

Day 2

At 8:15am I was scheduled in to see the Doctor, who spent a whole hour with me. I was weighed and given an Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis. Dr. Tenzi made some good recommendations for a healthy lifestyle and said she would draw up a plan of treatments for the following 4 days.

Breakfast was a buffet style offering  a range of tropical fruits, a full selection of muesli’s, various styles of homemade breads, cheeses made at the centre and a massive spread of jams and healthy condiments. To compliment the cold buffet, a menu with a variety of healthy choices, including any style omelette. juices, coffees, teas, smoothies and even almond milk made at the centre. I chose the Turmeric latte with coconut milk.

vana ayurveda retreats

Tibetan Sow Rigpa Healing

At 11:30am I went for my second treatment – this time a Tibetan massage called ‘Hor Gyi Metsa’, given by therapist Bhuti at the Sowa Rigpa Centre.  On arrival at the Tibetan centre there was the pleasant and relaxing sound of Tibetan monks chanting. As this was my first time having a Tibetan treatment massage I was curious to find out a little more about Sowa Rigpa.

Vana is one of the few places in the world where Sowa Rigpa is formally offered. Tibet’s traditional system of medicine finds its roots in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Buddhism. It is this amalgamation that makes it truly unique. Sowa Rigpa is governed by the Men-Tsee-Khang, the Institute of Tibetan Medicine and Astrology. Vana’s doctors and therapists are alumni of the Men-Tsee-Khang, from where all the preparations are also procured.

Sowa Rigpa’s emphasis is on the mind and emotions, integrated seamlessly into its approach, making it one of the few treatments to embrace holistic wellbeing in its entirety. And, as the therapist worked on my body, she explained how it was affecting my nervous system. This was perhaps the highlight of all the healing treatments at Vana. It started with a Tibetan chant and singing bowl. Hot herbal poultices were applied on various pressure points. I could feel that this treatment was going very deep and felt it was a true healing experience. Afterwards, I felt there had been an absolute letting go of tension.

Again lunch was buffet style with a huge choice of dishes; mostly vegetarian but also a few meat dishes.

vana music therapy

Day 3

Today I received an Abhyanga Ayurveda treatment with Mawi which was super gentle and relaxing. My entire body was rubbed down with medicinal oil and this luxury spa treatment included a terrific head massage, which was very aesthetically pleasing.

Each day I attended a group yoga class with Dr. Avanish who was very helpful and knowledgeable. He also conducted a wonderful guided meditation class. I also attended a daily Yoga Nidra class directly after lunch, to connect to my inner state of consciousness. All these group classes were conducted by wellness professionals with a very caring, nurturing attitude.

vana music therapy

Day 4

Today I had a departure consultation with Dr Tenzin, who reminded me of my lifestyle plan for the future. I also had my last Tibetan massage, Ku Nye, this time with Lhamo at the Sowa Rigpa Center. It was a beautiful, gentle massage. Once again, beginning with Tibetan music, then singing bowl and chants throughout the massage. Quite heavenly!

In the evening I participated in music therapy, with a flute meditation class, where guests are invited to lie down and listened to the flute player – absolutely magical.

Day 5 

My last day involved morning yoga and a healthy breakfast. On my departure I was given a gift from the kitchen – a jar of delicious coconut  biscuits. My healing journey at Vana came to a memorable close and I’ll be forever grateful for the experience.

Marie x

If you’re interested in taking your own personal healing vacation to Vana with us, then drop us a line below or fill out our questionnaire with more details


Email: info@soul-sanctuaries.com

Skype: soul-sanctuaries

Vana Offerings

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