3 Blissful Spas
May 14, 2014
In an age when stress seems unavoidable, none other than the Dalai Lama speaks out on the importance of finding peace through meditation and even a few spa treatments.
Published on May 14, 2014
If getting a massage feels overly indulgent, you can stow that guilt for good because you've got the Dalai Lama in your corner. At the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, held in India, his holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, spoke about the impact of the multi-billion dollar industry on modern day wellbeing.
His holiness kicked off the talk by whispering to his translator, "What does it mean, spa?"—a tongue-in-cheek start to his headlining role at a summit dedicated to exactly that. After a few chuckles from the crowd, he continued to explain that while the world of spas is relatively new to him, wellness is a concept he knows plenty about, setting the tone for the many parallels drawn throughout his speech.
"A happy mind, a peaceful mind, is the key factor for a healthy body," the Dalai Lama said, advocating relaxation through mental detox. "Medical scientists are actually telling me hatred, anger, fear—these emotions are eating our immune systems. Relaxing does not mean just on a yoga mat, lie down full of anger, full of fear. Relaxation means the mind is calm." India is renowned for its ashrams and yoga retreats, and Shreyas Retreat (doubles from US$1,590) outside Bangalore uses yoga to connect the mind with the body.
Courtesy of Shreyas Retreat
The Dalai Lama personally finds soaking in hot springs quite enjoyable. Hot springs cleanse, detox and heal the body, the mind and the psyche through minerals, tranquility and nature. The Hot Spring Therme & Spa (from US$62 per night) in Shimla, India, for example, is worth dipping into. But his holiness also prescribes compassion, bodily cleansing and mental calm.
The Indian philosophy of Vedanta fits snugly into this worldview. Made up of veda (life) and anta (end), the word roughly translates to "goal of life" and promotes such ideals as enduring happiness and peace. At Ananda Spa (Himalayan Bliss from US$960 per couple per night for three nights), in the foothills of the Himalayas, Vedanta classes are free additions to the many retreats on offer.
Courtesy of Ananda Spa
"Everyone wants a happy life, but are too stressed [to achieve it]," the Dalai Lama said. But with his stamp of approval on your spa day, that's one stress eliminated.— C A T H A R I N E N I C O L