Translating to ‘forest’ in Sanskrit, Vana is a luxury wellness retreat in India’s remote Uttarakhand, making it a soothing enclave for a holistic escape. The destination spa combines Eastern traditional methods like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Tibetan therapies for a unique approach to stress, weight loss and healing. We speak to Executive Director Jaspreet Singh on why Vana is the ultimate retreat for healthy holiday hunters.
What was your first healthy holiday experience? To be honest, a healthy holiday was never a priority to me. I planned my holidays to get away from the chaotic lifestyle and the closest that I could get to a healthy holiday was to be detached for a day or two without my mobile on a beach while enjoying some spa moments and good food for leisure. However, it was not until my exposure to Vana that I understood the real meaning of a healthy lifestyle and how imperative a yearly dedication to such journeys is a must for improving one’s overall wellbeing.
How do you reboot after a hectic week? Normally when I head home after a week full of meetings, I focus on making the most of my moments in the warmth of my home. Needless to mention that the greeting I receive from my three-year-old Labrador Laila just gives me a sense of ‘welcome home’ and provides the onset of a weekend that lies ahead. I enjoy listening to my playlist while enjoying a game or two of chess over some engaging conversations with my dad with some interruptions in between by my two boys, is generally what gets me recharged for the week that lies ahead.
Who are your role models and why?I admire the level of detailing and passionate investment that Founder Veer Singh, has contributed towards Vana. A place that manifests his intentions and a strong vision to enhance wellbeing and be of service to all.
What was the incentive behind opening this resort? As visualised by our founder, Vana exists today to enhance wellbeing and be of service to all. A strong vision of sorts is what indeed led Veer to create Vana.
Seven years into its existence, Vana enjoys wide appreciation as one of the foremost retreats for wellbeing in the world. It’s a journey that I am personally proud of being associated with.
What do you hope guests will take away from their stay? Vana can only point to the truth and give you a taste of it. We can provide healing, opportunities to learn and a glimpse of a better life.
But sustained health and a present mind, a mind at ease, can only come from personal effort. Therefore, working on the mind and also, the wellbeing of others should form part of this effort, with some dedication to develop it into practice. Understanding the dependence of our wellbeing on our mind, and the interdependence between all of that and others is vital to our peace and happiness. Results might come slowly but positive imprints can be lasting. It’s important to shift one’s focus away from oneself, to genuinely benefit others, as this will make this journey easier and more fulfilling. This is all that you need to know to ‘take Vana home’.
What sets this resort and the retreats you offer apart from the rest?Vana is beyond conventional labelling and it is best understood by how we define it. Unlike others in the business, here we see wellness as a choice, a set of tools and means to achieve a coherent state of wellbeing.
So, what makes us different and sets us apart? The ‘how’ of what we offer is where the answer lies. Our style, the Vana way coupled with our values create a profound difference. Our ‘Expertise, Integrity, Purity, Simplicity, and the Vana Energy is a state of joy in itself”.
We specialise in Ayurveda and Yoga, the Vedic systems of the Indian subcontinent and Sowa Rigpa, the Tibetan Traditional Healing which is complemented with Traditional Chinese medicine and Movement therapies. We advocate and facilitate the application of these timeless sciences and art for contemporary healthy living and spiritual self-realisation, carefully integrating the therapies as per the observations of the Wellness Consultant.
Our offerings are all-encompassing and thus holistic, to create and foster this therapeutic landscape. These are resplendent with a variety of holistic and traditional healing systems and practices that are preventive, health-promoting, rejuvenating, restoring, healing, palliative, nurturing, caring and supporting. They are natural, gentle, traditional, functional, non-invasive and holistic… We focus on enhancing wellness in all of the essential five levels of existence – physical, mental (and emotional), spiritual, social and environmental.
What are the crucial factors involved in implementing a successful healthy lifestyle change? The moment you learn to discover, wander and wonder, you are a step closer to discovering a healthy lifestyle. A successful healthy lifestyle or that level of wellbeing is sometimes found or deepened at the most unexpected places. Positive motivation, renunciation, awareness and compassion are helpful qualities worth developing on this journey of discovery. When you make up your mind, inculcate a healthy routine, eat right and avoid overindulgence in anything will further complement this journey of discovery.
What does true balance look like? Balance is something that you yield when you let yourself into a retreat. Retreating from one’s usual material existence allows us time to contemplate and reflect. Developing a fresh perspective; for others, it is about overcoming a physical hurdle. It is an opportunity to reconnect with oneself or with something greater. A way of life that we help you understand and adapt to, each time you retreat at Vana.
How do you remain aware and mindful of your thoughts and catch yourself when you’re in a negative thought pattern? For me, waking up early despite all odds, sticking to a routine, enjoying moments by myself in those early hours with a few captures in my lenses, is something that helps me start my day mindfully. A playlist of soulful music with some quality run time with my dog has always helped me get rid of the anxiety that may get the best of everyone from time and again.