We are constantly bombarded with everyday distractions, from nine-to-five office working hours to mindless scrolling through our electronic devices. It’s easy to get caught up in these universal routines without prioritising time to truly sit back and enjoy a peaceful moment alone. Shyam Goyal experienced his first healthy holiday over 20 years ago and realised the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle through physical and mindful exercises. Amanoi is a luxury wellness retreat that provides immersive holistic experiences from as short as a weekend break to longer holidays to fully reset. As the spa and wellness manager of the results-driven retreat, Shyam knows a thing or two about how to restore one’s mind and body wherever you are in the world. We speak to him on rebooting from a hectic schedule and how to implement a healthy lifestyle change that lasts.
What was your first healthy holiday experience? My first ‘healthy holiday’ experience happened back in 2002 and it was extremely meaningful, as it showed me how turning focus to health and wellness in a new environment can truly, positively improve both your physical fitness and mindset. During the holiday I was able to learn how to cure my body and ensure that my systems functioned properly. At times it felt hard, but in fact, this experience and my learnings helped me to cure a peptic ulcer in my intestine which could have been potentially life threatening. I learned to change my lifestyle through yoga and a healthy diet.
How do you reboot after a hectic week? I believe the best cure following a stressful week is to take a weekend wellness holiday. Escaping the routine of everyday life—even just for a few days—can do the mind, body and soul a world of good. You return home feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead without having to spend too much time away. It might be seen as a quick fix, but it truly works wonders to take yourself out of your natural environment and experience a new setting. At Amanoi we are able to cater to such requests, offering numerous programmes to target the needs of any guests. These programmes can then be tailored to each individual, whether you’re planning on simply staying two nights or for a full week.
Who are your role models and why?One of my biggest role models is Ratan Tata. He is an Indian industrialist and philanthropist who lives a very balanced life. Despite his wealth and status as an international businessman, he leads a simple lifestyle, shunning the media spotlight and always making time to focus on his own health and wellbeing.
What was the incentive behind opening this resort? Overlooking Vinh Hy Bay, northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Amanoi was built on the dramatic coastline of the spectacular Nui Chua National Park. Being fully immersed in nature, Amanoi was designed as a ‘home away from home’ where the surroundings encourage the utmost serenity and relaxation. This is part of Aman’s philosophy—to connect its guests with the spirit of a place while welcoming them with warm hospitality. We provide a place to reset and regenerate and Amanoi’s magnificent location does exactly this. It’s a palce for privacy and tranquillity, between verdant green landscapes and calming coastline.
What do you hope guests will take away from their stay?
We hope that guests at Amanoi can take away:
- An energetic, refreshing and rejuvenated body
- A clear, serene, calm and stress-free mind and spirit
- A balanced state of mind
- An appreciation for the time spent on self-reflection in the wilderness, calmness and serenity of Amanoi
- Unforgettable memories of their experiences—both for oneself and with family and friends
What sets this resort and the retreats you offer apart from the rest? At Amanoi, we offer several personally tailored Wellness Immersion Programmes. Centred on Traditional Oriental philosophy, these programmes are designed to gently guide each guest on a new path and instil a deep sense of inner peace, whether they seek to renew focus and spiritual connection, manage weight or promote internal balance and overall wellbeing for a longer, healthier life.
Along with an initial lifestyle orientation and a departure wellbeing review, every day of an Amanoi Immersion is highly personalised to include specialist movement and bodywork sessions, holistic spa treatments, and complimentary group movement sessions—with both traditional ‘hands-on’ and more modern technology forming the basis for treatments. Unrivalled nutritional support and education create the fundamentals of each Immersion: every meal draws on Oriental wisdom and is created with your goals in mind, while knowledge in wellness is shared to ensure your journey continues long after the return home.
What are the crucial factors involved in implementing a successful healthy lifestyle change? Guests often arrive at Amanoi with the same difficulties in implementing a healthy lifestyle. Their excuses include not having enough time, or an unwillingness to change their daily schedule. With the hectic pace of daily life, it might not be possible to spend hours in the gym or spa, however, a healthy lifestyle change doesn’t always have to involve these traditional wellness solutions. The crucial factor here is educating these guests in how simple, small changes can be the most effective. We educate guests on all aspects of their wellness, from a few minutes per day spent practising mindfulness to recommendations on diet and nutrition. We hope guests will make these small changes to improve their overall wellness routine.
What does true balance look like? In life, I believe it’s important to focus on more than just one’s wealth, career or academic goals. Instead, the main goal should be to live a balanced and successful life. Success can be measured in several ways, including ensuring good health, fostering positive relationships and finding a peaceful mindset. Getting a promotion is wonderful, however, if friendships or relationships are tarnished as a result, this is not living a balanced life. Similarly, there is no joy found in driving a new car if you suffer from back troubles. Shopping is also not an enjoyable pastime if your mind is full of tension.
I also believe that we shouldn’t take life seriously. As we are only on this planet temporarily, our lives have limited validity. In a 50-year period, we have just 2,500 weekends. So, enjoy them and don’t spend them stressing over trivial things. Remember, it’s okay if you score low in couple tests or fight a little with your spouse. We are people, not programmed devices and we must live each day as it comes.
How do you remain aware and mindful of your thoughts and catch yourself when you’re in a negative thought pattern? It’s best to look at positive and negative thoughts as a life process. On one 24-hour date, we have a morning, afternoon, evening and night. This process is repeated every day, but if we are aware of ourselves and what happens around us, we will undoubtedly find what is positive and what is negative in life. Being aware of this process can help dispel negative thought patterns, however, practising meditation and mindfulness can also be beneficial.