She held my ankles and gently swayed my legs in a rhythmic motion. I felt like a baby being put to sleep. But that was the just the beginning, after which my therapist moved to my abdomen. What followed was a series of strokes using fingers and even the elbow. For the next 50 minutes, she gave me an experience of Chi Nei Tsang, a therapy that was originally practiced by Taoist monks. It works on the energy of the internal abdominal organs as it helps to detoxify, strengthen the immune system and aide in digestion, I was told. As a writer, I work long hours in front of the computer and that seemed to have really taken a toll on my spine. I was hoping this would give me some relief. And I was not disappointed.
I was at Atmantan, a wellness resort situated amidst the lush green Sahyadri Mountains at Mulshi. Spread across 42 acres with 106 rooms and three restaurants that serve some of the best organic food, I was in a wellness heaven. The resort offers packages ranging from three to 28 days, some of the popular ones being—Weight Balance, Spa Life, Journey through Yoga, Fitness Challenge, Master Cleanse and Ayurveda Healing packages.
On arrival, my pleasantly furnished lake-facing room awaited me. And to temporarily allay my hunger pangs were neatly packed muesli bars, biscuits and dry fruits on the table. At the resort you won’t find anything made of refined sugar, refined salt and refined flour. Not even the biscuits and snack bars. But that didn’t mean the food lacked in taste; it was all so delicious.
Two days prior to my arrival, their wellness practitioner had me fill up a questionnaire about my health and my itinerary was planned based on my answers. I was recommended to opt for the three-nights Atmantan Living package.
Small plate, big satisfaction
When I first took a table at their in-house restaurant Vistara, my jaw dropped at the size of the plate. The dinner plate was the size of a quarter plate. “The idea is that you eat healthy, delicious food in small portions and stop when you are three-fourths full,” the chef explained. Apprehensive at first, by the end of the stay I noticed that I had begun to enjoy this way of eating; a lighter feeling was bonus. Another thing was they take mindful eating seriously. So, during the first meal, as I finished my first few bites, out of habit my hand reached out to my cellphone lying next to my plate, when I was gently reminded to be mindful while eating. To make it a bit easier for you to stay distraction free, the resort has been kept largely wifi-free—you get wifi only in your rooms.
Day 2: more massages
Considering that there are 23 of them, you could easily get lost in the spa rooms at the resort, unless escorted by your therapist. Named after the apsaras of Hindu mythology, each room is designed differently, based on the type of therapy. This time I was here for an abhyangam and the aroma of herbal oil hung in the air. Jincy, my therapist, worked on my body with long powerful strokes using warm medicated herbal oil. The head massage completely calmed my frayed nerves. Abhyangam is said to restore prana [life giving force], stimulate circulation and reduce joint pains. After the therapy I was advised a steam bath which detoxifies the body, cleanses the skin and improves circulation. If you’ve ever experienced an abhyangam you’ll know that no matter how much you try to get the oil out of your skin in one wash, some amount of it still stays, keeping your skin moisturised. My otherwise dry skin felt soft and nourished.
The other therapies
You can choose to start your day with cleansing Kriyas—nasal, eye and throat cleansing. Over the day, you can also practice yoga under the guidance of expert yoga teachers at the resort. Every morning I would delight myself with a standing yoga session in the amphitheatre. This is followed by a leisurely bath in a tub infused with French Lavender oil, Epsom salt, flowers and lemon.
A few words of advice
On the last consultation, my wellness practitioner handed me a list of general rules for health and longevity. The next day as I started for home in the wee hours, a veil of mist hung around the lake and enveloped the highlands. Breathing in the fresh mountain air I found the sight arresting. Atmantan’s philosophy Live Well, Truly Well was apt in those surroundings.