I’m lying in a darkened room, my body encased in a large cedar steam chest; herb-scented steam drifts from the chest, and I close my eyes and inhale deeply. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed in my entire life. I am at Sapphire Day Spa, an Ayurvedic sanctuary in Victoria. Will has surprised me with an amazing treatment that includes a traditional Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage, an herbal steam, and an exfoliation treatment. By the time the treatment draws to a close, I feel like a goddess; my body feels utterly sacred.
For years I’ve been drawn to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system for well being. Translated loosely, the word Ayurveda means, “the science of living.” I prefer, though, the translation that Sapphire Spa suggests: “the art of living.” Over the past few months I’ve begun to investigate this natural and holistic system for health and the more I learn, the more intrigued I become.
What I like the most about Ayurveda is that it is a system designed to nourish mind, body and spirit. It emphasizes eating whole foods in season and using herbs and spices for maintaining good health; it encourages a deep connection with nature and the natural cycles of life; it promotes the practice of meditation and yoga, and the art of slowing down. I’m simplifying, of course; in fact, I’m barely skating over the surface. But I’m drawn to these basic premises, to the deep way they address self-care. Ayurveda speaks to me.
And I find attractive the suggestion I’ve read again and again: start from where you are and just make a few changes. I love the idea of starting small, of keeping things simple. And so at this point, I’m just being far more mindful about what I eat and how I relax. Every day. Meditating helps. So does yoga. So does the spice- infused ginger tea that Will brews in enormous quantities. And I’m making sure I get out for daily walks in the woods or by the ocean.
Now I just have to figure out how to get back for another of those delicious Ayurvedic spa treatments!