Top 10 Ayurvedic Retreats

Writer Kate O'Brien | Published November 9, 2017

Ayurvedic retreats are the new superheroes of the wellness world, delivering a healing combination of dosha-specific meals and therapies, yoga, meditation and treatments to rebalance energy levels and rediscover internal stillness.

  • Ulpotha, Sri Lanka

    Ulpotha is a rare antidote to modern life. Nestled in a sustainable organic farm in an ancient pilgrimage site on the western fringes of Sri Lanka, the relaxed natural environment and homegrown cuisine heightens the benefits of the panchakarma detox, oleation and yogic programmes. With accommodation in mud-style huts, no electricity, hot water or doors, Ulpotha is not for everyone, but those seeking peace and spiritual renewal tend to become hooked. Dr Srilal, the resident physician designs guests’ personalised detoxification plans and all treatments are done in accordance with ancient traditional Ayurveda therapeutics.

  • One World Ayurveda, Indonesia

    Situated in lush rice fields in the hills of Ubud, this dedicated Ayurveda panchakarma retreat is traditional Ayurveda with an added touch of healing Balinese ritual. The programmes are meticulously curated and closely monitored by Dr Aparna and her team of experts, and include seven-, 14- and 28-day panchakarma rituals tailored to detox, stress relief and those suffering chronic insomnia. Days are filled with sunrise and sunset yoga, meditation, dosha-specific meals, hands-on massage therapies, deep detoxification techniques, herbal medicines and juices, cleansing baths, walks and moments of complete silence, all key elements on the pathway to presence. Balinese cultural experiences are also available including an indigenous fire cleansing ceremony and the chance to bathe in the holy Hindu temple waters.

  • Ayurveda Parkschlösschen, Germany

    Located in an 11-acre parkland surrounded by vineyards and the gently flowing Mosel River, the Ayurveda Parkschlösschen is synonymous with Ayurveda detox in Europe. From its interior created in accordance with Vastu (the traditional Hindu approach to architecture with emphasis on sustainability and the natural world), to soul-nurturing vegetarian food, yoga, meditation and a menu of medically curated Ayurvedic massages, all are designed to cleanse and regenerate from within. The three-day Take A Break programme offers the perfect introduction to Ayurveda, while longer programmes like the comprehensive 21-day panchakarma detox are also available.

  • Essential Ayurveda, England

    Tucked away in a relaxed 400-year-old farmhouse in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside, expert Ayurvedic practitioners Andy and Laura Shakeshaft offer bespoke retreats (with a maximum of three guests) lasting three, five or seven days. The ethos is client centred and focused on a structured physical detox with food (mostly organic and local), herbs, daily massages, steam therapy, yoga, creative counselling and meditation designed to empower guests. Here peace and personalised attention are guaranteed, as is the opportunity to enrich body and mind.

  • Santani, Sri Lanka

    A relative newcomer to Sri Lanka, this 48-acre former tea plantation outside Narampanawa, northeast of Kandy is fast gaining a reputation for authentic Ayurvedic healing. The brainchild of a group of repatriated young Sri Lankans with a passion for preserving ecology and the country’s indigenous culture, Santani’s mission is a life lived to its fullest. The bespoke therapy programmes and cuisine are curated by the resident Ayurvedic doctors, chefs and nutritionists, with emphasis firmly on re-energising and rebalancing both body and mind. Reclaimed timber features throughout the property from the open-air pavilions for sleeping and the yoga, meditation and healing spaces. When not enjoying the vast menu of massages or other hands-on therapies, guests can roam the fertile rice fields, trek through the jungle or swim in the Hulu River.

  • Sonnhof Resort, Austria

    India meets the Tyrolean Mountains at the 30-room family-run Resort Sonnhof in Thiersee where an honest taste of European Ayurveda is available while breathing the freshest alpine air. This East-meets-West concept runs throughout the infrastructure of the retreat with OM meditation rooms, Shakti fireplaces, Ayurveda-themed lounges, saunas, moon pool and heat therapy. As nutrition is the cornerstone of every good Ayurvedic experience, the dosha-specific vegetarian cuisine uses the finest ingredients sourced from local farms and markets. The inclusive menu of programmes ranges from the shorter duration Ayurveda Taster to the full-on Panchakarma lasting up to 21 days. With twice-daily yoga sessions and a menu of Ayurvedic massage treatments, Sonnhof is the place to re﹣energise and rebalance the body’s vital energies.

  • Ananda in the Himalayas, India

    At the foothills of the Himalayas and close to the ashram town of Rishikesh (the birthplace of yoga), Ananda is home to deep spiritual and emotional healing. With packages available from one to three weeks, inclusive of traditional massage and Shirodhara therapies as well as more complex, doctor-assisted programmes designed to cleanse and recharge both body and mind. Daily yoga and meditation amidst the cleansing Himalayan air are the norm, as is the delicious and nourishing customised cuisine to rebalance the body, reduce stress and enhance overall health.

  • Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort, India

    For almost 30 years, the physicians at the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort, nestled within lush gardens in the heart of Kerala, have cleansed and rebalanced weary bodies from all corners of the world. In fact, Somatheeram was amongst the first retreats to introduce this rich cultural philosophy to the Western world. The hugely experienced team of Ayurvedic doctors and therapists led by Dr Sreelatha and Dr C. A. Raman have cared for more than 12,000 clients through programmes ranging from classic panchakarma to weight reduction and rebalancing, ranging from seven to 28 days duration. Accommodation is clean, simple and vey much in keeping with the ethos of the resort.

  • Shreyas Retreat, India

    There is more to Shreyas than Ayurveda, as this spiritual destination retreat nestled in lush gardens one hour north-west of Bangalore is renowned for its soul nurturing silent retreats bringing some much-needed stillness to busy minds. However, if Ayurveda is on the agenda then you are in the right place too with a team of skilled experts on hand and a comprehensive menu of Ayurvedic programmes and therapies to cleanse and reboot both body and mind. Only 25 guests can be accommodated in cossetting canopied cottages with yoga pavilions and meditation huts and fragrant frangipani trees dotting the verdant 25-acre retreat. Days can be spent in meditative stillness or enjoying various yoga classes, the freshest organically grown vegetarian cuisine, the guidance of highly trained Ayurvedic practitioners and private arati offerings at the village temple.

  • Soukya, India

    Soukya’s expansive soul-nurturing gardens provide the ingredients for the colourful vegetarian cuisine and therapeutic oils. Founded by renowned holistic practitioner Dr Issac Mathai, the backbone of Soukya is a healing combination of Ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga and intensive panchakarma. The cultural fusion of skilled doctors, naturopaths, dietitians and massage therapists invites a life-changing opportunity for guests, with daily yoga and meditation coupled with targeted treatments and home-brewed remedies created from the expansive organic gardens. Guests come to Soukya to address often serious health issues from depression and chronic illness to migraines, diabetes, weight loss, fatigue or to simply have some time for the mind to still under the expert guidance of the skilled practitioners. The rooms and cottages all feature private gardens with open-air showers and the dosha-specific meals are generally taken in silence.