Tak­ing time out at the Taj

TheTa­jshare­sit­sAyurvedaspa ex­pe­ri­ence­with­Bian­caCa­pa­zo­rio

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - TRAVEL 2010 -

IT’S dif­fi­cult to as­so­ci­ate Cape Town’s in­ner city in the mid­dle of the World Cup with re­lax­ation. But in­side the Jiva spa at the Taj ho­tel, all of the bus­tle falls away and the fo­cus is on pure calm.

The Taj is one of the city’s new play­ers on the ho­tel block, and its Jiva spa is the first of its kind in Africa.

Spa man­ager Dr Her­manth Ku­mar is an Ayurveda spe­cial­ist. Ayurveda is a tra­di­tional holis­tic ap­proach to health-defin­ing “health as hap­pi­ness and dis­ease as sor­row”.

Be­cause I chose an Ayurveda treat­ment called Di­nacharya, Ku­mar met with me to dis­cuss my health, life­style, eat­ing habits and some of my con­cerns. From this in­for­ma­tion he is able to de­ter­mine ex­actly how to ad­just the treat­ments for your per­sonal needs.

When I saw the long, hard wooden ta­ble I’d be ly­ing on for the treat­ment, it evoked a slight sense of ter­ror in me, as it strongly re­sem­bled some sort of me­dieval tor­ture de­vice. But once my ther­a­pist ex­plained that the wood is used for its heal­ing prop­er­ties, chanted a mantra to cleanse the room and washed my feet declar- ing that “the guest is like a god” all the fear evap­o­rated.

The first part of the treat­ment con­sists of sev­eral ex­er­cises aimed at cleans­ing the senses. First, a med­i­cated lin­i­ment is ap­plied to the in­side of the eye­lid. It does cre­ate some ir­ri­ta­tion and my eyes started wa­ter­ing im­me­di­ately. Ap­par­ently this helps cleanse the eyes, and if done reg­u­larly it en­hances their beauty.

Next, med­i­cated oil is put into the nos­trils to clear the si­nuses, and a sim­i­lar oil is put in the ears. Then, a warm, spe­cially blended oil is held in the mouth for a few min­utes – aimed at im­prov­ing oral hy­giene. Ku­mar also told me it would help ease the mus­cu­lar jaw pain I suf­fer from if done reg­u­larly.

And, fi­nally, the ther­a­pist lights some­thing which looks and smells like in­cense, which I was told to breathe in very slowly. The smoke is fairly acrid, and caught at the back of my throat, but it did help with the slight cold which was just be­gin­ning to creep past my nat­u­ral de­fences.

And once that’s all done – the good stuff starts. Ayurveda mas­sage is con­ducted with long slow move­ments, and us­ing lots of warm oil. It’s re­lax­ing and com­fort­ing, but can get rather slip­pery on the wooden ta­ble. The mas- sage seemed end­lessly long, and I man­aged to slip off into a bit of a trance for a while, de­spite the per­sis­tent vu­vuzela that could be heard from time to time out­side in St Ge­orge’s Mall.

Then it’s into the steam box. The box looks a lit­tle like a cup­board, in which you sit with your head pok­ing out. It was warm and cosy in the box, and the steam, com­bined with all that oil made my skin feel soft for days af­ter­wards. In ad­di­tion to the Ayurveda treat­ments, the spa also of­fers tra­di­tional spa treat­ments such as fa­cials, mas­sages, man­i­cures and pedi­cures. All of the treat­ments use only nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents.

Be­fore my treat­ment, Ku­mar ex­plained to me that at Jiva, no chem­i­cals touch the body. The robes are made of sun-bleached cot­ton, oils are spe­cially made for the spa and are de­canted into pot­tery or brass pots be­fore be­ing used on the body and even the sham­poo in the show­ers is paraben free.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.