KAMALAYA COMES TO LIME WOOD
THIS MAY LIME WOOD'S HERB HOUSE SPA TEAMED UP WITH THAI SPA KAMALAYA TO PROMOTE A NEW WELLNESS RETREAT. BEHIYE HASSAN CHECKED IN TO SEE WHAT THE EXPERIENCE HAD TO OFFER.
From the moment you step over the threshold of the charming Lime Wood Hotel, located on the edge of the magical New Forest, a feeling of perfect peace washes over you. Here’s where you’ll find the celebrated, state-of-the-art Herb House Spa, whose holistic treatments take their inspiration from ancient wellness traditions.
And this year, visitors were treated to a heavenly marriage of East and West when the owners of Thai spa Kamalaya opened a pop-up retreat at the Herb House Spa over three days and nights.
‘A Taste of Kamalaya’ was designed to give guests a glimpse of what the Koh Samui-based wellness resort can offer, and with the retreats promising groups talks with the Kamalaya founders, group meditation, mindfulness sessions and spa treatments, this was an invitation not to be missed.
Located on a remote jungle hillside, the Thai sanctuary is renowned for its healing atmospheres and properties, and has won numerous awards, from this year’s World Spa & Wellness Awards: “Worldwide Health & Wellness Destination of the Year” to AsiaSpa Award “Spa Cuisine of the Year” 2016, and has made US Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s Gold List 2017.
We arrived on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, and the day began with an introduction from husband-and-wife team John and Karina Stewart. Theirs is an inspirational story: a native of Vancouver, Stewart left home at 16, determined to see more of the world, having been influenced by Eastern philosophy and spirituality. While in his twenties he met a Yogi master, with whom he lived in a cave for 16 years, practicing an authentic yogic lifestyle.
His life would go on to encompass art dealing and living in Kathmandu, until a “fatal” liver disease left him with months to live. He was cured after Karina, a specialist in functional and traditional Chinese medicine, and an expert in yoga and mindfulness, treated him with local herbs. Inspired by their love and passion for wellbeing, the pair went on to found Kamalaya, whose central message is that happiness comes from giving.
Following our meet with the pair, we were guided through a short meditation exercise with life mentor Sujay to help increase our focus and settle our minds. The exercise highlighted how simple it is to meditate – and also how easy it is to do a basic meditation exercise anywhere. The results were immediate.
In the evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner of fish broth soup with dumplings, raw veggie spring rolls made with brown rice paper, and red snapper with mango chutney, water spinach and wildfire sauce, expertly conjured up by Kai, Kamalaya’s head chef. This stuff may be healthy and light, but it’s still flavoursome and filling, ensuring a good night’s sleep for what day two had to offer.
The following morning we were up bright and early at 8am for a yoga session and Pranayama breathing practice with Sujay on the rooftop. Pranayama breathing’s a form of meditation that helps to control your nerves and slow down the brain as the nervous system listens to your breathing routine. Consisting of slow, regulated breathing, we could feel the benefit after just half an hour, and it’s a great exercise to do after yoga, in the morning or evening to help you relax.
To finish off, we were treated to an hour-and-a-half-long Thai body massage, which perfectly released all the tension and knots, leaving us ready for the day ahead. It had been a short, but incredibly relaxing and useful stay, introducing us to the real benefits of meditation, mindfulness, and the importance of switching off for a few moments in an often overwhelming, fast-paced world.
Kamalaya Retreats at Lime Wood for 2019 will take place Monday 3rd June.