Atmantan is an Indian health and wellnesss retreat where you can change any aspect of your life.
Mornings at Indian health and wellness retreat Atmantan were my favourite time of day. For me, my days started at 6.30am, when I woke in my spacious, modern suite, and looked out of the window into the sweeping views of the valley, pulled on my fitness gear and breathed in the fresh, clean air and went to do my daily “krya”practise, an ancient Indian bodily cleansing practise, (more about that later).
An outdoor yoga class followed, held in the lush, manicured gardens filled with striking animal sculptures , under the clear blue sky, only it was gentle, meaningful yoga, with the focus on the breath. It was nothing like the yoga classes I have experienced in Australia, which is no great surprise given India is the home of yoga.
And breakfast was incredible, largely because of the location. The dining room at Atmantan sits overlooking one of the most beautiful views of the ocean surrounded by the Western Ghats, a striking mountain range older than the Himalayas. And it all sits in a world heritage area, with not another dwelling in sight.
The view stretched as far as the eye could see. It was truly peaceful, as I ate one of the healthiest – and tastiest breakfasts I’ve ever had. And all this before 10am.
Health and wellness retreats are one of the fastest growing categories for global travellers. No-one wants to come home after a sensational escape carrying extra kilos any more, or worse, feeling like you actually need a “real holiday”.
These venues are where you truly escape from the day to day routine, from the people and demands of every day modern life, and take some time for yourself.
Any mother (or father) can relate to the need to do this on a regular basis. In fact any person in the western world needs time out, which is why the concept is taking off so quickly.
I have been to health retreats in Europe, Asia and Australia, and Atmantan in India is one of the better versions, as the way it is set up, you cannot help but improve your wellbeing and your lifestyle. They make it easy for you.
There is a daily schedule of fitness classes, health talks, meditation sessions and so on which you can click in and out of as you choose each day.
There is an expansive spa with a huge list of treatments available, which is essential as a daily treat, particularly if you are detoxing, and the Atmantan wellness packages have guests going at least once a day every day of their stay.
There are massages and treatments, ayurvedic treatments being a speciality. Ayurvedic (meaning life and treatment in sanskrit) medicine is a medical system of healing created in India over 5000 years ago. From weight-loss to diabetes, and even disease, it is a holistic whole body system of wellness and healing, and incorporates massage, aromatherapy, nutrition, connectedness amongst people, herbs and breathing.
The treatments I experienced were unique, relaxing and even interesting. A colonic massage was amazing, and certainly left me, ahem, well cleared out within 24 hours.
Food is organic, and as flavoursome as it is healthy. There is plenty of science and mindfulness behind the recipes and food presentation at Atmantan, and everyone I was there with lost weight, even in just 5 days. There is a detox option (which saw people losing even more weight) or just a regular healthy food option, which I took.
Krya is an Indian system of body cleaning that involves water up the nostrils, in the eyes and salt water in the throat ( not all at the same time, thankfully), and all before breakfast. It was incredible how alive I felt after this ancient Indian practise, which I did daily.
I could easily have stayed for seven days.
The people at Atmantan know their craft. The yoga teacher is gentle, and insightful, the salsa teacher one of Southern India’s best, and the therapists have been hand-picked. There was even a resident psychologist there during my stay. It was an excellent experience from beginning to end.
Renae travelled with Health & Fitness Travel, 1300 551 353.
Book through Health & Fitness Travel like I did and take advantage of the stay 10, pay 7 offer for travel between 1st April – 30th September
Who should Stay here: Solo travellers, couples, groups of friends.
Who shouldn’t Stay here: Children – this is not a place for children.
Location: About 45 minutes drive out of Pune in Southern India, 2. 5hours drive from Mumbai (don’t bother with a flight, driving is easier).
Best culinary delight: The smoothies on the detox.
The Highlight: The views from almost every spot on the property.
The lowlight: Not having enough time to hike up the local mountain.