By Phebe Wahl By Phebe Wahl | October 29, 2020 | Lifestyle
Aman’s new traditionally minded wellness immersions offer a recalibration to combat modern maladies by getting to the root of what ails us. Amanyara’s grand reflecting pond
I’ve always had two speeds: 110 mph and 0 mph. The majority of the time I run at a full sprint for months on end. As a mother of three young children and with an intense career, the nonstop hustle has served me well professionally, but at a personal cost to my own wellness. Eventually there comes a crash—when my body forces me to enter a near comalike state of rest. (It is not uncommon for my husband to check my breathing during these collapses.) Some people call it burnout. I call it my annual vacation. But surely there must be a more balanced way to live? This is the answer I seek as I board my flight to Turks and Caicos ready to explore Amanyara’s recently bowed wellness immersion.
“You are a classic case of yang rising,” explains David Melladew, wellness immersion manager at Amanyara. After an in-depth interview, Melladew is able to assess my symptoms and lifestyle, and identify that the dual forces of yin and yang are out of balance. Insomnia, dizziness, migraines—he suggests that my running too “hot” (or having what they call too much “liver fire”) is behind all of it. He recommends a protocol that includes acupuncture, diet, medicinal teas, Tibetan Tsa Lung breath work and meditation sessions, as well as a regimen of traditional Chinese herbs to remedy my top-heavy qi. It is an intense protocol designed to help me learn how to, basically, slow my roll.
Yoga at Amanyara in Turks and Caicos
“These programs are designed to fill that gap in conventional medicine,” says Melladew. “That gap is the space where we are trying to teach people to build sensitivity and awareness to their own health—in their own bodies—and also understand medicine in a more subtle way. This means food as medicine and breathing exercises as medicine,” he adds of the educational process. “It is a root and branch approach. We are very much a branch culture, meaning we treat symptoms and treat short term. That has to be addressed or else people are not satisfied. But you have to treat the root as that is where the deep, meaningful changes happen. The philosophy of traditional medicine overall is based on the concept of sustainability. The mind is the root of all health.”
Now more than ever many luxury resorts offer wellness initiatives as interest in self-care grows and people seek to cope with the stress and burnout of everyday life. The Aman intensives and immersions, however, seek to treat both root and branch through a variety of approaches and traditions. In addition to year-round wellness immersions, Amanyara will rotate nine renowned wellness experts (including reiki master Pak Warmana and Buddhist spiritual master and scholar Geshe YongDong) at the resort during select weeks throughout the year. In other regions, Aman’s holistic experiences center on physical and mental well-being, offering personalized individual wellness immersions at Amanzoe in Greece and retreats at Amankora in Bhutan, Amangani in Jackson Hole and Amangiri in Utah.
an herbal tea compress at Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand
Aman’s deeper dives go far beyond a three-day cleanse or yoga retreat—think forest bathing along the waterfall-laced cedar forests of Kumano Kodo (a series of ancient pilgrimage routes in Japan) at Amanemu, the brand’s first mineral hot spring destination. For those seeking truly life-changing experiences, the options are plenty. High-altitude training at Amankora treks through the Himalayan peaks within the spiritual kingdom of Bhutan, culminating with a challenging hike to Bumdra Monastery. Qigong master Tevia Feng will host a six-night 5 Elements Qigong Retreat at Amankila in Bali, while a Healing Through Lunar Forces Wellness Experience at Amanera will be guided by the ancient Taíno methods of medicinal herbal wisdom and the lunar cycle. At Amanyara and Amanzoe, three-night wellness immersion programs are personalized to target specific goals: weight management and transformation, detox and cleansing, and mindfulness and stress management. The latter was undoubtedly the ticket for me.
After a comprehensive 60-minute consultation with Melladew, my personalized protocol includes a nutrition plan (no gluten, dairy, nightshades or sugar), and a carefully curated acupuncture and healing protocol to stimulate circulation. No detail is overlooked. My in-room minibar is stripped of soda and candy and restocked with kombucha and dried goji berries. At the resort’s restaurants, I’m presented with bespoke menus heavy on fresh fish and herbal teas. The well-informed staff keeps in lockstep with Melladew and wouldn’t let me order dessert even if I tried. (OK, OK, maybe I did try… a few times—for research purposes only, of course!)
yoga near the beach club at Amankila in Bali
On my return to my regular schedule, am I reprogrammed? The answer is surprisingly yes. The sweets my kids stock around the house are less tempting. I find myself craving bone broth and fresh vegetables. I’m suddenly addicted to my Peloton, and I return to my breath work when I feel high stress levels creeping back. Even months later, I am much healthier than I was before my wellness immersion. There is no doubt my qi will get off balance again, but I now know recalibration is only a flight away. Amanyara wellness immersions from $3,200 per night, @amanyara_resort
Photography by: courtesy of resorts