It’s no secret that wellness travel is booming, as pandemic-weary travelers seek to heal from the stresses of the last year and a half. For many city-dwellers, this means an escape into nature. At YO1 Health Resort—an out-of-the-way retreat spread over 1,300 acres in the Catskills, just over two hours north New York City—you can hike, practice yoga, enjoy the multiple spa facilities, and book treatments that address a range of health issues from high cholesterol to insomnia.
But to take your wellness transformation to the next level, you can book the resort’s new Restorative Package that combines elements of naturopathy (which uses healing therapies like reflexology and massage) and Ayurveda (a 5,000 year old system of holistic medicine practiced in India) making for the ultimate post-pandemic reset.
The package includes accommodations (all rooms have views of the lake); meals (all of which are vegan); a choice of one massage and either hydrotherapy or mud therapy; morning Yoga flow sessions and evening Yoga Nidra session. Before your journey begins, you meet with a wellness counselor, who will talk through any health concerns you might have. You’ll also meet with an Ayurveda specialist who can diagnose your body’s specific constitution, or dosha, and make recommendations accordingly.
Guests will first meet with Rajagopal Manda, the resort’s lead naturopathy counselor, who will walk them through the basics of the package and help them decide which customized therapies to pursue. Manda says that while the resort was actually planning to launch this package before Covid-19, the pandemic certainly amplified the need for it.
“Everybody’s stressed out on this roller coaster of a pandemic, but people were under the stress earlier as well, particularly New Yorkers because of their hectic lifestyle,” he told T+L. “We started this package so people can come to as serene place where they can relax mentally, physically, and physiologically.”
Naturopathy, which can range from treatments like massages to enemas to reflexology, seeks to heal the body by promoting its own internal healing processes. Still, Manda says, the goal is not a short term fix, but encouraging guests to “understand the importance of having a disciplined daily routine.”
Next, before embarking on their program, guests will sit down with Ayurveda Counselor Vidya Shetty, who will explain the basic tenets of Ayurveda and describe what treatments are offered, such as Udhwarthanam (an herbal powder massage), Shirodhara (where a stream of warm medicated oil is poured onto the guest’s forehead in a rhythmic movement.) Most importantly, she will check the guest’s pulse using the fore finger, middle finger and ring finger to determine their dosha.
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“We have three Doshas all together,” she explains. “There is Vata (a combination of air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water). Vata’s function include circulation, heartbeat, breathing, blinking, muscle tension, mobility, thoughts, and waste elimination. Pitta deals exclusively with digestion and metabolism, and regulation of body temperature. Kapha takes care of nutrition, growth, and immune health.”
Everyone has all three doshas, she explains, but one might be more powerful or prevalent than another. Once you know your type, she can make recommendations for you specifically.
To incorporate Ayurveda practices in daily life after leaving the resort, she recommends eating fresh food that is preferably warm and hot, staying away from chilled or frozen drinks, as well as using warm oils in massage for the scalp and hair at night to promote better sleep (daily oils for the body can also keep the Vata Dosha balanced, she notes.
At the end of your stay, which is typically recommended at two or three nights, the hope is that you have achieved the Sanskrit concept of “Yovan” (pronounced yo-one) for which the resort is named.
“Yovan means youthfulness, and not just youthful days or youthful years,” says Manda. “One has to be youthful, mentally and physically, till the last breath or till the last day. That is the concept of Yovan, and this resort is built on those lines.”