Head to Samsara Mind & Body day spa in Wandsworth and you’ll be greeted with relaxing Ayurvedic treatments, massages, homeopathic therapies and candlelight yoga
My visit to Samsara Mind and Body couldn’t have come at a better time. The sins of the summer had caught up with me, too much rosé, food and late nights. That, combined with a busy time at work, had me running to my GP with complaints of headaches, dizziness and nausea. But several vials of blood later, I has diagnosed as technically being perfectly well. Yet the symptoms didn’t go away. So it was somewhat serendipitous that Samsara Mind and Body in Wandsworth invited me to check out its Ayurvedic treatments that very same week.
What is ayurveda?
Samsara Mind and Body specialises in ayurvedic treatments and methods, including yoga. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic health practices and a traditional Hindu form of medicine. According to ayurveda, which translates to ‘science of life’, being truly healthy depends on getting the right balance between our environment, body, mind and spirit.
Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. These are known in Sanskrit as doshas and are Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). Each of us has a proportion of these elements in our body when we are born and as we get older and our environments change, our doshas become out of balance. The idea behind ayurvedic treatments and living is to rebalance your doshas. This is done through your diet, yoga, meditation, therapeutic massage, detox and herbal remedies.
An alternative night out
So, one Friday evening, instead of heading out for drinks, I went to Samsara Mind and Body for a one-on-one ayurvedic consultation followed by a candlelight yoga session, and it was quite possibly the most relaxing night of my life.
In a lovely Asian-style treatment room, Samsara’s ayurvedic therapist Aneta took me through a half-hour health consultation. It felt a little bit like a therapy session, in a good way. She asked questions like ‘what’s your worst emotion’, ‘how do you sleep’, ‘do you prefer to be hot or cold’, ‘do you have any aches and pains’ and ‘what is your digestion like’. Then she looked at my tongue and took my pulse. This health evaluation helps Aneta to understand my doshas and she explained that my Pitta (Fire) has become out of balance, it’s dominating over the Kapha and Vata and we need to suppress it. This makes a lot of sense, it explains the likes of my headaches and other concerns I had.
Aneta then talked me through how to lessen my Pitta through my diet, by eating cold foods, nothing too astringent, acidic or spicy – we have to put the flames out. And she prescribed two different types of herbs by Aurveda Pura, turmeric and triphala.
Depending on what your doshic constitution is Aneta will choose a treatment to restore and rebalance it. For me, this was a foot massage, which is particularly good for people suffering from stress, anxiety and sleeping disorders. It also improves circulation and detoxifies. By the end of the 30 minutes of kneading and massaging I was practically out cold and not sure how I’d ever peel myself off the bed, let alone find energy for an hour’s yoga class.
Luckily candlelight yoga is not too strenuous, there was a lovely relaxed and friendly feel to the room, no competitiveness among the class. It’s designed to unwind and rejuvenate by releasing kinks in your body and mind, and is a fusion of Hatha and Vinyasa. Despite it being fairly low impact, I really worked my muscles and stretched out the week’s aches and pains, and it was surprisingly energising.
I left feeling completely refreshed and confident that rather than a doctor, it was a lifestyle change that I needed and Samsara is just the place for it.