With its traditions of yoga and ayurvedic healing, India has long attracted travelers seeking holistic methods.
Sanskrit for “the science of life, ” ayurveda is believed to have been brought to earth by Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine, and was first recorded in Vedic texts some 4, 000 years ago. It certainly has had lasting power. In modern India, locals integrate ayurvedic practices such as yoga and meditation into their daily lives, while using ancient herbal remedies to treat ailments ranging from arthritis to heart disease. In all cases, the goal is the same: to bring equilibrium to the body, mind, and spirit by balancing the three doshas, or elemental energies—vata (air/space), pitta (fire/water), and kapha (water/earth). It’s an inside-out approach to well-being that is meant to put you on your own personal path to nirvana.
Bangalore: In India’s “garden city” (now known as Bengaluru), holistic health center is spread out over a 30-acre organic farm with orchards and herb gardens, butterfly sanctuaries, walking trails, and a “reflexology track.” Certified doctors and therapists tackle everything from skin problems to chronic illnesses using homeopathy, yoga, meditation, and ayurvedic treatments—plus vegetarian food made with ingredients grown on the property. Programs from $110.
Chennai: The son of noted yogi and scholar T. Krishnamacharya, T.K.V. Desikachar founded in the coastal city of Chennai to carry on the master’s goal of using yoga as therapy. Each visit begins with an evaluation; then you’re paired with a teacher for one-on-one instruction in healing yoga. There are also courses in Vedavani, an ancient form of meditative chanting. Classes from $30.