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Dharana at Shillim: An inward journey

As the world finds itself in the throes of a pandemic, it seems like the universe conspired to make us pause and reset. As we adopt a simpler way of life—healthier eating, lesser consumption and slow living—we’re compelled to look inwards. It seems fitting then to reflect on my Dharana experience at Shillim—a journey of oneness with nature, perhaps just the way we were intended to be.

Presidential villa with 3 bedroom, private deck, pool

Day 1
Located close to Lonavala, the Shillim Estate is nestled in the lap of the Western Ghats. One of my first impressions of the property was the sheer space—320 acres to be precise, with the forest area extending far, far beyond (approximately 3500 acres). Upon arrival, I was taken for a welcome ritual that included an elaborate foot soak, believed to detox the body. Following this, I was ushered to the Green Table, the organic restaurant in the Dharana section of the resort. Here, everything is locally sourced from farm to table and each and every meal is customised as per your program and requirements. Post the delicious meal and interaction with chef, it was time for my consultation with the medical team. Upon a full body analysis, I was given a 2 day detox package. While the doctors believe that one should take up at least a 10 day program for benefits, my two day visit would give me a sampler. Here, I was also explained the concept of Dharana which in yoga refers to ‘mindfulness,’ thus encouraging all to focus on their way of life.
After my consultation, I proceeded for the Vanaushadhi Massage which is done using warm raw oils pressed out of locally-grown seeds, flowers and roots. Rich in moisturisers and nutrients, these are liberally used to make the skin supple and also to boost circulation in the body. After some downtime in the room, dinner was again at the Green Table that includes Indian as well as international meals, created along the principles of Ayurveda. And while each meal is perfectly balanced with the right amount of food groups, the presentation and flavours make it nothing short of a gourmet meal.

Wellness Therapy_VanaShoudhi scrub

Day 2
Day 2 began with an invigorating session of yoga followed by breakfast. After a quick walk around the property, it was time for the Abhyanga massage. This traditional Ayurvedic massage makes use of herb infused sesame oil that is massaged using long strokes. This massage is known to improve sleep patterns and eye sight, liquefy toxins and purge impurities and also induce relaxation—earning it the moniker of an ‘anti-ageing therapy.’
Next up, I went for a music meditation session in the meditation cave that’s a haven of a calm. Here, we were taken through guided chanting while the sweet melodies of a flute played on, truly creating a divine environment. Post lunch, it was time for an indepth session with Dr. Arun Pillai, Wellness Director, Shillim. Here, he again explained about the Dharana way of life, highlighting the Ayurvedic concepts of dinacharya and ritucharya—namely daily and seasonal routines. By adhering to this by essentially following healthy habits like starting and ending your day early, getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, seasonal produce and maintaining a balance in all aspects of life, one can keep all diseases at bay. A clay therapy session was planned for the evening wherein I tried my hand at creating a piece of pottery—an experience that was truly meditative.

Wellness Cuisine_Ayurveda Thali
Day 3
I rose early on day 3 and walk around the property, taking in the beautiful sights and sounds. I had a session of acupuncture lined up and was quite keen to try it. The therapy was done by the resident doctor who starting placing micro sized needles on different points on the body. The treatment was designed to balance my doshas—and was more relaxing than any massage I’ve ever experienced. In the short span of 20-25 minutes that the needles were attached to my body, I fell into a deep relaxing sleep. While it was time for me to check out, I did manage to squeeze in the Sapphire – Vishudha facial for sensitive skin. A luxe range of products were used; these boost collagen and reduce signs of ageing. Then, the therapist proceeded to massage my face and neck with sapphire and lapis lazuli stones in order to smoothen and brighten the skin. I came out completely relaxed—from the therapy and the two days preceding it. My time at Shillim was done and I was grateful for the journey—both outwards and inwards.

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