From luxury hotels to beauty brands and spas, many luxury sectors are cashing in on Ayurveda. LuxeBook talks to Robert Svoboda, an Ayurveda practitioner for the last 40 years and the author on the subject, to understand the lure of Ayurveda.
How do you define Ayurveda?
The word “Ayurveda” can be translated as the science of life, the art of living, or the lore of longevity. Ayurveda as practiced is the study of all existing substances and actions in the context of how they promote or inhibit well-being.
How has Ayurveda evolved over the years?
Ayurveda is ever-evolving. The changes that I have seen in the forty years since I graduated include the gradual spread of appreciation for Ayurveda among many in India, including a significant focus on substances that promote rejuvenation, and the dramatic increase in awareness of Ayurveda outside India, in particular, the concept of the doshas and one’s personal dosha constitution.
How did Ayurveda integrate into luxury business in India and abroad, especially in wellness and hospitality sectors?
The integration of Ayurveda into the business of luxury in India and abroad is an ongoing process, which is spearheaded by the mushrooming availability of Ayurveda-derived spa treatments. Those who have personal experience of the beneficial effects of these procedures become more open to learning what Ayurveda can teach them about rejuvenating daily.
Do most beauty brands follow the correct principles of Ayurveda or is the focus marketing-driven?
Sadly, what I have seen of products in the beauty sector suggests that the focus is marketing-driven and the correct principles of Ayurveda are often relegated to a secondary priority.
Why is the demand for Ayurveda growing?
People have become more open to Ayurveda because it is shedding its reputation of being anti-modern, and displaying its ability to adapt successfully to the new circumstances in which we find ourselves today.
Several beauty start-ups and apps in India are focussing on Ayurveda. What is your advice to them?
Remember that whatever it is you are presenting as “Ayurveda” is only a small fraction of the wisdom contained with that tradition, and always emphasize that Ayurveda is fundamentally a perspective on reality, a simple but not simplistic way of looking at life that has over the centuries benefited millions.
Why has Ayurveda become a big draw for luxury hotels?
Ayurveda has become a big draw for luxury hotels such as Oberoi Hotels & Resorts because of spa treatments that derive their inspiration from it. I suspect that in the not-too-distant future selected hotels will expand these offerings to total lifestyle packages that will offer education and life coaching to patrons to assist them to truly live well.
What will be your focus at the retreat in The Oberoi Sukhvilas?:
At The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort, New Chandigarh, the focus of the retreat will be on time, in particular, the relationship that exists between the outer time frames that structure our world and the inner clocks that govern our existences. While each of us must in some degree conform to mundane chronometers we must do so in such a way that will not disrupt the somatic timepieces that govern our beings.
Svoboda will be conducting a Concept of Time retreat at The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort, New Chandigarh from February 11 to 14.