FOUR SEASONS MALDIVES
AT LANDAA GIRAAVARU
Anna Pasternak’s Diary Of The Seven Day Chakra Blessings Ritual
This unique journey to the heart of oneself is a seven-day package, carefully and cleverly devised to nourish and support the mind, body and spirit. Every day there is a different massage using ila’s outstandingly pure organic oils, while treatments are focused on balancing the seven chakras. The massages are gentle and nurturing; sometimes the touch is as light as angels’ wings yet the results are profound. This subtle but painstakingly calibrated emotional journey works gently on the energetic body. Sensitive souls will rapidly release deep pockets of long held emotion. The intuitive therapists are attuned to emotional outbursts, so you feel held, safe and supported as you delve into a deeper connection with yourself.
At every restaurant in the resort, you can eat plentiful, healthy food according to your Ayurvedic dosha type. Morning juices and daily dishes are labelled so it is easy to follow the system. For example you may chose a red quinoa, over dried tomatoes with corn, asparagus and Argan oil for lunch and baby chicken, pearl barley, garlic chips and Belguim endives for supper. All the food and seafood is exquisitely fresh and lovingly prepared.
The whole experience is enhanced by the vivid beauty of the island as nature truly gets you in its hold. Combined with the softness and the sweetness of the staff, this creates a very special retreat indeed. You feel comforted in uber luxury as only Four Seasons can do yet nothing is overly fussy.
Come on your own for a true destination spa experience. Travelling with the family both dilutes and intensifies the experience. I did the Chakra Blessings Ritual with my husband and daughter in tow. While we had some wonderful family time as the resort offers a fantastic array of experiences, their presence was definitely more challenging and triggering on an emotional level.
I arrive feeling bloated, tired, over-stretched and over-stressed. My muscles are in a Gordian knot. I fall into the spacious, soothing family villa accommodation with its endless day beds, outdoor sofas and hammock in a tree house and feel tears pricking at the sheer physical beauty. It’s almost too incredible to fully absorb. The duck egg blue of the sea against the shifting hues of the sky and the palest, softest sand. We snorkel in the coral reef right outside our villa and the mini under water safari begins to calm me. In the silence, deep in the sea, with the astonishing array of coloured fish, I begin to unravel into myself.
Evening enlightenment yoga and pranayama in the yoga pavilion – a deck above the sea – further takes me down a notch. I marvel at the simple lines of the water villas that constitute the spa and feel immensely privileged to be here.
Root Chakra. Located at the base of the spine, the function of the root chakra is survival and grounding. Its inner state is stillness and stability. Balancing this chakra gives energy to the physical body and controls fear.
The first chakra is addressed today. This is a grounding treatment that involves wafting hot herbs up your nether regions. Then, a slow, rhythmic massage with dreamy Tibetan sound bowl healing. Earthy oils enriched with frankincense and special charka music attuned to the first chakra sends my jet lagged being into a deep sleep. I walk to a sushi lunch in the main grill slowly and deliberately afterwards, marvelling at the fruit bats in the trees as big as birds. That afternoon, we take a fishing trip and I can feel myself mentally loosening as I stare at the horizon. After a fish supper, we watch shark feeding at the Sea Bar.
Sacral Chakra. Located in the lower abdomen (genitals and womb), its function is desire, sexuality, pleasure and procreation. Inner state is tears. Balancing this chakra is associated with sexual vitality, physical power and fertility.
I awake after disturbing dreams, feeling irritable. I am holding on, emotionally and physically, so stupidly get onto the scales and am kilos heavier. I feel a volcanic build up of emotion. The Ayurvedic doctor, Dr Shylesh explains my dosha type – pita – and warns me that during the seven day ritual emotions will come up. I am to allow them to pass through. I feel tearful and tense.
In today’s treatment, I experience my first proper Vichy shower. Jets of pounding water to iron out muscular tension, after a crystal scrub. Feeling squeaky clean, a lovely lymph massage gently awakens the system with long whole body strokes. I sit sipping ginger tea afterwards, staring at the shifting seascape and feel calmer but vulnerable and open.
I can’t believe how emotional I get on an afternoon snorkelling trip where we spot sea turtles. On the boat back to the resort, I stare at the sea silently weeping.
It’s probably too much (water) but I do the aqua yoga class before supper. It feels unusual doing poses in the water and, as balance is more difficult, it is strengthening to the core. That night, I climb into bed feeling wiped out, weepy, tense and stressed. There’s no stopping it; it’s all erupting here...
Solar Plexus Chakra. Located in the naval area, its function is will and power. Its inner state is laughter, joy, anger. Balancing this chakra is associated with calming emotion and frustration, easing tension and aiding intuition.
Deep grief is emerging. I only have to walk into the spa to burst into tears. My stomach feels tight as a drum and it feels as if the strain of life back home is surging from my system. I can not relax into the loveliness of the island, which I find frustrating. Dr Shylesh reassures me that all this discomfort is part of the journey. The third chakra is about the seat of power and all emotions are held in the stomach. The treatment is outstanding; held in the water pavilion over-looking the sea. A storm is brewing so the sky is gun metal grey. After a scrub and mud wrap, I spend 15 minutes in a bath filled with antiseptic basil leaves, hibiscus and lotus flowers. I watch the rain sweep across and think that this is how we should approach all emotion – just let it rage, then sweep through. The massage is with ila’s famed Vital Energy oil. A hot herb poultice is placed on my solar plexus. I’m starting to let go. I can’t stop peeing and the tightness within is loosening. When I walk back, the sun is shining brightly.
Heart Chakra. Located in the centre of the chest, its function is love, its inner state compassion. Balancing this chakra is important for the circulatory system, heart and thymus. It also affects spiritual love, compassion and universal oneness.
A morning session of anti-gravity yoga is challenging and fun. A sequence of postures in hammocks, we end up hanging upside down like bats. It is physically demanding and spiritually enlightening as the poses demand trust. Inversions decompress the whole body, so it’s like doing a levitation meditation in a hammock. I feel a deep sense of release afterwards. But then the rage comes. Today is the heart chakra, so the treatment is deeply healing on the feminine level. There is lymph massage on the breasts with rose oil, before warmed rose oil is poured on the heart chakra. It is so gentle and nurturing that I feel floored with self love afterwards. As I sit in a rose scented, rose petal bath, I feel my earlier rage release. Not in a dramatic way – just an easy dissipating. Afterwards I feel totally connected to my heart with warmth radiating out.
Throat Chakra. Located in the throat. Its function is communication and creativity. Its inner state is the synthesis of ideas. Balancing this chakra is important for clear speech and communication.
In the morning we take a boat trip to see the dolphins. Another tropical storm feels amazingly cleansing. Today’s treatment is focused on the throat chakra. Different oils are rubbed in tiny circular motions onto points of the spine, before a marma massage stimulates the subtle energy points on the face. The release of emotion is seismic. Afterwards, I sob for two solid hours. That night the deep roiling emotion wakes me at 2.30 am, and I sit outside in the tree house feeling utter despair.
Third Eye Chakra. Located in the centre of the forehead above the eyebrows. Its function is seeing, intuiting. Its inner state is I Know. Balancing this chakra helps psychic perception and balances the pineal gland.
After my traumatic night, I wake with the fear that while this journey is clearly bringing me to emotional boiling point, will I cool down before I have to go home? My husband and daughter are worried about me as I am so drained from all this emoting. Plus I seem emotionally off kilter, with wide ranging mood swings. Fortunately the three of us bond on a trip to swim with the manta rays. Like vast black angels, they swoop beneath you under the sea. It is a magical experience.
Later in the spa, we start with a session of Kriya Yoga which stimulates the chakra points. We do poses to balance the four elements of earth, fire, wind and air. There are frequent balancing poses like Fish. Then all the chakra points on my back are worked on; hot oil is rubbed up and down my spine. This is absolutely blissful – it calms the nervous system and I fall into a deep grateful sleep. Afterwards, a wonderful marma point and lymphatic drainage facial with a flower petal poultice on my third eye works its alchemy. I feel completely different from 24 hours earlier; lighter and happier. I skip back to our villa much to the relief of my long suffering family.
Crown Chakra. This is located at the top of the head. Its function is understanding. Its inner state is bliss. Balancing this chakra affects development of psychic abilities.
Morning anti-gravity yoga with a different sequence of poses. We do embryo, in which we lie cocooned in the hammock which is literally soul soothing. Then it is off to the final chakra blessings massage which I sleep through. A full body massage with long, soft strokes and Reiki healing, leaves me feeling calm and connected. I definitely feel integrated and centred. I am very aware of myself and feel as if I have created new and important boundaries.
Afterwards all the staff congregate on the yoga platform as dusk falls and perform the final precious blessing. They sing and chant. The notes are so beautiful that it feels as if they are sealing in the weeks healing. Especially as they each lay an angelic hand on you. It is so sweet and precious, that again I am moved to tears. But these are not tears of frustration, fear, grief or rage as earlier, but tears of joy and love.
The chakra system may be complex to understand and a nebulous concept for sceptics yet on an energetic level, rebalancing them hugely contributes to a feeling of emotional wholeness and spiritual peace. All the staff at the spa have the purest intentions and warmest hearts, so, if nothing else, doing the Chakra Blessing Ritual is a gift to yourself, as you feel so nurtured and loved. And you leave feeling loving, both towards yourself and your loved ones. This may not be a cheap retreat but it is a unique and unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience, which is more than money can buy.
CONTACT: +960 660 0888; www.fourseasons.com/maldiveslg
PRICE: From £2,499 per person half board
NEAREST AIRPORT: Malé International Airport
TRANSFER TIME: 30-45 minutes by seaplane