Inside AyurMa: Maldives’ Luxury Planetary Wellbeing Spa

Overlooking Maldives’ crystalline waters, AyurMa centres on the celebration of nature.

As the sun sets, the islanders and guests sit in a circle facing each other and an intricate hand-dug zen circle pattern. Their faces radiate joy as they sing in unison, bodies swaying gently back and forth to the gentle beat of Boduberu – a traditional Maldivian drum. Guests and staff at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru gather in the evening to participate in an earth blessing – called Rahumathuge Vaguthu – a gratitude ritual and a joyful celebration of the Earth’s gifts. It’s the cornerstone of the resort’s planetary wellbeing spa program.

Sustainability is at the top of mind for conscious travellers in 2022 – planetary health and wellbeing is an emerging field that merges the study of human health and wellbeing related to climate change and other disruptions to Earth’s natural systems.

Set on the crystal-clear waters of Maldives, AyurMa offers guests an opportunity to retreat in paradise.
Photo by Don Riddle.

Armando Kraenzlin, Regional Vice President & General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, is one of the first to integrate planetary health into the resort’s spa program. Called AyurMa, it’s a groundbreaking exploration of connection that guides guests to ‘love the Earth as they love themselves.’

The entire spa experience is designed with planetary wellbeing in mind, featuring individual and shared experiences that teach guests to care for themselves, the planet, and all its beings. We spoke to Armando Kraenzlin to learn about its specialised offerings, and he shares a wealth of knowledge on how spa owners can incorporate planetary wellness

AyurMa is a haven for self-care and relaxation while surrounded by natural beauty.
Photo by Don Riddle.

How did you incorporate planetary wellness into the spa?

The pandemic was our wake-up call to ‘be the change we wish to see in the world’. Our relationship with our surroundings in the Maldives has always been one of reverence – we wouldn’t exist without it – but our changed world has highlighted the need for a new way forward. 

Stretching from Landaa Giraavaru’s jungle heart into its turquoise lagoon, AyurMa (which means ‘mother of life’) represents that way forward with its ‘Planetary Wellbeing’ ethos. It’s the evolution of 15 years of health innovation at Landaa and is an exploration of connection and collaboration with Mother Earth.

How are planetary wellness and self-care incorporated into the treatments?

AyurMa centres on four pillars: Planetary Wellbeing, Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, and Wellness, all delivered by an expert team of Ayurvedic doctors, naturopaths, and yoga therapists. AyurMa’s Wellness experiences, such as Alignment Rituals and Gifts of Connection, are exceptional, immersing individuals in deep mindful care for themselves – the first step to helping them take care of others and the wider world.

We also offer incredible bespoke Yoga Therapy Courses – devised with S-VYASA, the global pioneer of yoga therapy through scientific research – with modules including immunity building, stress management, spinal care, thyroid health, and more. They’re like a personal yoga prescription, targeted to each individual, to empower guests to take charge of their health. 

Wellness rituals at AyurMa are centred around the four pillars of Planetary Wellbeing.
Photo by Ken Seet.

Please talk us through the process of a signature AyurMa ritual/ceremony.

While it’s hard to choose just one treatment from the many in-depth and transformative offerings, the signature is perhaps the Rahumathuge Vaguthu or Earth Blessing. It’s a complimentary daily ritual that unites guests and staff to celebrate the island’s natural beauty and encapsulates everything AyurMa stands for. 

Something about a daily practice of attuning ourselves to the world around us changes our relationship with it. That awareness can be life-changing – a ripple effect that we hope will spread beyond our island. Additionally, we offer Panchakarma – a 14-night intensive, ayurvedic cleansing program – which is also significant as it shows the depth of our Ayurvedic offerings.

What was the inspiration behind bringing Ayurvedic treatments to the Maldives?

The resort’s island – Landaa Giraavaru – is the ideal location to explore Ayurveda. It’s a remote, natural wilderness in the pristine Baa Atoll – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – with no pollution or high-rises to spoil the connection between the two predominant elements of space and water. 

The integrated approach of Ayurveda – India’s ancient ‘science of life’ – encompasses natural therapies and lifestyle modifications to prevent disease and rejuvenate the mind and body. An award-winning team delivers it of Ayurvedic doctors, yoga therapists, and the resort’s chefs, who provide Ayurvedic choices in all four restaurants. Combine this with the abundance of natural beauty the Maldives offers, and you have a recipe for a truly life-changing experience.

Additionally, Ayurveda has a rich history in the Maldives; many generations of Maldivians have borrowed from its practice of using local herbs and supplements for optimum wellbeing. Our Ayurvedic treatment rooms adjoin herb gardens, where the medicinal aroma is healing and elevating. Herbs are gathered directly from the garden for use in poultices, herbal preparations, and dosha-specific meals.

Herbs from AyurMa’s own gardens feature both in the spa’s treatment preparations and food menu.
Photo by Ken Seet.

How can other spas incorporate planetary wellness into their program?

We’d recommend staying curious. First, engage with the community and learn about the local well-being practices. Additionally, it’s essential to employ locals at the spa, who have deep knowledge of the local environment and come with a vast array of healing expertise, often passed down through generations.

As your spa naturally evolves, you’ll often find a delightful merging of the local terrain, traditional practices, and ancient wisdom worldwide. AyurMa’s menu gathers threads from its Maldivian home and weaves them into a tapestry of wellbeing from neighbouring countries. There are so many parallels to be drawn across global indigenous healing cultures.

This article was written by guest author, Kaila Yu

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