Few things are as calming and stress-dissolving as spending time at a meditative retreat that envelops you with a sense of serenity. The Shatam Jeeva Wellness Retreat housed in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, goes beyond the physical and empowers patrons to embrace the centuries-old healing method of Ayurveda to balance the mind, body and spirit. Created by India’s leading and oldest Ayurveda brand – Baidyanath, the quaint retreat is set amidst a sprawling 100-acre manmade forest where you can turn down the noise, power off the distractions, and just listen to the silence.
Stepping away from the noise of everyday life allows you to build space for the thoughts that matter – the ones that tell you what you want and need. “The journey at Shatam Jeeva starts with the lighting of 108 lamps in the temple, which is a spiritual practice of lighting lamps. This serene atmosphere coupled with the cosmic energy present here, built by the long hours of tapasya and sadhana of many saints who stayed here, creates a unique and tranquil environment,” says Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji, under whose guidance the brand of Shatam Jeeva lives. TRM spoke with the prominent social worker and activist who is making Ayurveda easily accessible and known throughout India through Shatam Jeeva.
ThinkRight.me (TRM): We love the ethos behind Shatam Jeeva, which elevates wellness tourism to give visitors a life-enhancing Ayurvedic experience. Just to introduce Shatam Jeeva to our readers, could you give an overview of what it is all about and why the retreat is different from others?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: First of all, as it says “Shatam Jeeva,” we wish everyone a hundred years of healthy living. Shatam Jeeva is a one-of-a-kind wellness retreat that bridges the gap between a thorough Ayurvedic hospital and a premium resort. We consider Shatam Jeeva to be the possible pure form of life close to nature, along with holistic healing pillars and clean eating through Sattvic foods. We have taken great care to ensure that all the technical aspects of Kerala Ayurveda are followed in the traditional form of execution, along with luxurious comfort and service for our guests. We believe in self-healing and swift healing where the body, mind, and soul are nourished and immersed in the utmost calmness.
TRM: To you, what is important to guests when they visit a wellness retreat, and from your experience what makes a really good retreat?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: A holistic approach should be adopted where physical, mental, spiritual & emotional well-being is achieved. The experience of each guest at a retreat should be unique and customised as per their individual agenda. The second most important point is to offer a holistic environment comprising nature, birds, and animals so that the guest experiences a 360-degree union with nature. The third and the most crucial thing is to offer treatments and hospitality which is rejuvenating and relaxing.
TRM: Why do you think it is essential for people living in the modern day to take wellness breaks and healthy holidays?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: In modern-day life, taking a healthy break every now and then is absolutely essential. With many people spending hours working on computers, their eyes, brains, and necks get taxed, leading to ailments such as spondylitis. Many people work for long hours without taking breaks or sitting in a proper position, causing strain on their nervous system and neck. Our facility offers specially prepared Ayurvedic oils and Panchkaran therapies to address these problems. These treatments help relax the mind and body and provide a break from the hectic life schedules that people have nowadays. It’s essential to remember that our body is not a machine, and we need breaks to maintain our well-being. Our environment and treatments provide a chance for guests to relax, with spiritual therapies such as meditation and chanting of mantras that help relax the mind, body, and soul. With the energy and cosmic energy we offer, guests can take a break from their hectic schedules and rejuvenate their body, mind, and soul. In modern life, taking a break is not just essential, but it is a must to maintain our well-being and health.
TRM: What are the philosophies that form the foundations for Shatam Jeeva’s Ayurvedic pathway and healing approach?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: The philosophy behind Shatam Jeeva is based on our 100-year-old Ayurvedic family tradition, where we have been serving society and mankind with genuine Ayurvedic medicines. At Shatam Jeeva, we use fresh herbs to prepare our medicines and therapies, which are plucked from our own gardens. For instance, our potli contains only fresh herbs, and no preservatives are used. We have our own cows, which are all beautiful Vedlakshana desi cows known for their A2 plus milk. We use this milk to prepare curd, ghee, and other dairy products that are served fresh to our guests. Additionally, all our vegetables are grown organically and freshly cooked for the people staying at Shatam Jeeva. Even our spices, such as haldi, are grown organically on our premises.
TRM: What are some of the mindful practices you employ to improve the culture of service at Shatam Jeeva?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: We have a philosophy of care, whether it’s for our guests or our team. We firmly believe that only happy staff and heartfelt efforts can deliver the level of service we intend to provide to our beloved guests. Our hiring process is designed to attract passionate professionals who enjoy their work and are motivated by guest satisfaction. We nourish our team with organic food and avoid serving them food with “thamo guna,” such as junk food, heavy oil-filled dishes, or foods with too much masala, which can make them feel lethargic and fatigued. To help them feel fit and active, we conduct Yogasana sessions, meditation sessions, and even sports such as cricket and football. To nurture their professional development, we provide continuous on-the-job training, workshops, and hire trainers from the hospitality industry for further soft skill training, and more.
TRM: Aside from the Ayurvedic treatments, therapies, mindfulness classes, meditation sessions, and yoga workshops, how does the design of the retreat itself lend towards improving and optimising guests’ physical performance and overall well-being?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: I’ve heard from many guests who have visited this place that as soon as they entered, they felt an indescribable energy and peace. They experienced genuine happiness that they could not express in words. I’m not the one saying this, but the guests themselves have expressed their views to me many times. The journey at Shatam Jeeva starts with the lighting of 108 lamps in the temple, which is a spiritual practice of lighting lamps. This serene atmosphere coupled with the cosmic energy present here, built by the long hours of tapasya and sadhana of many saints who stayed here, creates a unique and tranquil environment. It is not just about the physical facilities or the Ayurvedic treatments, but also about the spiritual aspect that makes guests feel relaxed and at peace.
TRM: What about nutrition? We know that the retreat’s concept Sattvic Diet is all for plant-based – how does nourishing the bodies with plant-based food help guests optimise performance and health?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: Regarding nutrition, our first priority is to provide all guests with clear Sattvic energy through our well-crafted wellness meals. We have made it a point to change the perception of wellness eating to one that is not about starving or consuming unappetizing foods, but instead focuses on delicious cooking with healthy ingredients. We have taken care of all the modern aspects of different elements of nourishment, such as protein, fiber, required levels of carbs, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, along with the Ayurvedic concept of “Jataragni” (digestive fire). We believe that “when” matters more than “what.” You can have the best food, but if it’s consumed at the wrong time, it can become a burden on the body. Therefore, we encourage healthy timings for all meals. In terms of the nutritional division of our wellness meals, we prioritize sprouts for protein and antioxidants from fruits in our breakfast meals, along with carbs from delicious Indian breakfast dishes. For lunch and dinner, we serve balanced meals with millet, brown rice, veggies, and salads to provide the required amount of fiber, carbs, and protein. We also offer further customization of our set wellness menu based on the doctor’s specific recommendations, taking into consideration each guest’s dosha balance and health conditions.
TRM: Do you think we have all become too attached to technology – drifting away from the connection between people, and between our own bodies, minds, health, and the environment around us? How can one combat this disconnect?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: Technology is undoubtedly a boon to mankind when used in moderation. However, when it becomes a support system, we tend to view it as our only world. In today’s era, technology has become so influential that people are completely engrossed in virtual living and social media, losing connection with people, nature, and themselves. As a result, we are jeopardizing our health, experiencing premature aging, and reducing our quality and span of life.
One of the best ways to disconnect from these distractions and dilutions is to take a break from our regular concrete cities and, most importantly, allow ourselves to breathe without deadlines. By freeing our bodies from heavy foods and placing ourselves in the lap of nature, we can help our minds attain a calm state. We can feel and experience the immense healing capacity of Mother Nature through activities such as tree-hugging, which helps us synchronize with the natural rhythm. We also offer cow interactions to de-stress our minds and reconnect us with nature, forest walks, barefoot walks on grass, and specific herbal areas such as Tulsi Van, Peepal Van, and Bhel Van to neutralize negative energies. The Peetambra Mai Mandir stands as our strongest source of positivity.
TRM: Finally, how do you remain mindful amidst the chaos of life? Can you share 5 tips with our readers?
Dr. Anuradha Sharma Ji: The act of lighting lamps emits beautiful cosmic energy, which can help to cleanse our aura. Therefore, as guests enter the temple, they can participate in the lamp lighting ceremony to clear their negative aura. After that, we have a conch-blowing ceremony while sitting under a pyramid that has a crystal ball that conserves spiritual energy.
In addition to these ceremonies, we offer several unique features, such as a beautiful treehouse, jungle walks, and a Nakshatra plantation. The Nakshatra plantation involves planting a tree based on the nakshatra or birth star of the person, which is said to bring happiness to their life. We also have a Nava Graha Vatika, where trees are named after the nine planets, and it is believed that praying or chanting mantras in front of these trees can nullify the evil effects of any graha that has been bringing unhappiness or troubles in one’s life.
Another activity we offer is cow cuddling, which has been proven to have positive effects on mental health. When guests interact with the cows, whether through cuddling, caressing, or feeding, much of their unhappiness and stress is taken away. The significance of cow cuddling, interacting, feeding, and praying to cows is mentioned in our Vedic texts, including the Rig Veda, in various ways. We believe in the importance of the cow and the positive effects of being close to it.
Overall, our facility offers guests a unique and therapeutic experience through various ceremonies, activities, and interactions with nature and animals.
Read More: 10 Happiest Countries To Visit in the World