Barberyn Reef, a luxury resort set amidst a luscious and picture perfect island landscape has one major goal and that is to improve the health of its guests through authentic and traditional Ayurvedic practices.
Ayurveda, an ancient healing system, originating in India, takes a holistic approach to feeling well and living in harmony with yourself and your surroundings. Think of it as a union of the mind, body, senses and soul with three main objectives: to prevent disease, to encourage wellbeing and to promote longevity.
Through nutrition, yoga and meditation, it focuses on treating the individual as a whole rather than a specific issue or disease, so that you can achieve balance and good health, not only in your physical body, but also in your mind and spirit.
Barberyn is a wonderful facilitator for the Ayurvedic way of life and an antidote to the fast paced world that many of us find ourselves living in. The sprawling resort, nestled quietly on the south east coast of Sri Lanka in Beruwala, is a purpose built “sanctuary for the soul” and a place where you can rejuvenate your mind body and spirit with undivided attention and without personal effort or trying. The only ‘doing’ required by you is to close your eyes and gently surrender to it’s all natural nurturing ways.
At Barberyn Reef, four of the essential Ayurvedic healing philosophies are applied very simply and traditionally, giving you the opportunity to slow down and enjoy each enriching experience as a simple pleasure.
Simple, Traditional Decor
You’ll relish in the most wonderfully homegrown and delicious nourishing cuisine, tailor made to suit your unique dosha, you’ll engage in individualized cleansing and detoxification processes to purify the body, and enjoy warm oil massages administered by Ayurvedic nurses which not only melt away your tension but more deeply, eliminate energetic blockages in the body.
One of the more physical aspects to Barberyn are the healing yoga and meditation classes to help you to slip into a feeling of serenity and emerge with an insightful and multi-layered physical and emotional personal transformation.
Everything you experience at Barberyn, from the pulverised dahl body scrub to the healing herbal bath is delivered in the most traditional sense, allowing you to access your innate inner wisdom and feel very much in tune with yourself and your surroundings. It is in that moment when true transformation occurs.
One of my biggest discoveries was that there is a big difference between feeling refreshed and energized after experiencing a spa resort, compared to the treatment and nurturing that Barberyn is dedicated to offering every single one of its guests. I hadn’t experienced anything on this level of genuine authenticity and for me Barberyn symbolises a profound and life changing environment and a place where true healing can be experienced on a number of different levels. The focus is not on pampering but more on therapeutic health results.
Ayurvedic Nurses in Uniform
Another impactful unearthing was being immersed in a structured and fully equipped Ayurvedic hospital which gave me a better insight and understanding of the workings of each practice on a variety of people with different conditions. I discovered these first hand and by talking to other guests.
The Herbal Pharmacy at Barberyn
An interesting eye-opening surprise from Barberyn was that I came away more comfortable in the knowledge that fifty percent of true health and healing comes from within and the remainder can be delivered in whatever form works within your own philosophies. Whether it is western medicine or alternative practices, it doesn’t matter. I believe personally that what has had the most impact on my health at a fundamental level is Ayurveda and so the whole experience completely resonated with me.
When you arrive at Barberyn, you’re given an in-depth consultation by an Ayurvedic doctor who remains your doctor for the duration of your stay. Your pulse will be checked and blood pressure monitored, your tongue will be inspected and a medical history taken and from there you’re placed onto a specific treatment plan to help you achieve balance and healing. You’re given herbal medications in the form of decoctions, potions, pills and powders concocted from the onsite herbal gardens and a list of treatments and your treatment times.
A typical day consists of a two-hour yoga class at 6am followed by a spectacular nutritious breakfast by the water, with Ayurvedic doctors milling around to help you with your food choices and further information sits beside each dish; a description of its Ayurvedic balancing attributes.
A Personally Aligned Ayurvedic Breakfast
Then it’s off to the treatment centre where you'll indulge in warm oil massages delivered by two skilful and nimble-fingered practitioners guaranteed to send you off into a sleepy, groggy, zombie-like trance. Afterwards, you're given a variety of treatments designed specifically for you, I had a rice milk and herb heated herbal compress which soothed my tired and knotted muscles. You'll almost certainly be given an eye treatment which after the initial gooiness from the ghee will leave your eyes sparkling and fresh.
Warm Oil Massages
You’re then whisked off to lie in an atmospheric herbal garden where you're wrapped in sticky oil and herbal patches which are gently and carefully applied to different areas of your body, with fresh herbal cleansers applied to your face and cucumbers to your eyes. Once you're covered in oil and herbs, you're then draped with muslin to allow everything to absorb to it's full potential, and it's right here where you find yourself succumbing to thoroughly relaxing and drifting off to sleep with the sounds of the birds in the garden. Whilst still a little drowsy, a nurse will direct you to an area where you're bathed in a therapeutic herbal bath reminiscent of childhood bathing, the warm water flowing over you from the earthenware cup. You're then patted-dry and wrapped carefully in a clean treatment cloth.
By now your tummy is grumbling and you're about ready for a delicious lunch in the communal lunch room overlooking the water.
Vata Balancing Lunch
This is followed by a daily acupuncture session based on your condition and then a swim in the generous salt water pool or if you prefer to laze on one of the loungers by the ocean as it laps gently against the shore lulling you into a state of complete relaxation, the choice is entirely yours.
Salt Water Pool
By the way if you’re feeling thirsty between meals there's a cute juice bar where you can order cucumber juices or drink tea and talk to other guests.
At 4pm you have the opportunity to inhale deeply at another yoga class, or find yourself with turmeric stained hands in a cooking class with a couple of the chefs from the kitchen. I chose the cooking class which was fun and we made four or five very simple yet delicious dishes that I will most certainly be recreating at home. I still can't stop thinking about the garlic and fenugreek curry. That dish was mouth watering.
Guys, you had me at Garlic Curry!
Along with the treatments and activities, you might like to get out and about and sign up for one of the complimentary excursions into town or boat trip to the nearby river where you can spot some of the native wildlife.
After seven enriching and relaxing days at Barberyn my soul was doing cartwheels on the beach and I felt energized and restored.
Ideally you should spend at least ten days to really experience its healing benefits. I can’t wait to go back next year.
To find out more about Barberyn Ayurvedic resort visit http://barberynresorts.com