From India to Styria
Ayurveda is the world’s oldest system of self-care. Originating in India, it dates back to around 1,500BC, with written records dating to around 800BC. Based on simple daily rituals, Yoga and a vegetarian diet prescribed according to your Dosha – or type – its focus is preventive care. Its precepts have clearly stood the test of time.
Today, across India there is no shortage of simple ashrams, dedicated clinics and luxurious five-star resorts where any visitor can have Ayurvedic treatments or even undergo the rigorous and highly effective Panchakarma detox. But going all the way to India to sample this ancient way of preserving good health can mean sitting on a plane for nine or ten hours. Not exactly the most appealing, let alone justifiable, prospect.
And that is why the visionary Austrian CEO of the Mandira, Christina Mauracher, a fervent fan and practitioner of Ayurveda – thanks partly to growing up with an adventurously health-conscious mother – decided to bring a little of India to Austria.
The Ayurveda Resort Mandira is a 90-minute drive from Vienna, just outside Bad Waltersdorf, long known for its thermal waters. Its timber-built 60 rooms provide an immaculate, spacious place of polished wood floors and glass walls. Its airy studios, cosy treatment rooms, and outdoor pool look out over hills and forests. This peaceful setting provides the backdrop for an extensive menu of East-West doctor-led treatments and services.
Holistic Regeneration and Prevention
Massages, wraps, facials, infusions, kinesiology, and naturopathic and Traditional Chinese Medicine provide some of the treatments on offer, along with meditation, Yoga, Radical Forgiveness coaching, mind coaching, and outdoor exercise sessions such as Aquafit, Nordic walking and cycling. High-tech diagnostic equipment includes even a state-of-the art machine for biophysical analysis.
The large area dedicated to Ayurveda – Holistic Ayurveda, in the Mandira’s words – feels at once authentic and reassuring. Ayurvedic physician, Gopakumar Gopinatha Pillai, an expert in the Ayurvedic system of pulse diagnosis, presides over the department alongside Dr Alexandra Koller.
Traditional Ayurvedic treatments carried out here include Shirodhara, which sees warm oil continuously poured over the forehead, Janu Vasti, which uses oil to restore joint mobility, and four-handed Abhyanga massages. Guests can also undergo a Panchakarma detox for 7, 10, 14 or 21 nights: highly effective for weight loss, tackling health issues or simply giving the body a thorough internal cleanse.
The Mastermind: Christina Mauracher
Mandira CEO Christina Mauracher emphasises that the Holistic Ayurveda treatments and rituals have been tweaked for European tastes and sensibilities. ‘Diet, climate, lifestyle, traditions: there are a lot of differences between life in India and Europe,’ explains Mauracher. ‘Hence Holistic Ayurveda. We analysed the teachings of Ayurveda, studied it in great detail, and adapted some of the treatments and approaches to better suit European tastes and lifestyles – while still adhering to the basic tenets.’
Mindful of how the pandemic has super-charged awareness of the importance of safe-guarding and improving one’s health – physical and mental – Mauracher and her team worked hard to have the spa open for when guests around Europe would be free to travel without Covid restrictions. After a soft opening in October 2020, the Mandira is now fully up and running.