A Review: The Engel Ayurpura brings the Ancient Indian Art of Ayurveda to the Tyrol

Reviewed by The Wellness Traveller

South Tyrol, Italy

Poolsteamsun HotelEngelAyurpura ∏Tiberio Sorvillo 63A0879 12

Sshh…. There’s  a “silent flower” badge waiting for you if you prefer your own company, thoughts and peace.  This secret weapon for solitude is handed to you by the Wellness Concierge who greets us with the warmth and calmness one would expect of this new wellness hideaway high up in the Dolomites. The Engel Ayurpura is the newest find among the peaks and the first of its kind in Italy to offer the ancient Indian art of Ayurveda. It opened last November encased, designer-style, in a building of natural materials, blending seamlessly into its environment. 

Encircled by views that take your breath away at an altitude of 1200 feet, the Engel Ayurpura is family owned and nurtured by a caring and professional team. Sitting snugly between the slopes, it’s quiet and still, protected by soaring mountains topped with shawls of snow accessorised with snowflake-sprinkled pine trees standing statuesque like feather dusters. The reception area is a cosy affair with lounge chairs and a library of books on wellness to browse at leisure while soaking up the scenes which flow through the frames of floor to ceiling windows. 

The Ancient Indian Art of Ayurveda

The basic principles of Ayurveda relate to the natural way of living a healthy life. Each human being is a unique combination of 5 elements, earth, water, fire, air and space. There are three vital forces of life: Vata meaning air and space, Pitta meaning fire and water, and Kapha earth and water. The balance of all these forces is said to be the answer to keeping you fit and healthy. Ayurveda is the science of life – preventive and curative – a perfect synergy of vital forces of life resulting in the heathy state of the human body which constitutes the mind body and soul. The Engel Ayurpura has encaptured an inner sanctum with a variety of programmes, overseen by Dr Vaidya Swami Nath Mishra one of the most respected pulse diagnosticians in India and Italy’s only Ayurveda physician to bring the authenticity of this ancient Indian art of Ayurveda inside.

The concept is the inspiration of Carmen Kohler who is an advocate of Ayurveda after overcoming her own health problems. Modelling the benefits of this medicinal cure, she believes we all have the strength and positive attitude to prevent diseases. “It is my personal mission to pass on to others the value of this precious traditional science, especially here in in this place of beauty, surrounded by nature and its healing qualities.” 

Your Doshas

And this is the place to discover your dosha type which is believed to be responsible for our physiological, mental, and emotional health. We all have a unique ratio which defines our Ayurvedic constitution. But doshas are usually out of sync and it is here, amidst the Dolomites, where you can find your path to balance and harmony. The first personal appointment is with Dr Mishra for a general introduction to this ancient Indian art of Ayurveda and your personalised nutrition plan and  treatment schedule from his pulse assessment. (Additional supplements are charged extra). And from thereon, the Ayurvedic cure commences based on your own dosha balance or in my case, imbalance. Later consultations are scheduled to check progress and to make adjustments during your stay. This follows on from a pre-visit online consultation where the programme is explained and advice given on preparing for your visit. 

A Medley of Massages

There’s a kaleidoscope of massage styles to complement and support your prescribed treatment plan. From head to foot and the belly button inbetween, there’s a massage to suit all ailments using medicinal oils. Abhyanga is the supreme discipline among Ayurvedic massages to restore balance of the three doshas to bring body and mind back into harmony. Synchronous Abhyanga is performed by two therapists. With a reputation for it relaxing effects, Shirodhara is top of my list. This involves an even stream of warm oil poured on the forehead from a height of 10cm

The Programmes

Cure programmes range from a 4-day Approaching Ayurvedic, 5 or 7-day Rasayana Fountain of Youth and 7, 14 or 21-day Panchakarma cures. I chose the 7-day Rasayana programme which included 6 cure days with 12 treatments aimed to slow down the ageing process and strengthen the immune system supplemented by yoga in the mornings and meditation in the evening.

Just Relax

Ayurveda is all about relaxing and places to do this are around every corner. Looking out to the heated outdoor pool and the bio-sauna is a spacious relaxation room where the mountain falls to eye-level vision. On the top floor this repeats with the addition of infrared chairs and an elevated view of the valleys from lounge beds with cuddly blankets. Bliss! An atelier offers crafts to promote mindfulness while gentle walks in the fresh air and swimming are encouraged. There is a cooking class and an evening talk on Ayurveda.

Food is medicine

Food here is medicine, paired to the rebalance of your dosha prescription. Ayurveda consommé with herbs, organic Ermes rice (red rice) with pumpkin seed cream and cinnamon, courgette mille feuilles with basil pesto and tomato sauce. Creative, colourful and nutritious, gluten and lactose free, dishes are mainly vegetarian using seasonal cooked, digestible vegetables. Breakfast is an array of porridge options, stewed fruit and broths. Lunch is the main meal which starts with a fasting soup made with algae extract while dinner is light to ensure sleep. Herbal tea and water are recommended 30 mins either side of a meal to assist the digestion process with a cup of detox tea taken first in the morning. The airy restaurant looks out over spectacular views.  Tables are assigned or there’s a designated social area to join others. 

The Rooms

With just 15 rooms, you are assured of personal service. The design is chic and stylish in natural tones reflective of the theme of balance and calm. Each room has an oversized terrace to gaze at the undulating valleys and the changing moods of nature, to feel the breeze of the fresh air, listen to the noise of silence and watch the stars wink in the dark. 

The Location

Nova Levanti in South Tyrol provides the perfect setting with its backdrop of the legendary Rosengarten mountain range which performs its alpenglow when the sun kisses the horizon as  the days’ finale.  Amidst this UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, dotted with mountain huts, relaxation embraces you, a place to harness the nature-nurture effect. The region’s capital city of Bolzano is 20 minutes away while Bressanone, the oldest town in Tyrol, is 50 minutes. The hotel provides a bus pass to explore the local area during your stay.

Getting there with SkyAlps

Small, modern with a high level of service, SkyAlps provides the unique experience to fly on a propel plane in sight of the mountain peaks rather than the vast expanse of sky and cloud. Since SkyAlps launched in 2021, sustainability has been part of their genetic makeup to minimise the ecological footprint. Studies have shown that contrails formed above 26,000 feet significantly impact the climate in a negative way but these planes never exceed this altitude. The entire fleet consists of modern and highly efficient turboprop aircrafts. This small regional airline serving South Tyrol is the only airline offering direct connections between Bolzano and over 10 European cities and produce up to 50% less emissions compared to other regional jets with a consumption of just 2.3 litres per passenger per 100km. 

Sustainable Wellness

From the great Himalayas to South Tyrol, this oldest known natural medicine is now more accessible. Tried and tested over centuries, the ancient Indian art of Ayurveda is enjoying a revival and is widely used today.  Combining physical, psychological, and spiritual health, it focuses on whole-body healing and sees a person’s dosha as the dynamic principle that determines their personality and health.  From take-off to touch down, a stay at the Engel Ayurpura, travelling with SkyAlps is sustainable wellness in our modern world. 

Included in the Rasayana 7-day fountain of youth programme:

7 nights and 6 cure days with 12 treatments

Ayurvedic full board

Consultation & pulse diagnosis

Treatments according to anamnesis:

2 Abhyanga – Ayurvedic full body oil massages

1 Vishesh – energy massage

1 Udvartana – special abdominal massage

1 Mukabhyanga – Ayurvedic head & face massage

2 Padabhyanga – ayurvedic foot massage (25 min)

1 Shirodhara – forehead oil pouring

1 Pristabhyangam – back massage Udvartana – herbal powder massage

1 Marmabhyangam (energy points massage)

2 herbal stamp massages

Yoga & Meditation as per weekly programme

Access to the SPA and swimming pool

An Ayurveda Dosha Overview

Vata: Those with the vata dosha are usually described as slim, energetic, and creative. They’re known for thinking outside the box but can become easily distracted. Their mood is highly dependent on the weather, the people around them and foods they eat. According to Ayurveda, for optimal health, a vata-dominant person should follow a regular daily routine, manage stress through meditation and other calming activities, and maintain a warm body temperature by avoiding cold weather and consuming warm foods and drinks 

Kapha: People with the kapha dosha are described as strong and caring. They’re known for keeping things together and being supportive of others. Kapha-dominant people rarely get upset, think before acting, and go through life in a slow, deliberate manner. For optimal health, a kapha-dominant person should focus on regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintain a warm body temperature (use of saunas or eating warm food), and establish a regular sleep routine. 

Pitta: People with pitta dosha are said to usually have a muscular build, athletic, and are strong leaders. They’re highly motivated, goal-oriented, and competitive. However, their aggressive and tenacious nature can be off-putting to some people, which can lead to conflict. Those with a pitta-dominant dosha should focus on work-life balance and avoid extreme heat and spicy food.

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