Relaxation – The Ayurvedic Way

Silvia Rangoni Gopal

“Nestled amongst the sun dappled streets of charming San Rafael in California, Safronya Ayurveda Center offers a quiet respite from the over stimulation of San Francisco city life. One of the few traditional Ayurvedic spas in the Bay Area, Safronya Ayurveda Center is based on Ayurveda, the ancient science of life that originated in India several thousands of years ago and is now gaining worldwide resurgence.”

The name Safronya draws inspiration from saffron, the most precious and expensive herb in the world, recognized by Ayurveda itself as a royal and deeply balancing spice and considered as pure expression of beauty, spirituality and equilibrium. Saffron has been hailed as an important ingredient for a large number of Ayurvedic medicines and is often mentioned in old texts such as the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.

Like its name, Safronya Ayurveda Center holds a unique appeal that is apparent right from the entrance, which sets it apart from conventional storefronts or office spaces like most day spas. In fact, Safronya is nothing like a day spa.

Set in a house-like environment, stepping into Safronya Ayurveda Center feels like walking through the door into an ideal home, where life really begins; a unique space to heal your body and nurture your soul. The décor is sensitively infused with modern elegance combined with the royal colors of precious saffron. The five basic Ayurvedic elements of air, space, fire, earth and water are carefully detailed to create an environment of peace and tranquility throughout.

Deeply enriching, the orange hue of saffron further emanates a positive energy all around. “Saffron, according to Ayurveda, has many benefits to a person’s overall well-being – both physically and spiritually,” says the retreat owner Vijaya Jhothi. Of Indian origin herself, Vijaya has been ingrained in Ayurveda since an early age. “With today’s hectic pace of life, Ayurveda is a perfect antidote to overcome stress and burnout,” she adds. Vijaya is keen to stress the importance of focusing solely on Ayurveda, “By focusing our services on one modality, we are able to offer the customized program and education needed for a client to incorporate an Ayurvedic lifestyle in today’s hectic rhythms and schedules.”

Safronya offers

As advocated by this ancient science of life, every treatment at Safronya is preceded by a private consultation with the Ayurvedic practitioner that determines your individual dosha or constitution, making sure each treatment being recommended is tailored to your specific needs. The treatments offered include the wellknown Shirodhara, an extremely effective gentle rhythmic pouring of oil on your forehead to calm mental stress, depression and headaches. If you want to feel the effect of weightlessness wash over you, just try the signature Safronya Dosha Care facial that combines the beneficial effect of the neem plant with the hydrating powers of lavender and rose. “As Ayurveda has its foundation in achieving balance by being in tune with the natural elements around us, our facial treatments take into account seasonal fluctuations and their effects on skin texture,” explains Vijaya.

In line with traditional Ayurvedic methods, select treatments such as the deeply relaxing and detoxifying Abhyanga (oil massage) or the exfoliating Udvartana performed by two massage therapists in perfect synchrony – are an indulgence not to be missed. Additional specialties include personalized Ayurvedic detoxification programs, highly recommended before embracing an Ayurvedic lifestyle. These half-day to four-week-long packages are designed to provide the retreat that so many of us need to renew and recharge our tired senses and bodies. The services also take into account active schedules and lifestyle needs, so treatments such as the half hour Indian head massages are suitable and rejuvenating for those seeking to rebalance themselves through shorter services.

Ayurveda is a sister science of yoga. The two are so tightly linked that one can say no yoga practice can be considered complete unless it is integrated with an Ayurvedic lifestyle. In the same way, a regular yoga practice is required to fully enjoy the benefits of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. With this in mind, Safronya Ayurveda Center offers private and couples’ yoga lessons to help you get started on yoga practice or deepen the one you already have with customized programs most suitable to your constitution – a must for any yoga enthusiast.

However, what may set Safronya Ayurveda Center apart from any day spa more than anything else is the importance given to food as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. The saffron root of the name Safronya is not a casual one. “We also wanted to focus on the nutritional side of well-being as a vital part of a positive and balanced lifestyle,” explains Vijaya. Tempting Ayurvedic saffron nibbles and exotic herbal teas are served to the guests in the coziness of the retreat’s lounge, while services include personal nutritional recommendations and cooking demonstrations that take into

account your food tastes and habits. She says, “One of our goals is to introduce Ayurvedic meals and cooking demonstrations to educate and guide clients towards optimum balance through discovering the right kinds of food that honor each individual’s uniqueness. I love good food and Ayurveda teaches us how to enjoy all foods, if we follow some simple rules.” Vijaya enthuses, “So, while most spas and beauty centers teach you how to stay away from food and go on diets, we want people to get closer and be passionate about what they eat. It was never in doubt when planning for the retreat that food was going to be an important part of our services.”

Safronya is a unique Indian oasis in the middle of charming San Rafael. As Vijaya points out, “People are tired of having to dress up to go to a spa for a treatment. Besides, today the word spa is so overused that it has almost lost its original meaning. We wanted to create a unique space for our guests to relax and enjoy a moment of pause away from the stress of daily life.” The emphasis and culture of Safronya also honors the timeless wisdom of the sages. Low cost wellness days and affordable membership plans are available so that Ayurveda’s immense benefits can be enjoyed by all. The Safronya Sangha community is also another place where guests, friends and families come together and enjoy an evening of education, sharing, support and meditation. Safronya offers these events on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

There is no need to travel to exotic destinations anymore to “get away” from it all. At Safronya, the emphasis is clearly on offering the kind of retreat that takes into account the busy schedules that we all have by providing a wide range of services, a unique ambience and unmatched customer service for a much gentler and healthier lifestyle.

Through personalized health consultations, food recommendations and demonstrations, bodywork, holistic skin care, customized yoga and detoxification packages, Safronya Ayurveda Center is definitely the place to rekindle your body, mind and soul – the Ayurvedic way.

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