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Art of Living Panchakarma retreat
Photo: Courtesy of Art of Living

This retreat’s legit: Panchakarma at The Art of Living

Ayurvedic cleansing, anyone?

by Rebecca Willa Davis | 03.04.2018

Vital Stats

What: The Art of Living Retreat Center’s Panchakarma Retreat
Where: Boone, NC
Duration: There are 3-day, 5-night, and 8-night options
Cost: Programs begin at $890 (although if you’re thinking 8-nights, you’ll be spending around $4,000)
Frequency: Offered year-round

Vibe: Functional pampering and cleansing a la Ayurveda, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop.

Vacation or nah?: While you’ll be getting regular abhyanga treatments (think full-body rubdowns) and have access to yoga and meditation classes, the program is all about detoxing—meaning no guac or a glass of wine at dinner. Also, you will be spending at least one day on the toilet.

What You Need to Know

Welcome to the wild world of panchakarma: a traditional five-part Ayurvedic detoxification process that, according to practitioners, delivers everything from boosted energy and clearer thinking to chronic pain relief.

Sure, it takes two hours from Charlotte to drive to the Art of Living, and the program itself requires detoxing before and after your visit (think no dairy, sugar, or alcohol, among other off-limits items), but it’s worth it for the views alone at this ashram-style retreat center.

Located in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’re greeted with a panorama so stunning you’ll forget that all you’ve eaten for the past week is kitchari (the Ayurvedic cleansing staple comprised of mung beans and basmati rice) or that you’ll be spending an entire day focused on virechana (that would be, ahem, “therapeutic purgation”, which means what you probably think it does).

If you’re looking to dive deeper into Ayurveda but a trip to India isn’t in the cards, it’s a powerful stateside option.

Notes From the Inside

Our insider this week is Karla Dascal, founder of The Sacred Space (a ridiculously beautiful wellness venue-restaurant-shop in the heart of Miami), who has circled the globe in search of new retreats. She recently attended The Art of Living’s 5-day Panchakarma Retreat—here’s what you need to know.

The Beatles would have been into it
“The property was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s, who was the guru to The Beatles. He promised this place to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and something happened and he finally got it six years ago. So it looks like an ashram monastery campus, but beautiful.”

The staff is legit
“The director of the spa there is wonderful—she used to be with the Ritz-Carlton.”

You’ll have homework to take home with you after your stay
“The whole thing was a total of 15 days—5 days pre-cleanse, 5 days cleansing at the Center, and 5 days after. You can stay there for 8 days, too.”

It’s impactful—without being extreme
“It really shifted me—the process was incredible and The Art of Living is really amazing. It wasn’t grueling; it was very nurturing and nourishing, and just very complete. It was also educational—all Ayurvedic teaching.”

Retreat like a pro
“When you’re comfortable—and you’ve got your nice this, your nice that–you don’t grow. When you’re uncomfortable, that’s when you grow. That’s what I’ve found on every single retreat I’ve gone on. You need to be in that setting, where it’s a two-hour drive from the airport to get there. I go in openhearted—I don’t care what the bed looks like, what the place looks like, it doesn’t matter. I’m committed to my intention and I go with it.”

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