“We created a wellness paradigm that is very different from the first wellness establishments - from a yoga studio, to a wellness resort, to apps - and created a holistic approach that makes scientific sense, that makes common sense. That actually makes people understand the reality of what we are in today, rather than worry about the symptoms that they are feeling.”
We’re in great company with Vickum Nawagamuwage, Founder of Santani Wellness in the serene Kandy setting of his native Sri Lanka. Here, he’s created the first and only award winning luxury wellness resort to focus on ‘human sustainability’ - where he believes that protecting the world means protecting you as a human being, and of course his guest first - providing wellbeing through every sense of the experience for body, mind and soul.
Having traveled the world as a consultant, exploring his own career induced chronic stress healing journey, he found a global demand and newfound mission to address the modern mental health pandemic - starting with the ancient practices, sense of place, and welcoming hospitality of Sri Lanka.
In this episode, Vickum graciously shares his own personal story, the research and evolutionary realization that he has pursued, how his guests can learn about and discover this path to wellness for themselves, and where he hopes to take this practice next.
[1:45] Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Vickum left to pursue a career of chasing higher education and climbing the corporate ladder in the US, where like so many others, he experienced for the first time the incredible stresses exerted on the mind and body from the struggle of modern day living.
[6:15] And yet stress itself is not the enemy, it is what drives us. Vickum shares how his recent revelation about the evolution of human nature led him to realize the disparity with how we manage it today.
[11:00] It used to be about survival of the fittest and thus it was most important to feed our bodies. Now, without that physical stress to survive, it is about how we train our minds to evolve, and yet we neglect to feed our minds with the necessary information and relaxation it needs.
[21:30] What a shift from a curative health care system to a preventative one could look like, how Santani Wellness is leading this holistic approach to making fit not only our bodies, but our minds and spirits too, and why Sri Lanka is the perfect place to start.
[29:05] A day in the life of a guest at Santani Wellness is completely customized to the individual - from the morning energizing yoga, to the meals, excursions, activities and treatments, from the evening calming yoga, to every experience and conversation in between.
[32:10] How Vickum originally found this 116 acre tea plantation and pristine forest that had the “natural energy” he was looking for to evoke those feelings in guests, and how the resort’s “architecture of silence” allows nature to speak for itself to guests.
[38:40] Expect to indulge in gourmet wellness cuisine following the Ayurveda philosophy of ‘Rasa Haya’ which translates to ‘six tastes', where the emphasis is on taste based nutrition balancing sweet, sour, salty, pungent (spicy), bitter and astringent (drying).
[56:15] Beyond building two other locations - Kirana, a Santani Villa in Bentota and Sama, a Santani Retreat in Kosgoda - Vickum explains where he is taking the concept of Santani Wellness next.
Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, New Zealand