Enhance Your Mind, Body & Spirit at Lucky Bansko Spa & Relax Hotel
Blessed with natural essentials of healing herbs, fresh mountain air and curative mineral waters dating back to Ancient Roman times, it’s no secret that Bulgaria is one of the spa capitals in Europe. Fast forward to the present day and the growing interest in Wellness Tourism has made the country both an attractive and affordable destination for people looking for more wholesome holiday options. The combination of higher stress levels and the desires to make healthier lifestyle choices, travellers are more likely than ever before to choose hotels which go beyond providing top-notch spa facilities and introduce their guests to a more holistic approach to their well-being.
Once such place is Lucky Bansko Spa & Relax Hotel who have been developing their wellness programs for a number of years and has proved to be a resounding success with visitors. When the resort’s ski season is over, guests can forget their worries or daily pressures and indulge in their Ayurveda Clinic or Lucky Fit programs to rejuvenate themselves amongst the natural backdrop of the Pirin Mountains. I met with two of the teachers of these programs from the hotel to find out more about what they offer.
The ancient practice of Ayurveda has existed for thousands of years to help improve both the vitality of your body and the health of your consciousness. It’s curative effects are combined by two fundamental elements: Purvacarama and Panchkarma which are used to purify the body. Experienced and qualified Indian Ayurvedic physicians and therapists are employed by Lucky Bansko to ensure that guests receive the best medical and holistic attention. One of whom is Dr. Balaji Pavarwho has studied Ayurveda for more than 20 years and he explains to me what the Ayurveda clinic is about:
‘Ayurveda is a complete health science which helps people to balance their own life, in all aspects, in the preventative aspect and in the treatment part of your life. When you are healthy, Ayurveda gives you the guideline how to maintain the balance, the emotional balance and this is the first part of Ayurveda. If you receive some disorders or some diseases then Ayurveda will also act in this direction by giving you treatments or herbal formulations to treat you and restore your health.’
Guests can choose how long they would like to take the treatment for which can range from 10 to 25 days and includes consultations and introductory lectures so that they are made, ‘aware of the program, their participation, what we expect and are trying to do from our side. All the time there is communication of information between ourselves and the client so that the process will be successful.’
In addition to individual counselling you will receive examinations, medicinal herbs and healing oils imported from India, daily therapies prescribed by an Ayurvedic physician and Yoga sessions. Individuals will also be given a specific diet specially prepared by an Ayurdedic chef which is ‘differentiated according to their energies so not everyone will receive the same food.’
The clinic is now its fourth year and the response has been favourable. Dr. Pavar continues, ‘We have very good results and very good response, most of them are coming back again and again. People come back once or twice a year depending on their body needs. In general, people are giving us very good feedback by sending their friends and relatives and this is really important for us as it is like a receipt of your work because if they send their family members or their relatives on the trust, it is a great feedback for us. ’
The Lucky Fit programs at Lucky Bansko are run by Ivan Velikov and their main goal is aimed at achieving a healthy weight loss for guests. Managing the program for more than a year, he elaborates further, ‘it’s a program to lose weight but also for wellness, to have a good time here in Bansko and in the mountains so we get good vibes and more good feelings.’
Lucky Bansko Spa & Relax Hotel are currently running several similar but different programs so you can choose the one that suits you best and what you hope to accomplish from it. There is a lot of emphasis put on diet for each program which is essentially healthy food for everyone and are tailored to each individual’s needs and core elements of each program. Ivan gives me a brief outline of what guests can expect from three out of the five programs they run:
Lucky Fit Standard
‘We offer a low calorie diet without losing taste and have different menus for different weights of people. The program begins with taking fresh life water with zeolite, a powder of stone for cleansing the body and then we do Qigong: Chinese breathing exercises based on meditation which is very good for the body where we move and breathe with each other. After breakfast, we hike in the mountains and nature to give us energy and good feelings to walk in nature. We have 2/3 walking groups so some people have an easier way according to their abilities. After this, we take lunch, rest, before exercise. I do yoga dynamic style and aerobics or Zumba but only if someone wants a more active style. This program is not for just for one type of person, we try to take a more holistic way for everyone. After this we rest and have time for spa relaxation. The program is very full but includes plenty of rest. After the evening dinner sometimes there is Bulgarian dancing or you can choose to sleep.’
With more than 15 years of teaching and continual learning, Ivan practices various types of Yoga and teaches them according to an individual’s needs and abilities. ‘Lucky Fit Yoga is for people who want more to do with yoga so they begin the day with fresh life water with zeolite and a morning yoga session before breakfast. After this they hike, have lunch, more yoga in afternoon, rest and eat dinner. We check beforehand for Dosha character so they eat food to harmonise their Dosha and all different diet styles are based on Ayurveda philosophy which draws parallels with the practice of yoga. At 9 pm we hold a deep relaxation time to practice meditation and yoga.’
The Complete Detox program is combined with Lucky Fit Standard but focuses on the detoxification of organs and body systems which works in a similar way to fasting. Ivan elaborates, ‘First, you have communication with the Dr to have advice to what they can do according to their own personal health. They have one week to prepare before they arrive, then they come here start with diet. Initially, they only drink a broth, after this slowly, slowly they eat normal meals. We give them smoothies to clean their bodies for one week or they can go home to finish so we give them plant-based recipes how to do it and then back to normal way to eat. Sometimes they might not have energy to do other aspects of the program.’
If you just want to take a break and improve your general health, then maybe the Anti-Stress or Weekend programs would be more suitable. Both of these carry the same principles as the other courses but are much shorter and you don’t have any medical examinations; just simply relax amongst the mountainous scenery or at the Spa facilities in the hotel.
When I leave, I can’t help feeling impressed by the dedication and values of both teachers and the commitment of the hotel to encourage guests to take care of their well-being by the trained specialists they have for these programs. If you’re interested in participating in one of them, click on the headings above for more information on their websites, which I have to say, are very informative and include in-depth knowledge for each course and what you can expect from them.
Happy healthy holidays 🙂