When Six Senses Spa Doha offered us a visit to try one of their Yogic Series wellness therapies, we didn’t have any second thoughts in choosing the ‘Yogic Sleep’ programme.
Sleep improvement, rejuvenation of tired body, better attention span, a more creative mind… we had to look only once at the list of benefits to book the 3-day Yogic Sleep programme.
Join Marhaba members Ayen Molina and Lubuna Jeffin as they take the holistic journey at Six Senses Spa Doha.
We were greeted by Loida, the lovely butler at Six Senses Spa Doha. She gave us a quick briefing on the sessions for the day, handed over the locker keys and said that our therapists are getting the treatment room ready! Cards were exchanged and health form filled as we waited for our therapists.
Yogic Sleep programme is a 3-day session designed to bring positive improvements in quality and quantity of sleep. The goal of this programme is to induce a deep state of relaxation and thus help to get better sleep. It comes inclusive of two private sessions of Yoga Nidra and Hatha Yoga, one private session of Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and Hatha Yoga, Thai massage, Shiroabhyang, three Sleep & Resilience juices from the new juice menu.
Six Senses Spa Doha at Sharq Village & Spa evokes a traditional Qatari setting, creating the ambience of a true Middle Eastern village that has grown organically over time.
Fast Facts: The 6,500-square-meter spa features four villages that encompass 23 treatment rooms; state-of-the-art fitness facilities; changing, prayer and relaxation rooms; and private majlis areas. A spa menu of more than 250 treatments range from traditional Arabian and Thai therapies to more holistic offerings, each expertly performed by trained international therapists. Respectful of Qatari traditions, the spa resort provides a separate ladies’ entrance and reception area, full-service luxury beauty salon and exercise facilities. The individual spa villages may also be reserved for exclusive group treatments and relaxation sessions.
DAY 1: Traditional Thai massage & A private session of Yoga Nidra
Massage therapists Yeye and Marynor escorted us to the changing room, where we had our robes and slippers ready. We quickly changed to robes and slippers and followed our therapists to the treatment room the size of a suite!
Traditional Thai massage is fondly called the lazy man’s yoga as the recipient is passively placed by the therapists into a variety of yoga-like stretches. Thai massage in Six Senses Spa’s ‘Yogic Sleep’ programme prepares the body for the yoga stretches in the following sessions/days.
We were given full length soft cotton pyjama sets to wear. Taking the cue from our confused looks, Marynor said, ‘No oils used, just stretches’. We nodded and happily slipped into the very comfortable massage outfit.
The session started with the ceremonial bell, little did we know what was in store for us!
It started with rhythmic compression to energy lines and points together with deep stretching. The body was compressed, stretched and rocked in order to relieve tension and clear energy blockages. Do not worry if your body is not very flexible, your therapist will only stretch your muscles and joints as far as you can handle.
‘I felt mildly uncomfortable during the treatment but Marynor never failed to check with me if the pressure was okay,’ Ayen said later.
Despite their small frames, Yeye and Marynor effortlessly bended, folded and stretched us!
‘It is the technique, the weight of the person doesn’t matter. You know what, you can even Thai massage a dinosaur. Just make sure to get his permission first!’, quipped Yeye.
The 50 minute Thai message session left us energised and ready for the next session of ‘Yoga Nidra’!
In comes Soumya Vinesh the Yoga Instructor & Wellness Practitioner at Six Senses Spa Doha. Right from her posture to the pleasant approach, she ticks all the right boxes.
Soumya briefed us about ‘Yoga Nidra’ and its many benefits, and was very happy to answer our queries. In ‘Yoga Nidra’, one consciously takes the attention to different parts of the body and tries to relax. Yoga Nidra technically cools down the body after Thai massage, restores normal temperature and activates the nervous system to absorb the effects of the stretches.
How it is done: For ‘Yoga Nidra’ you lie on your back (shavasana) on the treatment bed, with the knees slightly bent and arms on the side. Soumya gave us a guided meditation – by giving us instructions to breath, relax and guiding our thoughts.
Post session chat: ‘Sometimes you wake up tired, despite sleeping for 8 hours. It means your mind and body are still stressed. With Yoga Nidra, you wake up fresh and rejuvenated even after a 5 hour sleep. You just need to make it a habit.’ She suggested listening to 15 minute sessions before going to sleep and to gradually increase the session timings. ‘This will greatly help you in your physical and emotional well-being.’
During yoga nidra, one moves into the state of conscious deep sleep. ‘Falling asleep is okay too, as you will still receive benefits while the unconscious mind is absorbing the practice’, Soumya smilingly said as one of us was snoring during the nidra.
We were escorted to the relaxation area where our Sleep & Resilience juice was waiting.
DAY 2: Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Shiroabhyang
Soumya greeted us at the reception and escorted to the spacious, well lit yoga room.
‘Don’t worry if you are new to yoga, this session follows simple stretches and breathing exercise to relax your mind and body.’
Hatha Yoga in the spa’s ‘Yogic Sleep’ program follows gentle, basic asanas (postures) with no flow between poses. It is more or less, slow-paced stretching with focus on basic breathing exercises.
We started with simple stretching postures and our expert instructor moved on to the next asanas based on our flexibility.
We were surprised at the flexibility of our limbs, and how fluidly our body responded to the stretches. ‘That is the effect of Thai massage,’ said Soumya.
‘You both responded well to the postures, so I added Vinyasa (a method of yoga in which movements form a flowing sequence in coordination with the breath) to Hatha Yoga, good job!’ We felt more energised after the yoga session, as it has opened up the lungs and loosened muscles, and we could feel a big difference in the breathing pattern – it had become more rhythmic.
We then moved on to yoga nidra where Soumya once again guided us to the state of conscious deep sleep. There was no snoring this time!
Yeye and Marynor guided us to the treatment room where we will have Shiroabhyang (traditional Indian head massage) for 60 minutes. ‘No stretching and bending today, just relax and sleep,’ they said and we happily settled on the treatment bed.
In Shiroabhyanga, a gentle massage is given to the head, neck and back and face using warm virgin coconut oil. The massage was so gentle and soothing that the snoring was back again, this time in a synchronised manner!
After the massage we were escorted to the relaxation area where our Sleep & Resilience juice for day 2 was waiting.
DAY 3: One Private Session of Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and Hatha Yoga
The last and final day of ‘Yogic Sleep’ is with our yoga guru Soumya. We started the session with 60 minute Hatha Yoga, followed by Pranayama – the yogic art of breathing! Pranayama increases and improves blood circulation to organs and is said to have effective role in strengthening the respiratory system.
After the 2 hour yoga session, we were escorted to the relaxation area. Of course, Sleep & Resilience juice for day 3 was waiting.
DAY 4: How We Feel
As the therapists suggested, one cannot expect immediate results with this Yogic Sleep programme. It takes minimum two days for the body to adjust to the new rhythm. However, one visible change we noticed is that right from day one our sleep pattern has changed. We are able to sleep with ease, wake up fresh and rejuvenated right from the day one of the therapy.
There is a visible difference in the posture – no more stooping or hunching!
‘Good posture will not happen if the breath is restricted, or underused. One really needs to work on the breathing technique to improve posture,’ this advice by Soumya, together with her breathing technique session, has done the magic.
Yogic Sleep is part of the Yogic Series introduced by Six Senses. You can book your 3-day session by calling 4425 6999 or writing to [email protected]. The price for the 3-day session is QAR1,420.
Visit Six Senses Spa Doha’s listing page on Marhaba for their latest promotions.