A little piece of India in the South Tyrolean mountains
Ayurveda places the essential at the centre, the things that money can’t buy. You learn to appreciate health, you learn to appreciate life, you learn to appreciate your friends. You change your lifestyle, the communication with one another – this is true enrichment, as it means that the life you have will not simply pass you by. You can use it to do yourself good and make your personal life goal become clear to yourself – what could be more valuable!?
Ayurveda, the science of long life, is a feeling for Carmen Kohler. It was for her a source of deep inspiration: and so began her passion at the Hotel Engel.
How did you manage to harmoniously bring Ayurveda and gourmet holidays in the Dolomites together as a philosophy? Over the past decade I have devoted considerable time and passion to this healing art from the East and I have learned a great deal. Yet the central finding for me was that Ayurveda can only really help you if it is not seen as a compulsion. And it is this very knowledge that I have also applied at the hotel. Each guest is free to decide whether or not he or she wishes to engage in Ayurveda. A stay at the hotel is nevertheless a very good opportunity to learn about Ayurveda. Finally, nutrition plays a central part in this health education and life philosophy. Most of us have little time to learn something new in our everyday lives.
Were the kitchen staff on board with your project or was a lot of persuasion needed? We had plenty of discussions. But the change has done us all good. And that is what we are actually aiming to achieve here at the Hotel Engel. We are not aiming to be a medical hotel, which in my view would be the wrong approach. Ayurveda has had two positive effects here. First, we are together all concerned to do something good for ourselves; for us as a team, but of course for our guests too. Second, there is the inspiration: Ayurveda is a wonderful source of new ideas. Our chef was always very nature-oriented, happy to use herbs and authentic flavours. Ayurveda is now a helpful toolkit, helping him in the challenging task of serving up something good for so many guests every day.
It all sounds deliciously tempting. But don’t those who are hungry for Ayurveda have to do without other things? I disagree. That’s not how Ayurveda works. Health is a complex issue and, while mindfulness plays an important role, pleasure is also crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Live like a monk and enjoy the Dolce Vita – this might be a slogan for Ayurveda. Staying with us obviously won’t make you an Ayurveda expert, but guests can pick up plenty of hints and tips and will not have to miss out on anything.
So you could say that guests here absorb new ideas for a better way of life once back at home? If guests are open-minded and interested then of course they can internalise certain advice. Digesting this advice is crucial, but first you have to try it out. And this is the opportunity we offer to guests at our hotel. I know of some who really have made the leap after their stay here and started to actively live their everyday lives according to the principles of Ayurveda, and they are perfectly happy. So yes, they have made use of some of our tips.
Just as an example, have you got a quick tip for us? That’s a difficult question, because it all depends on the individual and so a quick tip might be right or it might be wrong. The fact is that many people carry complaints or even pains around with them for many years and Ayurveda can help them to feel progressively better. If guests are interested in taking matters further with Ayurveda, we also offer professional services. But we are mainly concerned with the fields of detox and the discharging of energy, and only secondarily with unleashing new powers.
Is the professional assistance aimed at guests with problems? It may be, but it need not be. Because prevention is the best cure for any complaint. Prevention takes on a special dimension in the entire Ayurvedic teaching. And this is also primarily what we want to provide with our Ayurveda offers. So we work together with Dr Mishra, a renowned specialist and author, who works with numerous excellent establishments in Europe and India. We offer a wide range of services, from pulse diagnosis to meditation, with individual packages available according to each guest’s needs or requests. But many guests who try it purely out of curiosity notice the good that good things can do.
Carmen Kohler has created a unique atmosphere at the Hotel Engel, where monks and fans of the Dolce Vita alike can enjoy a pleasant break. Bringing body, mind and breathing into harmony, Ayurveda in the Dolomites is an exciting invitation to learn the power of this healing art and philosophy of life.