Our Philosophy

A search for equilibrium, learning and the inner journey are at the heart of Vana. Reflecting on our first few years, we believe that we have achieved something unprecedented in wellbeing.

We strive for equilibrium and wellbeing that is whole, at times by going against the current. Our ambition is to make Vana a place of learning, where all who visit can contribute and share. Vana never intended to exclude; we want all to benefit from our commitment to transform. Vanavasis, team members and friends are invited to walk on the Vana journey with us.

Authentic traditions of wellness, medicine and wisdom have been brought together at Vana with creative thought, deep commitment and personalised support. These exist in spaces that are homage to nature and the sublime. Nourishing cuisine, experiences for all the senses and a kind-hearted team complete the offering that is Vana. Ayurveda, Sowa Rigpa and Yoga have been thoughtfully integrated, yet rooted in their individual authenticity. Vana believes that by aspiring to achieve our best spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual self, we can live life more wholesomely. Know more…


Vana Elements

The Vana logo and name are a homage to nature and the forest. Vana means ‘forest’ in Sanskrit and we take inspiration from its nourishing, nurturing and selfless qualities.

Vana Elements
The common threads woven through Vana are:

  1. Nature (BUTTERFLY)
    Generosity, equanimity, interdependence, compounded existence, impermanence
  2. Spaces (BEE)
    Harmony, coherence, beauty, provocation, community
  3. Team (BRANCHES)
    Effort, selflessness, wisdom, awareness, togetherness
  4. Life at Vana (LEAVES)
    Activity, learning, creativity, joy, just being
  5. Wellness (LOTUS)
    Knowledge, purity, deep roots, empathy, transformation
  6. Cuisine (MANGO)
    Nourishment, healing, inspiration, fun, diversity
  7. You (DOVE)
    Discovery, courage, faith, journey, equilibrium

VANA TREE


BENEFIT TO ALL

Vana exists to serve its Vanavasis, its Team, its growing community of Shishyas, its country and Nature. Everyone with whom our karma intersects and whose wellbeing we enhance in some way, becomes part of the Vana Family. Each of these relationships is different but equally important.  Know more…


VANA TRIBE

Indian wisdom says that this human era is the Kalyug – the degenerate age of downfall. Delusion, greed and confusion characterise this time. But this also presents an opportunity for the fearless seeker. To unravel the mind and transform emotion; the essence of spiritual practice. Some might not have the knowing to articulate this aspiration, but find themselves attracted to places, people or situations that give momentum to their inner journey. Others have the merit or wisdom to conscientiously choose such a path. Vana’s life vision is to be of service and enhance wellbeing and this is what we look for, when we search for a Vana team member. Skills, intelligence, experience and elegance are all desirable. But for us, human qualities and the right intention supersede conventional attributes.

In time, we hope to provide opportunities to Vanavasis and other members of the Vana Family to serve and give of themselves to others, through Vana’s activities.


Reverence to Nature

Humanity’s abuse of nature is rooted in certain misconceptions. First, that the earth, its resources and the beings on it were made for humans to exploit. Second, that nature must be conquered by science and its intelligence surpassed. Third, the perception that nature is outside of us, not that we are within it. These misconceptions lead to ignorance which breeds greed and ego, manifesting in uncontrolled exploitation and suffering, even within us.

At Vana, our starting point is different. We have always tried to keep our impact as limited as possible, taking from nature as mindfully as possible. We usually fall way short of our own ideal standards but that is not for lack of trying. Behind many of Vana’s stories, in fact at the foundation of its existence, is a reverence to nature. Come to Vana to explore and find out more.



Way of Vana

Please click here to know more about ‘Way of Vana’.


Sustainability

At Vana sustainability is a way of life. We are grateful for the environment we exist in, and what it provides us with.

Since the Retreat’s very conceptualisation, sensitivity to ecology has played an intrinsic role in our thinking. The Vana team strives at all times to create and maintain harmony between wellness and the natural world. With a gentle hand we cultivate an eco-friendly Retreat that not only aligns with, but also nourishes, the ecosystem that surrounds us.

Vana is especially conscious of energy optimisation, with special efforts put in place to manage water and waste as effectively as possible. Learn more about Vana’s ongoing initiatives below.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Vana has been designed to ensure that all guests practice an energy-efficient means of habitation while on retreat. In order to achieve this we carefully monitor our energy use in all spaces.

Vana achieved LEED Platinum status in 2015 making it India’s first retreat to have attained this standard of environmental design.

From the outset Vana was installed with 99% LED lighting to ensure maximum energy saving. Thanks to ‘Variable Frequency Drives’ on our motors, we regulate energy consumption to be as low-impact as possible. Energy use from our HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and plumbing systems are determined on a ‘Revolution Per Minute’ basis.

Our ‘In Com Control’ system detects whether the room is occupied through motion-sensors, ensuring that lighting and heating are only in use when the guests are in the room. Even at night outdoor lighting is kept to a bare minimum, both to create minimal disturbance to the nocturnal habitat and mindfully preserve energy.

WATER

Rainwater is harvested and our efficient water treatment plant ensures that the recycled water is then used for irrigation over Vana’s 21 acres; ensuring nature is nourished naturally, without extra consumption of resources. Thanks to specially designed faucets on our taps, wastage of water is minimal.

Having our own bottling plant further allows us to reduce the use of single use plastics by a 100,000 plastic bottles per year.

Through Solar heating we are able to heat a sizable amount of water at the retreat for consumption.

CUISINE

Cuisine at Vana connects many aspects of our philosophy. Nature and ecology are forever present in how the seasons and our supply chain influence menus.

Our emphasis is on the procurement of seasonal, local and indigenous produce, which allows us to develop a supply chain that is as sustainable as possible, working with a network of regional vendors.

As a rule we do not airfreight in any ingredients, instead prioritising local food products, occasionally bringing in (seasonal) food by road from certain regions of India.

The sourcing of ingredients is a streamlined thoughtful process, where only after numerous inspections at local farms by our chefs, and an understanding of their processes, we select our Cuisine partners. We support and develop small scale vendors who may otherwise resort to ‘shortcuts’ succumbing to financial pressures; working with them encourages them to keep up their best practices.

Packaged or canned food products are minimal; instead the emphasis is on making almost all our produce from scratch. We make our own version of classic cheeses like cheddar, feta, and haloumi with low sodium and without any preservatives. Also homemade are miso, kombucha, ghee, nut butters and paneer.

Our cuisine practices not only make the food healthier and more nutritious for our Vanavasis, but also reduces our carbon footprint.

CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

At Vana we practice conscious consumption. From the small to the large we ask in the process how every act can become more sustainable.

We are committed to textiles made only with natural fibres. Our guest clothing and team uniform is made from 100% cotton with no synthetic fibres. We responsibly source the cotton for our retreat attire from an organic cotton farm in South India that adheres to the highest organic standards. Likewise, all bed and bath linen are organic.

Our decision to use FSC-certified wood (bamboo flooring in all our rooms) and disposable cotton inner-wear is in line with our other efforts to lower our overall impact on the surroundings.

We use karess paper (100% post-consumer recycled paper) for all guest stationery and communication and encourage ‘use-one-tissue-at-a-time’ practice with gentle signage to discourage excess.

Green Seal-certified solvents help us minimise harm to the surrounding natural growth and fauna, hence leaving a milder impact on our environment.

Essential oils keep away insects and small creatures around the Retreat without causing them or their habitat any damage. With soy wax T-light candles and biodegradable garbage bags we create minimal stress on the environment.

Vana is maintained with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints and polish, making the space extremely low-risk for one’s health while renovating or conducting maintenance.

RECYCLING AND UPCYCLING

Recycling and upcycling are integral to daily life at Vana. Our practice of upcycling, for example, ensures that our linens are not discarded, but converted into durries. Any waste oils are transported for recycling to Bharat Oil. Our electronic waste is responsibly transported to the certified recycling centers in India. Acupuncture needles and other biohazard by-products are disposed next door at the Max hospital.

Vana is always striving to minimise its environmental impact. We welcome ongoing feedback on ways in which we can continue to improve.


Aesthetics

Vana’s design and every element within it were created with love. Each space and object was honoured by considering its mission to evoke wellbeing, be coherent with nature, respect ecology, endure and refrain from indulgence. Antonio and Tomeu Esteva, Veer Singh, Siraj Saxena and the Vana Team gave everything to manifest Vana as we know it. This emphasis on design continues and has become a source of learning and a practice of discipline at Vana.
Our approach to design was to take inspiration from nature and be in harmony with it. Some now describe Vana as being contemporary and its energy as special, even transformative. Vana never wished to align to a specific aesthetic identity, but its spirit and DNA are most certainly Indian, as is most of what you find at Vana.

It is our wish for the Retreat to appear as if arising from nature, existing quietly but vibrantly, together with many other creatures for whom Vana has become home.


BEHIND VANA

Vana and Vana Foundation manifest the intentions of its founder Veer Singh. We have always believed that the land where our Retreat exists, the place Vana calls home, is blessed. But it is only through countless hours of work and creative energy, matched equally by willpower and focus,that we have come to make a small positive imprint. This is the beginning of Vana’s journey, intertwined intimately with that of Veer’s and his dedicated and well-intentioned team.

Over these first few years our team members continue to uncover Vana’s real purpose while finding their own. Meanwhile Vana evolves from its aspiration to be of service and enhance wellbeing to being of benefit to all sentient beings and even aspiring for their enlightenment. As the Retreat slowly brings in more facets of life into its fold, our foundation aspires to revive Indian wisdom and India’s greatest gift to the world, the Buddha’s teachings.

The seed of Vana was sown in Veer’s mind through his deep interest and respect for farming, traditional wisdom and nature. Spheres that we continue to nurture within Vana and beyond through Vana Foundation. We aspire to put the Indian farmer at the heart of India’s society once again, to make India the beacon of light for spiritual wisdom and to provoke a rebirth of some of its most meaningful and elegant traditions.

Behind Vana is the generosity, guidance and blessings of its founding family, nature and the sublime Gurus whose kindness are a motivation to Veer and the Vana Team.

Vana has unflinchingly set course on a path less travelled, yet far reaching and necessary for these times.


WAY FORWARD

As Vana crossed its third birthday, we began to conceptualise a fuller palette of activity for the Retreat that would express Vana’s vision more holistically. Wellness has been our centrepiece, with cuisine, aesthetics, nature, music, art and human effort wrapped around it. Now, we wish to evolve to a new paradigm, where wisdom is both the foundation and the fruit, co-existing together with wellness, learning and giving.

The inner journey is the most challenging but essential aspect of one’s journey to greater wellbeing. In fact, it is beyond wellbeing, outside any definable references. As Vana, we cannot contrive someone’s journey beyond a point, but we can create opportunities through teachings, techniques, environment, people and resources. These must be rooted in the deepest wisdom traditions and offered only in their most authentic and undiluted form.  Know more…



FAQ


Careers and Internship

INTERNSHIP

Vana means forest, and we believe in the nurturing and nourishing qualities of nature. It is a Retreat that aspires to teach, learn, transform and create journeys for all. For our team, Vana is a way of life and not just a place of work. We see our efforts as an offering and guests an opportunity to be of service.

Vana seeks to transform the lives of all who form part of its journey. In turn, each member of the Vana Team is expected to commit to its vision and ideology and stay true to its purpose.

Our health systems and expertise so far known as ‘Seven Offerings’ have now come together under the umbrellas of Traditional Medicine and Complementary Therapies and Movement. This step will give us more focus and help build greater skills to deal with complex health issues.

At Vana, a nutritious culinary experience is vital. Our cuisine encourages guests and the team to view food differently, as an experience that delights, nourishes and heals. We believe in using local, seasonal, fresh and organic produce as much as possible and always source indigenous varieties.

With an objective to offer an opportunity to learn and transform through our various disciplines, we invite students for a 6-month internship in following areas:

  • Wellness
  • Awareness, Creatives and Engagement
  • Music
  • Aesthetics and Design
  • Information Technology
  • Finance
  • Human Capital
  • Cuisine
  • Housekeeping
  • Front Office
  • Food and Beverage Service
  • Horticulture
  • Engineering

VANA OFFERS THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS TO INTERNS:

  • Accommodation
  • Transport to Vana and back
  • Team dining
  • Access to the Team Gym and other team spaces
  • Participation in Team Wellbeing Activities such as Yoga, Raag Therapy, dance etc.

Internship offered will be either task or project based and are open to candidates of all educational backgrounds or who are still within a particular phase of their education.

SELECTION PROCESS:

  • Interview – Skype/In person

Those who have genuine interest may contact us at:
E [email protected] | M +91 8392 939525 | T +91 135 39 11111

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