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16 Sep

Martha Soffer, Hollywood’s Ayurveda Guru, Offers Home Cleanse –

At Surya Spa, Martha Soffer first sits clients right down to take their pulse and check their tongue. It’s quiet as you hold still in silence, awaiting her word. She’ll take notes and ask questions, decoding your bodily must guide your path. After which the magic happens.

The magic here is immersing yourself in Ayurveda to raised listen and take care of your mind and body. A holistic approach to mental and physical well-being, the practice is an ancient Indian medical system to treat diseases. Soffer has been offering Ayurveda for many years in Los Angeles, where she’s made a reputation for herself within the wellness community — and in Hollywood, attracting Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Kourtney Kardashian.

“Surya gets me to a spot of profound equilibrium and deep renewal,” Paltrow has said.

Meaning “knowledge of life” in Sanskrit, the language of Hinduism, Ayurveda embraces the interconnectedness between the body and life’s environments. It encompasses nutrition, massage, meditation and yoga, using a mixture of herbs, oils and other elements for a purification process, rejuvenation and, ultimately, long-term wellness.

Its principles are at the basis of many various therapies utilized in the West. But what Soffer has done is make it accessible in its entirety, teaching the basics while modernizing the experience. Her spa — which first opened within the Pacific Palisades — relocated to the Santa Monica Proper Hotel this 12 months. Luxurious yet homey, the three,000-square-foot space was designed by Kelly Wearstler, who filled it with warm hues, woods and stones.

“I try as much as I can to maintain the knowledge pure,” Soffer, an ayurvedic doctor, chef and herbalist, says of her approach at Surya Spa. “Ayurveda is so accessible, in case you take a book and check out to know, and even in case you take my course online.” (It’s 40 lessons for $125.)

Martha Soffer began offering Ayurveda in Los Angeles’ Pacific Palisades in 2004.

Courtesy of Surya Spa/Ian Flanigan

Soffer’s story starts in Colombia, where she was born and raised. Her introduction into wellness was through transcendental meditation in her 20s, while studying computer science in Iowa.

“It was winter, and I couldn’t imagine how cold it was,” she laughs. “The minute that I began meditating, my life totally switched from computers to spiritual things.”

There, she met someone that had just received an Ayurveda treatment.

“She had oil in her hair,” she went on. “I asked, ‘Why do you have got a lot oil in your hair?’ She said, ‘It is best to try one.’ So, I went and scheduled myself for a treatment. After which after that treatment, I used to be so guided to only do it….Coming from Colombia, the exchange of the cash and the whole lot was so expensive. But I used to be like, ‘I even have to do it.’”

She arrived within the Pacific Palisades after accepting a job at an Ayurveda clinic, which ended up closing. It was during that point that she met her husband, Roger, and the 2 opened Surya Spa. She attributes initial success to a bit within the L.A. Times.

“That article really took my whole business to a unique level,” she says.

With Roger, chief executive officer of Surya Spa, Soffer’s team grew to incorporate 16 therapists when she was at her former location. Now at The Proper, there are about 45 employees in total. She notes that employees must meet with an astrologer who makes a speciality of Jyotish, Vedic astrology, as a part of the hiring process.

“If that aligns with Surya, then they’ll work at Surya,” Soffer says.

The communal table within the kitchen at Surya Spa.

Courtesy of Surya Spa/Ian Flanigan

Treatments vary at Surya Spa, with every kind of therapies, scrubs, massages, in addition to classes. There’s a prenatal option, menopause relief — and a custom $695 glow treatment, which is popular with celebrities for award shows and brides before their weddings.

For visitors, the journey begins in a waiting room, cozy and relaxing, where they’re offered tea. “Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing: A Practical Guide,” by Dr. Vasant Lad lies on a table, giving a glimpse into the practice. Soon, they’re dropped at Soffer for a consultation. Personalized, no two experiences are the identical unless needed. With hour sessions at $345, Soffer provides lifestyle recommendations and food plan modifications.

“Food is medicine,” she continues.

The kitchen is the hub of the spa — open, with a communal table and rotation of chefs (and ayurvedic cooking classes). Through the morning hours, clients are served breakfast before their treatment, followed by lunch. 

“Everybody has a unique way of metabolizing food and taking things through the body,” Soffer explains, of individual needs.

The correct seasonal foods provide an important nutrients and create for higher digestion, minimizing inflammation (known to contribute to diseases and health conditions). For some, a dietary change — shared throughout the consultation — is the preparation needed to start the Surya Spa experience and permit for the most precious visit.

Treatments on the spa include the signature three- to 28-day “panchakarma” retreat, a detox that helps balance the mind and body while promoting weight reduction. It starts at $6,530 for 3 days, including accommodations, 3.5- to four-hour each day treatments, time with Soffer, private sound healing, “qigong” (involving body posture, movement, respiratory and meditation) and a “dosha” yoga class (a mind-body practice). The three “doshas” — governing principles of the body in Ayurveda — are “vata” (space and air), “pitta” (fire and water) and “kapha” (earth and water). We’re certainly one of these “doshas,” or a mixture of them.

“The experience is a lot about love and making the person feel like they’re within the womb again,” she says of treatments.

Soffer also offers a guided at-home option, a five-day “panchakarma” cleanse kit, for $125.

Surya Spa offers kitchen spices and sweetness products, sold direct-to-consumer and at Neiman Marcus.

Courtesy of Surya Spa/Ian Flanigan

“The concept is that it covers the fee for us to make the whole lot,” she explains. It includes an instructional PDF, in addition to how-to videos on massaging your individual body. It’s a part of her mission to make Ayurveda more accessible.

“I need to get to everyone,” she says. “That’s why I made a decision to do the house prep.”

The five-day cleanse includes starting the day with ghee (clarified butter) and, on the last day, drinking castor oil (a stimulant laxative).

The massage, following the cleanse, helps create higher flow in your body. In the long run, impurities in your body are flowed into your digestive tract and eliminated.

“We’re exposed to so many toxins, especially today, not only through food, but additionally to environmental toxins,” she says.

“When your body moves, the cells begin to work so a lot better, in order that’s why it’s vital to do that every change of the season,” she says of “panchakarma,” really helpful 4 times a 12 months. “It rejuvenates your body.”

Those that are in a position to visit the spa can experience its signature four-handed massage with warm oils, often known as Abhyanga. It’s $325 for 60 minutes, with two therapists mirroring one another as they repeat movements head-to-toe, from the scalp to the soles of the feet.

Or, for a taste of “panchakarma,” one can book a four-hour, one-day experience — with treatments and oils personalized based on diagnosis from a photograph of your tongue and any health concerns you raise — for $885.

Surya Spa’s “Almond Banana Walnut” loaf is amongst its breads sold at Erewhon (2 oz for $4.99 or 16 oz for $17.99).

Courtesy of Surya Spa/Ian Flanigan

The products used are her own; Surya Spa can be a brand, creating beauty goods sold direct-to-consumer at suryawellness.com and Neiman Marcus. (The face oil, collagen cream, bath soak and custom oils used during treatments can be found to take home as a part of the three-day retreat, as well.) They’re amongst the very best quality available on the market, with Soffer involved in every step of the method working with a lab in Florida.

“The product has been certainly one of the things that I’ve been putting loads of attention on and keeping it pure,” she says. Prices range range from $23 for a “Lip Therapy” to $195 for the “Collagen Cream.” “I feel I can get to more those that way, through the product.”

She also creates spices and gluten-free breads, available at Erewhon.

“I need people to find out about Ayurveda — applying Ayurveda to your life and see how much it will possibly change your consciousness, your body, your lifestyle,” Soffer says. “Because when you apply that lifestyle to your life, then the whole lot just starts working so a lot better in every way.”

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