One of the hardest parts about moving to a new city is that you no longer have your trusted go-to places and people for all of the different services and errands in your life. It takes a long time to trial, review, and determine which places will be your places. I was so settled in the states. I had my dry cleaner and tailor (Ju), my jeweler (Kurt), my facialist (Lisa), my hairdresser (Jesse), my nail girl (Mia), my housecleaner (Linda)…and I’m not going to even get into my trusted healthcare team. The point is, it took a lot of time to piece together the group of people that I could trust with my belongings and my body, but also connect with enough on a personal level to be able to endure a long-term relationship. The idea of doing it all over again scared the shit out of me.
But, sometimes in life you have to. So here I am again, finding my new places. It’s exhausting, but still fun (just as long as I don’t end up with green hair or high-water pants). And thank goodness now, a year and a half later, I can check finding a new facial place off my list.
That one was a tough one for me. Partially because I had such a great relationship with Lisa. She became my friend. I trusted her, she relaxed and soothed me on bad days, and even went to my bridal shower. She was such a beautiful and therapeutic person that I couldn’t imagine replacing her. And maybe even felt a little guilty trying to. But after the stress and hormones of moving, combined with the dirty, diesel-filled London air, I knew I had to. I tried a few places, but have settled on Jivita Ayurveda in Kensal Rise.
Jivita Ayurveda was not that difficult for me to find. I knew I wanted an Ayurvedic spa, which can be hard to come by. I googled Ayurvedic spas in West London, and they were pretty much the only option. Ayurvedic medicine is a type of alternative medicine found in India. You can get really deep into the concepts, figuring out your doshas and how to balance them with food and treatments, or, be like me, and just want to stop putting chemicals into or onto your body. I find the whole practice fascinating and love listening to the Jivita therapist or the great Deepak Chopra talk about how you can take care of yourself with what the earth has to offer. But, I know myself enough to realize that I will use coconut oil year-round to shave my legs. I will not be able to remember that Vatas should use sesame oil in the spring but return to coconut oil in the winter only after adding sunflower oil for the month of September. It’s not just like that, but you get the idea that I wouldn’t be able to keep track. So, whatever version of Ayurvedic supporter you are, you have a place at Jivita.
The people at Jivita Ayurveda are friendly, peaceful, and soothing. It almost feels unnatural for the spa to be located on Chamberlayne Road. The main road leading up to and through Kensal Rise is so congested with traffic, people, and construction. There are people spilling out of the tube station, waiting for buses, pushing designer strollers, just scrambling everywhere, that it’s not exactly the most zen part of London. It’s nice to be able to step off of that street and into such a calming environment.
The spa is small. The front acts as a little organic grocery store. There aren’t too many options for organic foods and vitamins in this country, with the selections at the large grocery stores being non-existent, so every little shop helps. I also love Pai, the all-natural skincare range they sell.
But in the back of the establishment is where you want to be. In the back, there’s a small, cozy treatment room where I enjoy a facial once or twice a month. During that time, Anu, the therapist/owner, provides expert nutrition and skincare advice while delivering a top-notch facial complete with extractions and an amazing(!) massage. The entire experience is relaxing and I always leave there feeling great.
After having searched for some time in both countries, I find it is so much better to support someone’s passion by choosing to frequent a small business. You usually get a higher quality, more personalized experience than you would at a chain spa, that has, perhaps, higher turnover and less enthusiasm. Jivita Ayurveda is that personalized, quality experience. On top of that, it has reasonable prices that really are worth every penny. It is definitely worth a try, especially if you are like I was, on the hunt for your place in your new city.
89 Chamberlayne Road
London NW10 3ND