V Integrated Wellness (VIW) @ The Andaman, Langkawi – yoga retreats, fitness & body-mind classes, healthy cuisine, spa

The general consensus of this island is cheap beers, nice beaches and a laid-back village vibe.

For those with deep pockets, a few outstanding resorts here would fit the bill for a delightful family holiday or for a fun friends’ getaway, as a couple’s love haven or as a refuge for those seeking time away from city.

Somehow Langkawi isn’t the first destination that comes to mind for those in pursuit of a retreat that is focused on wellness and fitness.
Part of the reason could be due to the fact that not many resorts advocates the wellbeing and health aspect but focuses instead on the food, fun beach activities, family holidays and spas experiences, which is the norm for any island resort.
To many a vacation means letting the hair down and play, relax, eat and enjoy. Who count calories on vacation anyways?

Well, right and wrong.
With the current surge of interest in clean eating, fitness and general well-being both in Malaysia and abroad, there are an increased amount of discerning travellers who travel in search of specific wellness retreats, be it yoga or some form of natural healing therapy.
Staunch ones might even pick one resort over the other based on the wellness facilities.
I have a number of friends who are business travellers and they admit that generally they would opt for a hotel with longer gym opening hours or with the availability of a pool over those without.

I was in Langkawi recently, and stayed at the Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort under the Starwood brand.
The V Integrated Wellness philosophy, the yoga master, the fitness trainer and the overall resort’s commitment to wellness and holistic therapies caught my interest as it offers an entire different experience from my other travels.

The good news is, the Andaman Langkawi will be leveraging more on its current resources to promote their holistic therapies this 2015, which I think is a timely and marvellous move.

For a start, the resort is flanked by the pristine Datai Bay and an ancient 10 million year old rainforest teeming with exotic flora and fauna, offering a natural setting for all pampering indulgence, amidst the healing properties of nature.

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In terms of resources, the Andaman Langkawi has it all; a modern & equipped fitness centre, an open-air spa with captivating views, yoga decks, large pools, a pristine beach for watersports or beach activities and a comprehensive dining menu that caters for gluten-free, vegan, raw and wholesome diets.
In other words, all resources are in place for the guest to explore all aspects of their inner and outer self as they follow the path to physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual wellness.

While physical assets provide the means for such functional health and fitness programmes, I’m of opinion that it is the passionate people who runs the show that truly makes a difference.

Chef Fahdrul ( Executive Chef) has done a fantastic job in crafting the menu and that includes the V Healthy Cuisine which offers the freshest ingredients to create the wholesome yet a palatable menu I see today.
I ordered quite a selection from the menu and have only high praises for the dishes I sampled.

The Restaurant, Andaman Langkawi

There are 6 dining options available in the resort, open to both guests and the public.
Each establishment offers its own specialties but The Restaurant is the main outlet that offers daily buffet breakfast and an ala-carte menu for all-day dining.

  1. Jala Restaurant
  2. Tepian Laut
  3. Beach Bar
  4. The Japanese Restaurant
  5. Jentayu Lounge
  6. The Restaurant
  7. Private Dining / Beach Dinners – In-room 24-hour dining OR private beach dining for two to six guests near the bonfire.

The Restaurant menu is wide-ranging and it includes a specific menu for V Healthy Cuisine. For each section, the menu is further classified to vegan, gluten-free, raw, etc.

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy food menu-004

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- gluten free menu

For one of my meals here I had 3 appetisers, 2 mains and a raw dessert that sounded simple but turned out refreshingly pleasant; the Watermelon & Papaya Mille-Feuille with Coconut Snow (RM21) – *RAW.

Grilled Teppanyaki Tofu with Bean Sprout & Garlic Soy (RM29).
Steamed Asparagus – fava beans, tomatoes, rocket salad (RM29).
Japanese Rice Roll with a trio of seaweed with special plum dressing (RM24).

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy food menu-005

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy salad

A steak and the intriguing “Grilled Salmon – pomelo herb quinoa, avocado soymilk sauce”, which the sides shone more than the main component, as the fish was a tad dry.
The steak was fantastic though.  

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy food menu-001

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy food menu-002

Our raw dessert: Watermelon & Papaya Mille-Feuille with Coconut Snow (RM21).

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy food menu-003

Fresh juices and smoothies are available for order too!

The Restaurant - Andaman Langkawi- healthy juices

That was just an idea of the V Healthy Cuisine menu.
For the meals I’ve had at Tepian, Jala and The Japanese, I’ll be featuring them in a separate post.

While the V Healthy Cuisine menu is primarily for The Restaurant, every restaurant within the resort offers alternative options for the health conscious. Should you require any personal requests the obliging kitchen team will be at hand to assist, so just ask! 🙂

Moving on, I met up with the resident Yoga Master for V-Integrated Wellness at the Andaman, Ekraj Gajurel, who hails from the divine land of Nepal.
Ekraj is trained in Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine, from Natural Health Research and Teaching Hospital Kathmandu.

ekraj yoga master andaman

While qualifications is paramount to some, I place more trust in personality and experience.
Ekraj and I got acquainted over a Stress Management Score emWave session on my first day in The Andaman. The result of the test didn’t tell me anything new.

I am stressed. Perpetually hung up with too many things going through my mind at all times.
But to me it has become a way of life; a setback of being a social content provider, and having low tolerance for bullshit.
Thus I can annoyed easily, particularly with incompetent people, which seems to be just about everyone. 😛

How did this results came about?
This emWave device uses a combination of non-invasive advanced technology that reflects heart-brain interaction and autonomic nervous system dynamics, which are particularly sensitive to changes in your emotional state.
This HRV (heart rate variability) analysis is used to objectively monitors your heart rhythms and confirms your
physiological level of coherence.

We want to be in a state of coherence where relaxation and revitalization c0-exist. With practise via this technology, you learn how to shift into coherence at will, and readily see and experience changes in your heart rhythm patterns as you practice the Quick Coherence technique.

How does the emWave works?

It is a software.
To use it, you would have to connect the ear sensor cable to the USB module and plug it into an available USB port on your computer.
Then clip the ear sensor to your earlobe. Reposition the sensor to get accurate pulse detection if you have to.
The ear sensor should be attached directly to your earlobe. The ear sensor detects your pulse easily if your ear is warm.

Andaman - YOGA

Once the ear sensor is in place, Ekraj began the program by activating the software.
From the sensor, the emWave calibrate my pulse and the corresponding screen on his laptop showed my heart rhythm pattern.

Once the application has finished calibrating, the lower half of the screen will change and show my Accumulated Coherence Score and Coherence Ratio (check out the graph as above).

He then proceeded to analyse and explain to me my results.
I do not want to get too technical here so if you are interested to learn more about the Accumulated Coherence Score you can go to the online support site at http://support.emwave.com.

In short, the result of the test gave Ekraj an idea of my emotional state; which assisted him in understanding my well-being.
The emWave also helps to improve your Coherence state via practicing The Quick Coherence® technique, which is available on the software itself.
This test can be taken at The Andaman’s V Integrated Wellness centre for RM55.

ANDAMAN - yoga, fitness1

Just before I depart from The Andaman Ekraj and I spent some time on the yoga platform, half hidden in the jungle and half serenaded by the sound of sea waves and breeze and practised some breathing techniques.
He also dispersed valuable advice on meditation and key stretching forms that would help me in my posture as well as to manage my stress levels.

The above is an example of how Ekraj works with a guest for any of the wide range of holistic and integrated treatments here at The Andaman.
He will discuss with guests on their needs and create an individually tailored lesson according to their constitution and requirements.
These sessions aim to assist one develop strength, flexibility and balance while reducing stress by enhancing mental awareness to achieve inner peace.


On the other hand, Jonathan and I had fun trying out almost every equipment there is in the V Fitness Centre and burned some calories in the process.

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi-006

Jonathan is a certified trainer from the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Now, ACE trainers are a dime a dozen. However after a session and a chat over breakfast I found Jonathan more than equipped in ensuring that your wellness holiday objectives are achieved.

andaman langkawi - the gym v fitness -001

His forte lies in some of the programmes which include boot camps, body building and fatloss regimes.
You can enjoy his undivided attention via one-on-one sessions or opt for a couple session if you have an active spouse or a like-minded best friend or sibling.

For thrills, choose the V Boot Camp where you will rough it out on the beach and push yourself through circuit, core, cardio & weight routines. For the weight conscious “Go Fatless with V Fitness cardio exercise “Treatment” where you could lose up to 1 kg in just 45 minutes.

For seasoned athletes, I’ll recommend Athlete’s Special, designed to shock your system from its plateau. This includes a Athlete’s Massage designed to support your workout by reducing recovery time and injury.
A Chi Nei Tsang followed after to stimulate the intestines, abolish toxins, improve digestion and metabolism as well as to revitalize the whole being.

In a nutshell, there is something for everyone; from aspiring beginners to the fitness veteran.

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V Fitness is one of the most well-equipped gym I’ve seen for a long time over the years of my travels. This is coming from someone who travels pretty frequently and would check out the gym whenever there is one in a hotel (5 stars).

There is a dedicated Spinning Studio with 7 bikes, a Big Movement Studio for yoga and fitness sessions as well as a Glass Studio for their Kinesis machine.
TechnoGym equipment are used here and that includes 2 treadmills, a stationary bike, 1 Elliptical Trainer, 1 Cross Trainer, 1 multifunction machine for lower and upper body as well as a complete range of free weights and bars.
That isn’t a number you see in most resorts or hotels, where the common standard is a single multipart machine with some free weights and treadmills.

andaman langkawi - the gym v fitness

Below: The Glass Studio.

kinesis machine glass studio - andaman langkawi

BELOW: The Spinning Studio.

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi-008

I did a 60 min Kinesis Training with Jonathan. Over our chat I found out that he has been training guests at The Andaman for 8 years!
What is this hunky guy doing hidden in the jungle for 8 years?? 😛

But I digress.

The Kinesis machine is designed for resistance exercise programs and unlike traditional weighted cable equipment, this machine provides free movement, which proves to be more challenging for a workout as you would need to be more focused on your form & in keeping both limbs aligned in every exercise.
The primary targets of Kinesis include core strength, body strength and endurance.

I truly enjoyed the workout & it helps that Jonathan is very enthusiastic, knowledgeable & strict on proper form.
Seeing that I’m not quite a beginner, he adroitly adapted the session and increased weights/resistance to ensure that I truly worked my muscles.

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi-001

kinesis machine - andaman langkawi

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi-002

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi

Oh, I did a full body analysis as well and would encourage all guests to have their readings taken.
I know I’m slim, but to know my exact fat percentage and muscle mass was encouragement to my progress. I have a better idea of areas to focus and improve on.

fitness personal training classes - andaman langkawi-003

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis or BIA is considered one of the most reliable and accessible methods of screening body fat.
Tanita’s monitor looks just like a bathroom scale. A person inputs age, gender and height, then steps onto the platform. Electrodes in the foot sensor pads send a low, safe signal through the body. Weight is calculated automatically along with body fat content in less than a minute.

fitness personal training classes - andaman langkawi-004

Here is my result:

fitness personal training classes - andaman langkawi-006

Based on the above, I’m officially underweight by 7kgs, has only 20.4% of bodyfat and in possession of the metabolic age of a 19 year old. Yay! 😀
More readings: 
43.2 kg: (ideal is 50.2 kg)
20.4 % body fat : (Desirable range is 21 – 34.9%)
Visceral fat : 1 (1-12 is healthy, >13 is unhealthy)
BMI : 18.9 (low, ideal for women is 24 or so)
Degree of obesity : – 13.9 %

How to read the result:

fitness personal training classes - andaman langkawi-005

Besides the Kinesis training we went on to use the other equipments for a variety of exercises until I was satisfied I had a great workout that day.

kinesis machine - andaman langkawi-001

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi-003

Almost there, almost there!

fitness personal training classes - andaman langkawi-002

fitness personal training classes - andaman langkawi-007

V Integrated Wellness - v fitness - andaman langkawi-005



V Integrated Wellness (VIW) by The Andaman, Langkawi :
VIW is dedicated to providing holistic therapies, fitness & body-mind classes, healthy cuisine, educational & lifestyle programs & spa treatments.
So expect:
1. V Cuisine – An extensive wholesome menu which inclusive of RAW, gluten-free, vegan options
2. A V Botanical spa dedicated to treatments using natural ingredients
3. A V salon for your hair, nails, face, etc beauty needs
4. V Fitness (as posted above of my training with Jonathan )
5. Stars Platform for Sunrise Yoga & Sunset Meditation
6. V Retreats – hosting visiting gurus & masters on yoga, holistic healing

Does this look like something that resonates with you?
If yes, then you can look into these pampering packages which are valid from now until 19 December 2015:

V Detox Program:
This intensive five-day detox program utilises specially selected herbal products to purify the body and imbue a positive flow of energy. It is designed meticulously to improve organ function and boost metabolism for a heightened sense of wellbeing.

Reserve now to enjoy:
• Welcome drinks upon arrival
• Daily buffet breakfast for 1 or 2 persons
• Complimentary wireless internet access
• Daily V Healthy Cuisine three course set lunch and dinner with one juice
• Detoxifying Neroli Cypress Bathing
• Chi Nei Tsang Massage
• Detox Hair Treatment
• Holistic Gemstone Facial

**Priced from MYR1,550 nett per room per night for single occupancy and MYR2250 nett per room per night for double occupancy in a Deluxe Rainforest room for a minimum stay of four nights.
The offer is valid for immediate bookings for stays until December 19, 2015.

V Deep Relaxation:
A restorative journey awaits as head to toe luxury pampering will re-establish the inner body glow and restore harmony. The deeply relaxing treatments are the perfect antidote to the stresses of everyday life.

Reserve now to enjoy:
• Welcome drinks upon arrival
• Daily buffet breakfast for 1 or 2 persons
• Complimentary wireless Internet access
• Daily V Healthy Cuisine three course set lunch and dinner with one juice
• Isla Das Rocas – Ocean Scrub
• Tangerine Fig Butter Wrap
• Chakra Balancing Massage
• Chi Foot Reflexology

**Priced from MYR1,550 nett per room per night for single occupancy and MYR2250 nett per room per night for double occupancy in a Deluxe Rainforest room for a minimum stay of four nights.
The offer is valid for immediate bookings for stays until December 19, 2015.

For more information or to book an exclusive package, please visit www.theandaman.com or contact the resort on +604-959-1088 or email: [email protected].

Otherwise, take it free and easy like I did, and see Jonathan and Ekraj everyday for different workouts!
Guests are entitled to a variety if complimentary group activities conducted on the Stars platform or in the Movement and Spinning Studio. A schedule of available classes is available in your room. 🙂

All in all, for those seeking a mind & body & soul retreat within Malaysia, The Andaman fits the bill perfectly.

beach swim run- andaman langkawi-004

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The Andaman
A Luxury Collection Resort,
Jalan Teluk Datai, 07000 Langkawi
+60 4-959 1088

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sean EDKL

    the Watermelon & Papaya Mille-Feuille with Coconut Snow looks and sounds like the perfect refreshment … great use of local fruits too! 😀 also love the first pic of you enjoying the sea!

    1. Rebecca Saw

      Thanks Sean! I was having fun – the water is warm and clean! 😀
      And yup, that dessert sounds simple, but works so well. I wouldn’t have thought of it making it this way!

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