Located in the heart of Auroville, Arka, a holistic centre on wellness, offers an atmosphere to Aurovilians and other guests to continually progress unhindered by the perils of the aging body. Inspired by the words of The Mother, Arka is a research centre to identify and meet the needs of the body by providing an ecosystem for them to continue to blossom through activities designed to meet their physical and psychological needs.
What is ARKA?
Meaning ‘ray of light’ in Sanskrit, ARKA is a holistic centre providing an environment for individuals to dedicate themselves to engineering their inner being while sustaining a healthy, balanced and harmonious lifestyle.
Arka aspires to provide a haven where one can be healthy and active as long as possible, carefree of age-related physical challenges, by postponing and preventing the need for specialised medical care through its various activities. It aims to discover through experience, the needs of the body as it ages and to develop an ecosystem where the Mother’s thoughts on eternal youth could be implemented.
Individuals are thus enabled to focus their energy on areas they wish to and progress by participation in activities like art, music, writing etc and spur them to lead an active, integral life.
“Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages” – The Mother (The Auroville Charter)
The spiritual foundation of Arka is based on the Charter of Auroville and the Mother’s ideal on youth and aging - “Progress is youth”. ARKA aspires to cater to the physical and psychological needs of individuals who wish to live in a communal and protected environment while remaining active and useful within the community. It believes that keeping people active, physically and mentally healthy is one of the main keys to a life of well-being, happiness and of staying young. According to the Mother, ‘One can also teach the body that there is almost no limit to its growth in capacities or its progress, provided that one discovers the true method and the right conditioning.’ This is what Arka envisions – to provide an environment to teach the body to progress and to thus remain eternally young.
"Youth does not depend on the small number of years one has lived, but on the capacity to grow and progress. To grow is to increase one’s potentialities, one’s capacities; to progress is to make constantly more perfect the capacities that one already possess."
- The Mother (On Education)
ARKA believes that the physical age should not prevent one from considering oneself young and restrict their growth in all planes.
In this direction Arka aspires to:
· Identify the needs of the body and mind as it ages and provide customised individual solutions within a general framework.
· To moderate continual active engagement of Aurovilians and guests of all ages thereby avoiding isolation due to age.
· To provide an atmosphere for activities that promote healing thus facilitating the inmates to sustain a positive attitude towards life.
· To provide scope for educational opportunities for the rural women and young adults employed by Arka.
- A holistic centre that aims to foster health, growth and progress on all levels — the key to remaining young regardless of one’s age.
- An atmosphere to integrate all ages so all can benefit from the contact and exchange opportunities provided
ARKA offers a place of interaction and activity of “unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages” by harmoniously synchronising the body and mind.
Inspired by the words of The Mother, Arka aims to serve as a medium where individuals shed their inhibitions due to physical ageing and are nurtured into rejuvenating their blossoming period of life by an active and continual engagement with society. It presents facilities for personal physical and spiritual growth and provides an opportunity for them to use their gathered experience and knowledge and put one’s energy towards exactly what one chooses.
“In Hathayoga the instrument is the body and life. All the power of the body is stilled, collected, purified, heightened, concentrated to its utmost limits or beyond any limits by Asana and other physical processes; the power of the life to is similarly purified, heightened, concentrated by Asana and Pranayama. This concentration of powers is then directed towards that physical centre in which the divine consciousness sits concealed in the human body.” – Sri Aurobindo
Arka helps individuals explore and dive deeper into themselves and continue to shape their inner being with the greatest possible freedom in an atmosphere of care, support and freedom.
ARKA offers a self-sufficient, multipurpose space for individuals to bloom and freely shape their internal organisation, according to their individual needs and aspirations. With a built-up area of 2500 sqm, ARKA houses a wellness centre, guest house and a healthy kitchen facility.
Healthy home-grown food and an eco-friendly environment is provided to maintain a healthy physical body. Recycled wastewater for gardening and solar panels add to the sustainability at Arka. Great consideration is given to the ageing bodies with specially designed international quality equipment being installed in the bath and shower areas for the safety of the seniors. Doors and walkways with ramps are designed to accommodate wheelchair access.
The internet centre and library provide access to its inmates to all forms of information. Located at the heart of Auroville, ARKA has easy access to the Residential area and opens out into the main road which encircles the city centre of the township.
While Arka focuses on providing an environment to meet the physical and mental needs of senior Aurovilians, the services are open to all. Along these lines, many services and activities at ARKA facilitates a seamless experience for its ‘youth who never age’.
Wellness centre: The various therapies and classes offered at the Wellness centre aim to offer a healing experience to all. Specific therapies like Osteothai, Shiatsu, Foot reflexology, Ayurvedic marma massage, Chinese Amno, Chinese fire cupping, Garshana with wool and silk gloves, moxibustion therapy are just a few of the global therapeutic interventions offered at Arka Wellness Centre. In addition, beauty treatments like facials, waxing and threading, manicure and pedicure, hairdressing services are also provided to cater to the needs of those interested. In addition to the therapies, regular classes on Iyengar Yoga, Pilates and Acro Yoga are offered to individuals or small groups to facilitate a healthy way of life by regular practise of these forms of physical exercises. These activities offered at Arka help foster self-expression and creativity and provide enjoyment and stimulation for renewal to the spirit.
Guest House: Accommodation facilities for those inclined to spend some time rejuvenating themselves at Arka is provided. Well-furnished rooms, Cottages and Apartments with the provision of kitchenette facilities are available for guests. Named after flowers, these rooms capture the essence of an ideal, spacious living space in close communion with nature.
Kitchen facilities: Arka Kitchen caters to the needs of guests by providing simple, wholesome healthy meals for breakfast and lunch on prior booking. This service currently available for Aurovilians and Auroville Guest Card users only would be open to the general public soon.
Multipurpose hall space: Arka has a multipurpose hall that can be used for hosting small events upon prior booking.
A library and computer centre with an internet facility help the seniors remain connected with the outside.
The roots of Arka can be traced to an ardent devotee of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, by the same name. He was a regular at the Ashram and after his demise, his wife Ginevra and a long term Aurovilian Maria Grazia aspired to create something in his memory aligning with the vision of Auroville. In this quest, a need was felt to attend to the requirements of the steadily increasing numbers of seniors in the community. Mobility of the aged was reduced significantly due to the rough roads and spread out civic amenities, resulting in feelings of isolation. A focus on providing them with the lifestyle and environment to continue to grow and progress while adjusting to the physical and psychological changes accompanying ageing was needed. A two-acre plot with walking access to Matrimandir was chosen for this project managed by an experienced Aurovilian Krishnan Myer under Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Educational Research (SAIIER). Arka thus shaped up as an innovative social research project to redefine ageing as described by The Mother. Over the years, Arka evolved into a holistic centre to cater to the physical and psychological needs of not just the elderly but of all age groups in Auroville.
- SAVI registered volunteers who would like to explore Wellness, Gardening, Health Food or Hospitality can reach out to Arka at firstname.lastname@example.org
- To join Arka’s administration, Kitchen, Wellness centre: Email: email@example.com
- To book Wellness services or to conduct an event at Arka: https://arka.auroville.org/contact-us/
- Stay in Arka Guest House: book rooms at https://guesthouses.auroville.org/arka-guest-house-2/
- Book meals at Arka Kitchen (Only for Aurovilians/Auroville Guest Card users; One-day advance booking needed): +91 (0) 413 2623799
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Based on the goals of an ideal futuristic society envisioned by The Mother, where individual worth is more important, Auroville Health Fund being one of the bedrock services of Auroville, offers an in-house cooperative insurance scheme system for the collective health care of Aurovilians and helps them to manage the cost of their medical needs.