SOMETIMES WE NEED more than just a standard holiday to really undo the damage of 40-hour work weeks, smartphone addiction and take-out food. Bali makes for a great island vacation but, if you really want to get away from it all, go one step further and enrol in one of the island's many wellness programmes.
It makes sense that the “island of the gods” offers many different ways of healing body and soul. Retreats, which range from the spiritual to the more physical, give you the opportunity really to commit for a few days to some selfbetterment. For some, a yoga programme is one way to learn to centre yourself in the present, focus and meditate. Others might take the time to delve into ancient healing methods and learn to better themselves from within. For those who are more active, a mix of physical activity and relaxation is another option. Whichever way you choose, with the backdrop of Bali's island paradise you are guaranteed natural beauty, fresh air and – most importantly – the time to focus on you.
For yoga enthusiasts looking for something new, Magnify Your Light is bringing naam yoga to Asia for the first time with the 7 Days retreat starting November 1. Combining breathing techniques, sound and vocal vibrations, yogic movement, mudra therapy (hand postures) and kabbalah wisdom, naam is a deeply rejuvenating practice that balances the body's internal systems (such as digestive and nervous functions), encourages natural healing and increases mental clarity, memory and overall confidence. On the spiritual side, it's a practice designed to make people more aware of their negative tendencies and help them move towards a more positive mind-set.
During the retreat, participants begin each day with a therapeutic shakti naam yoga class and end each day with a restorative healing meditation session. Throughout the seven days, participants have the opportunity to learn more about universal kabbalah – one of naam yoga's driving principles – and learn more about themselves and their connection to nature. They also take part in activities such as the sacred sharing circle. The retreat is held at Bagus Jati, a premier health and well-being retreat that covers five acres in the hills of Ubud and features organic gardens and a gourmet restaurant.
For something a bit more active, Escape Haven offers week-long surf and yoga retreats to ladies looking to expand their minds and tone their bodies. Founder Janine Hall says, “Surfing or fitness retreats are about being active and challenging yourself in an active way. They allow you to push through your comfort zone, gaining in confidence by doing this and also to get in shape fast while having tons of fun.” She adds: “Water is known to have healing properties. When our guests are out on the water doing water sports, all the things that they thought were important cease to be [so]. The mind quiets down and relaxes, providing a good place to gain perspective. The number of women who have come away from our surfing holiday with a new plan, outlook on life and sparkle is huge.”
Retreats can be booked any time of the year and include personal training assessments and sessions, two yoga classes, three hours of sports massage and three wellness activities to complement your fitness programme, which can range from paddle boarding to spa sessions to Pilates to cooking. Healthy detox food is included in the package and one “indulge and ignite day” means guests can choose to do cooking classes, an Eco Cycling Tour north of Seminyak or a day on a private beach. Accommodation is included along with a round-the-clock butler service and hotel-to-airport transfers. After you have surfed your way to a better state of mind, there is also a personalised take-home programme so as not to undo all your hard work.
If you're looking to venture a little further afield from Bali, a private one-hour air transfer will take you to the relatively untouched island of Sumba, where Legacy Retreat is holding a five-day programme at Nihiwatu resort from October 31 to November 4. Designed to give participants a break from the noise of daily life, the programme aims to balance the mind, body, emotions and spirit through workshops, detox, restorative exercise, hiking and meditation.
Legacy Retreat is based on four guiding fundamentals: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and body. With the intellectual component, guests learn about their individual strengths and weaknesses and learn to break out of self-defeating habits. For the emotional component, coaches and psychotherapists work with participants to help them understand the underlying emotions of their actions and learn techniques for emotional healing. With the spiritual component, participants learn to be comfortable in their own skin and to connect with inner stillness through meditation and breathing techniques. And through body, participants learn about balance and well-being on a physical level.
The programme incorporates luxurious living arrangements and healthy food prepared with the island's wonderfully fresh ingredients. With both the body and mind rested, it's a great way to recharge and re-energise before heading back to reality.