Every time I walk off the plane at Denpasar airport and take in the unique scent of the incense-laden air here in Bali, I know I’ve come home to a place of my heart. From the very first time I set foot in Ubud, I knew there was something magical about this place and even though I have been back dozens of times now, that magic has not diminished.
I’ve run healing retreats in many locations around Australia and they all have their own natural beauty and individual benefits. But nowhere in Australia is the environment as conducive to healing, as it is here in Bali. Part of my detoxification program is to not just work on cleansing the physical body, but it is to take people deeper into an experience of themselves; to release emotions and trauma that may have been impacting someone for years if not decades; to create a space where someone can gain insight, clarity and awareness into their life direction, and find the support and courage to change it if that is what is needed. Nowhere have I found that entire process more gently and holistically supported than in Bali.
Ubud is a melting pot of some of the best healers and experts in their field from all over the world. As ex-pats have come into the area, they have bought with them their knowledge and skills in the healing arts, and Ubud has grown into a mecca of holistic healing. For someone who has been in this field for a long time, it is like coming home to my tribe. The ease with which not only a healthy lifestyle can be lived, but one that can advance healing to a very deep level, is just a part of what is done here.
I can walk into several cafe’s in Ubud and purchase off the shelf, fermented coconut water, local turmeric, coconut and honey elixirs, kombucha in a variety of flavours, I can have a superfood smoothie with maca, raw cacao, spirulina and coconut almost anywhere, freshly pressed juices are a standard, and if I want to head to Seeds Of Life and stock up on the most potent medicinal herbal teas- well Ben’s cafe is right in the middle of town and has an incredible array of tonics. The food is abundant and the amount of raw vegan cafe’s within a very small area means that Ubud is a health-food-lovers paradise. From salad bowls at Alchemy where you can choose from a huge variety of ingredients to fill up your Budha bowl such as a sea vegetables, fermented foods, sprouts, dehydrated nuts and seeds and shredded coconut to name just a few; to Clear Cafe where they have the most outstanding raw vegan menu that includes living pizza and the most divine list of juices and smoothies you could imagine. It is accessible, easy and delicious to eat well, with stunning tropical fruits always on offer and coconuts are everywhere.
Alongside foodie heaven, Ubud is yoga central with classes happening all over town, all day long – it’s not difficult to jump into a yoga class at any time and experience the various styles that are practiced here. Yoga is just a part of daily life for hundreds of people here and it’s just what you do in Ubud! There are several colonics studios Ubud with very experienced practitioners, and you can also find brilliant therapists in massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, sound healing, emotional release, all types of bodywork and just about any other healing art you can imagine. The sheer volume of expertise and knowledge that is found in Ubud is not found anywhere else in the world, and being immersed in the energy of a town where dedication to healing is part of daily life, it cannot help but influence the way you start to feel about yourself, just walking through town and being a part of the atmosphere. Not to mention the abundance of day spas where you can have a one hour massage, a body scrub, clay wrap and flower petal bath for less than $25.00.
The other aspect that I find vital to creating a healing space, is the peace and dedication that the Balinese Hindu bring to their daily offerings. Wherever you step you will find offerings to their Gods with incense and intricate little bamboo baskets with flowers and food to show their respect and gratitude. The people are gentle, kind and generous, and the slower pace and having things happen on “Bali time” encourages us to slow down as well, and see the beautify in the offering of gratitude for every single day.
Yesterday I took a group to the Sacred Water Temple. I’d been there many times before, but what struck me so clearly, was the overwhelming feeling of serenity that surrounded the temple. There was incense in the air, hundreds of people were going through the water ceremony, and priests were ringing their bells and chanting for small groups of people in prayer. To be an observer of this ancient water temple and the rituals being practiced, drops you straight into a heart space where peace and a feeling of connection is the natural outcome of just being present.
As I reflect on Bali, or more especially Ubud, I am honoured to be a part of the healing community here and am very excited about what I can offer in this environment that supports the retreat work I do at every step. The experience that guests at the retreat will have here is not just about the cleanse they will do utilising the local organic tropical fruits and vegetables, but they will be accessing and being a part of, a lifestyle that is a working model of living healing in action. We will be exploring all of those facets of food as medicine, deep and supported cleansing, emotional healing & release, the philosophies and concepts of taking life to a new level, and experiencing the tranquility and customs of a very peaceful and devote community.
The next program I am running starts this Saturday, 16th July 2016 for eight nights, and it is a small and personalised retreat that is going to be taking guests through all I’ve spoken about above and more. I am personally going to introduce you to the healing elements of Ubud that go beyond a simple experience of detoxifyng the body, but will have a profound affect on many aspects of life. If you would like to join this retreat, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure we get you here! More information about what is included at the retreat can be found at www.embracinghealth.com.au/retreat – but it is so much more than I could possibly explain in words. You will just have to take the leap and come and explore Ubud for yourself, and feel the magic in the air.