By Wendy Kassel | Cover photograph by Carol Da Silva
We’ve all experienced too much stress as a result of too many family obligations, looking after an elder parent, a newborn baby, 60+ hour work week, and of course the one that tops the list, financial worries. Our fast-paced, unstoppable life has finally caught up with us and it seems as though there’s never enough time in the day. The everyday becomes the mundane, your body slowly loses energy, becoming emotionally and physically exhausted. You’ve gone full throttle until you eventually burnout. Now is the time to slow down, shift gears and simplify your life.
The island of Bali is in itself, a natural detox destination. Bali is a tranquil setting, perfect for healing, restoration, recharging your batteries and awakening your senses. Everything about this mystical land is intoxicating, yet calming. The fascinating Balinese culture, Hinduism, myriad of ceremonies, beautiful people and stunning landscapes will take your breath away.
Take a day to begin your recovery with an early morning walk along the Campuan Ridg, gazing at exquisitely terraced, emerald rice paddies and passing farmers tending to their harvest. Get lost in thought – pick a tiny, dirt path and begin meandering. Don’t worry about where you’ll end up; it’s the joy of an unknown destination that will pique your curiosity. Breathe in the crisp air and smell the dew as it gently rests upon each stalk of rice. Just as the sun rises, you may catch a glimpse of the legendary white herons soaring above Ubud as they make their daily flightpath. Unwind, slow down and bring in a renewed sense of well-being into your life.
Afterwards, head 20 minutes northeast to Tirta Empul in Tampak Siring, a natural spring known for its holy water. More than a thousand years old, the Balinese still make pilgrimages to bathe in its sacred water. Join devout Hindus as they immerse themselves in the water to purify themselves. Cup your hands together under the myriad of water spouts and ever so-slightly, splash water over your head or symbolically bathe your head, to experience this age-old ritual. Legend states the water has magic healing powers and by undergoing the purification ceremony, you will feel its healing properties.
For a town no bigger than one square mile, Ubud proper has a multitude of healthy eating options. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, raw foodie, or just want to eat wholesome food, conscious eating is what it’s all about. Since recovery begins from the inside out, it is important that we start with fresh, organic foods that are full of vital nutrients. From wheat grass shots and macrobiotic salads, to a rainbow medley of fresh juices and organic Indonesian food, the choices are limitless. End your meal with a tantalizing array of homemade raw chocolates and desserts. Eating well is the most important ingredient for good health and energizing yourself.
No visit to Ubud is complete without yoga. There are three main studios in town (Yoga Barn, Intuitive Flow and Radiantly Alive) that should all be sampled for their excellent selection of teachers, styles and glorious views of town. Consider taking a Restorative Yoga class, a slow paced style that uses yoga props – blankets, pillows, blocks and straps – to support and open the energy body. You won’t sweat, but instead, will be guided through a number of longer held poses for up to 15 minutes. Your only challenge is to surrender to gravity and allow the earth to support you.
Lastly, indulge in a little ‘me’ time at one of Ubud’s traditional massage centers or healing spas. Massages are an amazing antidote to stress and a powerful, yet calming way to relax. They literally soothe our nerves and produce a sense of well-being. Not only are there are many types of massages – head-to-toe, luxuriating, healing, four-hand, cleansing and invigorating treatments – but the venues are unforgettable. Imagine a massage alongside a trickling river, or under a thatched roof amongst the dense cover of palm fronds in the jungle. Massages run the gamut from traditional Balinese, deep tissue, reflexology, hot stone, or mandi lulur, which begins with a body scrub, followed by a soothing massage. Lastly, there is Ayurveda, the ancient science of healing. One of the most restorative treatments is Shirodhara, a traditional method where an ever-flowing stream of warm oil is poured over your forehead. The feeling is pure bliss and the end result is a total sense of wellness and mental clarity.
During your journey here, tune out, unplug and leave all the gadgets behind. You will be awestruck by Bali and all that has transpired during your visit here.
Wendy is a former resident of New York City, Wendy worked for ELLE Magazine before giving up the urban life to join the Peace Corps in Nepal. During her seven years in Nepal, she traveled extensively throughout Asia, became an adventure enthusiast, acquired a taste for yak butter tea and ultimately turned into a travel writer specializing in the Himalayas. She has been living in Ubud for the last six years where she shares her Bali paradise with her other-half Walker, and their 6-year old daughter Kyan.by