Recent news regarding Mount Agung in Bali brought back my memories of the beautiful island and its people, in particular, the magical yoga retreat experience I had while staying at Being Sattvaa in Ubud.
The island of Bali, especially Ubud, has always held a special place in my heart. I don’t know why, but each time as soon as I arrive, I feel a sense of peace and belonging.
Bali is a very spiritual place and every time after each visit, I wish I could stay longer.
In July 2017, I found myself back in Ubud on an 8-day trip (the longest I have ever stayed in Bali) of which 5 days were at Being Sattvaa, a gorgeous boutique hotel where the yoga retreat would be held. It was the fulfilment of a 3 year promise to myself that I attend a yoga retreat on my next visit to Bali.
Upon arrival, I was entranced by the whole ambience of the resort. The brainchild of Subba and Renuka Vaiyadnathan, Being Sattvaa was designed intentionally to create a space where guests could focus on healing themselves spiritually and physically.
The days passed by all too quickly, we had morning yoga sessions that started at 7am, followed by yoga sutra (aphorisms) where we would discuss the philosophy of life based on the works of Sage Patanjali.
In the afternoon, we had some free personal time before attending another round of yoga. This session was slower in pace so that our instructor could explain in greater detail the various asanas taught.
After an early dinner, there was a meditation session before we all called it a night. Personally, it was one of the best parts of my day. Sitting in such a contemplative, beautiful, quiet space, I went to bed each night feeling very much at peace.
Our retreat leaders
Our yoga instructor, was the gorgeous Ira Trivedi, a best selling author and yoga acharya. Ira writes fiction and non-fiction, with the latter focusing on women and gender issues in India.
Yoga sutra was led by ex-banker turned philosopher and mindfulness coach, Subba Vaiyadnathan. During our sessions, Subba led the discussion on how we can deal with the challenges in life by understanding the work of Sage Patanjali. We also learned meditation techniques to help us find balance in our busy daily lives.
3 of my most memorable experiences from this retreat
1. Meditative Night Walk
This was conducted one evening along Campuhan Ridge.
The place held a particular significance for me as the last time I was there was on my father’s 70th birthday in October 2014. Dad, my cousin and his wife, and I did the little walk across the ridge one afternoon. My cousin’s wife and I were quite close, and she was the one who introduced the spirituality of Bali to me. Many of my trips over the years back to Bali were together with her.
Sadly, she passed away a year ago and this place brought back many memories. I felt her spirit with me as I walked the ridge that night. It was magical.
During that night, I had a very bizarre dream.
I dreamt my laptop had a virus that deleted everything on it, including the operating system. In desperation, I called a number that I was given to ask for help. A friendly voice asked what he could help me with and that was when I woke up. What a totally woo-hoo moment!
Prior to making the trip, I was on a MASSIVE de-cluttering phase, doing the “Marie Kondo” thing on my wardrobe, shredding old documents and archiving my old business stuff. On hindsight, it made a lot of sense as I had come to the retreat to rest and heal, and to take some time out for some soul searching. Perhaps it was my subconscious reaffirming that I would always have ‘help’, and that it was safe for me to wipe the slate clean?
2. Yoga Sutra Class
Unlike other sessions previously, this one was special as it was conducted in the temple under the majestic banyan tree. I think the photos below speak for themselves.
3. Mind-blowing Vegetarian Food
Being Sattvaa is a vegetarian resort, and in fact during our retreat, the fabulous Chef Wayan prepared only vegan meals for our group. In all my life, I have never had vegan food for 5 days in a row. I thought I wouldn’t last, succumbing to a sneaky visit out to Ubud centre for a meal of babi guling! But I did stay the course, emerging none the worse for wear.
Actually, I found myself thinking on my last day at the resort how on earth was I going to continue maintaining this diet?
I’ve just found out when the next retreat will be. When was the last time you had some time out for yourself?