In all transparency I had been already working for a month, offering my PR and Marketing consulting services to the Place Retreats, Bali and was spending my days and nights in Athens and London writing about an idyllic resort in Bali I’d never seen. I communicated to the media and online about its philosophy that heart, mind and body are all interconnected and need to be spoken about, treated and healed in unison for lasting effects. I certainly believed this all to be true, but having never done psychotherapy, kundalini yoga or any of the body treatments on offer at the Place Retreats, my writing and thinking about it was certainly academic, prosaic and certainly not instinctual and from the heart.
That all changed when I visited the spectacular retreat a few weeks ago. I arrived at the resort late at night, after a lengthy journey from London. The moment those majestic wooden doors swung open, I was transfixed by the candlelit open-air living room and the illuminated palm trees each with its own statue at its base and seemingly its own personality. A bundle of nerves, jetlagged, and stressed out from months of hard work, family and relationship crises; I was guided to my luxurious king-size room with its al-fresco bathroom and that night slept on and off, as was my habit then…
A few hours later, overlooking the estate in a grand, wooden yoga shala I rolled out
the yoga mat and accessories provided for me and with anxious anticipation embarked on my first Kundalini yoga class with Manuela gently instructing the group.
It was a sweet relief to be learning how to breathe again and focus my mind to a point where my overwrought brain could stop buzzing with those pesky thoughts and reminders that usually clog it up. I inhaled and exhaled like I’d never done before, gently stretched and moved following Manuela’s guidance and by the time the meditation began I was already in a state of profound calm and tranquility as the Balinese breeze brushed my face and incense filled my nostrils.
The two hours passed without my realizing how still and calm I’d been for the first time in years. A sumptuous group breakfast followed with eggs, pancakes (a Friday special!), smoothies and anything else our stomach desired. The Greeks say ‘healthy mind is a healthy body’ and I already felt righteous at 10:30 am having done so much for my wellbeing.
I took a dip in one of the two pools on the estate and noticed my tense body was already unraveling in a good way. Later that day, I crossed over to the other main house, which is lavishly decorated with antiques, artwork, sculptures and three frisky dogs bringing levity to the fact that I was about to go into therapy. Jean-Claude welcomed me into a gorgeous sitting room with a warm, welcoming smile and again I was able to tell that doubting voice in my head (which I later learnt JC calls ‘the internal saboteur’) to shut up and listen for a change. The session was easy, enjoyable and most of all eye-opening. With a few laser sharp phrases, Jean-Claude was able to guide me into figuring out emotional blocks that had been preventing my growth and peace of mind for decades. Those words reverberated in my thoughts throughout my stay and led me to write new life goals for myself, influenced by all the input my body, mind and spirit were receiving from the daily yoga, meditation, as well as scheduled therapy and body treatments.
Writing of treatments, two more firsts for me (my bucket list got a lot shorter that week) Japanese acupuncture and Chinese Osteopathy. Andy was able to expertly pinpoint various minor and muted pains I’d had in my body for months and sometimes years. With the acupuncture needles, I felt those pains melt away, almost literally when he lit some of the needle heads and a warmth seeped into my muscles. With a few sharp and bold body movements he straightened my spine, who even knew it had been so crooked from all the sitting I do?
My two energy healing sessions with Elisa quite simply change my worldview and provided me with a depth of insight, truth and healing I hadn’t even realised was possible. It’s almost impossible to describe the shifts in energy and sentiment I felt in my body, heart, mind and spirit but the effects have been profound and long-lasting. Back at home, I’m now dealing with situations and my interpretations of them very differently, with a sense of deep-seated clarity, calm and perspective. It’s glibly referred to as emotional baggage, and I feel that at the Place Resorts, I was able to unpack all my overstuffed suitcases and throw away all the old, tattered, useless clothing and dispose of those busted suitcases too! I’m lighter in every way and the guidance I received from all the experts there is imprinted in my thinking and actions, especially as my days now begin with the meditation I learnt there.
Evenings at the Place were spent with candlelit gourmet dinners, chilling out with the other fantastic guests who have become great friends (it’s hard to be shallow with people when your days are spent doing such profound and bonding activities.) There were gorgeous long walks on nearby Seminyak beach and dinners at some truly gourmet local restaurants. The highlight was a group day trip to the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site in Ubud – the Pura Gunung Lebah Temple. We dined overlooking the famous Teggalang rice fields and in a symbolic closing of a week of revelations, we participated in a Sebatu waterfall purification ritual, known as Melukat (or cleanse.) There in the chilled waters of the revered waterfall that has been known to change colour, all I could do was hold on to the glistening rocks and express my immense and overwhelming gratitude for a truly transformational week of learning, understanding, growing, and ultimately healing.