Self Care Like a Movie Star: Our Yoga Retreat to Sukhavati Bali
By Amy Ippoliti and Sarah Diedrick
In the midst of a heavy teaching schedule through Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia this past month, we found ourselves seeking out tropical rest spots in between workshops to kill time and rejuvenate.
Before our final stop in Jakarta, Bali seemed like the obvious choice for a pause but there are so many choices, we were a bit overwhelmed. Yeah, first world problems, we know.
Thankfully we chose Sukhavati Bali, a little known sanctuary tucked into the jungle along a river just 30 minutes inland from Seminyak Beach.
You can immediately sense the distinct spirit of Sukhavati right as you arrive on the grounds. We were greeted with statues of Hindu deities, orchids, and the intoxicating smell of plumeria flowers on the leis placed over our heads. There is incense burning continuously around the property and occasionally you’ll catch its smell or see the alluring smoke weaving its way through the air.
This is just the start of how inviting and breathtaking the experience at Sukhavati is. Our villa was gorgeous and even had an outdoor bathroom! Though, you can choose to stay in a villa with the bathroom inside, if that’s more your thing. We really enjoyed showering outside surrounded by bird songs and sunshine - it felt like bathing under a waterfall.
And if it couldn’t get more luxurious than that, we had a variety of Ayurvedic treatments every day. Yes, you heard that correctly. Every day. On the daily menu was a foot bath and neck, shoulders, scalp massage, followed by a four-hands Abhyanga full body massage. The treatment ended with Shirodhara - a form of relaxation therapy that involves pouring a steady stream of warm oil over the forehead for some time to stimulate the third eye point. It was not only totally relaxing but mentally clarifying as well. But wait, we’re not done yet.
Then, after eating a sublimely delicious and nourishing meal (who knew gourmet Ayurvedic food could be this good?) with wonderful people, a team arrives at your villa to give you your daily facial with simultaneous foot massage...on your bed!
Being pampered daily like this upleveled our entire idea of self-care. There has to be a way to keep this up because we’ve never felt so much vitality and had such glowing skin!Daily yoga and meditation classes are also part of the package as well as a consult with the Ayurvedic doctor on staff.
What made the experience particularly lovely were the people going through the program. Each day we shared our meals and instantly bonded, having immediately open, deep conversations about our lives, spirituality, yoga philosophy and more.
The level of depth and closeness we were able to achieve so immediately was quite different than your average hotel stay - that’s for sure. We asked the group why that was and they told us that the energy of openness was already present when they arrived and just kept getting passed on to the the newer guests - almost like an ever-living energy that lives at Sukhavati!
Throughout Asia, we had come to lament how much plastic we found in the ocean as well as the many plastic water bottles offered to us in the hotels and Airbnbs we stayed in.
Roughly 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the planet's oceans yearly, and according to a new study, the majority of this waste comes from just five countries: Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, China, and Vietnam. These five countries are responsible for up to 60 percent of the total plastic entering our oceans, according to Stemming the Tide.
Sukhavati has taken powerful steps to turn this tide and eliminate plastic waste. All plastic bottles on the property have been replaced with water coolers in each room as well a titanium reusable water bottles provided for their guests. Plastic straws have been replaced with reusable glass straws. Training and implementation of a proper waste disposal and recycling system has been established as well as the use of composting. We have started seeking out the hotels and retreat centers that have this level of awareness - because it feels good to stay in a place that cares - and Sukhavati was no exception.
All of this all-inclusive awesomeness comes at a great value as well! For the price you’d pay at a high end resort to go to their spa, eat at the restaurant you'd end up spending just as much or more but with a fourth of the spa treatments. It was truly a phenomenal value!
If you're a yoga teacher and you’re looking for an intimate location to bring your group, Sukhavati Bali can hold 12-13 students who can go through the program and take your yoga classes.