Reach a new level of awakening in the Land of the Gods
With its spiritual temples and rich cultural history, the tiny Indonesian island of Bali has become one of the world’s most celebrated centres for holistic healing and well-being. From restorative and detoxifying body treatments to blissful practices focused on nurturing inner strength, here are five unique ways to better your body, mind and soul in Bali.
1. Enjoy a Balinese beauty ritual
Alila HotelsIndulge in an ancient Balinese remedy at Spa Alila in Ubud. This two-hour healing treatment features lulur powder, a skin-softening exfoliator made from rice, sandalwood, fennel seed, eaglewood, fenugreek and star anise. Used by Indonesian village women for centuries, this beautiful healing scrub is believed to warm the body, soothe aching joints and help treat issues with the skin. After the restorative cleanse, enjoy a moisturizing body mask and brightening mini-facial. A 60-minute traditional Balinese massage, which combines gentle stretching, skin rolling and therapeutic strokes, completes the ritual. After, stay for craft cocktails and Indonesian fare at Alila’s award-winning Plantation Restaurant, overlooking the hotel’s famous jungle infinity pool. Here, you’ll enjoy a front row seat to one of the island’s most photographed scenes. The Balinese Beauty Ritual is offered at all four of Alila’s Bali properties, including the cliff-side Uluwatu location and beachfront resort in Seminyak.
2. Aerial yoga
Ritz CarltonElevate your yoga practice by taking an aerial class. Marrying traditional asanas with acrobatics, flying yoga helps to increase strength and flexibility, decompress the spine, reduce muscle tension and improve alignment. At the Ritz Carlton in Nusa Dua, FlyHigh Yoga utilizes special belts that hang from the studio ceiling. The technical design of these swings makes it easy for beginners to perform restorative inverted poses and intensify traditional on-the-mat poses. For a more challenging option, in an inspirational oceanfront setting, try the AntiGravity class at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. Using a hammock, inside a breezy bale (open-air bamboo pavilion), the class gently swings through a series of inversions. Listening to the sound of waves crashing on the beach, you’ll free your mind, detoxify your body and reduce stress levels. Given the technical components of aerial yoga, its best practiced under the guidance of an experienced instructor at an established studio.
3. A feast for the gods
Curt WoodhallEmbark on a culinary journey to gain deeper insight into Bali’s heart and soul. Sokaski, Four Seasons Sayan’s riverside cooking school, is a delicious introduction to the flavours and spiritual rituals of Balinese cuisine. The four-hour chef-led experience begins with a guided tour of Ubud’s open air market to learn about Indonesian produce, proteins and spices. This sunrise affair is primarily attended by locals shopping for the day’s meal, which is prepared once in the morning and eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Upon returning to Sayan, walk the gardens to see how the resort cultivates herbs and vegetables. Preparing lunch is a shared effort that includes live demonstrations, followed by hands-on practice. Afterwards, enjoy a Balinese feast overlooking the lush Ayung River Valley. Four Seasons Sayan offers both a traditional class featuring ceremonial and celebratory dishes, and a plant-based lesson focused on nutritious fare.
4. Bali temple tour
Discover Bali’s religious culture on an island temple tour. There are over 20,000 pura ("temple" in Balinese) on the island, however a visit to one or two should be enough to satisfy the soul. A popular choice is Pura Lahur Uluwatu, known for its stunning water vistas and evening kecak (Balinese Hindu musical drama) and fire dance. Perched on a sheer cliff, soaring 200 feet above the Indian Ocean, the sacred directional temple was built to protect Bali from evil spirits in the southwest. Arrive at 4 p.m. to tour the sacred site and secure a seat for the performance. On your walk to the amphitheatre, watch for cheeky monkeys, as the bold creatures are eager to snag sunglasses, purses and shiny objects. The temple performance–which tells the story of Ramayana Hindu–begins at sunset and continues after dark. Chanting, ornate costumes, dramatic masks and an impressive fire display help to tell the epic tale. Temples can be accessed by a group tour or private driver.
5. A nurturing nap
Four Seasons SayanDrift into dreamland with a former Buddhist nun. Cocooned in a luxurious silk hammock, suspended from the ceiling of a bamboo bale, you’ll float into a deep state of relaxation. With your eyes closed, the sound of the rushing Ayung River and the ribbons of rice plants dancing in the breeze infuse the senses. Soon Ibu Fera, Four Seasons Sayan’s resident wellness mentor, shares the life story of Buddha. Listening to Fera’s soothing chanting and lessons from the enlightened one, you’ll quickly fall into blissful slumber. When it’s time to wake, expect to feel a heightened sense of tranquility and newfound energy.
6. Mile high yoga
Arrive feeling rested and refreshed by starting your practice in the air. Cathay Pacific, in collaboration with Pure Yoga, offers its passengers six yoga and meditation videos, accessed via the inflight entertainment system. Created to ease tension, improve blood flow, stretch tight muscles and calm the mind, the series includes simple seated poses for on the plane, as well as exercises to complete in your hotel room after the flight. Cathay Pacific also offers the most direct routing and best connection times between Vancouver and Denpasar, Bali, plus–thanks to partnerships with Westjet and Air Canada–provides a seamless option for travellers requiring additional domestic flights.