Tranquillity, peace and happiness. Isn’t that what we are all striving for? With our busy hectic modern lives, these precious states of well-being are often overlooked. But they needn’t be. With some deliberate focus and action, they can be achieved on a daily basis. And to kick-start your plans to incorporate them into your daily life, look no further than seven days and six nights away from the world as you know it, and head to the epitome of health through Escape Ritual, Bali.
The central focus here is you so whether you want to get fitter, be more spiritual, learn a new skill or just take time out, this retreat can help you achieve it. Escape Ritual is based in Canggu, with its semi-tropical forest and glimpses of dramatic sea vistas interspersed through them. Surrounded by coconut palms and paddy fields and perched on the edge of a stream, this place like its namesake, provides the ultimate in escapism.
Despite having arrived in total darkness after a lengthy and delayed flight, I was unable to see the villa in its full daytime glory but I could feel and sense it. After a restful sleep in one of the seven bedrooms, it was utter bliss to be woken to the sound of birdsong, the gentle rustle of the palm trees and the meditative sound of the stream. For a few special moments, I took refuge on the in-room day bed overlooking my private balcony onto the grounds from the floor-to-ceiling window to take it all in.
The beautiful villa is light and airy, encompasses the outdoors and indoors with its cool natural tonnes, subtle splashes of colour and plenty of greenery and can be accurately described as a true sanctuary. The 21-meter infinity pool, surrounded by comfortable seating including Balinese beds and sun loungers, takes centre stage and has the magnetic pull to lure you to it from every angle of the villa.
It’s obvious the villa has been carefully chosen to reflect the ethos of the retreat which has been designed with the concept of the elements – earth for yoga, fire for fitness, water for surf and air for healing. There are various packages guests can choose from and help is on hand to advise them on the right one for them. “By understanding the four basic elements we form a deeper connection with nature and ourselves,” explains founder Sherina Mahtani-Binwani. “With this universal concept in mind, we offer our guests four carefully curated retreats with our focus on your health and wellness. “Many people do not realise the lack of one element can cause imbalance hence our packages have cross overs of each element to create the balance and we can help them choose the right one for them.”
During my visit, I had a taster of the elements. It was kick-started with fire on the morning after my arrival which represents fitness with the equally fiery trainer Eve. Her passion, drive and enthusiasm helped us embrace the high intensity interval training (HIIT) class with gusto. The circuit-style group class saw us performing squats, lunges, burpees, push ups and sprints with the kind of fun often associated in the school playground. It was so enjoyable, it barely felt like a workout. But the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) which were to set in two days later told a different story. And there is no room for boredom to set in. Each class is different as Eve changes it up and the second day had us donning boxing gloves all fired up pulling punches, upper cuts and hooks with our opponents.
Because the retreat is tailored for the individual and is flexible, guests can decide what they would like to do during their free time around the activities. Staff are only too happy to book excursions and activities (at an additional cost) from a Balinese culinary cooking adventure to lazing and grazing from a beachfront bar and from taking an enviable Instagram picture on the Ubud Swing over the abyss to a silver jewellery making workshop.
While the mornings are far more energetic with fitness classes, the evening rituals are calmer in comparison to level out the balance. One of the evenings we took our places on the mat in the small sala to practice Yin yoga with Daniella. Focusing on shorter series of stretches, these asanas are held for longer periods of one to five minutes. The purpose is to soften deep connective tissue and facia to improve body performance. The long gentle stretches helps increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. I’ve not practiced yin yoga as much as other disciplines but upon doing it realised just how much my body needed it.There was much emphasis on expanding the chest, opening the hips, and backbends; just what most bodies need when used to be hunched over laptops. I left the class loser and relaxed and felt I had delivered the pre session mantra of “loving myself completely” to my mind, body and soul. The practice was rounded off perfectly with an open eye candle meditation upon where we focused on the flicker of the light.
Daily body treatments are part of the Escape Ritual program and I couldn’t have been more pleased to have a full body Balinese massage in the privacy of my room. I’ve always been of the mind-set that massages are a necessity and not a luxury which is sadly how they are seen in the western world. Still, I indulged in the hour-long massage by my therapist Ayu who worked her magic to ease away stress and tension in my body and sent me off to a blissful sleep.
Various workshops are available at the retreat depending on the package guests choose. One of the evenings during my stay, we immersed ourselves in a Breathing Workshop run by Tanya and Monica. Breathing is essential for life as we know but not many of us breathe fully. This workshop took us on a sensory journey where we breathed deeply while slowing down the tens of thousands of thoughts that go through our minds. The breath, explained the teachers, holds the key to creating energy which is consciously and subconsciously restricted. This can result in a build of tension. We were guided through music, props and Tanya and Monica’s voices as we let go of stress, worry and anxiety. Each person’s journey is different which we shared at the end of the class. Mine felt like an out of body experience where I could see myself running around a jungle with wild animals. It was a surreal experience and the session left me with a deep sense of inner calm for the rest of the evening.
Meals at Escape Ritual Bali are next to none. Unlike some retreats where food can be healthy but mediocre in taste at most, I couldn’t wait for feeding time. All diets are catered for (detox, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian) but they never compromise on taste. And the mastermind behind the exceptionally amazing food was chef Gustavo. Using mostly organic locally sourced produce, Gus whizzed up delights of nasi goring, nasi campur, grilled chicken, curries, fried vegetables, rainbow of salads and dips using avocados, beans, coconuts and herbs.
The irony is that Gus only realised his calling as a chef when working in a small restaurant kitchen washing up. He stepped in as an assistant to the chef when a member of staff failed to turn up. The head chef was so impressed with Gus, he was trained up as a chef. There’s no denying it Escape Ritual is a retreat with a difference. The focus really is on the individual – experienced in retreats or not – and what they want to take away from the experience. The space which was chosen by Sherina because of its “positive flow of energy” offers you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and nature at its best.
Feel the grass beneath your feet, enjoy what your body can do for you, savour the food, sip on a Balinese coffee in the morning and end the day with a tipple of your choice watching the sunset. Life is about balance after all and Escape Ritual can help you find it and keep hold of it long after you return home. Self-care is a life-long decision so make it your ritual to escape.
Fly from London Heathrow Airport with Singapore Airlines to Denpasar Bali. The 50 minute airport transport to the retreat is provided for guests.
When to go: Retreats are currently held the first two weeks of every month. For up to date information email email@example.com
Currency: £1 = 37 Thai Baht
Accommodation: Escape Ritual, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia, +62 816 993 288
Tags: Bali retreat, blogger Sabi Phagura, Canggu Bali, Escape Ritual Bali, fitness, fitness retreat, healthy food, healthy living, HIIT, Indonesia yoga retreat, meditation, mindfulness, organic food, relaxation, retreats in Bali, sabi fitlass phagura, Sherina Mahtani-Binwani, yin yoga, yoga in Bali, yoga retreat
Trackback from your site.