Travel Diary: Peace, Happiness and Self-Realisation at Sukhavati, Bali
I’ve roughed it out in India, and I’ve luxed it out in Europe, but Bali’s Sukhavati Ayurveda Retreat and Spa truly gives you the absolute best of both worlds.
Located in what feels like the middle of an exotic jungle in Badung, lies this retreat that is both traditional Ayurvedic and luxurious all at the same time.
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Sukhavati means ‘Abode of Peace,’ and in a busy place like Bali, peace is just what most people need.
Founded by Australian, Steve Griffith, who’s intention was to not only create a place of peace, but a permanent peace within ourselves, Suhkavati is dedicated to this goal through the health science of Ayurveda and the timeless knowledge of the Vedas.
For those new to Ayurveda, it has its origins in the ancient system of knowledge known as the Vedas. This is a most comprehensive and ancient field of texts derived from the meditative insights of the great Himalayan seers or rishis over 5,000 years ago for gaining love, light, bliss, and reaching the ultimate goal of self-realisation.
Ayurveda, the mother of all healing, allows for a foundation in everything we do in life. Relationships, spirituality, career and wealth are all enhanced when a person’s physical and mental wellbeing is strong. This is why we undertake Panchakarma treatments, change our diet, administer herbs, and practice yoga and meditation as so beautifully offered at Sukhavati.
Many of the guests were repeated customers, while some came on high recommendation, but all with the same common goal; to switch off, detox and rejuvenate their bodies from their stressful lives back home.
It makes me so happy to see more and more people choosing a wellness holiday in Bali instead of the party one. Maybe people are starting to wake up to their health or maybe I’m just growing up.
Sukhavati houses 8 villas in total. I was fortunate to stay in the very tranquil Vajrapani villa. The name is derived from the Buddhist teaching and in Sanskrit means enlightenment, limitless, compassion, wisdom and skill.
This villa came with a lot of natural light and openness with marble floors and a traditional Balinese four poster bed. my highlight was eating warm semolina for breakfast outside while looking over the swimming pool and showering in the outdoor bathroom filled with lush green nature, rose petals and natural bathing products.
Having my own villa was very special for me. Most Ayurveda centres that I have been to are more like a hotel setting, so having a villa felt very private and nurturing. sometimes this is what you need when the body is healing so deeply.
The food had an eastern and western influence, yet all in alignment with traditional Ayurvedic principles. Local and seasonal fruits are served on arrival. Hot water, herbal teas, juices and smoothies are available 24/7.
Breakfast ranges from semolina or oat porridge, idli, dosa and fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner is usually vegetables, rice, quinoa, dhal and other varieties of lentils. Always freshly prepared with the option for coconut water and herbal teas on the side.
meal time is when the group comes together to enjoy food. Food is meant to be shared and it felt nice to have the time to talk to fellow guests about their personal journeys, health symptoms, how they are feeling, and generally support each other through the process.
I was very impressed with the memory of the staff at Sukhavati. They know exactly what food is required for your detox and will let you know if you try to cheat.
For those who know me as a practitioner, I have been studying and doing treatment with the Raju Family of doctors for a few years now in India. The Sukhavati is home to Dr. Mithun Raju for the past five years and just like his famous family, he is an expert at pulse diagnosis.
He was pretty honest with my health diagnosis, that it’s “not up to the mark.” We both agreed that travel was having a pretty big impact on my body and mind. My mind being the main problem and something I’ve battled with for years. Just as his famous uncle once told me, it’s so important to view absolutely everything and everyone you meet in life as a positive and always be in the present. Easier said than done, right? That’s why herbs and treatment also play a big part.
Dr. Raju prescribed my most loved and much needed treatments.
Abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage)
This is a traditional harmonised full-body massage provided by two technicians which helps to liquify toxins and induce relaxation. It also improves circulation, beautifies the skin, and relieves stress.
Herbalised oils are warmed and poured in a gentle, continuous stream on the central part of the forehead to stimulate healthy blood circulation to the brain and help in alleviating mental strain, insomnia, stress and anxiety.
In this treatment, herbs are bound in cloth bags which are then dipped in herbalised oils and heated before being applied to the body. It helps eliminate arthritis, joint pains, back problems, and tired bodies.
He also informed me that some of the oils used during treatments are from his families special preparations that have been used in healing the most incurable diseases for 13 generations.
The treatment rooms open out on to lush green landscape, a flowing river and the sound of singing birds. A truly “wow” moment.
Patients undergo morning and afternoon treatments when they are on their detox program. Every second day they get to experience and Ayurvedic facial and foot massage by two therapists in the comfort of their villa.
In line with Vedic teaching, Suhkavati offers patients the opportunity to learn Transcendental Meditation. All the staff and patients come together to meditate everyday at 12 noon, a truly beautiful collective experience. This technique is usually practiced for 20 minutes twice a day and one you can take home and do with your family once initiated. I highly recommend learning, it was a life changer for me when I learnt over five years ago.
Yoga classes also run twice a day open to all guests at any level. Classes are quite grounding and slow to accompany the treatments. The resident yoga instructors, Guru Ji (Made Warnawa) and Agung (Anak Agung Dalem Mulia) are two renowned Yoga teachers you will be fortunate to practice with.
The group of Australians that I stayed with were very welcoming and invited me on their morning rice paddy walk just outside Sukhavati. It was stunning to watch the sun rise over the paddies and local workers getting ready for their day. A true Balinese experience.
A bike ride down to the beach was also a common activity among guests with free bike access available all day. unfortunately my schedule didn’t allow time for this.
So whether you’re after a one-day Taste of Ayurveda program, a luxury taste of Ayurveda program, Detox or Stress Management program, or the Raju’s famous Banana Treatment (for gynaecological health), Guests can choose from 1-21 days in length.
Head of to Sukhavati to find a transformational package that is best for you.