After four months of traveling including the last three days at Bali Spirit Festival with thousands of yogis, I was in real need of some rest and rejuvenation. So when I heard about Bali Silent Retreat, it was a no brainer, I packed my things and booked to leave that same day.
What instantly impressed me was how organized everything was; they have thought of everything! There are fresh herbs in the tea station waiting for you to brew your own concoction, each guest has their own pigeon hole for dishes, you receive a welcome pack full of useful items like a kimono, sarong, notebook and natural insect repellent (this would come in handy since I was basically living in the jungle). They are also completely off the grid, have a very thorough recycling system and there is even a Chinese Medicine herb garden for you to help yourself to.
I left my things and headed straight to the lodge because I couldn’t wait to eat. The food looked amazing and it sure didn’t disappoint. All I could think of when I started eating was that I wanted to message my best friend to tell her what great food she was missing out on… I was still getting used to the fact that I had locked my phone away in a locker.
I found an information book in the dining area written by the chef Simon which outlined his philosophy on food including reasons why eating locally produced fruit and vegetables and being more aware of your food choices are essential for the health of the planet. You can tell he is super passionate about food and makes everything with love and awareness.
Being vegan, I am already well aware of how our food choices affect animals and the environment but what really stuck with me about what Simon said is the fact of how our food choices affect other people. He gave the example of quinoa, a South American seed that until recently was relatively unknown until it was hailed as a ‘superfood’ and is now widely available all over the world. The problem is however that quinoa is a staple in a South American diet and now that it has become so popular in the West, the price has skyrocketed and local people can no longer afford it. Definitely food for thought…
Getting back to the retreat, the grounds are absolutely stunning!! The centre is surrounded by lush green rice fields and lots of wildlife. During the day I had to watch where I was walking because I kept seeing grasshoppers jumping around on the pathways and I was scared of killing one. At night I sat and enjoyed watching the fireflies going by, which was made all the more beautiful by the fact that in the background was a lunar eclipse.
The rooms are really comfortable, yet simple, which I really look for when I am traveling. I would classify it as a five star ashram. The yoga and meditation classes were exactly what I needed. Both are offered twice daily and most nights there is something special offered like Chakra Balancing and an amazing Om Circle – I swear the locals in the next village could feel the vibrations.
Probably one of my favourite moments at the retreat was when I was laying on a day bed upstairs in the lodge and I was really engrossed in my book so I wasn’t paying too much attention to what was going on around me. I looked up and laying on bean bags and cushions all over the floor were about eight other people, just all silently in their own world reading their books. It felt so nice that we were all there together (we could’ve chose to just read in our room alone) yet all in our own peaceful bubble.
In our ever connected world it was so satisfying for me to be completely disconnected from the outside world. I found myself meditating much more than usual. I read five books and wrote four blog articles. I was unstoppable! It sounds like I did a lot, but really everything was just so much faster because I was completely absorbed in each thing, rather than sitting with my phone in my hand, laptop in front of me with 30 tabs open (I have an obsession with tabs – I am the ultimate multitasker) and having a conversation with my Mum at the same time.
It was like the time slowed down for five days and I left feeling energised, renewed, connected to myself (rather than to the world) and ready to take on whatever life had in store for me next. Next challenge, Vipassana…
Kirsty is a passionate vegan, gyspy, summer chasing anatomy nerd who loves kirtan, AcroYoga, dancing, random acts of kindness, nature and being upside down. ‘Home’ is in Wollongong, Australia where she runs Anjana Yoga, www.anjanayoga.com.au.