From my first visit to the island of Bali at age twelve, I was hooked. The traffic, the noise, the colour and the culture could not have been more exotic compared to my suburban Australian upbringing. I’ve returned many times since and every time has left me changed in some way.
There are certain places in the world which feel like home to me and Bali is one of them. While some parts are overdeveloped and chaotic, there are still magical places to discover on the tiny island which I have heard referred to as the ‘heart chakra of the world.’
When I decided to plan my first meditation retreat, it was kind of a no-brainer about where it would be. Having attended two retreats at the ‘Bali Mandala’ on the secluded north coast of the island near the village of Bondalem, I knew it was the place I wanted to introduce a special group of people to.
I am thrilled that twelve women from four countries, aged from thirty to seventy will be meeting me for this unique experience (including my Mum and one of my best friends) and I want to extend the invitation further in case you were thinking of joining us.
If you are traveling on your own, that is great. Many of the women are. If you have never meditated or stepped foot onto a yoga mat before, excellent, because neither have many of the women who are coming.
This is a retreat in the true sense of the word. We will be leaving behind responsibility, expectations, stress and self-doubt and embracing acceptance, relaxation, stillness and laughter. The retreat is called ‘Return to Wholeness,’ because I believe that when we take the time to slow down and go within, we realise we have everything we need.
Then, there is the FOOD. Believe me, we will be eating well. The meals are prepared from fresh, local and mostly organic produce and are absolutely delicious.
The cost of the retreat includes transport from the southern end of the island to the north (about a three hour drive) which takes us through the heart of Bali past small villages and rice fields. Three meals per day, herbal teas, coffee and mineral water are also included, as well as three one-hour massages in the gorgeous on-site spa.
There will be two meditation and yoga sessions per day, which are optional, so if you feel like taking a day off, you can. But you probably won’t want to miss these unique classes designed by our teacher and the owner of the resort, Gisela. She is an amazing woman with an extremely gentle nature and her energy is contagious.
Most of the time will be spent swimming, either in the North Bali Sea or the fresh water pool overlooking it, relaxing in hammocks and sun loungers, or napping in our simple yet elegant bungalows.
All bungalows have outdoor bathrooms and fresh flowers arranged in the rooms daily. I really don’t have the words to describe the small touches which make ‘the Mandala’ so special. Don’t even get me started on the beautiful meditation shala with a high pitched thatched roof and doors which open to the sound of the ocean.
We will also have the opportunity to visit the resort’s community school for local children and I have a few more special touches planned to make your experience memorable and transformative.
I am so excited to return to one of my favourite places on the planet and would love you to join me!
I will be in the town of Ubud for four days before the retreat begins and we will depart for the northern coast from a hotel in Seminyak on Sunday August 23. After the retreat concludes on the 29th, I will be in Seminyak with my family for another week, so if you would like any recommendations or tips on where to eat, shop or stay, I will happily help you with your plans.
If you a feeling the pull to join us but are nervous or concerned about something, please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I am happy to answer any questions and assist you in any way I can.
I hope to see you here in August!