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Beyond the Golden Door

Many women with drive have experienced a wellness holiday before, whether it be a blissed-out five star spa resort or a trip to The Golden Door for a week. So what’s the next must-do wellness holiday? We think Ayurvedic retreats could be the next step in health travel.


Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kylie Minogue and Oprah Winfrey are converts to Ayurveda, which is a system of healing originating in India thousands of years ago. Translated to mean ‘the science of life’, an Ayurvedic lifestyle encompasses diet, herbal nutrition, yoga, meditation and remedial rejuvenation treatments such as massage.


If you want to experience and immerse yourself in Ayurveda, but don’t want to sacrifice luxury, the Sukhavati Retreat in Bali is the perfect place. We spent five nights at Sukhavati and had a unique experience that takes a wellness holiday to the next level.


The retreat is located in a large lush private estate near Ubud and consists of eight villas – three with private pools. The villas will please discerning women with drive and the service and staff are your typical friendly Balinese. Upon arrival you meet your personal Ayurvedic medical practitioner. The doctor confirms the influence of your three bodily humours, known as Ayurvedic doshas (Pitta, Vata and Kapha) on your physical, mental and emotional health. He then determines the series of treatments over the coming days designed for your needs. You meet with the doctor each day and he is always on-hand for any questions or clarifications.


We were prescribed four daily treatments for an imbalance of our Pitta dosha. These were Abhyanga (medicated oil synchronised massage by two therapists), Sidrodhara (warm oil poured gently in a stream across your forehead), Swedhana (an all over body steam treatment), and Basti (enema).


We participated in two yoga sessions each day (7am and 5pm), took the Ayurvedic herbal medications prescribed by the doctor and meditated twice per day. In addition, there were talks about Ayurveda by the doctor on most days and learning about this new lifestyle was fascinating with the physical and spiritual sides of life being covered.


Three vegetarian meals were provided each day with juices, smoothies, teas and coconut water. For a non-vegetarian, we found the food incredibly tasty, and for a regular drinker, cutting out alcohol was surprisingly easy to tolerate. Morning coffees were not even missed.


The treatments were much more than your average massage and provide more than mere relaxation – although they are certainly relaxing. There is an abundance of medicated oil used in the treatments – poured generously over your body and forehead. At the end of your stay your skin is glowing and soft. Sunspots had lightened at the end of only five days, so we took home bottles of this amazing medicated oil for daily use. The enema treatments were a challenging thought, but the actual experience was very simple and painless.


By the end of our stay, we had been converted to a new daily regime which included waking early with a self-oil massage, herbal drink, yoga and meditation before a healthy breakfast. We have also seen the benefits of an afternoon meditation and early bedtime. Overall, we found an improvement in vitality and general wellbeing.


A two-week stay at Sukhavati is the ideal length to fully recharge and re-energise your mind and body. This length also allows you to physically and mentally adjust to eating less meat, drinking less alcohol and coffee and waking early. It also allows the physician to fully treat your dosha imbalance so you come home feeling like a new you.


Look out for their Success Without Stress programs for 2015, as these will also teach you how to meditate. These programs are conducted by Steve Griffith who is well known for being the man behind teaching AFL football teams how to meditate prior to playing. If you’re considering taking your man with drive along, Steve is the perfect host.



Image credit: Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat


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