Healing in Ubud

Bali has had a hold on me since I first visited the island of the gods way back in 2011. I remember I was on a trip with my father and I could feel the vibrations change as soon as we stepped into Ubud and drove around Kintamani, the temples and the monkey forest.

I am a type-A kind of person that tends to be more of a worrier than a warrior. I lose sleep over the slightest confrontations and I often have so much energy that I find it hard to wind down. My time in Ubud helped relax my mind and body, leaving me centred and more connected to the universe.

I revisited Bali again in 2013 when I was in the middle of my divorce. As you can imagine, my stress and cortisol levels were out of whack. I would spend most of the night staring up at the cycling, using the 4-7-8 breathing technique and switching to yoga nidra recordings – to no avail. I wasn’t able to clock even 6 hours of restful sleep each night.


After arriving at Como Shambhala Estate in Ubud- something changed. Bali, is a long journey from India because you have to change planes at either Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bangkok. I hadn’t slept in over 28 hours but I was feeling energised upon reaching the wellness sanctuary. The facility is a state of the art holistic healing sanctuary located in a quiet stretch of Ubud. With enough activities to keep you fit and entertained, the staff at Como Shambhala believe that wellness is a journey you embark on one day at a time. They have a team of trained doctors, naturopaths, traditional chinese medicine specialists, ayurvedic doctors, nutritionists, physicians, chiropractors and more to assess your problem areas and key concerns and solve them systematically. What I loved most about the retreat was the attention to detail in the rooms, in the excursions, the treks and in the food. The restaurant ‘glow’ is a fabulous find for those of us with intolerances and dietary requirements. The menu is beautifully curated to include grain free, dairy free, sugar-free and vegan mains including special desserts. My favourite was the dairy free mulberry sorbet with a coconut and cashew mousse. It was the perfect ratio of tart and sweet which came impeccably plated. It felt rich, indulgent and decadent and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the kind of healthy ingredients that went into the recipe. Most of the food is organic, free range, locally sourced with a strong emphasis on seasonal produce and the staff is very attentive to your diet and your needs. The villas here are well appointed and named after the 5 elements. Each villa comes with its own private pool, access to a butler and your own sitting area. I would highly recommend that you visit the spa and try the signature Como Shambhala ritual for an incredible wellness experience. Expect to leave the Como sanctuary feeling taut, lithe and fitter with a better regard for yourself and your body. I must warn you that this place is expensive but it is worth it if you are commemorating a special occasion like a promotion, honeymoon or an anniversary
More about it here- http://www.bruisedpassports.com/wheres/como-shambhala-wellness-retreat-ubud-bali-review

The Four Seasons is another glorious property in Sayan, Ubud. I had begun to fall in love with Ubud- the vibe, the residents, the temperature and the energy here (you have to be here to experience it). The spa manager, Louise, had a long chat with me and appointed two therapists who would help me experience the Muladhara treatment. For most of us that aren’t aware, the Muladhara is also called the root chakra. Muladhara is your root chakra, the 7th chakra which is located at the base of your tailbone (coccyx). Considered the foundation of the body and origin of the nadis, the Muladhara is like an anchor that helps ground you and make you feel secure. Traditionally, the Balinese perform rituals twice a month with the help of a priest to open the channels, balance the chakras and stabilise the Muladhara. Routine cleansing of the chakras helps stabilise the bond between the mind and body, harmonise energies and improve health and immune functions. Weary travellers, workaholics and those going through a particularly stressful period in their lives, benefit greatly from the treatment.

I remember feeling a tad nervous about the 120-minute treatment but the combination of the crystal healing, kunye massage, Tibetan bowls and burning of frankincense helped me feel a lot calmer. I was waltzing around in my robe for the rest of the day with a spring in my step.

For more information-http://www.fourseasons.com/sayan/

Balians are healers in Bali that people from all over the world frequent for different aches, ailments and issues. I had read a lot of blogs on women who swore by some balians /healers that helped them avoid surgery, shrunk their tumours, helped them conceive and even helped with panic attacks and with heartbreak. I was convinced that a lot of my issues whether it was the panic attacks, insomnia, neuropathy, headaches, unexplained weight loss was all because of the stress and I wanted to find a healer that would help me. After three whole days of comprehensive research, I finally decided to go to this healer called Cok Negara- the last grandson of the king of Ubud. We reached his house and he was sitting with a few of his students. He took one look at me and smiled. He went inside and brought out what looked like a bamboo stick and made me lie down and relax. He used to stick to poke and prod at different areas of the foot and he watched my reactions. As you might know, different areas of the foot correspond to different parts of the body and the slightest amount of pain and discomfort can show inflammation or a problem in a certain area. He touched my palms and told me that I needed to eat more warm food because I had poor circulation; food that will balance my vata aggravation. For my sleep and anxiety, he prescribed and oil that he asked me to rub on my arms and legs before I went to bed. In addition to this, he also asked me to cut down on dairy, processed sugar, fatty red meat and too much grain. When I was getting ready to leave my donation and leave, he walked up to me and gave me a tight hug. He said something about how a lot of my worries were in my head and that because I was so afraid of my mortality, I was suffering a lot. He offered a paradigm shift which I have learnt to consider.

Please be respectful towards healers in Bali when you do visit. Here are some things to be mindful of. Please wear appropriate clothing or wrap on a sarong when you visit the healer. Please treat them with kindness and do not disrespect them. Donation is usually given to a member of the family and not directly to the Balian. Please come to your appointment on time and if you are late, be patient and wait for your turn to come around.

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When I returned to New Delhi, I promised I would be diligent with my yoga, meditation and the medicated oils that Cok Negara had given me. I put in my paperwork and waited for the storm to pass and every time I felt weak- I remembered what the healer had said about suffering and struggle.

My week in Ubud transformed my life in many ways but most of all it taught me how to be kinder to myself and my body. It taught me how important it is to rest, recover and recuperate when your body is asking you to take it easy. To take courage in the human spirit and our resilience and that we are a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Two years later, I find that I need to make at least one trip per year to Bali and spend time in Ubud to feel grounded, centred and whole.

Photo Credits- Pixabay

Jia singh
About me

I am a Delhi-based nutritionist, food & wellness consultant and freelance features writer. I write for a variety of different magazines and websites in India and overseas on restaurants, travel, wellness and food.


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