Find Balance in Bali
Global Traveler|September 2020
Gain a fresh perspective on wellness as you embrace the island’s bounty.
KRISTY ALPERT

Only two hours into my digital detox I felt the unremitting urge to take my phone off airplane mode to check my emails or see if I had any messages from friends and family back home. I still carried my phone in my hand like an accessory, using it as a camera while I explored the grounds of what would become my home for the next few weeks during my wellness and yoga retreat in Bali, but the absence of its vibrating notifications was causing my fingers to twitch in temptation as I gazed out over the beautiful black sands of Balian Beach.

I had come to Bali with the goal of leaving as a healthier and more self-aware version of myself, and already I could see the journey toward a healthier me would prove the challenging adventure of a lifetime. For three weeks I would stick to a strictly vegetarian diet, swapping red meat for sautéed squares of organic tempeh and jackfruit at dinner and morning sausages for thick strips of fresh papaya and smoothies sweetened with sapodilla fruit. We were encouraged to turn off our phones for a minimum of 16 hours each day (24 hours if possible) and switch from coffee to decaffeinated green tea, to be sipped only after the first yoga session of the morning. The routine seemed ruthless at first, but by the third day I was noticeably well-rested and accustomed to my new caffeine-free lifestyle … with my phone neatly stashed away and a sun-kissed glow already gleaming on my skin from afternoons spent surfing and practicing yoga on the beach.

Bali has been a beacon for wellness for centuries, where visitors often leave glowing on the inside and outside thanks to this Indonesian island’s intrinsic focus on spiritual self-care and whole-body wellness. Bali’s beautiful varied landscapes — ranging from rugged coastlines with sandy beaches to picturesque rice terraces and lush forests — produce an abundance of exotic fruits and tropical flowers, long harnessed by locals for use as natural remedies for fighting disease or healing common ailments. The Balinese focus on spiritual wellness began with the introduction of Hinduism on the island, and today Bali is home to the largest concentration of Hindus outside of India. Offerings of colorful fruit and flowers line the streets as aromatic incense perfumes the air.

Balinese Hinduism combines the ancient healing arts and rituals of the Balinese people with a spiritual focus on four main pillars — dharma (right way of living), artha (means of life), kama (enjoyment of life) and moksha (liberation and self-actualization) — with the goal of maintaining a balanced life. To help obtain balance, the Balinese have long turned to ancient balians, or local healers, skilled at healing everything from a broken bone to a broken heart. Currently more than 8,000 balians practice on the island of Bali (four times the number of doctors), each working to help restore balance for their patients’ health, whether due to internal or external factors.

Balians have become popular with tourists over the years — thanks in part to Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat, Pray, Love — and today many of the island’s top resorts offer their guests private one-on-one sessions with some of Bali’s most well-respected healers along with a range of other wellness offerings.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

Young at Art

Harley Brown's fascinating things no one else will tell you

9 mins read
International Artist
December 2021 - January 2022

Life (and Gelato) in the Raw

Kailey Donewald took a vacation to Bali and discovered a cure for her lifelong asthma and allergies—a raw, plant-based diet. Now she’s serving up vegan, coconut-based gelato with a superfood twist.

3 mins read
Better Nutrition
December 2021

12 Wellness Retreats to Reset Your Body and Mind

Whether you prefer sun or snow, a cozy cabin or a chic resort, we've hand-picked 12 global destinations to put a pep in your physical and emotional step during the time you need it the most.

9 mins read
Women Fitness
November 2021

An artisan creating comforts for body and soul

As autumn days grow darker and colder, many of us pine for summer, just like Shawna Villalvazo.

3 mins read
The Good Life
December 2020

The Meditation Revolution

Changing the way we see the world through the power of digital well being

6 mins read
RETREAT Magazine
Issue 19

TRAVEL TIPS: INDONESIA

Get the most out of your next dive trip

1 min read
Scuba Diving
July 2020

ALEXA, READ ME A STORY: AUDIO CONTENT FOR KIDS ON THE RISE

Melanie Musson in Belgrade, Montana, does a lot of driving with her four girls. Juggling a broad age range, 1 to 9, she’s forever searching for ways to keep them all entertained without relying entirely on video.

5 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #431

In Defense Of Traffic Jams

Gridlock is the bane of all commuters. But when congestion reaches pure, unadulterated chaos, the effect can be sublime.

3 mins read
Men's Journal
January - February 2020

Sailing Indonesia - Explore Southeast Asia

Porthole explores Southeast Asia, enjoying the full spectrum of sailing lifestyles from indulgent to laid-back.

6 mins read
Porthole Cruise Magazine
February 2019

The 12 Best Rooftop Bars Around The World

The world looks different when viewed from these stunning rooftop destinations.

7 mins read
Business Traveler
October 2015