All your senses are awakened when you are at One World Ayurveda. The sight of saturated, green rice fields and glistening palm trees penetrates eyes that are sadly far too used to grey skylines filled with concrete. The sound of water and roosters becomes the melody of Bali, while the scent and sound of nearby villages lighting up their fires fill your nostrils as you gently rise up into your downward dog position, soaking up every element of the present moment.
One World Ayurveda is set in Ubud’s luscious jungle, surrounded by rice fields, local villages and just a twenty-minute drive from central Ubud. This is the perfect luxury destination to reconnect with nature and unplug from the real world, which has caused the imbalances you are coming here to address.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient, natural, prevention-oriented, holistic health care, which has its roots in India. It advocates living in harmony with nature and maintaining a balance between body, senses, mind and spirit with unique methods of diet, spices, daily rituals, yoga, massage, breathing exercises and Panchakarma – the detox.
The Panchakarma detox is carried out by professionals, and this is why it is best to do it in a controlled environment such as a retreat. ‘Panchakarma’ translates in Sanskrit as ‘five actions’, which are an integral part of the process and the deep purification, which claims to have long-lasting health benefits.
Claude, the owner of the retreat, was determined to make this experience as authentic as possible, bringing homegrown Indian Ayurvedic doctors, to deliver this detox in the heart of the spiritual and tranquil ‘God’s Island’, Bali.
On arrival at One World Ayurveda, the first thing that is encouraged for guests to do is attend a purification session at a local temple.
The process is that newcomers stand under waterfalls to be purified and wash them clean of any stagnant energies they may be carrying around. Some of the locals claim that these waterfalls give eternal health and wellbeing and can even heal a broken heart!
It is a wonderful experience and a beautiful insight into the culture, and the devotion of the Balinese people to their religion and spiritual beliefs.
After new arrivals have been purified, a doctor’s consultation follows and he takes a pulse, to determine what is happening in the body and where the guest is out of balance. This gives a great insight into the guest’s current state, and also the doctor can hear all about their concerns and lifestyle habits. Shortly after the consultation, the personalised schedule for the day is provided. It turns out to be a similar routine every day.
Most days go like this:
There is a gong wake-up call at 6am, followed by the morning medicine – instead of the usual caffeine fix – which is brought by a lovely staff member at 6.15am. At this time, there is also one of the great morning rituals of oil pulling and tongue scraping. Although yoga and meditation are not compulsory, the sessions are held at 6.45am by either Tekok, the lovely manager, or another qualified yoga teacher. This is a wonderful way to start the day before heading to breakfast from 8am, unless guests have a morning treatment before breakfast.
The morning routine usually includes a consultation with a doctor to see how the visitor is feeling. The doctor explains that in the build-up to detox day, the specific treatments, which have been chosen, are trying to loosen up the toxins which sit in different parts of the body, help them accumulate in the intestines then flush it all out. This is where the four-handed massages come into action.
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During the afternoons, there are various activities such as a local village walk into the rice fields or an Ayurvedic cooking class, followed shortly after by lunch. Before long, it is time for the afternoon treatment at the spa. Although guests have a tiny dessert – usually a few pieces of dried fruit – at dinner time, the afternoon is when guests feel most hungry. Lunch was at 2pm and there is nothing until 8pm.
Personally, I found it quite hard to have such long breaks without any food, as I am a grazer eater. Alcohol is not permitted during or shortly after the detox, so guests sip instead on an Ayurvedic warm beverage out of fishbowl wine glasses. After guests have taken their night medicine at the dinner table, most people chose to retire to their bedrooms for the evening, although some people choose to skip the communal dinner altogether and have it brought to their room.
The duration of the detox can vary according to requirements – the minimum is a week when there is a one day detox – and some people come for three months or even longer visits. Panchakarma can be carried out on children as young as seven, and as youthful as 75. Pregnant women are also welcome, as it is actually known to assist pregnant women with a natural, smooth birthing experience.
I found out that the main issues, which people like to address are weight-related and also their relationships with food, sleep problems, as well as toxin elimination and dealing with individual problems such as depression, infertility, and joint problems. Panchakarma also helps the individual to get back to a happier and healthier disposition.
Personally speaking, I wanted to address my occasional gut acidity and stress issues. Otherwise, I like to consider myself quite healthy, and this was clear from my pulse reading, as my pita and vata were only slightly out of balance. As I was only there for seven days and I was planning an active holiday afterwards, including sunbathing, swimming and exploring, my recommended detox treatment was Vasti, the medicated anima after which you are told to just rest and have some quiet time.
The Vasti treatment was designed to suck up all the toxins, which have built up in the colon and gut in the days leading up to the detox. Nothing drastic happened during my treatment, although my digestion slowed down. I was lucky as other guests reported feeling pretty rough on the day of their detox, but it does all depend on the amount of toxins present in their bodies and the procedures they were having.
At the end of my seven days, people complimented me saying that I looked more radiant than before and that my mind seems to be quieter. I did find that the slight rash on my face that I had when arriving at the retreat cleared up after a few days following my detox. I also found it interesting that many people were craving cheese, coffee and wine while on the retreat, whereas I was just craving a massive fresh salad and a smoothie full of superfoods, as that was the only thing I missed being on the Ayurvedic diet all week.
Ayurveda was my jumpstart into a healthier and happier me three years ago, when I had many issues concerning my digestion, constipation, hormone imbalances and more.
I would recommend a Panchakarma detox to anybody who is on a Western diet and would like to unplug from the world, ground in nature and get some downtime. Daily practices such as gentle yoga, Ayurvedic vegan meals and mindful meditation would be a huge benefit to help eliminate toxins and de-stress.
Special thanks to Tekok, Dr. Ninnu, Patra, Gerry and all the therapist and the rest of the team for taking such good care of me, and allowing me to experience this retreat. Your hospitality will be remembered.
Luxury Sustainable Travel & Vegan Lifestyle Blogger. I encourage people to make better choices in life by staying at eco-friendly hotels, eating a more plant-based diet and using cruelty-free make-up and conscious fashion.