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If you don’t have your health you’re not much good to anybody including yourself right? Why is it then that it sometimes takes a serious illness to jolt us into thinking about how we treat our bodies and minds and how to find a healthier approach to life?

With that in mind, I headed up to COMO Shambhala Estate in the lush green ravines of Ubud. A health retreat which promises total commitment to improved well being, I thought it would be interesting to interview some of the resident Health Experts and receive a treatment myself.

Stepping a foot out of the car, the refreshing smell of lemongrass, fresh flowers and cleansing essences drifted through reception. Space, calmness and a beautiful sense of peace prevailed.

So how realistic is it for someone to arrive at the resort for a week and leave feeling thoroughly renewed?

At COMO Shambhala a team of resident experts offer various Wellness Programs.The team is headed up by highly trained Sports Scientist Monica Barter who is also a certified Colon Hydrotherapist, Massage Therapist and Advanced Yoga Practitioner.

The residents include Lacey Hall (Nutritionist) , Dr Deepak Deginal (An Integrated Medical Physician qualified in both Western and Avurvedic medicine), Fiona Paton (Counseling Psychologist) Katiza Satya (Yoga Instructor),Sally Halstead (Colon Hydrotherapist) and Satoshi Hashimoto (Acupuncturist & Shiatsu Master) amongst others.

Each expert heads up a selection of  ‘Well Being’ programs on offer. Depending on the nature of the program and guest’s particular requirements, you can expect to see several members of the team during your stay. This method offers a complete review of current issues within both body and mind and how to best tackle them; whether that is through improved nutrition, natural medicines or yoga.

I was led to the office of resident Nutritionist Lacey Hall, a fresh faced vibrant character who was entirely passionate about her field of work. Lacey heads up the Cleansing, Rejuvenation and Bespoke programs. She focuses on helping guests to create sustainable changes (which begins to answer my question) after their stay.

Lacey studied an MSc in Clinical Nutrition in Chicago and worked in a hospital environment (which she admits was a tad depressing) before hearing that COMO Shambhala were looking for a qualified Nutritionist.

She explains that the act of eating has become unconscious; people eat too fast and do other tasks whilst eating. They pay little attention to the food they are consuming or allow time to eat and digest properly. This, coupled with the stresses of every day life and social pressures associated with body shape , result in many guests arriving with dietary concerns.

“Every diet is as unique as a fingerprint” so that, although some fad diets are guaranteed to result in temporary weight loss, they aren’t sustainable to long term healthy living.(If you’re like me, who attempted some of these in my youth, they always ended with weight not only being gained but an extra few pounds too!). Lacey reviews lifestyle with clients to assist long term health and achieve realistic goals. She will not ‘ban’ certain foods (which, lets face it, only make you crave for them more) or preach ‘no alcohol/dairy/meat’.

” Food is exciting and delicious, it’s there to be enjoyed. If you’re going to indulge in a food choose something delicious and savor it!”

I asked her what her opinion is on dietary supplements which flood the shelves these days: ” Nature is just so special, you can’t replace what nature can provide in tablet form, for example there are eight forms of Vitamin C and we need those antioxidants.”

She identifies what nutrients suit that particular person and how to incorporate those into everyday life post COMO Shambhala (even if that’s just a healthy shake, cooking classes on how to prepare particular dishes or showing examples of correct portion sizes).

Her first residence outside the USA, Lacey is also committed to helping the locals understand more about healthy food and its effects, beginning with a staff initiative which will include cooking lessons and health checks (bp, cholesterol..)

Before we move on to my thoroughly thought provoking interview and treatment with Dr. Deepak, I seriously need to take a snack attack…a healthy one of course!

For those of you who would like to comment please do!

For more information on COMO Shambhala Estate http://www.cse.como.bz

Telephone Contact: +62 (0) 361 978 888

We all enjoy a good song right? Nothing like something melodic to get us moving. But what about using sound to heal and to re-align our energy flows?

This week Asian Healing interviews Grant Smith, a trained homeopath and naturopath who uses Tibetan ‘Singing Bowls’ to balance and unblock energy running throughout the body.

To preview this theme take a look at the meditation technique below using mantras relating to particular chakras. I love both the vibration and focus it can bring to your meditation. Hope you enjoy this one.

Technique: When focusing on each Chakra repeats these sounds 5 times slowly (e.g. ‘Laaammm’) and a few more times silently.

The Root Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Lam’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

The Sacral/Sex Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Vam’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

The Solar Plexis/Navel Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Ram’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

The Heart Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Yam’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

The Throat Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Ham’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

The Third Eye Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Om’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

The Crown Chakra: When focusing on this Chakra repeat the sound ‘Aum’ 5 times and then again a few times silently.

Hope that you enjoy this meditative practice. Please do let us know if you found it beneficial by adding your comments or emailing  info@clearwhitespace.com

Namaste

Sometimes you’re fortunate enough to cross paths with someone who reminds you of the inner joy and happiness which is already present within you. I was beaming after completing a ‘Yoga with Sacred Chants’ class at last week’s Bali Spirit Festival, led by Akasha Chaitanya , A.k.a. Sky. A slow determined Yoga sequence accompanied by Sacred Chants. For me, Sky’s class reflected the true essence of Yoga; expect postures with chanting,hand mudras,  Pranayama and verses from the Yoga Sutras or Vedas.

Roll back twenty years and Sky, born in Canada, was living at the foot of Whistler and earning a living as a Ski Instructor. Sounds like a perfect life right? Yet he felt incomplete (familiar anyone?). His first introduction to Yoga was by a sixty six year old English woman who held a class for older local ladies. Although he felt a little awkward at first (being a 20yr old man!) his teacher’s genuine warmth and affection shone through and remains with him to this day.

Fast forward to a trip to Koh Phangan in Thailand where Sky continued his journey, unfolding the nature of himself. He met there with his first teacher and began on a path of removing ignorance, a path towards finding permanent happiness in this life. It was at this point that Sky was introduced to the teachings of The Vedas. The Vedas are one of the most ancient religious texts in existence. They are thought to reflect in human speech divine teachings and form the basis of Hinduism but also heavily influenced Buddhism too.

Quite a task to undertake for such a young man! I asked Sky how he felt setting out on this spiritual path ” ..it feels like you’re paddling upstream while everybody else is whooshing downstream past you with the flow of the tide. But you can’t climb on your Guru’s back and have him swim you upstream, you have to put in the effort yourself.” He looked daily into the sacred words and listened to wise teachings via MP3.

Sky’s inner peace and wealth of happiness shone through the entire time I sat with him. Let us all find the inner strength to swim ourselves upstream and reach for the Sky!  Honor and thanks goes to Sky for introducing himself to us.

For more information on Sky or Sama Yoga Retreats email yogasky108@me.com

Please feel free to comment and add you thoughts to posts.

Namaste

Went to the Bali Spirit Festival last week and had one of the most uplifting days of my life! Awesome.

The venue was the spacious, natural abundance of Purnati Arts Centre in Ubud

There was a smorgasbord of different workshops available which you could dip in and out of at your leisure. This was fantastic as I was able to drift into whatever I felt I want to do without feeling too scheduled.

Started the day with a joyous ‘Yoga with Sacred Chants’ class with the sublime Sky (more on his journey in the next blog). Slow,powerful Asanas whilst chanting mystical mantras; a gentle energy washed over the room. Sky’s positive vibes and gleaming smile gave me a inner giggle while riding out any physical discomfort which he described as a ‘gift’ (even that made me chuckle!). He was such a positively glowing human being I requested an interview  and spent some quality time with him over a coconut.

Next an insight into Ayurveda and its teachings about how the primary elements in Mother Nature exist deep within us, providing us with our own unique Blueprint or Prakriti led by Insiya Rasiwala.  She gave us the basic information on the Doshas (mind-body types) and how to align your particular Dosha with the asanas you practice. I’ve got to admit that I find it often difficult to focus on anything but my favorite asanas unless I’m in a class! We ended with a tri-doshic yoga practice which really helped to illustrate the teachings.

Feeling a major hunger pang I headed up to the Dharma Fair for some yummy organic Balinese food. Isn’t it nice when you can eat from a banana leaf spoon and plate!

After a well earned siesta I decided to shake things up and joined the Bollywood Sisters dancing workshop and I have to say it was the funniest, silliest two hours I’ve spent in a long time! The girls took us through a step by step sequence with Bollywood moves with given names such as the ‘nipple clasper”. After the first half hour they had us shimmying in the amphitheater and by the end of the session we’d even choreographed our own group sequences. Well done to one of the teachers, Shamila, who had given birth to her son only ten weeks previously and was totally energetic!

After such an vibrant, fun packed and loved up day I booked myself in for a ‘Tibetan Singing Bowl’ treatment with Grant Smith. I was expecting a nice massage to the vibration of singing bowls and what I received was beyond words.

Grant, a well trained Homoeopath,Naturopath and Kinesiologist spent at least half an hour explaining the history behind the bowls before beginning the treatment. Tibetan ‘singing bowl’ is in fact a western name for ‘precious bowl’. They were originally crafted from 7 metals including gold and silver. Each one gives off a totally individual pitch and tone. Much mystery surrounds the bowls; some thought they were merely used to offer alms to the Gods whilst others insist that Lamas used the bowls in secret sacred ceremonies.

Grant explained that he would take different bowls which resonate individual sounds (via a collection of gongs) over my body without quite touching it. He would be guided as to where in my body required alignment. Each tone correlates to a certain organ, tissue or bone.

I relaxed back into the restful state. How can I describe the experience? transcendental? I felt like I myself was a vessel;  sound vibrated through me and at one point the precious bowl near to my crown chakra seemed to offer a celestial orchestra into my brain. I was certainly outside of my body for some of the treatment and Grant described himself as sweating so much at one stage he checked to see if he’d left the window open! The treatment has left such a wonderful  impression on me that I’ll be contacting Grant this week to find out more (and of course I’ll blog!).

Where in one day can you experience Yoga with Sacred Chants, A Dosha Balancing class, Bollywood Dance lessons and a most ‘precious’ experience ever? Bali Spirit Festival of course. My personal thanks to the organizers for enriching my life.

Namaste

You know those times when you feel discomfort arising from within you; frustration that someone isn’t behaving in the way in which you expect him or her to or your job situation isn’t working out the way you envisaged it?

What do you usually do in that situation?

Call the said person on the telephone and berate them about their behavior? (Guilty as charged!). Go out after work and moan to your friends about what a con the job turned out to be?

Can you honestly say this approach worked? Did you feel more complete afterwards?

Next time you feel that frustration, anger and disappointment rising up inside why not apply a different approach and try to sit with that feeling.

Be Here Now.

“I’m so angry at that person, I feel really agitated”…. Recognize without judgment that this is how you feel at the present moment and feel how these emotions are… and you know what, something meaningful begins to happen.

The negative vibrations begin to quell, to become a little smaller and more inconsequential than a few moments before. You’re acknowledging that this is your present state; you are totally present, no past judgements,’what if’s’ or future facing issues.

Eckhart Tolle illustrated this concept amazingly in his books ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘A New Earth’. Fabulously inspirational reads both books can be opened and at page at any time inspire positive thought and presence.

One of the reasons for creating this blog is to inspire positive thoughts and actions, to engage a like-minded audience who want to explore their inner journey. Along the way I hope we can share knowledge and inspirations.

Tolle stated, “Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much”. I totally agree but until we can all engage on another level let’s share our experiences here.

Comments and emails with content or inspirations are more than welcome. (info@clearwhitespace.com)

Enjoy the present moment…

BALI USADA MEDITATION: TAPA BRATA I

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing someone who recently completed his third meditation retreat with a wonderful organization called Bali Usada. Having participated in these meditation retreats myself I was excited to find out what revelations were in store.

How did you hear about Bali Usada and Tapa Brata meditation?

My partner had participated in Tapa Brata I twice.

Why did you decide to attend yourself?

I wanted to widen my perspective on life.

And what did you find?

Something very different than I expected (smile). It was not a simple, unguided meditation. I discovered a way to heal myself, both physically and emotionally.

You gained all that knowledge from your first experience?

Oh no, my first experience of Tapa Brata was something else! I came to the Saranam Eco Resort in Bali and at 5am on the first morning I sat in half lotus position in so much pain. ‘Noble Silence’ had already begun so after the meditation I wrote a note “This is not meditation, it’s torture. I will not continue!” and promptly went back to my room! I stayed in the resort and loosely practiced a form of meditation I learned in India and respected the ‘Noble Silence’. On the last night, after silence had been broken,  participants were asked to speak about their experiences. The organizers suggested I come to listen. The speeches moved me so much that I promised myself that I would attend the next course and experience the whole ‘nine yards’!

So what happened when you then went on to experience the entire Tapa Brata I course?

At first physical pain, particularly in my legs for the first three days, while trying to concentrate on my breathing. On Day 4 we began to be guided part by part through our bodies experiencing the impermanence of that feeling (or Anicca). The physical pain was actually releasing a lot of emotional energy and past trauma. You could actually use the physical discomfort to focus.

And what about staying silent throughout?

Pure luxury in a world where small talk is so cheap, life is so busy and egos are so huge.

Did you make eye contact or smile at anyone?

Sometimes there was a moment, a fleeting glance which said ‘Yep, we’ll all in the same boat”! I actually got a few daggers thrown at me as I’d persuaded a friend to join too. He thought is was a ‘spa’ and was fuming but by the end of the week he gave one of the most humorous speeches ever.

On completion of Tapa Brata I what was your overall feeling both physically and emotionally?

I felt very light, almost like my feet didn’t touch the ground. I’d released some old trauma and I felt blessed to have this tool to use to heal myself.

So 1 year later and you decided to return. What happened in-between?

Normal life. I stopped meditating and became lazy. I saw some of my own negative patterns returning so I decided it was time to remind myself of the meditation and its benefits. Saint Paul said, “The body is the temple of your spirit.” I thought it was about time I cleaned out the temple!

And how was this experience?

It was easier to concentrate; you know why you’re simply focusing on breathing in and out through the nose and what’s in store.

You were in a different resort this time, Prana Dewi Resort. What can people expect there?

Prana Dewi is a beautiful peaceful resort in the rice paddies. They grow their own red rice and organic vegetables, which you eat. The food is amazing good!

Any final comments before signing off?

There should be more people in this world like Pak Merta Ada, (founder of Bali Usada and meditation teacher) who just want to help others.

Albert Schweitzer, missionary of compassion and the founder of the Red Cross said:

“ Leaving the world to the unwise egotism is like a valley that lies in the dark. Only up at the highest peaks is the light. Everybody has to live in darkness; only one can go up to see the light, the human being. The human has the impulse to help, he is sick when he does not feel it.”

You do meditation to help yourself to create a harmonious mind. It helps you to be nicer to others and keeps a healthy mind and body too in a world where the majority are chasing money and power.

Any advice for anyone thinking of entering Tapa Brata meditation?

Go and surrender. Do not attach any preconceptions of what you think might happen…just experience.

For more information on joining Bali Usada’s Tapa Brata Meditation http://www.balimeditation.com/

If you’d like to read about my own first experience with Tapa Brata Meditation

http://www.balimeditation.com/content/view/452/34/

Why am I writing a blog on Asian healing?

Well, I’m fortunate enough to have lived in Asia for the past decade and now reside in the ‘morning of the world’. Bali is a place full of amazing energy; healers (both indigenous and foreign) yoga practitioners, gurus and holistic treatments aplenty.

However, how to tell what I call the ‘flakey bakeys’ from the real deal? How can you find your own ‘Ketut Liyer’ (now famous after ‘Eat,Love,Pray’) on a two-week holiday?

1. I aim to discover the finest holistic healers in Asia, beginning with my own stomping ground Bali.

2. I selfishly want to embark on a fantastic spiritual journey (remember selfishness can be healthy too!)

3. I want to help put people in touch with others and experiences that might help them find what they are seeking; whether that be inner balance, a harmonious mind or just a really indulgent massage.

4. This is my way to begin to manifest a long-term dream to create a Healing Centre and while I’m imagining every detail of that why not start to search for the amazing experts who will participate in it!

I’m setting myself the task of blogging about at least one holistic experience per week (how hard can that be opposed to my normally hectic life?). And I’m typing that to make sure I stick to it!

I hope that you’ll enjoy reading this blog and please comments are most welcome, knowledge grows through communication.

I’ll also be posting all interesting healing hints/tips/contacts onto Facebook and Twitter. Become a fan/follower here

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Asian-Healing/359711857570?ref=ts

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AsianHealing

If you want to contribute something larger than a comment you can email info@clearwhitespace.com

Inbetween life’s busier moments, take a moment to focus on the breath. Take a deep breath in through the nose and exhale gently through the mouth…release. And let a big smile spread across your face!

Namaste to you all