Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

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

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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

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