The moment you step onto the property at Desa Seni, preferably barefoot, a feeling of relaxation begins to set in. This conscious community brought back fond memories of my time teaching at Hariharalaya Retreat Center in Cambodia where Integral Yoga is taught as a science of living, encompassing everything from your own self-care to the way you interact with the world.
Desa Seni is located in Canggu, on the South coast of Bali providing easy access to the beach as well as the lush green paddy fields. It is just over 30 mins by taxi from Denpasar Airport.
The village resort gives you an authentic feel of Indonesia, made up of antique wooden homes uniquely decorated with local handicrafts from the various islands. The room sizes vary from single cabins to village cabins housing up to four people and prices start at about $US150++ per night. That includes breakfast, a daily ceremonial offering, access to the library, and unlimited yoga and meditation classes.
Pathways surrounded by Balinese gardens guide visitors between the Maha Devi Yoga Shala, the saltwater swimming pool, a lovely garden café and the holistic spa named Merapu Svaasthya, meaning “Spiritual Forces of Wellness”.
Maha Devi Yoga Shala
The yoga program draws in a regular following of expats living in Bali as well as guests of the resort for a variety of group classes, workshops, retreats and teacher trainings. I began my first day with a mindful sunrise Hatha practice led by Bernd, encouraging a sense of grounding and connection with the natural environment. Bernd’s intelligent cues to the body and influences of Tibetan Buddhist teachings artfully woven into the class were complimented by the soundtrack of birds chirping, trees rustling and the rhythmic breathing to help facilitate the experience.
I also had my long-awaited introduction to Embodied Flow guided by Jess, a yoga teacher recommended by numerous expat friends living in Bali. Embodied Flow draws from a range of styles of yoga and somatic movement systems to facilitate a deep mind-body connection. Jess inspired me with her ability to impart valuable knowledge of the body without compromising the deeper layers of the practice.
With 80 percent of the local produce grown on the property, you are guaranteed a healthy, fresh meal at the Rumah Makan Restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests of the property as well as outside visitors. I took full advantage of the fresh vegetarian options, including the Raw Pasta made of spiralized zucchini and yellow squash served with a chilled Roma and sun dried tomato sauce. The full dining menu offers a mix of local and Western dishes, appealing to all tastes.
The team at Desa Seni’s spa brings expertise in both Eastern and Western healing modalities. I was particularly interested in the Traditional Chinese Medicine offered by Andy Taylor MSTOM, L.Ac. A USA Licensed Acupuncturist, he has traveled the world offering his services. His fluency in Mandarin also allowed him to continue his training in Taiwan, building on his skill set.
Andy offers Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture as well as full-body acupuncture treatments, Structural Realignment and Chinese Osteopathic Therapy and Chinese Cupping. I wish I had the opportunity to continue with the full three-series treatment of acupuncture, as the recommended minimum, but I will say that, the immediate relaxation that set in during the session itself made it well worth the visit.
Merapu Svaastyhya’s spa offerings also includes the familiar menu of manicures and pedicures, massages, body scrubs and reflexology enhanced with Balinese healing rituals and locally made products. Tania a travelling photographer who has called Bali home for the last two years, insists her Deep Tissue Massage was one of the best she has had on the island.
While the happenings on the property can make you easily forget about the outside world, I was most inspired by the dedication Desa Seni has to serving the community and preserving the local environment. It is a place that invokes a sense of gratitude and respect for nature making you want to walk a little slower, breathe a little deeper and live in a more conscious way.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of the Desa Seni for this experience. As always, the opinions and words are authentically our own.