One Week of Bliss: My Bali Wellness Retreat


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bali wellness retreat

Mention the word “Bali” and the first things that come to mind are tropical palm trees, sparkling sunsets and a relaxed, chill-out vibe. I mean, there is a reason it’s usually tops on anyone’s dreamy vacation list. Myself included. That’s why I decided to spend two glorious months exploring, motorbiking and gallivanting around this little island paradise.

Many of my friends hinted that my travels have been an updated version of Eat, Pray, Love. Something along the lines of Eat, Play, Live. And quite frankly, I think they’re spot on! Besides, I do have a secret (not-so-secret-anymore) girl crush on Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s the bees knees in my books.

But if we look at those three things – Eat, Play, Live – that translates to healthy food, joyful happiness and vibrant living. Right along the lines of an appropriately downshifted life, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s also the core essence of the one-week wellness retreat I attended in Ubud, Bali, with OneWorld Retreats. Now, I’ll be honest. Even though I’m a health coach this was my first ever wellness retreat. My introverted and independent spirit usually steers me clear of structured, group vacations. They’re just not my bag. But with so many people touting the benefits of wellness retreats, I felt I needed to attend…as a little market research for you.

Twist my arm, right?!

But imagine my surprise when after one-week, what started with nervous jitters (“will they like me?!”), ended with a whole slew of new soul-sister connections. In fact, those six days flew by like nobody’s business. The old adage of time flies when you’re having fun rings true. It also seems to fly when you’re trying to squeeze in one more massage on your last day!

But here’s a few of the reasons why I not only recommend, but wholeheartedly believe a wellness retreat might be just the thing to boost your wellness.

The food. It’s always about the food

At my particular retreat, the week’s menu was all raw food. Now, I’m not a raw foodie (I’m a real foodie and a meat-eating gal) – but I do believe in experimenting with different foods and what works for your unique body. And sometimes a cleanse of what you typically eat is a smart move. It’s like pushing the digestive reset button.

Not all retreats at OneWorld Retreats are raw food, but they are real, healthy, nourishing food. A very good thing! So choose what interests you.

Besides, one week of raw food was not nearly as difficult as it sounds. Does this look like deprivation to you? I think not.

bali wellness retreat

Being stretched and challenged in new ways

Imagine each day waking up to little bells, rung outside your room, welcoming you to your daily yoga practice. A lovely alternative to a cortisol-spiking, stress-induced, buzzing alarm clock. And that my friends is all part of the design.

Each day the retreat starts with two hours of YOU time. Yoga, stretching, meditation, reflection. Time to gently wake up, warm the body and get you ready for your day. 

And while you may have a little trepidation about doing that much yoga (at least I did!), don’t fret. Even though I’d been doing my own “self-inflicted” 30 day yoga challenge, there were folks at varying levels of yogi-ness. It truly is well-suited to all practice levels.

As an added bonus, you’ll zen out quite easily with the spectacular jungle paradise view from the yoga room.

bali wellness retreat - yoga

bali wellness retreat

Self-care gets a much needed boost

Admit it, you compromise self-care all the time at home. Massages, pool time and lounging around are not typically scheduled into your massively over-packed to-do list. But on a wellness retreat, they’re considered nourishment for the soul. Thank. Goodness.

As a two month long massage connoisseur (ahem, $10 Thai massages in Chiang Mai), believe me when I say – the massages at OneWorld Retreats blow everything else out of the water. There’s massages….and then there’s massages. Or should I say…there’s massages, followed by body scrubs, followed by warm, dripping oil, followed by flower petal baths with an open-air view of rice fields. Seriously.

In fact, the flower petal bath was so spectacular, I was kicking myself for not taking my camera into the massage room with me! 

But when you’re not blissfully chilled-out in a massage, self-care remains at the forefront. You can lounge by the jungle pool (hello, serenity) or spark your inner Van Gogh (or in my case, kindergarten drawing) with some water color paints. Because paints, brushes and canvases are provided in each room – for the moment you feel a burst of inspiration. And trust me, you will.

bali wellness retreat

bali wellness retreat

Unordinary adventures like chocolate factories, bicycling volcanos and rice field walks

I’ve done a lot of adventurous things in my time, but bicycling down a volcano – not so much. Add to that an early morning yoga session on top of the volcano where our sun salutation were quite literally met with the warmth of the rising sun. Wowzers. We were all rendered speechless.

And that’s just one of the many activities, unique to this particular retreat. We also toured an organic chocolate factory (and sampled waaaay too much chocolate), walked through rice fields on the way to dinner and learned of Balinese traditions and culture throughout the week.

But like a choose your own adventure novel, you can choose your own retreat. More yoga, more cleansing, more relaxation – it’s up to you. Next time (yes, I’m already planning my next time), I may choose the Escape the World package. Because really, who couldn’t use that?!

bali wellness retreat

bali wellness retreat

But in the end, it’s always about the people

The staff at OneWorld Retreats was top notch. From Natalie Bondine, our savvy retreat leader and raw foodie, to Wayan Partawan, our yoga instructor extraordinaire, to quite frankly each and every person at the resort who made you feel lovingly welcomed and special. I miss their smiles already. 

My week’s retreat was also unique in that it was all women. I’m sure all of us were feeling the same butterflies at the beginning of the week, but by the end, it was like we’d known each other for ages. Kindred spirits…all on our own wellness journeys. Which just got a little extra boost.

bali wellness retreat

Yep, a wellness retreat may be just the thing you need.

OneWorld Retreats offers all-inclusive, weekly retreats year-round. With a little something for everyone. To book your wellness retreat visit OneWorld Retreats

Thank you to OneWorld Retreats for inviting me as a guest to their retreat. As always, my opinions are my own.

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Awesome post, It looks like you had an amazing and enjoyable experience! The yoga room view is absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Aww that wellness retreat sounds WONDERFUL! I love Thai massages too ! They are cheap and AWESOME in Chang Mau. I learned how to do it for my clients and they love it ! ?❤

  3. At the end of last year I was advised to take extended leave from work, as part of what I call “my process”. This process required me to set mini tasks in support of my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.  Even though I was born Catholic I do not practice the religion, and therefore was stuck when it came to choosing a task, to reconnect spiritually. That is when I remembered this travel post and decided to investigate further. Long story short, in December I attend the Follow Your Dreams workshop by OneWorld Retreat in Bali.  It was a beautiful and rejuvenating experience and I just wanted to say, Thank You!

    1. Hi Nicole – Oh yay, I’m so thrilled you did that workshop with OneWorld Retreat in Bali! Bali is such a rejuvenating location and I found the people, culture and food to be just amazing. I hope the workshop and trip benefited “your process” and you had a wonderful overall experience! :) x

  4. Its been a wonderful expereience when i was in bali and when your loved ones are with then its a cherry on th top. And Bali is on of the cheapest and affordable destination to travel and explore.

  5. Next time come meet us in Paradiso Ubud. We host events, workshops, seminars, yoga classes & movie screenings everyday while serving yummy healthy food

  6. Lisa, it sounds like you had such a fantastic time on your retreat. I did a retreat with OneWorld last year and it really does feel like you’re in paradise the whole time. Your photos bring back such great memories, and it looks like you even had the same room as me! xx

    1. So glad I could help rekindle happy memories! The whole week is just heavenly, isn’t it?! I think many of us plan to go back again (which says a LOT!). xo