As you are scribbling your 2016 New Year’s resolutions – perhaps a slimmer and healthier body or more money in the bank – have you thought about improving your inner life as well? Often we are so blinded with the material and physical things that we neglect our mind and soul, the core software that actually make us who we are.
So this year, why don’t you consider improving your emotional health? After all, “that little voice that’s running in your head” is the key to your overall happiness. Wouldn’t it be just plain absurd to neglect its health?
Lucky for us, Bali has for centuries been renowned as the spiritual center where people from all over the world come on their spiritual quest, so it’s not hard to find places to work on your emotional wellbeing. Here are some little things that you may find in Bali to make yourself more positive and more conscious in everything that you do in 2016.
TAKE A BREATH
We all know the basic theory. Our breath is the mirror of our inner emotional state. When we are in fear, nervous, or angry, our breath quickens and our heart pumps at double the normal rate. Everything seems to be running faster and there is no time to think, which leads to many regretful emotional outbursts.
So to get calmer and “happier” in 2016, there is only one clear answer: regulate your breath through meditation. Yes, you read that right. Meditation, as scary and hippy as it sounds, is only a matter of focusing on your breath.
Meditation that has been practiced for thousands of years is the practice of non-judgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment. By focusing on our breath, we are trained to be fully present in the now rather than having our mind running around like a monkey, regretting the past or getting anxious about the future.
Regular meditation is believed to help reduce stress, worry, anxiety, addiction, lack of focus help address low self-esteem, and improve relationship issues. Scientific research even starts to support this claim. By practicing regular meditation, neuroscientists believe that the brain physically changes and re-shapes itself.
So while you are working hard to shape your physical body and get that six-pack you always dreamed of, why don’t you also try meditation to have a healthier and happier state of mind?
HOW TO DO IT? There are many yoga and spiritual centers in Bali that offer meditation classes. Power of Now Oasis offers a guided meditation class in its beautiful Bale by the beach in Sanur, while Yoga Barn in Ubud offers a class in Tibetan Singing Bowl meditation among other things. If you want to join a more committed practice, Dhamma Java offers a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in its stunning Landih Ashram in the hilly Kintamani. The meditation runs on donations and is nonreligious and non-sectarian.
To support your meditation, what can be more fitting than Yoga as the element of physical exercise? Not only will you get that toned body like the famous yogi Miranda Kerr, you will also be able to center your thoughts through its breathing exercises.
Another ancient practice, Yoga goes beyond stretching and strengthening the body. It’s not about doing all those crazy acrobatic moves, but rather getting to know your own body and all your own strength and limitations.
In fact, some of the original Yoga poses or asanas are relatively simple, and are believed to have been originally created to support the practice of meditation. Old yogis often need to do meditation for hours, and thus different poses are created to make them sit comfortably. In this sense yoga is essentially all about connecting your mind and body to be perfectly aligned and at peace.
HOW TO DO IT? With so many Yoga centers scattered around Bali, you will not be short of choices. Some of the places include the Power of Now Oasis for a yoga session at the beach, the Yoga Barn in Ubud that offers various levels of Yoga classes including the fun Acro Yoga, while Radiantly Alive in Ubud also offers classes for beginners.
Sometimes emotional wounds are too deep and too painful to be self-cured using yoga and meditation only. Past trauma, unresolved guilt, low self-esteem, and severe depression are some of the many mental illnesses that plague modern society.
To get rid of all this negativity, sometimes you need a helping hand when cutting the cord to your past. A holistic healer will be able to do just that, and if you don’t know where to go don’t worry as this island offers many spiritual centres. You can go to Ubud, the epicentre of spiritual healings, or go to the Bali Silent Retreat in Penatahan, Tabanan, that offers more holistic healing sessions by its certified healers.
I took my first healing session at the Bali Silent Retreat. Through a session on energetic healing, the healer helped me by opening up old wounds and after crying my eyes out, even a sceptic like me has to say that the session was really helpful.
People asked if I felt happier after my session. To be honest, happier is not the perfect word to describe it, but I did feel a deeper sense of “acceptance”. The past is in the past. The future belongs to the time that may or may not come. I was left with comprehension that the only thing that matters is now. The present. And isn’t that the goal of emotional healing? To help you start over with a clean slate?
HOW TO DO IT? Go to the Bali Silent Retreat and take a session with a healer. Each healing session is unique and tailored to the individual’s needs.
ONE CLICK AWAY
For every problem in the world, there is an app to help you on your smartphone – including for your emotional health. With the emergence of the trend in meditation, several mobile apps have been created to make these routines more practical and integrated into our day-to-day busy life.
One of them is Headspace – a hipster app for meditation. This trendy app has a strong following in amongst the young and hip demographic, with celebrity fans lined up from Emma Watson to Gwyneth Paltrow. Its bright colors, trendy design, non-religious and non-spiritual approach in explaining meditation has catapulted the app into the limelight and successfully pushed the practice of meditation into a trend.
Founded by Andy Puddicombe, an English surfer turned Buddhist monk turned start-up techy, Headspace offers a simple way to meditate. For starters, you may try its free 10-day challenge consisting of a 10-minute meditation session a day with the voice of Andy narrating.
Before the session, Andy’s voice will help explain the nature of the mind and of people without being condescending. It’s a straightforward concept that even sceptics can relate to. It’s no surprise that many Headspace practitionairs are young professionals. Since its launch in 2012, Headspace has been downloaded by three million users – even Virgin Airlines uses it as a part of their entertainment package.
I downloaded Headspace for the first time in 2013. And once I had finished the 10-day introductory package there was no turning back. I bought its yearly subscription meditation package that includes a guided meditation package for the areas that you want to work on including self-esteem, relationship and health. It’s a gym membership for the mind, really. And just like any other gym membership, you can only see the result if you keep practising.
HOW TO DO IT? Download the app for free. It is available for iOs and Android.
Power of Now Oasis: http://www.powerofnowoasis.com – Yoga Barn: Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud (0361) 971-236 http://www.theyogabarn.com – Dhamma Java: http://www.dhamma.org – Radiantly Alive: Jalan Jembawan No. 3, Padang Tegal Kaja (0361) 978-055 http://www.radiantlyalive.com – Bali Silent Retreat: http://www.balisilentretreat.com – Headspace: http://www.headspace.co