This fast-paced modern life can easily wear us down but unfortunately, not all of us can afford a sabbatical year to do an “Eat, Pray, Love” inspired retreat.
The Jakarta Globe was recently invited to join the “School of Life” (SOL) program conducted by Spa Village Resort Tembok in Buleleng, Bali, where participants learned a number of health tips.
Here are a few small and easy steps you can incorporate into your daily life to rejuvenate both your body and mind.
Best done in the morning, yoga is one of the best ways to balance both body and mind. If you’re unsure of where to begin, Hatha yoga is the least demanding form of this ancient work-out.
The exercise should begin with breathing, during which we are encouraged to be aware of every part of our bodies, before continuing on to Asanas (yoga poses), including the child pose, downward-facing dog and sun salutations.
“Unresolved anger, trauma or fear may block up a system in your body and cause you to feel pain,” said the resort’s recreation head and resident yoga teacher, Luh Manis, adding that most of our pains and aches originate from blocked energies in our mind and body.
For novices, Manis advised them to learn the correct yoga poses with an experienced tutor in a class. But once they have mastered the moves, they can easily do it themselves at home every day.
Surrounded by fast food and delicious street snacks, Jakartans may find it challenging to maintain a healthy diet. Now and then we may become disgusted at the greasy foods so readily available to us and vow to abstain from them, only to return a few days later with a vengeance.
“It’s not so difficult to eat healthy, you know,” said the spa resort’s executive chef, Martin Buchele. “You don’t need a six-week cucumber diet. You can eat a balanced meal and you’re healthy and fit.”
Buchele studied the ancient Buddhist tradition Bon in a monastery in Kathmandu in 2012. He is also well-versed in an innovative array of diet menus, including the macrobiotic regime and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) to name a few. Buchele encouraged SOL participants to refrain from drinking cow’s milk for better digestion.
“Lactose intolerance is increasing,” he said. “That’s because the quality of cow’s feed is not very good, so the milk the animal produces is of poor quality.”
In its stead, the chef introduced us to cashew milk.
“Basically, you can make milk with any kinds of nuts,” Buchele said. “The best option is cashews. They don’t have such a high fat content and it’s so easy to make.”
However, he warned, if you decide to add fruits, make sure to drink the milk no more than six hours after making it. Cashew milk is perfectly safe for those who are lactose intolerant.
When you feel dull aches or pains on your back or knees, resist the urge to immediately grab a bottle of painkillers. Instead, try a traditional Balinese remedy called boreh (heat rub), made from ingredients that can easily be found in the kitchen.
To make your own boreh, you will need 50 grams of ginger, galangal and cloves each, as well as 100 grams of soaked white rice. Pound the cloves by using pestle and mortar, until they become powder. Pour the clove powder into a container and set it aside. Then, grind the soaked rice until you get a soft paste. Cut the ginger and galangal into small pieces before grinding them together into powder. Mix the ginger and galangal with the (ground) rice to form a concoction before adding some clove powder. Stir the ingredients thoroughly and your boreh is ready to use. You can apply it on any part of the body, except the face; leave the salve on for 15 minutes before gently wiping your skin clean with a warm towel.
“It’s cheap, homemade and free from chemicals,” said Suartini, the resort’s spa therapist. “The heat will seep into your muscles and joints to relieve the pain.”
You can keep the homemade concoction in the refrigerator for two days.
To enhance your night’s sleep, keep all your gadgets and other electronics away from your bedroom. A breathing exercise and meditation session before bed will help you ease into a deep slumber.
“These days, everyone is so busy,” Manis. “When people go home, parts of their minds are still in the office, in the meeting, so we bring it altogether [with meditation] before going to sleep.”
During meditation, we simply attune our minds to our body and release all pent-up emotions with the deep breathing exercises.