For many, a wellness kick may start with a gradual introduction to a better diet, a new exercise regime, practicing mindfulness, or maybe through a more structured program such as a yoga retreat or week-long detox. Mine began with all of the above–on a luxury, Balinese resort, concluding my sunset yoga practice next to a wellness expert.

Although this was a newfound peace for me, at The Samata, this tenderly invigorating ritual is a regular evening. Managed by Lifestyle Retreats, the hotelier has created an all-encompassing wellness hideaway with its people, practices and the positioning of the 15-bedroom resort. Healthy cooking classes highlight the benefits of locally-sourced eating; energy healers as yoga instructors reflect practice as more than an hour of your day, but rather a lifestyle; and its rooms, nestled into this nook of eastern Bali’s Sanur coastline overlook acres of rice fields, dropping off into the mystifying depths of the Indian Ocean.

Checking into The Samata is your opportunity to let go–so that’s exactly what I did; trading in my typical lazy morning lay-ins for morning meditations, mid-day journaling for self reflection, and sunset salutations with Budi–one of the most transformative yoga instructors I had the pleasure of practicing with during my stay.

Through reiki and gathering the earth’s forces, Buddhi effectively cured my long-term ankle injury in one evening–something years of physical therapy had yet to fix–while he simultaneously enforced the importance of mindfulness and awareness for what our bodies are signaling through a variety of aches. He addressed scoliosis, jaw alignment and back pain in my peers, and with each swirling movement of his hands, I fell deeper into the realm of believer around these energy forces; and one step further into an immersive trip of wellness.

Although these spiritual qualities were amplified by being halfway across the world, in one of the planet’s most renowned wellness destinations, for me, they were also enforced by experiencing The Samata’s fully immersive wellness offerings with Hong Kong-based wellness expert, Vivienne Tang.

Through Tang, I had the pleasure to mature my meditation, by understanding the deeper mindset of visualization–creating the life you desire by actually feeling it and living to that standard. In cooking classes, I learned of Tang’s efforts to eat clean, yet also the importance that moderation plays in following a healthy diet on a regular basis, rather than doing cleanses once in awhile.

“I don’t think the way people are using cleanses are good,” noted Tang as we sipped on the resort’s green juices meant to accompany a meal, not to substitute the meal. “Some people think they can eat anything they want and then go on a cleanse for a week, then go back to eating all junk food.”

This theme of moderation and balance contributes to the larger wellness world that Tang is a part of; with her messaging often reflecting more than just a workout or healthy meal, but also the outlook and lifestyle that the term wellness was designed to reflect.

“Sometimes I find the whole wellness markets, activewear, all the juice cleanses, it’s taking away from the real wellness experience–people do a cleanse back home and they think they are getting the full wellness experience, but there’s so much more to it.”

That “so much more” is exactly what The Samata encompasses; inspiring visitors to jump start a wellness lifestyle, refocus outdated cliches, and dive into an immersive experience of aligning the body, mind and soul. And for Tang, as a seasoned-Bali visitor, this means booking a stay at places like The Samata, where the resort’s offerings don’t just “scratch the surface.”

Before it was more, get a massage, or do a detox, and that was it. Now, there is a more 360-degree approach to wellness that focuses not just on the physical health but also on mental wellness,” explains Tang on the general shift within the the wellness industry.

As a result of this shift, The Samata Sanur has transformed its offerings to emphasize the interlink between body and mind. For an urbanite such as myself this connection between physicality and mental well-being became all the more clear as tailored-morning workouts, afternoons in the lap pool, and evening yoga sessions brought a settled sense of clarity to my mind, varying from a typical adrenaline rush. This was long-lasting; my body and mind felt in tune, thus my body felt stronger and I realized the impact that meditation had impressed on my mind.

As I sit down to reflect on my newfound state of wellness this past month, NYC blares its disruptive melody; lights and horns dazzling. It is the very opposite to where my mind is at–entranced by the Balinese sun setting over the young and vibrant rice rows, slowly closing out of vision as I exhale and enter shavasana to end my practice at The Samata.


Photos by Chiara Gerek, Kimi Juan and Justin Lim