The Sacred Pause, Bali
Time out to pause at a destination spa in Bali
Best for: A tropical break from a chaotic life
Not for: Anyone not ready for self reflection
Takes up to 8 guests
The Sacred Pause is a five night retreat at the luxury destination spa retreat Fivelements in Bali that gives you the chance to slow down and reconnect with yourself. Mindfully curated with lots of downtime, the retreat pivots around group workshops with UK-based coach Danielle Marchant and includes yoga, various holistic therapies and a private coaching session.
The combination of a luxury spa venue with a guided chance to press pause on your life.
The Sacred Pause retreat only runs twice a year, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Your five-night retreat pivots around group life coaching workshops, and includes one private coaching session. Between times you’ll have two yin yoga classes, a group Tibetan sound meditation, the chance to take part in Fire and Water ceremonies, a healing session, a ‘Soul Guidance’ personal astrology reading and a traditional Balinese massage.
With over 10 years of experience in the executive, business, leadership, transformational and life coaching sphere, Danielle Marchant is committed to helping her guests flow rather than fight with life by getting them to slow down and reconnect to their hearts. Her group workshops during the retreat ask questions to help you discover where you are in life and where you want to be, and a one-to-one session for further guidance is also included.
Led by intuitive healer and psychic, Paula Shaw, the ‘Soul Guidance’ session uses a mixture of astrology, tarot and intuition to cover all aspects of life – from professional to personal – giving insight into what led you to this moment and what you need to do next to integrate learnings from the retreat.
Paula has been receiving psychic information since she was a child and has been giving Soul Guidance readings for over 12 years. The opposite of fluffy, her forthright manner is honest and direct. Her unnervingly accurate assessment of your personal quirks, character traits and life path is equally informative and inspirational.
During The Sacred Pause you’ll also have a group Tibetan bowl meditation, a healing holistic bodywork session, and a traditional Balinese massage. You can also book extra treatments at the retreat’s ‘Healing Village’. Top-notch spa therapies are executed by a team of ‘wellness liaisons’, expert therapists and local ‘Balians’ (traditional Balinese healers).
The Tibetan bowl meditation gives you the chance to lie peacefully on the ground and bask in the magical vibrations of a gifted healer and maestro. It’s performed by Wakuha, who was initiated into a Native American lineage in 2011 and has since been following her shamanic spiritual path, healing and teaching others.
Holistic healer Hang Wang offers the healing session, working on energy blocks in the body (caused by unresolved emotional experiences, unreleased traumas, physical injuries and tension) to help shift the flow of stagnant energy in your system via hands-on bodywork. A man of few words, Hang lets his expert touch do the talking and by the time you leave his table, you will feel like a new person.
You’ll have two classes in yin yoga during your retreat. Based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang (opposite and complementary principles in nature), Yin yoga consists of a series of long-held, slow-paced, passive floor poses that concentrate on the lower part of the body—the hips, pelvis, inner thighs and lower spine. Designed to open up the fascia (connective tissue), tendons and ligaments, yin yoga helps regulate the flow of energy in the body and makes you feel fantastic and truly relaxed.
There are a couple of ceremonies you’ll be able to experience as part of this retreat, a Water Ceremony and a Fire Ceremony.
The ‘Melukat’ (holy water) purification ceremony is performed at a sacred Balinese water temple, Tirta Empul (holy water spring), and a magical experience for many. Led by a local guide and Balinese priest, the ceremony begins with a ‘Panca Sembah’ meditation session that pays homage to Dewa Surya (God of Sun), Dewa Wisnu (God of Water), emptiness and peace (in mind, heart and on earth). Following this, you enter the sacred pools (wearing a sarong and sash) and cleanse yourself under each of the 30 water spouts. There are two pools (15 spouts in each pool) and there is a specific purification ritual to perform under each fountain. The water immersion is followed by a blessing ritual, led by a Balinese priest who chants sacred mantras.
Led by the resident priest at Fivelements, the Agni Hotra (sacred fire) ceremony begins with meditation in the ceremonial fire space, while the priest rings the Balinese bell and chants Sanskrit mantras to evoke divinity and blessings of health and abundance. Following the lighting of the fire, you are invited to participate by making offerings of grains, ghee, lentils and rice into the fire. Fire represents transformation, so the invitation is to offer negative thoughts or unwanted energy into the fire to be purified or transformed into more positive energy. This healing ritual is known to be effective in helping one let go of unwanted aspects in their lives and similarly, bring in and manifest new intentions and new life. A silent meditation is shared toward the end.
Pack mosquito repellant! This is the jungle and the local insects bite. Be prepared to see some nature in the form of gecko’s, lizards, butterflies and dragonflies. Pack the Kleenex. Chances are, you will shed some tears during the retreat.
When to Go
The Sacred Pause retreat is held twice a year in March and November. Both of these times are during ‘dry season’ in Bali, which is a warm and balmy time to visit, with average temperatures of 30 degrees celsius.
Meals take place in a sprawling multi-level restaurant alongside the river, jungle and surrounding koi ponds. Carved from bamboo, the restaurant’s architecture is as striking as the meals themselves.
Communal tables are set up with other Sacred Pause retreat guests, giving you the chance to chat and bond (and giggle!) with other participants. Breakfast is served at 8am, lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7-8pm, although the schedule is adapted depending on the day’s activities.
Famous for its award-winning ‘living foods’ menu, Fivelements serves up ‘healing cuisine’ in the form of organic, plant-based, nutrient-rich food. Featuring raw vegan specialties and vitamin and enzyme-rich delicacies, the retreat’s creative tasting menu has been carefully curated to take guests on a gastronomical journey, while boosting energy levels. Taste is not neglected, so although the cuisine supports wholesome nutrition, the flavours are not bland.
A yummy range of cleansing juices, immune-boosting elixirs and superfood smoothies are on offer if you’re detoxing, along with an array of delicious raw deserts if you’re not.
Fivelements has been built on sustainable principles and says it is dedicated to social awareness programmes that support the local community. We haven’t been able to ascertain to date exactly what these programmes are, however.
Transfer Time: 2 hours