Yoga and wellness retreats are gaining popularity in destinations across Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Indonesia. Visitors in search of a few activities to help them de-stress need look no further than the idyllic islands of Koh Samui, Phuket and Bali, all of which offer a number of wellness activities to help you relax and unwind.
Islands like Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali are now peppered with health and wellness centres that offer something more than a snooze by the pool or the seashore to help melt away all that stress that accumulates in everyday life. Most wellness retreats welcome day visitors and feature sophisticated spas, a range of exercise and meditation classes and healthy menus where visitors can cleanse their body then spoil themselves on a range of nutritious dishes.
Relax and Unwind
Situated on a hidden hillside overlooking the stunning east coast of Koh Samui, Tamarind Springs Forest Spa is an ideal place for visitors to pamper themselves with a gentle detox. The spa’s unique herbal steam room has been carved into a natural rock cave, where visitors can cleanse away life’s toxins before a refreshing dip in one of the waterfall-fed rock pools. The experience is intended to invigorate the skin, improve circulation and clear the body of toxins. It is best followed by a signature massage such as the traditional Thai Yoga Massage treatment, which utilises firm movements and acupressure to improve flexibility and muscle tension.
All in the mind
While telltale signs of tension often show up in the body, it is often the mind that needs to be calm in order to fight stress. Workshops held at Phuket’s Thanyapura Mind Centre are designed to make mental training practice, including meditation, accessible to all. Visitors can take part in a range of programmes that encompass meditation, psychology and yoga. Special sessions are also offered specifically to sports professionals in order to improve focus and resilience, while an alternative programme is available for corporate groups who want to improve their productivity and creativity.
Turn up the Heat
Visitors to Koh Samui who want to breathe out all of the tension the body holds onto may be interested in taking part in a Bikram Yoga class whilst they are staying on the island. Bikram yoga, also known as “hot yoga”, takes place in a specially heated room which allows you to work deeper into muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the workout. Visitors that drop in for a 90-minute class can expect to focus on controlling their mind and breathing, and to work that little bit harder to attain inner serenity. Meanwhile dedicated centres such as the Yoga Garden in Bophut and Kamalaya in Laem Set also offer classes in a range of other yoga discplines.
Detox and De-stress
If you over-indulged on Pad Thai and local beer during your stay on Phuket then you may feel the benefits of a detox programme before you head home. Atmanjai Resort offers a number of detox programmes, including an ultra-cleanse programme, an energy reset programme, an eat well programme and an insulin free programme. The energy reset programme is a good way to get your body and mind back on a healthy track, and includes yoga classes, massages, cleansing fruit shakes, steam and sauna treatments.
Stretch and Release
Located in the Bali’s wellness and cultural capital, Ubud, The Yoga Barn is the perfect place for visitors who have been inspired to “Eat, Pray, Love”. Nestled amongst the terraces of Bali’s picturesque rice paddies, the centre is dedicated to healing and renewal of the body, mind and soul. Daily yoga workshops give visitors the chance to try out a variety of different yoga forms, including Classical Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative yoga and Power yoga, among others. Also on offer are meditation sessions, sound medicine and ecstatic dance workshops.
by MAX VEE