Thousands of people travel to the Island of the Gods each year to cleanse, heal and detox. Bali is one of the precious few places left on earth where an ancient, nature-based culture is thriving and continues with ceremonies of purification. Bali also abounds in fresh produce, a thriving wellness community and countless ways to support and nourish yourself through a physical, emotional or spiritual re-set.
Taking part in a cleanse in Bali, you can immerse yourself in beauty, nourish yourself in nature and choose from of an abundance of affordable, high quality complementary healing therapies such as massage, yoga, readings and colonics to support your journey. But where to begin, what to expect, how long and which fast is best for me? Read on.
Fasting is choosing to abstain from anything from food and drink, to company, sex, sugar or speech for a length of time from several hours, to one month or more. It is an ancient practice for cultivating physical and spiritual health. While fasts have become popular over the last decade, they are by no means a ‘fad’, with their roots firmly planted in centuries of Eastern medicine and traditions.
Our internal ‘pipes’, tissues and thought processes become clogged up with the stresses of daily life, unhealthy diets, environmental toxicity and the overburdening of chemicals or emotional stressors in our system so the only way we can become open is to give the whole body a good old fashioned clean out!
An increase in toxins or psychological overload may lead to symptoms such as headaches, skin breakouts, tiredness and lethargy, poor sleep, irregular bowel function, mental fogginess, slow healing capacity, inflammation, stiffness and muscle tension, anger and frustration – just to name a few. Cleansing therefore is not only important but also absolutely essential for your overall health because it releases toxins, allowing your mind, body and spirit to experience greater wellness in your life.
We fast for many different reasons: perhaps you have already made a short fast to prepare for a medical test or surgery? People fast to lose weight, to support healing of an injury or ill-health, for cleansing, for improved wellbeing, vitality, insight, to show reverence, to build fortitude and for spiritual clarity. Being clear on the reasons for your fast is important. Your goals will deeply affect your choices and how successful you will be in your fast.
There are a multitude of ways to cleanse the body, as well as the mind and spirit. Cleanses in Bali range from the Ayurvedic fasts, to breath-work, food, juice or herbal fasts and technology or Vipassana (silent meditation fasts). Other cleanse programs commonly found in Bali involve using saunas, yoga, massage, colon hydrotherapy, acupuncture and a plethora of other options for a deep cleanse and detox for the body.
One of your first key choices is whether to book a detox retreat program alone or in a group setting. Take time to really think about your desired outcomes, what are your intentions with your fast, what do you hope to achieve? If you know you are disciplined to fast alone and want to detox at a time that suits you, an individual detox could be your best option.
At The Yoga Barn, there is a 3-day self-guided individual juice cleanse, which you can begin at any day of the week and extend to 4-5 days, to fit a quick detox around your lifestyle. The 3-day juice cleanse program includes 5 daily juices, a colonic hydrotherapy session, daily yoga classes, 2 infra-red sauna sessions and 2 Ayurvedic massages. A perfect quick pause and reset you can do whilst enjoying your time in Bali.
However, if you are a first time faster and want to learn more about detoxing whilst being closely guided by a detox specialist within a supportive group setting of morale boosting fellow fasters, you may be better suited to a group detox program.
Each month at The Yoga Barn, a guest facilitator hosts a 7-day group detox retreat. A week long juice fast led closely by international detox experts at the top of their field can fully immerse you into a happier, healthier and more empowered you.
The 7-day group detox program can vary slightly depending on the guest facilitator leading the retreat, but you can expect a jam-packed holistic, healthy week including:
If you are new to detoxing, have a previous or ongoing health condition/illness or just feel overwhelmed by choices, another option is a personalized tailor-made detox program. Holistic and Nutrition specialist and former surgeon, Liana Nenacheva who has practiced medicine for 30 years in Russia and Belgium, recommends a fully bespoke Systemic Organ Cleansing Program at The Yoga Barn. One-on-one daily consultations with a personalized dietary, treatment and therapy program is created by Liana to suit your body and health. Her unique program is highly recommended for people with pre-existing health conditions who want to detox safely and be closely monitored by a highly skilled holistic practitioner and Chinese Herbology expert.
It is important to ease into a fast to prevent shock to the body and allow for a smooth and easy transition. The more you can help your body in the pre-fast, easier your detox journey will be. If your body is used to eating lots of heavy or processed food, then fasting may be a bigger transition and will be a shock to the body to go from one extreme to the other.
If this is your first fast, perhaps start out really small with an 8-hour fast on a weekend when you don't have much to do. Drink plenty of water and take green juices and skip eating breakfast and lunch and then have a light dinner – to give you an idea of what a detox would be like. Every body responds differently to fasting, and it can be difficult to predict what will happen on your detox journey. Your physical and emotional state, the conditions around you and the type of fast you choose are all factors can change the outcome of your fast.
if you are concerned about how fasting might affect you or if you have an ongoing health condition or maybe an underlying illness. It is best to get checked before you begin as a fast could take a dangerous toll on your body and an all clear health consultation will give you the peace of mind before you begin your detox.
For example, try to wean yourself off the most addictive foods a couple of days before your fast so your body doesn’t go into shock and have major cravings. Cut out chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, bread and if you smoke – cut that out now! It is best to just bin all sugary foods and drinks out of your kitchen and empty the fridge, to avoid temptation. Preparing your body and your home before will give you an idea of perseverance and before you begin your fast.
A few days before, switch your diet to include plenty of simple soups, broths, salads, fruit and veggies as they are easier for your body to digest for a safe transition into your fast.
If you’re here in Bali, try silver water as well as drinking young coconuts which are filled with natural electrolytes and are gentle on your stomach leading up to your fast.
During a fast is a rare and precious time to get to know yourself more intimately than you may ever have before. You start to become vividly aware of you feel, how you think, what you struggle with, your habits, addictions, pleasures, cravings, comforts, avoidance and distraction strategies in wild and wonderful ways.
You might experience all sort of physical symptoms too, it is completely normal to experience headaches, coated tongue or foul tastes, fatigue, sadness, anxiety and irritability. Do not worry, speak to your detox facilitator, get plenty of rest, journal, practice the art of doing nothing and deeply connect to your body. Detoxes are personal evolutionary journeys and a sacred and special time for you to listen to your body, practice yoga, witness your mind and see what emotions come and go.
In a word: gently. Hydrate yourself with lots of clean and fresh water and nourish your system with simple liquids like broth, miso soup, light juices and herbal teas. Have a light meal available, many detox facilitators will guide you on exactly what to eat for the first few days after your fast, which will usually include fruit, soups and light raw vegan meals. It is important to eat slowly and absolutely avoid alcohol, refined sugar, bread, refined flour, meat and other foods that are heavy, chemically loaded or hard work to digest straight after your fast.
A detox that is right for your body can be a powerful and transformational healing journey. There is an enormous range of detox programs in Bali to choose from to suit your personal goals – be they physical, trauma-related, emotional, ancestral or spiritual. Find out more about the benefits of detox or learn more about colonics.