Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa sits at the end of a narrow country lane surrounded by rice paddys and fields of ripening corn. Thatched circular buildings with conical roofs reach for the sky, the gardens are filled with lush foliage, and the gushing of a fast flowing river intermingles with birdsong.
From the moment I step onto the property I become aware of a shift in energy, a higher vibration. Perhaps it’s the convergence of eight energy lines that run through the property; maybe it’s the all-pervasive concept of ‘Love in Action,’ or possibly it’s the ritualistic Agni Hotra fires that are lit at dawn and dusk each day to purify the property. I have a traditional Balinese healing treatment that is a mix of reflexology and chakra balancing with Pak Dewa, a wonderful and powerful energy healer. At times the session is painful and I shed tears, but by the end my spirit is soaring. Afterwards I sit on the verandah drinking ginger tea and reflecting on my life and my need to restore balance.That evening I join the Agni Hotra fire purification ceremony, with Balinese priests leading us through a powerful ritual that includes throwing beans, seeds and incense into the fire, to symbolise cleansing, healing and forgiveness, while coconuts are smashed to signify the breakdown of ego. Through it all mantras are chanted, bells are rung and prayers recited.
The Balinese concept of Tri Hita Karana ‘creating a harmonious relationship to God, other human beings and to nature,’ is integrated in every aspect of the design. Local priests provided spiritual guidance in the layout of the resort, while international environmental consultants were consulted to minimize the ecological impact. Thoughtful construction utilizes bamboo, riverstone, coconut wood and recycled teak and mimics the curves, colors and rawness of nature. Sustainable practices include effective waste management, low energy consumption and efficient use of water resources; all contributing to making this one of the most sustainable eco conscious resorts on the island.
But just because it is sustainable doesn’t mean it cuts any corners when it comes to luxury. Five sumptuous sleeping pavilions have decadent outdoor bathrooms, private decks with sunken tubs, high tech chromo graphic lighting, and handpicked antiques, while the spa specialises in organic treatments concocted in the spa laboratory and the restaurant serves the most exquisite raw food on the island – truly food for the soul.
Just returned from a Nia class with the amazing Saffire, the newest in a rather awesome line up of teachers to arrive at Desa Seni over the last couple of years. I met Saffire last year as he rocked the Bali Spirit festival with his unique blaze of rhythm and movement and was one of the first to sign up for his three day Nia/Shamantra workshop at Desa Seni where we learned to express ourselves through dance and stillness, to vocalise and dance to our inner emotions as he challenged us to go beyond our boundaries, to listen to our bodies, to dance into being…… People keep asking me what his classes are like – but its hard to describe, I guess you could start by saying that its about joy and movement and liberation and laughter and fun. About truly dancing like no one is watching – giving yourself space to move, then shaking everything up and out, and feeling absolutely amazing while you are doing it. The best thing is – the buzz stays with you.
The Nia technique is fundamentally about unifying the body, mind, emotions and spirit with high energy dance that borrows from martial arts , yoga and healing practices. It is a form of self healing through a combination of choreographed dance and free form that sees movement as a pathway for transformation, a way of dancing through our barriers. Saffire is teaching three Nia dance classes at Desa Seni each week. He also facilitates his own creation, ‘Dance into Being’ on Saturday nights, its a little bit like a guided ecstatic dance that incorporates sound and rhythm – although describing it like this just doesn’t seem to do the experience justice – I could just say its about losing yourself in the music and finding new ways to move and express yourself which is such a completely liberating experience.
Inherent to Desa Seni is the notion of community – or ‘kula. ’ For Saffire true community happens “When everyone moves to the same pulse. Each may have a different relationship to that pulse, but the single pulse is what holds the center of community. Communicating with each other in this way with sound and silence, call and response, transmitting and receiving, a singular pulse is created, making music possible, making healing possible, making community.”
One of the things I love about Desa Seni is that the staff also have the opportunity to join free classes and workshops. Obviously, there was a full turn out for Saffire’s staff class!
For scheduled classes check http://www.desaseni.com/schedule.htm
For more about Nia www.nianow.com
For more about Saffire www.shamantranow.com