Five Amazing Wellness Tips We Can All Learn From My Trip to Hayman Island

I’m still relishing in the goodness of my recent trip to Hayman Island. It was gloriously decadent without being brash and over-the-top, and focussed on the things that mean the most to me – health, wellbeing and finding serenity in the craziness of modern life. Sounds amazing, right?

Well here’s how it works. Hayman Island, the 5-star luxury resort in the Whitsunday Islands, has just launched their very own Spa & Wellness Program, led by their resident wellness expert, Ryko Kalinko. Think of this as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, learn new life skills, relax and indulge in some seriously tasty (yet superbly healthy) fare over 4 blissful days.

Here’s what I learned…

1. Make The Morning Your Most Precious Time of Day

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I’m not a ‘bed springer’. I slowly open my eyes, resist the early morning light and usually roll straight back over for an extra half hour of sleepy bliss. On the flip side of that, I never sleep in past about 8:30am, but for those lucky bed springers this seems like a late start.

But here’s what I learned; those sacred few hours between around 5-7am are the most precious of the day. The world is awakening, the tide is turning and your spirit is ready to be embodied. Sleep through all that and you’ve missed out on a really beautiful, grounding time of day.

And so I’m changing. Instead of going back to sleep I’m making an effort to wake up when I first open my eyes, embracing the morning with a little meditation and morning exercise to lube up my limbs and get me ready for the day ahead. Be it chi gung, tai chi, movement meditation or yoga (all of which you learn at the retreat), I’m trying it. So stay tuned for the instalments on my Weekly Wellness Rituals, as they’re bound to pop up soon.

2. Be Open To Receiving and Sharing Information

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I never used to be very good at opening up. I preferred to pretend things were always great, when in reality I may have wanted to scream. Or cry. Or do both at the same time. Over the past few years, as I’ve worked hard at delving into the depths of myself, I’ve learned to open up, express myself and share information with other people. It’s a gloriously liberating experience feeling open to receiving, because when we spend our lives giving, it leaves us with nothing in the tank. Of course, you need to still give, but giving and taking in equal measures is what creates balance and harmony.

Ryko is a true wealth of information and knowledge. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that he is the most spiritually advanced person I’ve ever met. His ability to listen and heal and teach is truly what sets this program apart from many other wellness programs out there, so by being open – rather than resistant – to any changes or experiences that come up, allows you to really get the most out of your stay. That same can be said in life, too.

3. Let Go of Inhibitions

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One of the mornings we were there was spent doing a series of morning exercises, one of which included interpretive dance. At first we were all a little apprehensive as we bounced around on the grass, our arms flailing and my baby bump gently shuffling from side to side. From a distance we must have looked ridiculous, but as we kept going and let go of those inhibitions, the experience was hilariously fun. I felt free, alive, filled with energy and happy. So, so happy.

The lesson? So much of life is dictated by rules and worries of what other people think. It’s confining, uncomfortable and totally unnecessary. Even if you still live within those confines (and let’s be honest, most of us do), make time to break free of these shackles with a little free movement in the park, or in the privacy of your own home. I’m already planning on making morning dance a daily ritual with my son as soon as he’s old enough to stand up, and I already swan around the house making my husband break into fits of hysterical laughter. It’s great to feel uninhibited, so strip off and let loose, would you!

4. Slowing Down Ironically Speeds You Right Up

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Know someone who’s like a bee in a bottle? You know, manically busy, stressed and so highly strung it’s almost hard to be around them. We all have one of those in our life, and while the fear of slowing down might make them feel their ‘to-do’ list is getting done, the reality is the busyness in their head is causing them to move around in circles. Oh, the irony.

Here’s the truth. No matter how busy you are, if you make just a little time to stop! And breathe, even 2 minutes, you will instantly reset your brain and have more clarity, focus and concentration than you did just 2 minutes ago. By slowing down, even for a few breaths, you are actually speeding right up, but in a much healthier, more manageable way. There’s nothing good about stress, rushing around, manically switching from task-to-task, so make it a priority to switch off EVERYDAY and learn to push reset. Your mind (and body) will thank you for it.

Tell me Happies…
What do you think of these lessons?
Do you want to do the Hayman Spa & Wellness Retreat?

Stay Happy,

Yaz x

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The Bali Hit List!

And… I’m back.

Yep, just like that I’m back online and happily diving back into the swing of things. But that’s not to say that I’ve lost my post-holiday calm just yet, Happies.

The past three weeks has been a divine experience shared with friends, loved ones, new acquaintances and, well, myself. There were brief moments of solitude when Alex snuck off to the gym or enjoyed yet another massage that I really cherished, allowing me to think and breathe and just enjoy being away. It was pure bliss!

But now I’m back and ready to share the love, kicking things off with my Bali Hit List of places to stay, see and explore. Feel free to contribute and add to the list below so that this becomes a wonderful little resource for fellow Bali travellers.

1. Eat in Seminyak!
While I stayed in Uluwatu (if you stay around there head to Blue Point to watch the surfers) for the first week of my trip it was exploring Seminyak that really got me excited. This is the busy part of town. It’s hectic, polluted and full to the brim with tourist and shops and wonderful little eateries. We ended up coming into Seminyak almost everyday while staying in Uluwatu, making the 1.5 hour pilgrimage just because we could. Sure, it’s quite touristy and fairly hectic, but it’s well worth a visit.

I loved:
Zulu Vegetarian for amazing, healthy vegetarian fare.
Sea Circus for their quinoa salads and juices.
Motel Mexicola for a funky Bondi vibe and yummy tacos.
Sarong for something super fancy.

2. Explore Ubud!
We stayed in the loveliest villas in Ubud called Kajane Mua (highly recommend it here) and spent our days exploring town, riding our bikes through the rice fields and hitting up The Yoga Barn. If there’s only one thing you do in Ubud, make it a visit to The Yoga Barn. They have the most glorious studios and about nine classes a day, offering everything from Yin to Shadow Yoga for something completely different. They also have an organic café on the premises, or the owner also has a café down the road with similar healthy, raw food. YUM!

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Here’s bump and I enjoy our plunge pool at Kajane Mua

This is the side of Bali that is slightly less hectic, and a place to go and relax, repair and reflect on life back home. I loved Ubud.

3. Stay at Karma Jimbaran Bay!
Jimbaran Bay is a fishing village not far from the airport and is a gorgeous place to stay if you want to be slightly out of the hustle and bustle. We stayed at the stunning Karma Jimbaran Bay Resort and had the luxury of our own four bedroom villa and plunge pool. It was truly amazing!

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And a glimpse at the stunning Karma Jimbaran

The restaurant and spa at the resort were both first class, but if you walk across the road to the beach there are plenty of restaurants offering fresh fish of the day served grilled, steamed or fried with a selection of tasty greens, rice and sides. Your table is on the shoreline and the beach is littered with candles and fairy lights for a romantic setting that you’ll never forget.

Karma offers smaller villas as well, but if you plan on travelling in a group (which we weren’t but we were spoiled anyway) then this resort definitely ticks all the boxes. They can also arrange day tours to cultural sites or adventure activities depending on what you’re into, but we ended up spending the majority of our time enjoying our villa. How could you leave something so nice, right?

Just around the corner from the resort is the Jimbaran Corner Shopping Centre that houses the Bamboo Spa by L’Occitane. While there are plenty of cheaper options (hello, Bodyworks) this spa and the one at Karma offer world-class massages and treatments in a gorgeous environment. While you’re at the centre you can also pop into the Grocer and Grind for a chai and tasty breakfast.

Tell me Happies…
Have you been to Bali?
What places can you share?

Trust!

My time in Bali has all but come to an end as I enjoy my next destination – Singapore.

But before I post my Bali Hit List with my favourite places to eat, sleep and see, I thought I’d touch on that common travel companion: trust.

It dawned on me the other day that I hadn’t really touched on the notion of trust on The Happiness Cocktail. Strange, as it’s one of the key pillars in my life and, well, everyone’s life when you think about it.

From the small, insignificant everyday things like trusting other drivers on the road or trusting your colleagues won’t nab your amazing quinoa chicken salad from the communal fridge, to deeper experiences like trusting your instincts, your sense of trust seems almost heightened on holidays.

For me, I tend to relax a little more when I’m away. I want to learn and delve and play with the culture I’m experiencing and not let everyday worries get in the way. But on the flip side of that I also find I need to trust people more, and that’s not always an easy thing to do. Especially when you’re jumping into cabs (AKA a strangers car) with little idea of where you are or where you’re heading, or asking locals for their advice on where to eat or see. You just never know where you might end up.

Overall I found the Balinese people to be incredibly warm, friendly and helpful. Never once did I feel unsafe or out of place. My instincts told me so. That little niggling in your gut that screams ‘when in doubt, get out’ that often gets ignored in favour of your head. Of course, the two are very different beasts.

Trusting your gut is becoming a lost art form, but being able to tap into this wonder allows you to fearlessly go forward and make decisions you may otherwise have struggled over. If your gut. Your instinct. Your guiding light says ‘go ahead’ then jump right in with both feet. Ignore your head, push all those fears and uncertainties and insecurities aside (unless you’re doing something obviously dangerous) and leap with both legs. It will be worth it, I promise.

Tell me Happies…

Are you in touch with your instincts?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Week 1: Rest, Regroup and a Lesson Learned

I wouldn’t say the air is clear in Bali, but my mind definitely is. Taking a week to regroup, relax and rewind is, apparently, what I needed most in the world. It’s amazing the benefits that come from switching off electricals for a week. I suddenly have… space.

And time. Lots and lots of time to enjoy the local food, activities and customs here in Bali. Right now I’m up in the mountains of Ubud, spending my days at the amazing yoga barn, getting massage treatments and riding my bike through the rice fields. I’m also enjoying a little too much of the local cuisine, but that’s a given when you’re on holidays, right?

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But it’s not all about R&R, I’ve learned some valuable lessons from the Balinese. They live simply here, with their strong sense of community and deep cultural traditions, it’s amazing how happy they are despite not really having that much.

In essence, they’re the antithesis of our culture: they live in villages with their entire family rather than move out and fly the coup, they have few material possessions but are rich in love and spirituality, and they talk, smile, interact with one another rather than looking the other way and pretending their fellow man is, in fact, standing right beside them. Ultimately, there’s a sense of community here that doesn’t really exist at home.

And so, in lesson one of ‘Life in Asia’ I’ve realised once again that family values, friendship and community reign supreme yet again. So on that note, I’m off to call home.

Tell me Happies…

Are you lucky enough to have a strong community back home?

When was the last time you switched off and tuned in?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

I’m Off To Find Some Inspiration. Destination: Bali

Despite a little time out over Christmas, it occurred to me that I hadn’t really had a holiday since my great worldly adventure of 2011. Clearly, that needed you change. You see, Happies, most of my inspiration comes from the freedom of travelling abroad. There’s something about new smells, sights, foods and locations that makes me tingle inside. It’s a blessing that I am built to embrace.

Luckily for me, it also happens to coincide with my best friend’s wedding. She’s off to get hitched in Bali with me and a small group of friends standing by her side. Hooray!

Considering I have a small human on the way, Alex and I thought it’s the perfect time to have one last rest before the nest, and so, we’re staying O/S for three sweet weeks. Bali for two weeks, where we’ll be cruising around Uluwatu, before heading up into the mountains of Ubud for some yoga and cycling, and back down to Jimbaran Bay for some fresh seafood and poolside lounging.

We’re then skipping over to Singapore for the weekend, followed by a week in Langkawi, Malaysia, whereby I will be talking about beauty from the inside out at my first international conference. Holy moly, this is a momentous occasion for me, and considering it slipped in so flawlessly with our travel plans already, I’m thinking it’s all meant to be.

So with that I bring you some good news. I’ll be bringing you posts throughout the next few weeks and upon my return on things to do while travelling in B-town. From places to eat, stay and practice yoga, I am on a mission to Zen out and push escape for a little while. I need it. I’m exhausted.

See you soon,

Yaz xx

Bali