The Space Between: A Week at Inner Temple Retreat
The universe is always listening.
Two months on this magical little island called Bali and I found myself asking new questions; was it time for me to return to to the western world? Had this chapter of my adventures come to a close? Was I “enlightened" enough, for now..?
I swear it was only mere moments after I uttered these questions that the universe responded with a rather definitive answer…
I checked into Inner Temple Retreat just over one week ago now, and there, my journey through Bali, towards myself, continued...
Based in a beautiful, warm villa just on the edge of surfer-chic Canggu, Inner Temple is a women’s wellness retreat that bridges the gap between luxury spa holiday and intensive yoga workshop. It’s cushy enough for the corporate exec who gets her paws painted at the Ritz, and centered enough for the young yogini looking for a push deeper.
I arrived in the afternoon, after breezing by the lush rice paddies and picturesque temples that surround the villa. Once I had finished gushing over the gorgeous setting I found myself in, I would meet the three fabulous women who had also signed on for some serious pampering and soul-searching here in Bali. They would be, one vivacious, go-getting Aussie banker, one exceptionally soft and sweet nurse from County Cork, and one easy-riding, smiley Finn who's been busting her butt in the start-up world. Then, of course, there was me. Your in-house transient, always on the look-out for a good story.
Our backgrounds were seemingly as diverse as our passports, and yet, here we found ourselves together, on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean….
It was no mistake.
Heading up our camp of goddesses were two pretty phenomenal women.
The retreat owner and general house-mama-at large was everything you could wish her to be. A spring of warmth and understanding flowed effortlessly from her borders, and yet, to my utmost delight, she’s still retained her delightfully dry English sense of humour. She could guide you through a deeply spiritual meditation with grace and then turn around to discuss the scandals on the latest season of The Bachelor. She was in fact the definition of her own retreat.
At her side was her odd-couple-esque other half; our in-house yoga guru, as well as the brilliant chef at Inner Temple. This german yogini was integral to the success of the retreat. Hailing from Hamburg, she’s not your average yogi, nor your average fräulein. If you’re expecting someone to brush your hair and sing you cumbaya while you relax in child’s pose, you’re in for a long week. She demands your full effort and energy in her classes, and trust me when I say you’ll need it. Your body will be pushed to it’s limits. However, much like her counterpart, this goddess has an impeccable sense of balance. She knew just how far to take you, and just when to lead you back. Her presence was so commanding, it neared intimidation. But, just one flash of her love-filled smile and you’d be gleefully scampering back to your mat.
Then there’s her food.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself that a vegan diet means only sacrifice and salads, then I personally dare you to come eat at Inner Temple for a week. Day after day, our favourite fräulein, with the help three beautiful Balinese staff, filled our table with the most flavorful, satisfying, delicious and nutritious dishes you can imagine. Seriously. From tempe curries to zucchini lasagna to heart-shaped petite fours we learned to make in a raw chocolate class, meal-time was giddily anticipated by all of us. With a little creativity and the right ingredients, our gorgeous chef could make us just about anything our detoxing bodies could think of. Even caesar salad (complete with “parmesan” cheese) and a banoffee pie. Sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and freaking FABULOUS.
So what did we do for six days other than eat like the queens and master our downward dogs? Pretty much whatever our healing hearts desired. On the menu of offerings was a mandala painting workshop, Balinese massages, facials, chakra balancing and traditional bone healing. We collectively elected to enjoy the run of them, and always emerged from our treatments looking just a little drunk and a whole lot glowy; a bunch of blissed-out Bali babes. And while we truly enjoyed unleashing our inner artists and getting last week’s nightmare of a Tinder date kneaded out of our backs, perhaps what we might have loved the most were the moments in between.
Around the dinner table or floating in the pool, there were chances to forget about life, and to think about living. Undoubtably all of our activities were catalysts for a deeper sense of peace; whether it was through the stokes of a paint brush or the ache of a warrior pose, I myself was creeping closer to the balance I so desire.
And I’m able to recognize that because of the moments after. The space in between…
Whatever it is that we do to move towards fulfillment and peace in our lives - travel, yoga, cooking, surfing - I find it’s in those breaths afterwards that suddenly every aspect of life is ever so slightly transformed. The lens through which we perceive the world is wiped clean and colours sing just a little more brightly... The air we inhale is just a touch sweeter. The woman next to us a little more like a sister. The future before us a whole lot freer, and the now - the magnificent now - becomes a gift beyond measure...
I know that women, especially, often have trouble taking time to care for themselves in deep and meaningful ways. We are, by nature, giving, generous, self-sacrificing and sensitive beings. In an effort to become the modern, independent, gender-equal creatures, we also pile a whole lot of armor onto that sensitive soul. It's no surprise that eventually we can end up feeling raw, burnt out and in desperate need of some tender, loving care. And that's OKAY. We're so quick to tell our girlfriends and loved ones that they deserve a break or to spoil themselves but don't honour ourselves in the same way.
Men, women, children; everyone deserves to be living their best life. And somewhere between a slice of vegan cheesecake and a wobbly headstand, I realized that my own best life meant seizing the moment, being bold, and watching it all unfold with nothing but gratitude. I have a feeling that might just be a good equation for you too...
Ladies, (sorry gents, this is strictly a goddess-only affair) if you're looking for some room to breathe, to better yourself, to relax and renew your body, mind, and sprit, I can't recommend this place enough. And gentlemen, if your feeling like honouring a particular goddess in your life (as you always should!), this would make one hell of a gift.
Head to Inner Temple's website here for more inspiration and information on upcoming retreats. And just in case you needed anymore incentive Inner Temple has generously extended a $100.00 discount on of their retreats if you mention a Pilot's Daughter when booking!
How's that for fabulous?