As Seen In
asia spa logo
elephant journal
logo robb report
wellness in dubai logo

Asia Wellness Retreats Re-Opening Dates

Coronavirus lockdown has taken its toll on our mind, body, and soul, so we’re very pleased to see a slow awakening of luxury wellness retreats in Asia, for local business at least. Here, we’re listing Thai Wellness Retreat re-opening dates and outlining some of the health retreats which will be available to restore health, wellness, and balance post isolation.

To date, Thai borders are currently closed for international travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Chiva Som, Hua Hin is open

chiva som cancer treatment

Chiva Som has re-opened its door now to welcome back guests with an exclusive one-time offer ‘Thai Wellness Tourism’ promotion. Although it may take a little longer to welcome international guests, if you’re a Thai resident you can take full advantage of this leading health resort’s fantastic health and wellness programs at a snip of the usual price. These mini-retreats include a ‘Two-Night Wellness Getaway’ and both full and half day ‘Wellness Experiences’. Starts at only THB12,000 (USD$385) per night for a newly renovated, stunning Ocean Room.

If you’re planning your post isolation recovery, Chiva Som Wellness Retreats to consider are:

Mind and Soul

chiva som yoga retreats

Chiva Som Emotional Wellbeing Retreats – Anxiety has certainly been heightened during these uncertain times. Emotional healing retreats were on the rise before isolation hit and we predict a huge increase in requests for emotionally healing holidays. Chiva Som’s Emotional Wellbeing vacations offer a range of fitness activities, healthy nutrition, ancient yogic practices including Pranayama (balanced breathing), Meditation, Acupuncture, and Yoga.

Natural Renewal – This health and wellness retreat aims to balance emotions and address health concerns. Expect a blend of Personal Training, Stress Release Therapy, Meditation, Acupuncture, and healthy cuisine.

Chiva Som Stress Release Retreats – With stress levels at an all time high, these Tension Release Retreats include energy boosting activities such as Pilates, massage therapy, meditation, acupuncture, and healthy cooking classes


chiva som personal training

Chiva Som Weight Loss Retreats – this sustainable weight management program encourages you to abandon old eating habits and adopt a healthier outlook to food and nutrition. The main focus of the health retreat is detox, physical fitness, and general health improvement.

Chiva Som Detox Retreats – This personalised detox balances the body’s macro and micronutrients with nutritional and herbal supplements, lymphatic drainage treatments and colon hydrotherapy. Cooking classes and fitness are all aimed to restore vitality.

Kamalaya, Koh Samui is open

Kamalaya in Koh Samui has also re-opened with a ‘Thai Residents Offer’ (valid 15th May – 31st August ). Benefit from 3 complimentary nights and up to THB80,000 in credit for all currently in Thailand.

In the video below Co-Founder of Kamalaya, John Stewart, offers a heartfelt welcome, explaining the foundations of this wonderful health resort and the long lasting benefits of a healthy vacation in nature.

Kamalaya Retreats to consider are:

Mind and Soul

Kamalaya Emotional Balance Retreats – These healing holidays are one of our most requested to address emotional wellbeing. Entitled ‘Embracing Change’, this wellness retreat looks within, exploring emotional habits, such as emotional eating, relationship issues, anxiety, and grief. You’ll return home with an emotional toolkit to address any issues head on and lead a life with more balance and joy.

Kamalaya Stress Relief Retreats – Depending on your level of stress, Kamalaya offer several stress management holidays, ranging from ‘Relax and Renew’ and ‘Asian Bliss’ to Basic and Comprehensive ‘Balance and Revitalise’. The latter are aimed at addressing issues of burnout through Ayurvedic treatments, Anti-Stress management consultations, fitness and therapeutic spa.

Kamalaya Sleep Enhancement Retreats – We often combine these sleep programs with other wellness retreats. Stress, anxiety, and weight issues can often lead to issues with sleep patterns which need to be addressed.


Kamalaya Yoga Synergy – Both group and one-to-one Yoga classes, Ayurvedic and Asian Spa therapies, Pranayama, and Meditation combine to offer a wonderfully holistic luxury yoga retreat by the sea.

Kamalaya Detox – Awarded for their fantastic detox holidays, Kamalaya Detox Retreat programs range from an ‘Intro to Detox’ for first time detox participants to a comprehensive program for detox lovers.

Kamalaya Fitness and Ideal Weight – Both the basic and comprehensive fitness holidays at Kamalaya are tailored to the individual. Group sessions and personal training, massage, healthy cuisine, aqua classes and stretching all form part of this health retreat. If you’ve piled on the pounds during lockdown, the Ideal Weight program is for you.

Amanpuri, Phuket re-opens 1st July

amanpuri luxury hotel phuket

Luxury resort Amanpuri in Phuket plans to re-open on 1st July. Privacy and highly personalised, holistic wellness retreats have always been high on the agenda at Aman Resorts. When they re-open in July, guests can once again enjoy exemplary service, natural and spacious surroundings and bespoke wellness immersions. Adapting to individual needs, our guests can choose between an original or intensive immersion. If you’re concerned about privacy and space, consider one of our healthy holidays at an Aman Resort in Asia.

Mind and Soul

amanpuri weight loss intensive

Amanpuri Life Reset – Never has there been a time where a ‘Life Reset’ resonates more. Press the reset button post COVID-19 isolation to transform yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Healthy nutrition, guidance in stress management and addressing burnout all form part of this bespoke, luxury wellness vacation.

Amanpuri Self Healing and Mindfulness – The stressful challenges of lockdown are upon us, so these healing holidays are a wonderful way to self heal and restore emotional balance. Gain a deep sense of relaxation through guided yoga, meditation, and holistic healing treatments such as Cranial Sacral Healing and Reiki.


amanpuri fitness vacationa

Amanpuri Weight Management – Lose weight, gain muscle mass, and look into the root causes of eating issues. Fitness classes include fun activities such as Muay Thai boxing classes, spa therapy with Acupuncture and Moxa and a healthy eating plan.

Amanpuri Detox – Holding a non-purist approach, you’ll not be expected to starve during these luxury detox retreats. Enjoy yoga, SUP, breath work and spa treatments such as lymphatic drainage.

In our next blog, we’ll be focusing on Indonesia, with news on re-opening dates and upcoming healthy holidays in Bali and beyond.

You may not be able to physically travel to Thailand just yet, but we can certainly help you plan your dream health retreat!

We look forward to a healthy return to wellness travel with you.

In Health and Happiness


Joanne and the Soul Sanctuaries team



Tel: HK+852 81912707


Luxury Healing Retreats post COVID-19

Today we’ve been discussing how the wellness industry will answer the post COVID-19 lockdown call to re-balance mind, body and soul at luxury healing retreats (via Zoom of course). Asia Spa guidelines are currently evolving, hotel sanitation plans considered, and health and wellness retreats ask their experts how to better serve guests needs post lockdown.

Online Health and Wellness Resources

chiva som online wellness
(image courtesy of Chiva Som)

Soul Sanctuaries Asia health and wellness partners have provided some fantastic online wellness resources over the last few months. Understanding that our valued guests cannot travel, leading health retreat Chiva Som is offering online consultations, including a 50 minute Naturopathic Consultation and a Natural Fertility Consultation (great if you have more time to try for a baby right now!). You can book in a one-to-one personal fitness training session, yoga or meditation. There are also Wellness Knowledge Videos which are free to access and these include a Stress Release Meditation and a 12 Minute Metabolic Booster exercise.

spa manager amanoi

While awaiting your bespoke healthy travel experience with us, staying at Aman Resorts in Asia, why not create a little luxury at home. Shyam Goyal, Spa Manager of Amanoi in Vietnam, outlines a Kundalini Energy Boost and there are some recipes from the Aman kitchen, such as warming Rasa Soup, Jamu health tonics and the recipe for Chai tea.

ananda online resources

Ananda in the Himalayas have some wonderful live sessions to join, covering health topics this week on ‘Addressing Women’s Health with Ayurveda’, ‘Cleansing Chakras with Chakra Meditation’ and ‘Self Empowerment with Hypnotherapy’. To access these, head over to Ananda on Instagram.

If you’d like access to more free online wellness resources then please get in contact with us ( and we’ll email over more to suit your wellness needs!

Future Luxury Health Retreats

amanpuri detox holidays
Image courtesy of Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand

Whether you’re feeling more anxious than normal, want to secure optimum health or simply need to getaway and rejuvenate, we’ll be offering an integrated approach to restorative health post COVID-19 at luxury healing retreats across Asia. We tailor all healthy holidays and luxury spiritual retreats, ensuring a transformative experience that lasts long after the journey ends. Paying particular attention to individual guest needs, we’re currently working with our wellness partners to offer the best holistic healing retreats.

Integrated Medical Immune Support Immersion

amanpuri wellbeing retreats
Image courtesy of Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand

The Integrated Medical Immune Support Immersion at Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand is designed to support the body’s natural defence systems. It will be led by medical physicians, who will be supported by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and Physiotherapists. After a medical consultation, which will include blood tests, a heavy metal Oligoscan and lifestyle check, a personalised wellness program will be designed. Healthy therapies contribute to improved immunity, such as IV infusions to boost the immune system, ozone therapy, Vit-D injections, colon hydrotherapy, Chinese acupuncture, in conjunction with personalised nutrition and fitness.

Emotional Wellbeing

chiva som yoga retreats
image courtesy of Chiva Som

The Coronavirus outbreak has left many feeling anxious and depressed. Emotional wellbeing retreats are specifically designed to restore inner calm and release negative trauma. At Chiva Som the holistic Emotional Wellbeing program includes mind and body therapies, tailored fitness, healthy meals and a stable sleep pattern, all aimed at recovery and rehabilitation.  Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and Healing Spa treatments also help to treat a weary soul.

Spiritual Treks for the Soul

butter lamp lighting bhutan
Butter Lamp Lighting – image courtesy of Amankora resort in Bhutan

Dreaming of a spiritual quest post lockdown?

Every luxury spiritual retreat in Bhutan with Soul Sanctuaries is an entirely personal affair. The ‘Inner Light Immersion’ has been created to explore the spirit or self which resides within us. Your inner wisdom will be discovered through sacred experiences and healing treatments. These can include a Spiritual Cleansing Ceremony (Fumigation) at Amankora Paro, witnessing 108 butter lamp offering at the highly revered Taktsang Monastery, a Bhutanese Traditional Hot Stone Bath and other traditional healing treatments. Staying across various Aman luxury lodges, this spiritual retreat will be designed with you in mind.

If you’d like to plan a future luxury healing retreat in Asia with us then please get in touch below and remember to share the love.


tel: +852 81912707


In Health and Happiness


Joanne and the Soul Sanctuaries team


Meditation and Mindfulness during COVID-19

How can we find stillness within when our anxiety levels are at an all time high during the Coronavirus outbreak?

Whether we are juggling working from home, homeschooling for the first time, or living with ourselves without distraction, learning some simple mindfulness techniques can help to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Here are some helpful meditation and mindfulness techniques from our leading health and wellness Gurus in Asia:

Kamalaya : Practice Loving Kindness with Rajesh Ramani

Meditation to help you to open your heart, bringing love and compassion to yourself and those around you. Rajesh is a resident Life Enhancement Mentor at Kamalaya and is available for personal consultations and meditation once Kamalaya re-opens.

Kamalaya: Positive Visualisation Meditation with Sujay

Sujay is also a wonderful Life Enhancement Mentor at Kamalaya, bringing health and wellness guests inner peace and joy. Here, take a gentle, vivid visualization journey with Sujay.

Kamalaya: Pranayamic Breathing & Vipassana Meditation with Smitha

Take an inner journey towards a calmer state of mind with this guided meditation led by Life Enhancement Mentor Smitha Jayakumar at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui. Pranayama, or balanced breathing, is a superb way to become aware of the breath and use this to bring calm and balance to life.

Chiva Som: Stress Release Meditation with Paramjot Singh Khalsa

Chiva Som has being leading health and wellness in Asia for over 25 years. Here the wellness sanctuary’s Yoga and Meditation Instructor Parajmot explains a simple meditation in a  1:37 minute video, perfect to newcomers to mindfulness techniques.

Chiva Som: Pranayama with Kamlesh

Chiva Som resident Yoga Instructor Kamlesh Kumar teaches how to practice Pranayama, or balanced breathing in this short video. Prana signifies ‘life force’ or ‘white energy’ and Yama means to expand. This ancient, alternate nostril breathing technique expands your chi and allows for more balance and peace. Namaste.

Aman Wisdom: Mindfulness Breathing Techniques with David

aman free online resources
amanyara_resort on Instagram

Considered one of the prime times to meditation, dawn before sunrise gently ushers in a new day. “Known as Amrit Velā, it is naturally conducive to mindfulness and can be the clearest window to discovering peace”, says David Melladew, Amanyara’s resident master in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Join David on Amanyara’s Instagram IGTV 

Aman Wisdom: The Power of the Breath with Geshe Yong Dong

geshe yong dong
Geshe Yong Dong (image courtesy of Aman Resorts)
Internationally renowned Tibetan Bon Buddhist, Geshe YongDong ( Geshe La) has guided Soul Sanctuaries exclusive guests whilst staying at Aman Resorts in Asia. Stress and negative emotions are often accompanied by shallow breathing that is fast and out of control. But by controlling your breath, you can control how you feel. Geshe YongDong focuses on developing slow and mindful breathing, linking the breath with the mind to empower you in choosing how you feel on a daily basis. Follow Aman resorts on Instagram and find Geshe La’s words of wisdom on IGTV. He also has his own Youtube channel here too.

We hope you take this opportunity to retreat within until you can once more travel to Asia with us soon.

In health and happiness


Joanne and the team from Soul Sanctuaries


Mini Escapes in Your Own Home

Here at Soul Sanctuaries, we’re usually encouraging our clients to ‘travel far to look within’. We are now in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 outbreak, where self isolation is called for and our lives are undergoing a huge transition. It’s more important than ever to try to find the calmness within and stay as healthy as possible; easier said than done when the biscuit barrel is calling and you’re trying to juggle homeschooling with work.

Our nurturing wellness retreat partners in Asia are preparing Instavideos, Mini-Wellness Breaks from home and lots more. Here, we are outlining a few of our favourite, free online resources to keep you motivated during the Coronavirus lockdown;

Escape Haven Free Mini Escape at Home

The gorgeous team at Escape Haven in Bali are offering a free 5-day Mini Escape from the comfort of your own home. Normally hosting fantastic Women Only Retreats from a luxury villa complex in Canggu, Bali, they understand the new stresses currently facing women. Isolation, social distancing, and new ways of working and parenting, can all contribute to raised levels of anxiety.

Taking the best elements of their Bali wellness retreats, join the 5-day Mini Escape, which promises to help you thrive during this difficult time. You’ll only need 20 minutes per day to fit this into your schedule.


  • Gratitude Practice and Morning Rituals
  • Yoga Flows for Positivity
  • Energising Morning Workouts
  • Grounding Yin Yoga
  • Yoga Nidra for Sleep
  • Healthy Immune-Boosting Recipes

These daily classes are suitable for all fitness levels, you don’t need any equipment and you’ll have lifetime access to some great health and wellness resources for free!

Luxury Wellness from your Living Room with Aman

aman free online resources
amanyara_resort on Instagram

Get a taste of high-end health and wellness from Aman Resorts, with online advice from a host of wellness immersion experts. As an example, David Melladew, Wellness Immersion Manager at Amanyara in Turks & Caicos guides you through a breathing technique exercise to cleanse the lungs, oxygenate the blood and destress the mind on Instagram

Find some Headspace 

Image courtesy of Headspace

There’s no better time to find a little peace within through meditation and learn some mindfulness techniques. Popular mindfulness app Headspace are supporting us through the COVID-19 crisis with free meditations. Entitled ‘Weathering the Storm’ they include meditations, sleep guidance, and movement exercises. Jump onto Headspace here 

Ayurveda Tips from India with Vana

Wellness Retreat Vana, near the foothills of the Himalayas, is offering Ayurveda immune boostings tips to practice during the COVID-19 crisis.

vana wellness tips

vana wellness tips 2

vana wellness tips 3
Images courtesy of Vana

At Home with Six Senses

six senses at home
Photo courtesy of Six Senses Spa

In the absence of a luxury healthy holiday at a Six Senses resort in Asia, the wellness team are offering positivity and support through their blog series, video tutorials, recipes, online workouts and more. Entitled ‘At Home with Six Senses’, the first was a session on mindfulness hosted on Facebook. Led by Anna Bjurstam, who directs the wellness programming for the entire Six Senses brand, she led a loving-kindness meditation. Follow #AtHomeWithSixSenses on social media for upcoming resources.

Kamalaya Healthy Recipes from Thailand


To help you eat healthily at home during the COVID-19 crisis, leading Thai health and wellness retreat, Kamalaya, has a wonderful list of meals online, including Vegan, Vegetarian and Pescatarian dishes. The Bircher Muesli is delicious and we can highly recommend their Thai vegetable curry! See recipes here

We hope that you enjoy these and we’ll keep adding more as they are released online.

If you’ve travelled with Soul Sanctuaries before, you’ll understand how much we care, long after you return from your healthy holiday. If you’re feeling vulnerable and want some expert advice, please get in touch and we’ll put you in touch with a wellness expert in Asia wherever possible.

Stay Home, Stay Safe

In Health and Happiness 

Joanne and the Soul Sanctuaries Team 



Aman launches new sister brand Janu

There’s no denying, here at Soul Sanctuaries, we really are Aman Junkies! There’s something about their unsurpassed and exemplary service, fantastic hideaway locations, and personalised wellness offering that ticks all our boxes. Over the past year we’ve sent guests off on a ‘Journey to Peace’ with the internationally renowned Tibetan Bon Buddhist, spiritual master and scholar Geshe YongDong, staying at resorts Amanoi, Amanpuri and even Amanyara in Turks and Caicos. From the mystical mountains of Bhutan to the planet’s largest Buddhist monument in Java, Aman serves it up with excellence.

janu montenegro
Janu Montenegro Design

So we are super excited by their recent announcement of a new, little sister brand launch, namely Janu. Aman in Sanskrit means ‘peace’, Janu means ‘soul’; Aman is a sanctuary, whereas Janu reflects connectedness; Aman offers refined respite,  Janu will exude an energetic vibe for those seeking greater purpose with inner contentment. Building on Aman’s excellent reputation in the industry, Janu’s aim is to encourage interaction, playful expression and social wellness. Janu will create environments that nurture purposeful connection to bring balance to the head and heart and rekindle the soul.

janu montenegro pool
Upcoming Janu Montenegro Pool

Three hotels are already underway and due for launch in 2022; Montenegro (2022), Al Ula in Saudi Arabia (2022) and Tokyo (2022), as well as a robust pipeline of future hotels. Janu Montenegro will be the first hotel to incorporate the brands serviced residence concept, enabling guests to fully embrace the Janu lifestyle.

janu 1

With conscious travelers in mind, Janu aims to rekindle the soul by re-igniting social connections. Offering the joy and inspiration of energetic group classes which celebrate the moment of life is key. The ethos is centred on not only strengthening the body but also calming the spirit. Time-conscious, high-octane group classes and more subdued, mindful practices echo those moments of duality that balance and realign. Expansive wellness facilities will offer cutting-edge experiences and treatments and access to the latest equipment as well as extensive hydro and thermal facilities with a focus on finding equilibrium.

Growing our beautiful partnership with Aman, we can’t wait to see how this brand with a lot of soul develops!

If you’re interested in joining us for a health and wellness or spiritual retreat in Asia, get in touch below


tel: +852 81912707

Bali and Java Spiritual Retreats

These Spiritual Retreats across the archipelago of Indonesia include Balinese healing and spiritual and cultural wisdom. Staying at luxury Aman Resorts across Bali and Java, we can create entirely bespoke travel itineraries to suit each individual. Perhaps begin the journey experiencing Reiki and Balinese healing by the sea at Amankila in East Coast Bali and later head to mystical Java to visit the largest Buddhist temple on the planet, Borobudur, staying at the breathtaking resort Amanjiwo nearby.

Spiritual Healing at Amankila | Bali

amankila healing holidays

Tevia Feng - Qigong Master (5 Elements Retreat 1-6 June 2020)

Master Tevia began practicing martial arts, Qigong and meditation at the age of 7. As a student of Qigong, he journeyed all around China seeking the knowledge, including north western part of Hubei, Beijing and Southern China, where he met and trained extensively with several true Qigong masters. While in China he also studied at multiple Taoist monasteries and temples.

Throughout his journey, he has acquired many rare skills; from unique breathing techniques and exercises to delving into the heart of Qi energy. As the Qigong master instructor of White Tiger Qigong, he has taught thousands of students from around the world and through White Tiger, he aims to revolutionise the way the world understands Qigong, transforming it into a global phenomenon.

Tevia Feng studied and took the most effective forms of Qigong from different masters, learned it deeply through decades of practice, worked with sports science, fascia experts, anatomists, Chinese Medicine doctors and education experts to put together the most comprehensive and advanced curriculum in Qigong today.

Join Tevia from 1st to 6th June 2020, staying at luxury seaside retreat Amankila on Bali’s East Coast here

amankila spiritual healer

Bapak Wayan Merta | Resident Practitioner at Amankila (Balinese Healing, Yoga, Meditation)

Spiritual leader and yoga instructor Bapak Wayan has spent his life sharing knowledge in the practices of spirituality and holism. Bapak Wayan is the founder of Eling Bebali, a Balinese spiritual center which encompasses elements from various practices with the aim to help individuals focus on healing, mindfulness and universal harmony.

amankila healthy holidays

Bapak I Made Warmana | Reiki Master

Pak Warmana is from Nusa Dua, Bali and spent many years as part of the AMAN Indonesia team. His interest in spirituality and healing led him into studying Meditation, Hypnotherapy and Reiki for the last 20 years. He reached the level of Reiki Master Teacher in 2001 and together with his partner Tri continues his journey into healing and spiritual growth.

Holistic Healing at Amandari | Bali

amandari yoga bali

Kimiko Briody | Resident Practitioner (Restorative Bodywork)

Kimiko specialises in healing the mind and body through restorative bodywork, relieving stress and tension, held deep in the muscles and the connective tissues. Kimiko grew up in Japan, trained extensively in Thailand and has worked as a massage therapist around the world, from Switzerland to India. She offers a range of therapies that focus on the meridian points and lines of the body, helping to restore the balance of ‘Chi,’ or energy.

Join us in Bali for a personalised healing retreat by contacting us here

Ancient Wisdom at Amanjiwo | Java

amanjiwo borobudur

Patrick VanHoebrouck | Ancient Wisdom of Java from April 2020

Amanjiwo’s resident anthropologist, Patrick specialises in Javanese culture and spirituality. He has a BA in Anthropology from University of Illinois at Chicago (USA) and a Masters in Cultural Anthropology from Leiden University (Netherlands). Having spent nearly 15 years in residence in Yogyakarta Province, Patrick has accumulated specialized knowledge in various aspects of the spirituality, culture, history and ancient literature of Java, immersing himself in ancient sources to help explain the contemporary manifestations of traditional and authentic Javanese culture and practices.

Amanjiwo in Java

Mas Joko Triagung | Healer / Shaman

Renowned healer-shaman in Yogyakarta City and Province. He is a Master of Kebatinan and especially of Tenaga Dalam (Inner power, prana, Chi). He draws on a number of spiritual practices called Kejawen – a syncretism of animism (spirits and ancestors’ dimension), Hindu-Buddhist values and practices (including Tantrism) as well as occult sciences similar to Mystic Sufism. His therapeutic approach depends on the guests needs and can come from herbal mixtures of plants (jamu), energy healing (prana) or invocations of forces via familiar spirit.

Pak Sugeng | Spiritual Healer

A Javanese spiritual practitioner of the ancient lineage of Jawadwipa, the so-called original spirituality of Java. His practices are derived from forms of Hindu and Buddhist Dharma and Tantrism. He is called to guide many sacred pilgrimages to the nearby Lawu volcano and often solicited for various purifications and exorcisms. Holder of powers and access to some very sacred sites around the Lawu volcano specifically and Hindu Buddhist shrines across all of Java in general. He has a particularity of healing at a distance, clairvoyance and power of predictions

For Spiritual Retreats with us in Java, please contact us here

Wellness Trends for 2020

Which wellness trends will shape the future of the $4.2 trillion wellness business in 2020?

Wellbeing Sabbaticals

In a super connected, fast moving world it’s becoming near impossible to disconnect in situ. Work demands spread into home life, stress levels rise and sleep becomes an issue. No surprise then that longer, more restorative retreats are set to rise in 2020. At Soul Sanctuaries, many of our travellers are suffering from exhaustion and even adrenal burnout. A simple beach holiday just won’t cut it. Removing yourself entirely from daily distractions could be viewed as the playground of the rich and famous, however, with the increasing number of people working remotely these days, long stay wellness is becoming a reality.

kamalaya detox retreats

So much so that health and wellness retreats, such as Kamalaya in Koh Samui, are launching dedicated sabbatical wellness programs. Their ‘Wellbeing Sabbatical’ program has been created for those in need of deeper, more restorative retreat experience, away from the strains of modern life. Offering a fresh perspective on life, set within the beautiful, beachside environment of Kamalaya. The benefits of retreating in a lush, natural environment are huge, coupled with guidance, holistic treatments and super nutritious cuisine. After an initial wellness consultation and Body Bio-Impedance Analysis to determine your health and wellness needs, a personalised program is created. This may include revitalising Spa treatments such as Royal Ayurvedic Massage, Shirodhara, Vital Essence Oil Massage, Tension Relief Massage and other healing treatments to release physical and mental tension and restore balance and relaxation. Physiotherapy also forms part of this wellness retreat, to address any postural or structural issues. Naturopathy is key to healing at Kamalaya and on this Wellbeing Sabbatical you’ll receive weekly consultations, lots of nutritional guidance and life coaching sessions with the in-house Life Enhancement Mentors, exploring stress management, meditation, Pranayama breathing exercises, and to explore any life goals you may wish to achieve.

Forest Bathing


This year’s GWS Summit 2019 outlined wellness trend’s for 2020 at the recent gathering in Singapore. The healing power of nature cannot be over-estimated and it this year’s Summit, Forest Bathing was given credit. Known is ‘Shinrin-yoku’ in Japan, this form of nature therapy is definitely catching on. Taking pause to enjoy a forest atmosphere has proven health benefits, including lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity and lower sympathetic nerve activity. Guests travelling with us to Cambodia on the ‘Spiritual Angkor’ journey, have the pleasure of experiencing forest bathing as part of an immersive spiritual retreat of monks, meditation and monasteries. Reconnecting with nature in this way really does feel heavenly!

Urban Wellness Retreats

fivelements hong kong

Whether you’re struggling with vacation time or want to continue the good work back home post a healthy holiday, Urban Wellness Retreats are on the rise. This year Balinese Healing Retreat Fivelements  realised their dream to begin to create city sanctuaries, with the launch of Fivelements Hong Kong. This urban wellness retreat offers yoga, sacred arts and Fivelements delicious, plant-powered cuisine. The centre caters to urban residents and corporates who live highly demanding lifestyles and are seeking greater balance, stress reduction and authentic, personalised wellness experiences.

Sound Healing

vana music therapy

No longer satisfied with the a few ‘Ohms’ and a ‘Namaste’ at the end of a yoga practice, healing with sound and music therapy is an emerging wellness trend for 2020. Tibetan singing bowls have long been used during healing retreats, the vibrations are said to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce respiratory rates. We’re now seeing the incorporation of music as therapy into our healthy holidays across Asia. Those journeying with us to India can enjoy the magical sound of the flute during meditation at Vana.

geshe yong dong amanoi

This year’s special series of exclusive healing retreats, which were hosted by Aman Resorts and entitled ‘Journey to Peace’, saw the venerable Geshe YongDong leading a ‘five warrior seed syllable’ mantra for the purification, protection, healing energy and blessing, wishing for all living beings to be in peace and harmony. Not every day you get to retreat within and practice sound healing and meditation with an internationally renowned, Tibetan Bon Buddhist Spiritual Master!

Let us know if you enjoy an emerging new wellness trend and, if you want to create your own Asia healing retreat with us then please do bang a gong and get in touch!

email: info@soul-sanctuaries

tel: +852 8191 2707 / skype soul-sanctuaries






Asia Christmas and New Year Retreats

Don’t leave it until the last minute to consider your own health and wellness moving into 2020. You’ll find that most luxury Christmas and New Year Retreats fill up fast with like-minded souls, searching for the best way to end 2019 and kick start 2020. Christmas and New Retreats in Asia are often all inclusive, with Yoga and Fitness classes, Healthy Meals, therapeutic Spa treatments and Life Coaching.

Luxury New Year Detox Retreats

como shambhala weight loss retreats tai chi

Asia Detox Retreats over the New Year period are one of the most popular requests over the festive season. After over-indulgence, who wants to enter a brand new year feeling sluggish and unmotivated? Health Resorts such as Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand, are designed to enhance the body’s own ability to eliminate toxins and bring back balance. A beautiful blend of medical science and holistic therapies, they range from an introduction to detox for complete beginners to a powerfully rejuvenating detox with colon hydrotherapy. Another favourite, COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, has an in-house team of health experts, including a nutritionist and resident nurse. Your New Year Detox retreat will be created with you in mind and your juice and meal plan given to the resident chef. This healthy vacation aims to improve lymphatic circulation and increase the detoxifying powers of the liver, bowels, kidneys and skin.

Women Only Wellness Retreats

bali women's surf retreats

If you’re looking for a solo wellness vacation, why not join a small group of women on retreat in Bali. These singles healthy holidays offer daily yoga and meditation, fantastic healthy meals and unlimited spa treatments. With four, wellness focused programs, join a Women’s Only Yoga Retreat, a Surf Yoga Holiday, Ayurveda and Yoga Retreat or a Singles Fitness Holiday.

Meeting Yourself in Spiritual Bhutan

bhutanese traditional dress

Sometimes you have to travel far to see within and what better place to explore wellness and spirituality than the Land of the Thunder Gods. Bhutan is is a mystical country, hidden within the Himalayas. Sheltered from foreign influences and without tourism until 1974, Bhutan holds an ancient charm. Hike with us to Bhutan’s Tigers Nest Monastery, enjoy unlimited Bhutanese Spa Treatments with a traditional doctor and received life lessons from local monks. Our healthy vacations in Bhutan at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary can be personalised to your wellness needs and aim to really connect you to the soul of the country.

Emotional Healing Retreats

kamalaya stress relief

Embracing Change is a wellness program at Kamalaya in which to explore self-defeating behaviours and gain renewed focus under expert guidance. Explore limiting behaviours and receive help to cope with challenging situations, such as the loss of a loved one, relationship issues or work related stress. What better way to release trauma and enter 2020 feeling fantastic.

If you’re interested in taking a Christmas or New Year Retreat in Asia with us then please get in touch and we’ll create a healthy holiday with you in mind.


tel: HK+852 8191270 or skype: soul-sanctuaries




History of Yoga

Here, we are exploring the History of Yoga, something practiced today by over 250 million people across the planet. So where did this practice, now a multi billion dollar industry, originate?

The Origins of Yoga

The exact origin of yoga is unclear, but many place its beginnings with the Hindu God ‘Lord Shiva’ himself, claiming him to be the first yogi. The first historical record of yoga is around 5000 years ago, when clay seals from the Harappan civilisation (3000-1700bc) were excavated. They depicted people seated in the lotus position. 2000 years later we see meditation, mantras, mudras and pranayama practiced by Sages in the Vedic Period (1750-500bc). The sacred texts, The Vedas, are documented in ancient Sanskrit and contain four bodies of text; Rigveda, Samaveda, Yarurveda, and Atharvaveda. A section of the Vedas which is more commonly known is the Upanishads. These ancient Sanskrit texts outlined the spiritual philosophy of India. Referred to often as ‘Vedanta’, the Upanishads are seen as serving the highest purpose of the Vedas, illustrating the concepts of Brahman (the ultimate reality) and Ātman (soul or self).

yoga sutras of patanjali


Yet to took until between 400-200bc for these sacred texts to be really brought to life when Patanjali documented them in the ‘Yoga Sutras’. This led to a flourish of Gurus over the coming years, each influenced by Patanjali, but with his own teaching and idealogy. These included Swami Vikananda and later Gurus such as Swami Sivananda, K. Pattabhi Jois, B K S Iyengar and Krishnamarchaya.

Patanjali was born in Benares (Varanasi), where he compiled 195 Sutras to allow people to integrate yoga into their daily lives. He divided Yoga into eight limbs; Yama (abstinences), Niyama (observances), Asana (yoga postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption).

Later, in 800-1500ad the Tantric Era brought focus back to the body. In the Tantric tradition, the body became the hub of spiritual activity and this then inspired the birth of Hatha Yoga (1600ad), where asana practice was central to the Sadhana.

aurovilla india
Auroville in India

How Yoga spread to the West

It was in the late 1800’s, during the British Raj rule, that yoga begin to spread across the borders to the West. Swami Vikananda pioneered the teaching of Indian philosophy to USA and, ultimately, the world. Meanwhile, in Pondicherry, in Southern India, Sri Aurobindo, developed ‘Integral Yoga’, with a focus on meditation. Alongside his French wife, referred to as the ‘Mother’ he developed the Aurobindo ashram. Later, in 1968, in a realisation of the ‘Mother’s’ vision, Auroville was opened. Today approximately 50,000 people from 49 different nationalities live, work and practice yoga here.

sri k pattabhi jois
Sri K Pattabhi Jois

An early disciple of Yoga Guru Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was Russian dancer and actress Eugenie Petersen. She travelled to India in the 1930s and become popular in Indian films. Later known as ‘Indra Devi’, she was the first Westerner to teach yoga asanas within India. In 1946 Indra travelled to Hollywood and opened the first yoga studio stateside, which quickly became popular with celebrities. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya transformed Hatha to focus on specific poses or ‘asanas’ and his teachings went on to influence Guru’s such as BKS Iyengar in Pune. He pioneered the method of using props such as ropes and blocks, allowing people with health conditions to continue to practice yoga. Later, influenced by Krishnamacharya, Sri K Pattabhi Jois introduced the more dynamic Ashtanga Yoga.

beatles transcendental meditation
The Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

During the peace movement of the 1960’s, the States then saw the arrival of many Gurus from India and The Beatles popularised transcendental meditation, through their interest in the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the time. The flower power generation saw tourists flocking to India, in search of magical enlightenment.

Today, in a faster paced and more dynamic world, the demand for ‘new’ versions of yoga abound, including Acro-Yoga, hot Bikram Yoga and Aerial Yoga, yet the fundamentals will always remain the same.

If you enjoyed reading this article please share the love.

If you’d like to take a yoga retreat in Asia with us then please browse our Luxury Yoga Retreats here and get in contact below:


skype: soul-sanctuaries

Marie’s Review of Vana Wellness Retreat

Vana is a luxury wellness retreat near Dehadrun in India with a mission statement to enhance wellbeing and to be of service to the world. We visited recently to explore a spiritual healing holiday with them. Vana believes that in aspiring to achieve the best spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual self, we can all live life more wholesomely.

Vana’s Philosophy

The search for equilibrium, learning and the inner journey are at the heart of Vana, always striving to achieve something unprecedented in wellbeing. Offering authentic traditions in wellness, medicine and wisdom, these offerings are brought together with creative thought, deep commitment and personalised support, all offered in spaces that pay homage to nature and the sublime. Nourishing cuisine, experiences for all the senses and a kind-hearted team complete Vana offering.

This is my personal journey at Vana

vana malsi estate
The road to Vana, Malsi Estate, Dehadrun

Day 1

I was picked up in a comfortable vehicle with refreshments and snacks at hand and the driver was very courteous and friendly and quite experienced. I was grateful that he took the most scenic road and he was very agreeable to stop so that I could take photos of the best spots along the way. On arrival  at the entrance gate I was picked up by a golf cart which took me to Kila – the main reception area (cars are not allowed up to the main centre).  My bags were collected by the concierge and taken to my allocated room.

After check in, I was introduced to my hostess who was to give me a tour and explain the schedule. Kila is a spacious area with a library, reception and boutique. This is a beautiful space where musicians are often invited to play instruments or sing. There was soft, relaxing music playing in the background. There was an immediate feeling of relaxation and a sense of peace and well being. There are several times during the day where silence is observed – as the hostess was whispering I understood the need to be mindful.

Vana Garden Room

vana garden room in india
Vana Garden Room

The immediate impression of the Garden Room is one of style, elegance, and luxury, with views overlooking manicured gardens,  a well-appointed resting space with queen bed and large TV, alongside a pristine bathroom with large, deep bath.  Natural organic bath soaps, bath salts, organic shampoo and conditioner were all provided.

The mini bar was stocked with an assortment of herbal teas, healthy coconut biscuits and sparkling and still mineral water.  I was directed to wear the supplied white robes (clogs are provided too!).

My first treatment was early evening at the Wellness Centre and was a classical Swedish Massage  (75 minutes). It was the most blissful massage ( I later spoke with another Vananasi who had the same experience – in fact, she said it was the best massage she ever had!). Firm but totally relaxing…

At the dining room, dinner was a la carte, with a comprehensive menu stating the number of calories, whether vegan or gluten free. Absolutely delicious!

vana healthy food

Day 2

At 8:15am I was scheduled in to see the Doctor, who spent a whole hour with me. I was weighed and given an Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis. Dr. Tenzi made some good recommendations for a healthy lifestyle and said she would draw up a plan of treatments for the following 4 days.

Breakfast was a buffet style offering  a range of tropical fruits, a full selection of muesli’s, various styles of homemade breads, cheeses made at the centre and a massive spread of jams and healthy condiments. To compliment the cold buffet, a menu with a variety of healthy choices, including any style omelette. juices, coffees, teas, smoothies and even almond milk made at the centre. I chose the Turmeric latte with coconut milk.

vana ayurveda retreats

Tibetan Sow Rigpa Healing

At 11:30am I went for my second treatment – this time a Tibetan massage called ‘Hor Gyi Metsa’, given by therapist Bhuti at the Sowa Rigpa Centre.  On arrival at the Tibetan centre there was the pleasant and relaxing sound of Tibetan monks chanting. As this was my first time having a Tibetan treatment massage I was curious to find out a little more about Sowa Rigpa.

Vana is one of the few places in the world where Sowa Rigpa is formally offered. Tibet’s traditional system of medicine finds its roots in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Buddhism. It is this amalgamation that makes it truly unique. Sowa Rigpa is governed by the Men-Tsee-Khang, the Institute of Tibetan Medicine and Astrology. Vana’s doctors and therapists are alumni of the Men-Tsee-Khang, from where all the preparations are also procured.

Sowa Rigpa’s emphasis is on the mind and emotions, integrated seamlessly into its approach, making it one of the few treatments to embrace holistic wellbeing in its entirety. And, as the therapist worked on my body, she explained how it was affecting my nervous system. This was perhaps the highlight of all the healing treatments at Vana. It started with a Tibetan chant and singing bowl. Hot herbal poultices were applied on various pressure points. I could feel that this treatment was going very deep and felt it was a true healing experience. Afterwards, I felt there had been an absolute letting go of tension.

Again lunch was buffet style with a huge choice of dishes; mostly vegetarian but also a few meat dishes.

vana music therapy

Day 3

Today I received an Abhyanga Ayurveda treatment with Mawi which was super gentle and relaxing. My entire body was rubbed down with medicinal oil and this luxury spa treatment included a terrific head massage, which was very aesthetically pleasing.

Each day I attended a group yoga class with Dr. Avanish who was very helpful and knowledgeable. He also conducted a wonderful guided meditation class. I also attended a daily Yoga Nidra class directly after lunch, to connect to my inner state of consciousness. All these group classes were conducted by wellness professionals with a very caring, nurturing attitude.

vana music therapy

Day 4

Today I had a departure consultation with Dr Tenzin, who reminded me of my lifestyle plan for the future. I also had my last Tibetan massage, Ku Nye, this time with Lhamo at the Sowa Rigpa Center. It was a beautiful, gentle massage. Once again, beginning with Tibetan music, then singing bowl and chants throughout the massage. Quite heavenly!

In the evening I participated in music therapy, with a flute meditation class, where guests are invited to lie down and listened to the flute player – absolutely magical.

Day 5 

My last day involved morning yoga and a healthy breakfast. On my departure I was given a gift from the kitchen – a jar of delicious coconut  biscuits. My healing journey at Vana came to a memorable close and I’ll be forever grateful for the experience.

Marie x

If you’re interested in taking your own personal healing vacation to Vana with us, then drop us a line below or fill out our questionnaire with more details



Skype: soul-sanctuaries

Vana Offerings

HK +852 81912707