Bend it like bamboo! Unfurling from the tropical jungle foliage adjacent to the sacred Ayung River, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan’s new Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale extends the Resort’s wellness offerings with an uplifting programme of meditation, Life Talks and yoga – including Bali’s first AntiGravity® Yoga classes.
The lotus petal inspired structure – envisioned and created by Balinese bamboo aesthetes, Ibuku, experts in experiential architecture – is constructed entirely from sustainable local bamboo. Environmentally conscientious in design and soul soothing in ethos, it offers shelter from the elements while remaining sensitive – and open – to the undulating curves, gently sloping terraces and rich natural energy of the Ayung River basin.
“The name ‘Dharma Shanti’ is directly connected to that understanding of the experiences at the heart of our lives,” explains Luisa Anderson, Spa Director of Four Seasons Resorts Bali. “Drawing from the spirit of Buddhist philosophy, the concept of ‘dharma’ refers to the intrinsic nature of things, the path – sometimes referred to as your true purpose – while the word ‘shanti’ comes back to peace. Watching the bale take shape felt like the architectural embodiment of those concepts.”
Each hand-carved pole used in the construction of the bale is unique. Curving and tapering in different ways, pieces were chosen for their structural integrity, smooth texture or individual beauty. The radial clusters of soaring bamboo columns are bound by rope, and hand-whittled pegs are used in place of nails to connect sections. The result is an incredibly durable structure that utilises bamboo’s natural strengths, whilst delivering an ecologically sensitive space designed to create, support and deepen the experience of all who enter and spend time within it.
At the heart of the Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale experience each week are daily 60-minute AntiGravity® Yoga classes, created and founded by former gymnast and dancer Christopher Harrison. A dynamic and groundbreaking ‘flying’ technique, it uses bespoke hammocks to support bodies of all ages and abilities into enhanced and inverted postures to relieve stress, encourage healthy blood circulation, and, in short, have fun.
In addition to AntiGravity® Yoga, the Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale offers guests 16 complimentary yoga and meditation classes each week. A daily 7am class of Sunrise, Power or Laughter Yoga is complemented by the popular Life Talk series: a programme of talks hosted by resident Wellness Mentor, Ibu Fera, that guide guests towards inner peace, happiness, stress management and compassion. The Bale is also a sanctuary for private classes, cultural experiences and quiet introspection, with views across the Resort’s lush rice terraces to the Ayung River, which winds through the valley floor just 100 metres away.
Speaking at the launch of the Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale, the Resort’s General Manager Uday Rao said, “Our guests come from all over the world to retreat and rejuvenate at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. The Dharma Shanti Bale supports them on that journey – connecting on both an emotional and physical level with themselves and the surrounding nature. Not many expect to be hanging upside-down in the middle of a paddy field, but the intensely therapeutic aspect of AntiGravity® Yoga – and the depth of our entire wellness offering – really showcases the soul and spirit of the whole Four Seasons Sayan experience.