Returning to the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Kelly Allen is reminded how important it is to nurture your body with healthy lifestyle practices.
Is it possible to make permanent changes at a health retreat? Or is it just a short-term fix, which flies out the window as soon as you walk back into the chaos of “real” life. All of those healthy habits – eating well, practising yoga, being mindful – it’s all pretty easy when someone is preparing beautiful food for you and you don’t need to worry about anything except getting to the classes on time. But can you take something home from it and make permanent changes in your life?
Back at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand, for my second visit, that’s what I’m about to find out. Two years ago I did the comprehensive detox and rejuvenation program – my first time doing a detox. When I left, I felt better than I had in a long time. As Oprah would say, it was an “Aha! moment”. I wanted to keep feeling this way, so I tried to maintain as many healthy habits as I could. I started doing yoga several times a week, drinking less alcohol and being more aware of what I ate. A major accomplishment was quitting coffee and never having another cup since (two years and counting).
The real test to see if I was healthier than at my last visit would be when I had my wellness consultation and Body Bio-Impedance Analysis (BIA). These results would be compared to those from two years ago – still on file – to see if my healthy lifestyle had actually paid off. I would be disappointed if my results were not as good (or, actually, better!) and had even thought of excuses to console myself in case they weren’t. After all, I was two years older, on the verge of 50, so surely some things just happen with age, right?
The BIA electronically measures vitality at a cellular level and can give results for about 16 categories including cellular health, hydration, body fat, muscle mass and how well the body stores energy. You don’t feel anything as the current flows through your body and it takes less than a minute to see the results. When it is over, I am happy to learn that while two results had stayed the same, and two results were slightly worse, 12 had improved and I weighed 3kg less than I did two years ago. That seemed to be a good improvement, especially as I was getting close to the hormonal havoc of menopause and hoping to get fit before the uphill battle began.
I thoroughly enjoy the eight days of detox that follow, especially since I don’t have to endure the caffeine withdrawals this time. The meals are as wonderful as I remember, especially sitting at the communal table meeting new people from all over the world. Afternoon tea with tea master San Bao is always full of exciting conversation amongst guests. If Karina Stewart (one of the co-founders) is in town, she often stops by for tea with a wealth of information to share. She absolutely radiates health and wellness, and honestly seems to “glow”, a sure sign that this lifestyle pays off.
“As I finish my week at Kamalaya, I remember how great it feels to nurture my body, to give myself time to indulge in mindfulness and nourishing practices.”- Kelly Allen
The classes and seminars at Kamalaya are thought-provoking and the wellness practioners highly trained and up to date on the latest studies. I could have spent hours with Amel, my wellness consultant and a naturopath, picking her brain on the latest health trends and learning about new supplements and treatments.
Kamalaya is celebrating its 10th anniversary, a successful milestone for a resort that has consistently delivered results to its guests and continues to make an impact on people’s lives. One of the reasons Kamalaya’s detox program is so successful is because they have a sensible and sustainable approach. Instead of depriving your body of food and living on juice for the detox week, you instead nurture your body with fresh, local organic produce. The menu is hypoallergenic and low-inflammatory, with no animal products, sugar, alcohol or caffeine. To ensure you get enough protein, you are supplemented twice a day with a natural whey protein shake. Although in the beginning I miss my bread and cheese, I soon lose the craving and am never hungry.
Committed to providing the best experience, Kamalaya has made some exciting changes, recently adding 16 superior suites with amazing sea views, and a 25m lap pool surrounded by sun lounges and giant beanbags. In the new state-of-the-art fitness centre, the views of the Gulf of Thailand from the floor-to-ceiling windows make it easy to forget how many minutes you’ve been on the treadmill. A new program, “Comprehensive Optimal Fitness” focuses on personal training as well as individual yoga, stretching and aqua classes. It includes personal mentoring, meditation and nutritional advice. Geared for both men and women, it’s a great opportunity to encourage more men to experience health and wellness.
Another recent program, “Embracing Change” offers support for life challenges such as relationship issues, grief, stress and anxiety. Through personal mentoring, yoga and meditation, traditional Chinese medicine and therapeutic massage treatments, you are shown how to return balance to your life, manage difficult situations – and given the tools to stay on track once you are home.
As I finish my week at Kamalaya, I remember how great it feels to nurture my body, to give myself time to indulge in mindfulness and nourishing practices. This time, I can honestly say it is possible to take home healthy habits and implement them into my daily life. I am so grateful to Kamalaya for helping me make the changes that will have such a positive impact on my long-term health.