by Caron Williamson, Fivelements’ Wellness Liaison & Sacred Artist
When we think of yoga, we often picture pretzel-like bodily contortions, but yoga is much more than a set of exercises on a mat. Yoga is an integrated science for living life in which we can transform our feelings, reactions, beliefs, the very way in which our mind works. Asana (the physical postures of yoga) energetically and physically transform the body, preparing us for meditation, which ultimately leads to enlightenment and joy. Asana forms a useful entry point into this wider practice since working with the body is easier than approaching the esoteric aspects of the subtle body and mind.
It seems my whole motherhood, 18 years thus far (including the months in the womb), I continue to be privy to similar conversations with mothers from all over the globe, feeling challenged with not enough time for the self, let alone wellbeing. Whenever I’ve inquired about what mothers do for themselves, not surprising, most of us respond immediately with smiles…and sighs. In-between breast-feeding, family meal planning, organising logistics, producing the increasingly full schedules on any given day, cheering at soccer matches and music performances (or carrying the guilt of not), not to mention the millions of other tasks required from their paying jobs, women from around the world share a common challenge - not having enough time, or shall I say, not taking enough time for self-nurturing and personal wellbeing.
Just as the sun must shine and the bees must make honey, it is said that all beings must accept their dharma for order and harmony to exist in the world. If an individual is following their dharma, they are pursuing their truest calling, serving all other beings in the universe by playing their own unique role. In Buddhism, it is said that acting in this way is the path to enlightenment.
It can be difficult to grasp from a Western perspective, but I feel that living your dharma means to act in accordance with your divine purpose – you may even call it cosmic destiny. Since dharma is also closely related to the concept of duty and service to others (and in the Bhakti tradition, unconditional love), I feel that one's dharma can never be selfish.
Fivelements Bali Retreat Winner of 2018 Experts' Choice Award
Fivelements Bali Retreat has been chosen as a winner of the TripExpert Experts' Choice Award.
Based on 1M+ reviews from 85 different publications, the award recognizes the best hotels around the world. Unlike other awards, Experts' Choice is pioneering in that it takes into account only professional reviews from travel guides, magazines, newspapers and other respected sources.
Growing up in Africa, having lived in Asia most of my life, led me to believe that “Home is where the Heart is”.
To feel home and in harmony within my heart and body, I go back to the Four principles of Life, SHU, SHOKU, DO, SO, that the Japanese Master, Kazunori Sasaki Sensei taught me.
We are delighted to announce that Fivelements, Hong Kong has been nominated for the 2018 World Luxury Spa Awards.
Setting benchmarks in quality, innovation and service for spas around the globe and established as the world’s leading Awards initiative for luxury spas, The World Luxury Spa Awards aim to encourage and raise service standards within the luxury spa industry. Awards are presented to luxury spas in 32 different categories on a country, regional, continent and global basis. Voting is based on service excellence and is cast by spa guests
Public voting is now open and we would like to ask for your kind support in voting for us. Voting for the 2018 Award year will run from 3 April to 1 May 2018.
Thank you to our community for your ongoing support - together we can!
In celebration of our 1-Year Anniversary this month, I am pleased to share with you a collection of exclusive interviews from our core design and development team members. Each was interviewed on their experience of The Making of Fivelements Hong Kong just before we opened. Nearly all of the six team leaders worked with us from the beginning for Fivelements Bali and all share their insights, their challenges and their personal stories of taking Fivelements from a successful destination retreat in the wild jungle of Bali to the outskirts of Asia’s most prized city, Hong Kong.
We hope you enjoy this wonderful collection of interviews, and we look forward to supporting you toward greater happiness, wellbeing and inspiration in 2018 and beyond!
With heartfelt gratitude,
Lahra Tatriele, Co-founder & Vision Director, Fivelements
This was our mission as we set out to explore the well-known Chinese thread in the fabric of Balinese culture.
Throughout Bali, artists, scholars, royal palaces and local villagers talk of an enduring and historic Chinese influence to be found in their arts, architecture and design orientation, dance, medicinal herbs, cuisine, trade history and aspects of ceremony. And even in their genes.
To Fivelements, the invitation to be part of a project in Hong Kong, was the closing of an ancient and important circle representing Balinese culture in the ‘Middle Kingdom.’ It was picking up threads of a rich exchange of trade and culture going back two millennia.
There is poetry, symmetry and continuity in this large cycle of time expressing itself in a new set of linkages.
What was it like being a part of the making of Fivelements Hong Kong?
I’ve never really thought of myself being part of the making of Fivelements. I give all credit for that to Chicco and Lahra and their team. But what I have become is part of the on-going evolution, the creative vision, the deep foundation for the future.
What motivated me to be part of the on-going process of evolution, of deepening some aspects and expanding others, was a sense that Fivelements is the real deal. It’s not about luxury, although it is a luxury experience in a rustic way. It’s not about spa. It’s not even really about destination per se, although it is a gorgeous gem of a destination. It’s really about a deep connection with the innermost dimensions of oneself. It is finding those, and connecting with those deep aspects and enlivening them, that brings about transformation.
Michael, Wellness Curator:
“Bali invites you to be healthy; Hong Kong dares you to be healthy”
What is your role?
Wellness Curator is quite a varied role, which makes it interesting. Like an art curator I’m helping to decide some of themes for our offering, as well as setting up the Sacred Arts program and selecting the artists with the co-founders, Lahra and Chicco. And most importantly perhaps, I’m helping to set the right intention and create the whole spirit of the place.
One of the ways we do this is by teaching yoga in the morning and meditation in the afternoon to the staff. It’s important as it ensures they are feeling healthy and fresh, and there’s an alignment and harmony between them, which translates into how we work together and how we work with guests. If the staff are thriving, the business will thrive.
“Bali, reinvented for Hong Kong”
Bali meets Hong Kong
In 2010 when I arrived in Bali, I was looking for a new opportunity and I was lucky to find it. Lahra and Chicco had just finished building Fivelements when my husband and I had lunch at Sakti Dining Room. We met Chicco who told us about the concept of Fivelements and his ideas on how to develop the Wellness Retreat.
I realized that I arrived at the right time. I had the opportunity to open the doors of Fivelements Wellness Retreat after collaborating closely with Lahra and Chicco and a wonderful team of truly dedicated Balinese therapists.
I felt truly honoured to be part of a team that was rewarded just a year after opening with the most wanted title “Destination Spa of the Year 2011” by AsiaSpa magazine!
Arnaud, Executive Chef
What is your role?
I am the Executive Chef and started in January 2016 to create and develop the menu for Fivelements first urban wellness retreat. This involved and extensive process to bring the award-winning Sakti Dining Room TM concept from Bali to HK with a new expression.
Ketut, architect and interior designer, focusing on creating a calm, friendly, spiritual – and surprising – space
What do you think Hong Kongers will respond to the most?
The idea here is to bring something different that no one else has done in Hong Kong. Sometimes architecture and interior design is about following trends or looking classic, but we have brought a concept that is similar to what we have created in Bali and which is aligned with our Fivelements’ holistic integrative concept.
I especially like the fact you cannot predict what is inside by looking at the outside. Even though the building from the outside has a very international look, once you enter inside we want you to be surprised. All our rooms are different. And not only different but we have tried to bring to the space a spiritual feel using unusual materials in an unusual way. We have chosen the various stone, for example, and the bamboo, to bring nature inside. You jump from a cityscape to a tropical interior.
Upstairs in the Yoga Room, the curving ceiling is one of the ways we have tried to surprise people. The building on the outside is very regular so inside we are avoiding any square structure – one of Lahra’s requirements for wellness design. We want to give people space to move around without barriers and in the Yoga Room every angle has a different feel. Every time you walk in here the space is so inspirational you really feel great.