An interview with Ibu Ferawati, Resident Wellness Mentor at
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
Cradled by a silk hammock, feel your entire body being relaxed and rocked gently to sleep in the womb-like cocoon far away from any disturbances. Allow yourself to nod off while listening to the sounds of nature and the life story of Buddha… This is a program provided at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan by the resort’s Resident Wellness Mentor Ibu Heny Ferawati, known as Ibu Fera.
Before joining Four Seasons in 2014, Ibu Fera had spent years as a Buddhist nun, during which period she studied in monasteries and meditation centers throughout Asia to widen her knowledge and deepen her monastic training. With such a profound understanding of mindfulness and life, and an unchangeable wish to help others, Fera now works at the Sacred River Spa at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, creating wellness programs and sharing techniques to approach a life lived mindfully and with a loving heart to the guests.
Proficient in everything from massage and philosophical discussion to guidance for chanting Dharma, Ibu Fera likes nothing more than practicing mindfulness and meditation with guests, enabling them “to continue taking care of themselves happily and peacefully when they return home.” SpaChina interviewed her on the art of life healing.
From Buddhist nun to wellness mentor, could you share your story with us? What guided you to make every decision along the way?
When I was a small child, I was already in favor of savoring the peace of Buddhist monasteries. At the age of 26, I got a chance to work as the translator for a Canadian monk on a Vipassana Meditation Retreat in Java. It was in this experience that I was deeply inspired by the health and wellness benefits of a life lived mindfully. I then undertook my first silent meditation retreat and finally became a Buddhist nun.
Later, I decided to leave the monastery to take care of and support my mother. Fortunately, Four Seasons Sayan offered me a position as a Wellness Mentor, to share the knowledge and training that I had learned during seven years in the monastery with my workmates and hotel guests who would like to learn to meditate or try to understand more about the Buddhist philosophies.
The key is good intentions to make life lived meaningfully. This is the principle that guides me to make every decision.
What is your definition of “wellbeing”? What is at core of your healing approaches?
Wellbeing means the Harmony of the Body and Mind. An understanding of the true nature of body and mind lies at the core of my healing approaches. The more we understand the nature of our own body and mind, the more we develop in wisdom, and the more we discover the source of happiness.
What wellness programs have you created and been involved in at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan?
We have The Sacred Nap, which takes guests back to the childhood ritual as they are rocked to sleep with the singing lullaby and a story. I also lead meditation classes including Awareness Meditation, Mala Meditation, Loving Kindness Meditation, sharing what I have learnt when I was a Buddhist nun. In addition, I host a Life Talk Series and the Guided By Gratitude Retreat.
Could you tell us more about the Life Talk Series? What are the themes of the talks? What results can it bring about?
Life Talk Series is a vessel to a shared life philosophy and a practice to listen to each other heartfeltly, and get an enlightenment through discussion about feelings, love, peace, and how to overcome anger, jealousy, and anxiety.
Please share more on the Sacred Nap program. What inspired you to create it? Who are the major participants? What benefits can people attain through the program?
Sacred Nap is a nap session inspired by my own experience when I was calming down my baby. She looked so comfortable inside the hammock or whenever I carried her and sang for her.
During Sacred Nap, guests are cocooned in aerial silk hammock suspended from the ceiling of the bamboo Dharma Shanti Bale, embraced by the tranquility of the beautiful Sayan Valley. I teach them to rest, while making them still fully aware of themselves by bringing their mind to their childhood memories, even when they were still inside the womb. I combine guided relaxation, mantra chanting and singing bowl, Buddha life story, and a soothing song.
Most of the people who are interested in Sacred Nap are those who have problems with their sleeping pattern, suffer anxiety or would love to have a deep relaxation.
There are a lot of benefits that we can get from a nap. We’ll have more energy to sustain the day, better blood flow, healthier heart and memory, as well as having a peaceful feeling the whole day.
There is very positive feedback from the guests who have joined your programs. What do you think are the main reasons for this?
Because they have found new understanding to relax and move on with a more meaningful life. They are simply happy about it.
What do you observe are the greatest wellness needs of people today? Could you advise what we can do in daily life to improve physical and mental wellbeing?
The most important part that people need these days is “self-awareness”. I always share with my guests the importance of improving their self-awareness through yoga, meditation, and any kind of activity that can improve harmony between mind and body.
How is Bali in your eyes? Could you share one or two aspects of Bali that impress you most?
I love Bali, The Richness of Cultures and Stunning of the Nature make it the best place to heal and grow.