A Buddhist Nun Will Rock You to Sleep During a ‘Sacred Nap’ at This Ultra-luxury Resort in Bali

Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale
Photo: Patrick Sgro

The hot Balinese sun bears down on me as I walk a little quicker to the open-air Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale at the Four Seasons Sayan. I’m headed to have what is known as a Sacred Nap.

I look out over a field of rice paddies with towering coconut trees and the faint sound of a rushing river in the distance. I'm ready to fully embrace a level of Zen unattainable anywhere else in the world.

The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan's Resident Wellness Mentor, Heni Ferawati, also known as Ibu Fera, greets me with a slight bow and playfully says, "Hello, I will be babysitting you for your Sacred Nap today.”

Traditionally, Balinese people wrap their baby inside a sarong and hang it somewhere in the house so they can rock their infant to sleep with a lullaby. The inspiration for the Sacred Nap came after Ibu Fera had a daughter and used this common practice to help her fall asleep quickly.

She leads me over to my suspended hammock where I’ll be swaying gently with the breeze for the next hour or so. I not so gracefully slide into the purple silk cocoon and enter the last and most relaxing pose from yesterday's Anti-Gravity yoga session, held in the same peaceful space.

Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale
Patrick Sgro

Ibu Fera places a mask of chamomile, rosemary and lavender essential oils over my eyes to help me relax. She starts with a guided meditation to center my mind and encourages me to ease the tension in my limbs one by one. We count our breathes in and out while she tells me to transport myself back to the womb, then to infancy — back to a time when I had no cares or worries and was filled with joy.

My mind starts to wander just as she begins to quietly chant while circling me with a singing bowl. Before Ibu Fera moved to Bali she was a Buddhist nun living in Myanmar, so she likes to incorporate her Buddhist chants and blessings for well being into each session.

After several traditional Balinese songs are softly sung, comes the story of the life of the Buddha — all while being rocked back and forth slowly. I nod off into a deep sleep before the Buddha can even reach Enlightenment. Ibu Fera says, "Kids love to listen to stories. Hearing that someone is always there around you, protecting you, helps you to relax and fall asleep.” She tells me that she then sang the story of Buddha in her local language, but I was dead to the world at that point.

What seems like hours later, I find myself waking to more soft chanting and the metallic hum of the singing bowl. She slowly removes my eye mask and helps me wake with a short head massage of invigorating lemongrass and mint essential oils. She hands me a cold towel, another welcome surprise on this hot day in the Sayan Valley.

I reluctantly sit up and tell her I can’t believe I fell asleep; I hadn’t felt that relaxed in a long time. She laughed and said, "You were a good baby. It's nice to be a baby sometimes, isn’t it?"

As I gather my cellphone, sunglasses and villa key — subtle reminders that I’m in no longer a carefree infant wrapped in a cocoon — Ibu Fera gives me a warm hug and says, “Enjoy your journey. Be happy like baby."

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