The Yak checked in with Claude Chouinard, Founder of Bali’s renowned Oneworld Ayurveda and Oneworld Retreats, to dig deeper into their authentic Panchakarma (detox) programs and plans for the future.
Bonjour Claude, what inspired you to found Oneworld Ayurveda?
Thank you, I was introduced to Ayurveda in 1993 while on a pilgrimage in India. I found the virtues of this ancient science coherent and fascinating. Ten years later my partner and I founded Oneworld Retreats and introduced some Ayurvedic treatments. As the treatments were valued by our retreat participants, the seed to go deeper into Ayurveda was planted, and in 2016, we launched Oneworld Ayurveda.
Isn’t Ayurveda rather far away from your own cultural roots and upbringing? Did you have any challenges to overcome in this respect?
Indeed it is, yet my parents were always open to alternative medicine – my mother had learned from preceding generations how to prevent and cure illnesses with natural remedies. When I discovered Ayurveda and learned about the science behind it, I inherently understood the principles and how nature is our greatest healer.
Tell us more about Oneworld Ayurveda – the Panchakarma centre and your healing detox programs?
Our Panchakarma centre is located in an idyllic location, surrounded by Bali’s most breath-taking rice terraces. In Tegallalang, we offer programs to genuinely help participants heal, detox, reset, and let go of addictions. The day starts with yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to calm the mind, all meals served are tailored to our guests’ needs and are freshly prepared according to Ayurvedic principles. Guests also have two treatments a day as prescribed by our Ayurvedic consultants in preparation for their detox.
What are your guests looking for from their Panchakarma at Oneworld Ayurveda?
People come to Oneworld Ayurveda for different reasons – some people are simply looking to do a detox and cleanse, while others may have more serious health issues. When you arrive at Oneworld Ayurveda you will have an extensive session with our Ayurvedic consultants who will assess your bio-energies (doshas) and determine any imbalances while also taking into consideration any underlying health conditions you may have. From there they will customize your treatment to address these imbalances. It is always interesting, many people come with the simple goal of losing weight, but after their consultations they realize the reason they have the extra weight is due to a health condition they may not even be aware of.
What changes do the guests see in themselves after doing a Panchakarma?
Guests leave understanding their individual body types better and how to treat themselves well to avoid imbalances and illness – we provide detailed instructions for each guest on how to live according to Ayurvedic principles and as per their doshas. For others, with serious medical conditions, we have seen dramatic results in which they have become less reliant on western medicines and learned to understand how to manage their conditions naturally.
How ‘close’ is a Panchakarma at Oneworld Ayurveda to a Panchakarma people may experience in India? What are the commonalities and differences?
There are many styles of Panchakarma in India, from the most basic to the most luxurious. Here in Bali, we position ourselves as a comfortable, yet authentic Panchakarma experience. For us, it is all about results, so we adhere to strict guidelines – for example, our guests are not allowed to be disturbed or tempted by going to town during their Panchakarma. We recommend days of silence, while caffeine, alcohol, or any processed food or drinks are not allowed. The more our guests embrace their Panchakarma program as a chance for a total mental and physical reset the better the results will be.
What distinguishes us from Panchakarma programs in India, is the marriage of this ancient wisdom through our world-class Indian Ayurvedic consultants, with the warmth and charm of Balinese therapists who are all highly trained in traditional Ayurvedic treatments. There is something special about the care Balinese people offer. Guests leave Oneworld Ayurveda saying they feel they have been truly nurtured.
What sets Oneworld Ayurveda apart from other health and wellness retreats in Bali?
In recent years the island has become flooded with different yoga, meditation, and wellness retreats, which offer certain styles and knowledge. What is sometimes missing from these retreats is how these elements can be incorporated into one’s overall health. At Oneworld Ayurveda, upon arrival, you will have an in-depth session with our Ayurvedic consultants who will then tailor a plan just for you.
Besides the actual Panchakarma program, what other activities do guests experience at Oneworld Ayurveda?
During their stay, our Ayurvedic consultants and chefs lead a range of discussions and workshops on Ayurvedic wisdom and cooking, giving people the tools they need to continue living healthily once they return home.
What is coming up for Oneworld Ayurveda in the near future?
We’re very excited to announce that we’re currently in the process of expanding Oneworld Ayurveda due to demand from our guests and a growing interest in Ayurveda globally. Our beloved Oneworld Retreats site in Ubud is undergoing a transformation into an Ayurvedic Centre that will offer both Panchakarma programs as well as yoga retreats with an Ayurvedic influence. We’ll be relaunching the new Oneworld Retreats in November this year, you can see more on this at www.oneworldretreats.com
Where would you like to see Oneworld Ayurveda in five years?
We would like to see Oneworld Ayurveda be the reference point worldwide for healing, detoxing and rejuvenating programs. One of our objectives is to see the family grow both in Bali and abroad, and to be able to offer our team members the best quality of life possible.
Do you have any empowerment or grassroots programs?
We have recently created a new business “Oneworld Collection”, a gift collection available in all our outlets and soon to be also available online. The shares of this venture are 100% owned by our staff members, everyone is invited to become a shareholder and we provide a monthly payment agreement to purchase the shares. This project ensures extra revenue for our staff as well as a deep feeling of belonging to the Oneworld family.
If investors wished to contact you to find out more about your expansion plans and what you are looking for in a possible partner for a Oneworld Ayurveda in another part of the world, how would they best get in touch?
It’s best to contact us by email, at the moment of answering this question, we are still in the process of developing partnership possibilities.
Claude – thank you very much for your time and passion.