Renuka Vaidyanathan’s unique wellness retreat in Bali – BeingSattvaa - enables you to connect with your inner self
8/1/2016 2:25:14 PM
|written By : Nithya Subramanian|
Life is about finding a balance – whether it is work-life or balancing the elements of the human body. This quest led Renuka Vaidyanathan – an ex-banker to set up BeingSattvaa – a wellness retreat in Ubud, Bali that is not a typical vacation spa or resort.
“The idea is to help people connect with their inner being and that is why we created a retreat where the emphasis is on connecting through the path of wellness,” she said.
Hence apart from regular guests, BeingSattvaa offers customisable packages, where groups of people could choose activities. For instance, there were groups on digital detox plans or raw food or vegan retreats. And now Vaidyanathan is looking at promoting retreats with arts as an enabler. “I am very interested and connected with the Indian Fine Arts scene in Singapore and India and have spoken to artistes such as Priyadarshini Govind about the idea of doing an arts based retreat and they have expressed interest in it.” she said.
While Vaidyanathan is based in Singapore, she said that she frequently visits Bali. July-August is generally peak season at BeingSattvaa and we spoke to this dynamic lady on the eve of the holiday season.
India Se: Tell us a little about your childhood and upbringing.
Renuka Vaidyanathan: I was born in Madras in a Tamilian family; ours was a typical South Indian household with my father in Government service and my mother - a homemaker. We were a small, close-knit family that included my brother and my grandparents, who were a significant presence in our lives. I went to high school in Bangalore - all my meaningful memories are from there, which I still consider home. I was always academically inclined - bookish, though not nerdy! I went to the REC (Regional Engineering College) near Mangalore, then secured an MBA from IIM Bangalore and joined ICICI, my dream job. I inherited my ‘accountant’ brain from my father and a love for the Arts and literature from my mother!
India Se: What prompted you to leave a corporate career and start a resort in Bali?
Renuka Vaidyanathan: My husband Subba, whom I met at IIM, and I were climbing up the slippery corporate ladder, in-between which our daughters were born in the early 1990s. We were exceedingly busy - with two full-time jobs and two little girls. Life was very good - very hectic, but very fulfilling. After spending eight years at ICICI, I moved to a completely different industry- the Indian operations of Levi Strauss. I was in the corporate planning function: it was a completely informal set up that included wearing jeans to work. I had three great years there, but after a tumultuous period in our lives around 2000, we moved to Singapore in 2001. I had worked for nearly 13 years but decided to take a short break from work and spend some time with my girls Dhriti and Akshita, who were in primary school then. My leaving corporate life was due to a combination of circumstances and choice - SARS, poor job market here, etc. I started doing voluntary work in the Indian fine arts space with SIFAS and some trading/investment related activities to keep myself busy and I never went back to corporate life. I helped set up the fledgling Pan-IIM association as well and got involved in events organisation, albeit in a voluntary capacity. Fitness became a big thing in my life - I got into Yoga and started eating healthy - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, less of processed food and so on. I attended a yoga retreat in Bali in 2009 - a retreat, which while good in some respects, was lacking in some areas. I thought it would be a good idea to create an exclusive retreat space, where we could design bespoke experiences for small to medium-sized groups.
It was a small idea in 2009 - we wanted to create a space in Bangalore or Bali; it so happened that Bali worked out better. The idea slowly took shape - one thing led to another and by 2014, we had created the retreat centre - BeingSattvaa.