A Luminary Life: A Journey to Healing in Hoi An
Could Hoi An become the epicenter of spiritual and holistic healing in South East Asia, following in the footsteps of spiritual hubs like Bali and Koh Phanghan?
I experienced Osho Dynamic Meditation for the first time at a community center in the backstreets of Tokyo when a Japanese friend invited me to try this peculiar-sounding technique that she’d been raving about for years. The class was conducted entirely in Japanese and I was the only foreigner there but it seemed easy enough to follow: chaotic breathing, jumping, chanting, silence followed by dancing (not necessarily in that precise order). Unconventional and exhilarating, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it from this brief taste but my curiosity was piqued.
I wasn’t able to pin down another class while travelling through South East Asia despite spotting all sorts of intriguing stuff going on in Chiang Mai, but I recently learnt that a wellness center in Hoi An, A Luminary Life, had temporarily added Osho Dynamic Mediation to its schedule. Who would’ve thought that I’d stumble upon this practice again in an ancient little town nestled in the corner of Vietnam?
The Rise of Alternative Therapies
Could Hoi An be South East Asia’s burgeoning center of spiritual and holistic healing, following in the footsteps of wellness hubs like Bali and Koh Phanghan? It’s evolving into the sort of place where yogis, meditators and well-being enthusiasts flock to seek respite and take advantage of the affordable classes and treatments. Alternative modalities are rising: chakra balancing, crystal healing and kundalini meditation. Locals meet for yoga on the beach at sunrise or gather on a full moon night to soak up the healing vibrations of Himalayan sound bowls. I frequently meet inspiring and humble teachers and practitioners, arriving in Hoi An to share their wisdom with a revolving door of nomads and expats. The community has mushroomed to include some great yoga studios, mindfulness retreats, and wellness centers.
A Luminary Life is a particularly exciting find with its diverse therapeutic offerings. Its adventurous menu is geared towards the holistically-inclined with several niche treatments as well as some well-known techniques like Reiki, acupuncture, and osteopathy. The schedule frequently shifts to include new therapies and an eclectic array of local and international practitioners that aim to enhance individuals’ mental and physical well being.
A Nurturing Space
A Luminary Life edges Hoi An’s rural landscapes and emerald-green rice fields. Stepping into the center, it’s easy to imagine a beautiful process of healing and transformation taking place within a nurturing space. It’s clean and zen-like, awash with earthy colors and adorned with crystals and gemstones.
My visit includes a combined spinal breathwork and intuitive coaching session with Aaran Solh, a healer, psychic and spiritual teacher who’s studied a fascinating array of holistic practices ranging from reiki to chakra balancing to cranial sacral therapy. An openness and sincerity emanated from Aaran. We instantly connect over our experience of Vipassana meditation, as he talks me through the techniques that he’ll be using, emphasizing the role of the therapist as a facilitator in a journey of self-reflection and discovery.
Intuitive Coaching and Spinal Breathwork
Aaran guides me through a process of identifying and understanding what’s important to me and how to move towards my ‘purpose’. Talking therapy and coaching aren’t new to me – intuitive coaching resembles an integration of the two but feels less remote, more directive and penetrative. Aaran uses his intuition to ask the right kinds of questions that allow me to tap into my own intuition without feeling exposed. This flow of probing and sharing elicits a trail of insights and emotions and helps me find my voice, while Aaran’s compassionate approach eases me into the process. I feel supported and held.
Next is spinal breathwork, aimed at balancing the nervous system. Aaran instructs me to move my awareness up and down my spine with each deep breath, imagining that I’m slowly transporting a bundle of light. I sweep up from the base and ‘flush out’ stale energy from the top of my skull, before drawing fresh air back through my nostrils and down my spine. Several rounds are followed by a gentle spinal massage.
Practical and Spiritual Guidance
The technique has a subtle but powerful effect akin to meditation or yoga. I feel centered and rooted in my body, more present and perceptive. But what’s more interesting is what follows: shortly after the session, a medley of raw emotions – some pleasant, some not – rise to the surface. Perhaps it’s the triggering questions or intense breath work but I imagine that energy blocks are rattled and removed during the therapeutic process, allowing me to access and connect to deeper parts of myself.
My ninety-minute exchange with Aaran is insightful, engendering some interesting ideas and impressions. In particular, I’m eager to explore intuitive coaching further. I’d recommend the technique to those seeking more than just empathetic listening. It will suit those looking for a dynamic process; one that feels like a mix of talking therapy and practical and spiritual guidance.
The Perfect Backdrop for a Personal Wellness Practice
A Luminary Life’s treatments and services aren’t cheap by local standards, but they will still fall into the affordable bracket compared to what you’d pay back home. The center regularly offers free workshops, so keep an eye out for announcements via its Facebook page.
I choose to trial modalities that simultaneously ignite my curiosity and skepticism but I step into the process with an open mind in order to be receptive to a true shift. Without pretension the healers are deeply passionate about what they do and they can really make a difference to people’s lives.
Hoi An, once an influential trading port in South East Asia, has kept its international flair, enticing travelers from different parts of the globe. Despite an unending stream of tourists, the town has retained a peaceful atmosphere; its languid pace and photogenic landscapes offer a perfect backdrop for cultivating a spiritual or personal wellness practice. So, it’s no wonder that this cozy, little town is beginning to attract more and more expats looking for an alternative and healthful lifestyle. A safe prediction would be that unique therapies and inspiring teachers continue to emerge and staple themselves to Hoi An’s cultural life, making it an ideal sanctuary in which to nourish your mind, body and soul.