Youthful Yoga in Beautiful Bali

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Although my trip to Bali was all the way back in October last year, I wanted to make it my first post as it was such an awesome experience from both yoga and cultural perspectives. 

I had always been itching to go to Bali. I’d heard so many fantastic things about the place, from the food to the people and of course the wide variety of yoga options on offer. I am lucky enough to travel a lot with my partner for photography but we are always so focused on working that I wanted an experience that was just for me, doing something I was passionate about.

As luck would have it, one of my favourite teachers Fela Adebiyi, regularly hosts retreats in Bali and as I am a big fan of his style of teaching it wasn’t a difficult decision to book myself a place.

Arriving at a crazy hour the night before in Ubud I was definitely in need of some rejuvenation. It had been a few months since I had left Shanghai and I was excited to meet everyone and get stuck in to six days of yoga immersion glory.

Our mornings were spent together doing dynamic hatha yoga classes to really boost our energy. Sessions were pitched at the perfect level with modifications for the real beginners and deeper options for those of us that wanted an extra challenge. 

I love Fela’s style and I always learn something new in his classes. He makes the impossible seem possible, pushes each and every one of us to our limits whilst still keeping it fun. Add the peaceful location and I was in yoga heaven.

We stayed and had our classes at the White Lotus, which was a stone’s throw away from Ubud Palace and about a five minute walk from rice paddy fields satisfying my camera-clicking fingers. 

Ubud market is also only five minutes away but even on our quiet little street we were spoilt with places to buy those much needed souvenirs. I may have been guilty of purchasing a tad too many yoga tops and a phallic shaped wooden bottle opener :oops: , which meant I then had to buy a fancy bag to put it all in obviously. I figured I was allowed as everything purchased was a bargain!

There are so many places in Ubud offering yoga classes and it’s super cheap. Ubud Yoga House was just minutes from where we were staying and The Yoga Barn had a huge variety of classes on offer everyday. You will also find flyers for every class going at local cafes and restaurants so the choice is endless.

temple yoga bali travel explore indonesia soda sidayoga victoria teacher retreat forest green natureWe even got the opportunity to visit Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple and Sebatu waterfall. Here a priestess performed melukat, a ceremony to purify the mind and soul spiritually. Well, when in Rome!

Melukat is a ceremony involving prayers and offerings, and a particularly bracing soak in the holy waterfall. The idea is to ward off negative forces so you can lead a more prosperous and peaceful life. To be fair, anything to help with that, I’m game – although I did struggle with the waterfall. The power of the ice cold water meant I couldn’t breathe and it kind of felt like I was getting repeatedly thumped on my head…hard. Maybe it was just negative energy leaving me I just wish it hadn’t hurt so much.  

In our afternoon classes we took it down a notch with slow, restorative classes – the perfect way to wind down the day. Using yoga bolsters and blocks to support various parts of the body, we were taken on a journey of pure relaxation. I find the effects of restorative classes incredible. By focusing on just the breath you reach a place where you aren’t completely awake but you aren’t unconscious either meaning you leave a class feeling like you have spent hours in a spa.

Talking of spas and all things relaxing, Golden Hands Therapeutic Massage on Jalan Kajeng Street is run by husband and wife team, Dewa and Oka. With a basic room featuring a curtain divider between two beds and bike helmets decorating the wall it’s no five star luxury, but it’s the masseuse that’s important not the surroundings. Genuinely, the best massage I have ever had – so much so I went back another two times. Somehow I don’t think the place is called Golden Hands for nothing, and at only a fiver, Bali was fast becoming one of my favourite places. 

I had also become addicted to coconuts. Nothing really beats a fresh coconut in the morning to rehydrate after a class. That wasn’t the only super food on offer in Ubud either. I was amazed by the choice of restaurants offering local organic produce, and the raw chocolate and coffee is just to die for.

bali exploring coconut luwak kopi beach sunset silhouette balance rice fields paddy waterfall melukat ceremony selfie soda yoga travel exploreSpeaking of coffee, have you ever tried Luwak coffee? I have. It’s the most expensive coffee in the world and is also known as cat poo coffee – yeh gross, but bear with me…

A luwak coffee plantation in Tegallalang is worth a visit if you are even slightly intrigued by the process. Luwaks munch on the ripest coffee beans and as they are digested, a unique fermentation process occurs and that gives the coffee its distinct flavour. The beans are washed (thoroughly), dried, pounded and then roasted. If you can get your head around the rather unique way it’s produced, this coffee is definitely worth a try – it’s awesome.

For me, Bali is one of my perfect getaways. Enough yoga to make me smile for weeks, incredible food and some really special people. We all had an amazing time and I was very sorry to leave. Never mind though, whilst sipping on my Vita Coco (they promise ‘it’s like sticking a straw in a coconut’) and writing this post, it’s time to start planning my next trip ;-)

Namaste

Vic xxo

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