Bali. Some people think of picturesque villas, tropical fruits floating atop of pools, frangipanis, and crystal clear waters. Or maybe you think of the rice paddies and temples that you can find all throughout the island. While these are all a huge part of Bali’s appeal so is yoga and meditation. Which is the main reason why I came to Ubud. An area where you can find many teachers eager to train and share their skills. I had the opportunity to participate in a five day yoga and meditation retreat. I was so excited to learn more about the practice because it’s great for the mind, body, and spirit.
I arrived to Ngurah Rai International Airport and collected my bags. I also made sure to exchange my money and pay for my tourist visa because I’m staying in Bali for more than 30 days. If you too want to stay longer than 30 days, click here. The hotel arranged their driver to be waiting at the Arrivals terminal with my name on a poster. I suggest having airport pickup arranged from the hotel for ease. Many other taxis are ready at arrivals and may charge way too much so it’s best to prebook. I finally arrive to Hotel Villa Ubud at about 10:30 pm and was greeted with a lovely smile, welcome tea and shown to my spacious room
There are 10 villas to choose from and each offer a tranquil and relaxing environment. Air conditioning, a private bathroom, bottled water, safety box and closet are all available in each villa. They also had slippers and robes ready to wear around the grounds!
I loved waking up to the natural light and the neighbouring rooster making his morning call. It felt so refreshing and made me excited to get up for class. Every morning we practiced Sun Salutation and Vinyasa flow also known as Hatha yoga in the Yoga Shala. I had a private class with the hotel’s instructor, Komang, a yoga guru who learned the art at an Ashram in a village not far from where I was staying. We would start each class with morning meditation sitting on the mat, feeling each breath and allowing our body to relax and connect with the floor. Then, we stretched from our head to our toes to begin our yoga practice. I wont lie I was not expecting it to be so intense my first day but it felt so good to connect with my body. I could feel everything. From my heart beating to the stretch in my toes and what muscles really needed more focus in each session. I would get better and gain more flexibility, balance, and stability with each session. We finished the class with sleeping meditation to return our bodies back to centre reciting the “Om” and closing chant.
After our morning flow, I would head to the restaurant for breakfast. Fresh squeezed juices, eggs prepared anyway you want, breads and jams, the list goes on for breakfast so you can try something new every day ( menu was provided the night before.)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel Villa Ubud)
I had two little guests who liked to dine with me in the morning. Both very friendly and hoping I would share my meal.
After breakfast and yoga I relaxed by the pool with the other guests. I loved listening to the fountains and I’d find myself falling asleep under an umbrella or getting lost in a good book.
Two massages were including in my itinerary and started off with a lime and salt foot scrub while I drank my welcome tea. In Balinese culture, it’s preferred to use the most natural ingredients. The lime worked as an antiseptic and the sea salt to remove dead skin, it’s a perfect at home remedy and better for your skin than using harsh chemicals. The massage was a full body for one hour and right outside of the pool area so you could hear the birds chirping and fountain running in the background. Very relaxing!
The hotel was happy to arrange visits to Ubud centre (a shuttle every few hours), temple day tours, hiking, a Balinese cooking class and more so you can truly explore the surrounding area. The staff was so sweet and easy to communicate with if you need anything. My next post will be all about what I did while in Ubud, courtesy of the hotel.
After my Balinese cooking class I had an afternoon meditation and yoga session. It was great to be able to stretch out and find my sense of calm after cooking all morning. By the third day, I was already more flexible and stable in the movements. My instructor Rose pushed me to try a few more stretches and poses and it’s great motivation to at least give it a go but I did fall on my bum a few times.
I ended up meeting another woman who was on her own retreat. Hers was more of an action focused itinerary (Mt. Batur trek, white water rafting, yoga twice a day) so you can choose what works best for you. But we had my last yoga class together which was by far my best. I could almost remember the sequence and stay in unison with Komang. I’m definitely going to keep up my practice while I’m travelling. I was sad to be leaving such a lovely place. Ubud will always be a memorable spot. Thank you to everyone at Villa Ubud for making my stay so wonderful and introducing me to yoga and meditation. I’m hooked!