I am visiting Ubud in Bali for a week and a bit and what better way to record my journey than through some blogging to share the experience in different yoga schools here in Ubud.
Needless to say, the yoga scene here has insanely expanded. Everyone does yoga – supermarkets, clothing shops, cafe’s, dogs, your taxi driver, and so on. It’s a yoga capital. When you are in Ubud, you just cannot miss yoga, and you probably shouldn’t, but is it all such a sparkling ride to Savasana here?
Well, Ubud is busy! Let’s start from that. There are not only yoga hunters around but other tourists as well, and many of them. After living on a small island for 4 months I am in a bit of a shock and need some time to adjust to “city” life. You can escape further to rice fields where is it quieter but in the centre, it is pretty hectic.
Here we go about YOGA. I am planning to visit as many yoga studios, I get the chance to, and get a bit of information and tell you about my experiences.
I signed up for 1 week of Mysore Ashtanga with Iain Grysak. This is for me! I longed to practice with a teacher since it has been 9 months of solo practice, so I firstly feel super nervous to practice. The classes are on the 2nd floor of Seeds of Life cafe on a cute street in Ubud – J. Goutama.
Space is small but just perfect for a small group, I believe around 24 mats. In my experience, Iain gives good space for the student to practice by themselves, if they have an established practice, but also gives the traditional adjustment when you are struggling or he sees an opportunity for improvement. I like this approach, as I believe one must learn to practice with their body first before the teacher can help to deepen or help to feel the pose differently.
Beautiful space, with a lot of areas for seating, cafe, juice bar, treatments etc basically it is a little yoga town this area here. What one should take into consideration is that there is a lot of people in the yoga space (I believe 60 or so is the capacity), so if you are an experienced practitioner, you will be good to go, but if you are new to all the poses and Sanskrit and how to adjust the practice to your body, you might be in for a different experience than what you might have wanted.
From yoga classes, I tried Paul Teodo – Vinyasa Flow 2. It was a beautiful flow with a story on a baseline. What I really liked was the creative transitions, clear instructions of what he was teaching and simplicity of the sequence. Simple doesn’t mean easy, it was a strong flow but the way he guided us through made it easy to the mind and body. He often gave time for students to be creative and do their own practice, for example during sun salutations where people added in poses where they wanted, which was something new to me.
In Savasana, he took out his guitar and played until we relaxed, which I really enjoyed as he brought music into what he was teaching as a part of the experience of uniting the big number of 50 students or so.
I was due to return 2 more times to Yoga Barn as I purchased 3 class pass for 360k IDR. Drop in was 130k like in most places around Ubud and they also have packages if you stay longer, you see prices on their site.
Saturday I went back for Tibetian Bowl Meditation with Wakuha Blueflame. I had done Gong Baths before and I like sound therapy. I think with these type of classes it really depends on the student and how every individual experience the class. I personally had stronger impacts from Gong Baths, nevertheless, the way the class was set and the beautiful sounds with what she took us on a journey were well worth the visit, so I would recommend to give it a go. For sure I left feeling very calm and relaxed.
Last class I attended in the famous Yoga Barn was on Sunday – Vinyasa Flow 2 this time with Chris. What caught my eye is that Yoga Barn labels classes level 1 and level 2, but both teachers were making softly sarcastic jokes about level and yoga (which I understand), thus may be a different wording could be used to describe the class.
The class started out almost as one would expect when one is in a Vinyasa Flow class, but very fast I realised that what one might consider as normal Vinyasa class was far from what we were doing in class. I would describe it more as a mobility workshop with plenty of styled commentary from the teacher. I took onboard interesting approaches and techniques, thus it was a great experience. On the other hand, I am not sure, I personally would have called it a Vinyasa Flow, on the third hand I am not really sure of the exact term of vinyasa flow. The best conclusion you can take from here is: if the above intrigues you, go and experience it yourself!
Situated very much in the heart of Ubud’s busiest area – J. Jembawan. The shalas are beautiful, one is situated with a beautiful jungle view, but as I walked in they didn’t give me a very welcoming vibe. The floors were dirty and there was a lot of ants – I guess the nature practice experience. I have to emphasise that I loved the jungle view.
I did a Vinyasa Flow class with Persia Juliet. She was lovely. Very vocal during the class as she tells you a storyline while you practice, which I like during Vinyasa classes as they are more guided by the concept of the individual teacher and their selected theme, rather than a system. The class seemed open level and offered in my opinion good sequence for all to practice with some more challenging poses. I enjoyed the flow and the heat that built up. I would defiantly go back to practice with Persia.
I was planning to return once more to get some more, but they didn’t have a Yin class in the schedule on the day, and I really needed some calm stretching and releasing as it was physically and mentally (from a small sleepy island to busy Bali) demanding week. overall what I got was that Radiantly alive is a beautiful space and classes are still on the bigger sized, so if you anticipate personal approach and to improve your practice, the attention you get there is minimal, you are on your own in the class with all the other yogis and yoginis.
Ubud Yoga House
While most studios are the metal stamps in the middle of the city noise in Ubud then this little beauty is in the middle of rice paddies. Just a 20 minute walk away from Hanuman and Monkey Forest streets. It is a beautiful walk and on your way there you really come to appreciate the quietness of this little village like space around you.
I did the morning Vinyasa Flow class with Nina. It was a simple and beautiful, very well queued class. I enjoyed her tone of voice a lot and that the class was at a slower pace yet giving plenty of opportunities to go deeper to poses. What I liked the most was the personal approach that this little place has – as the groups are smaller, the attention that the teacher gives per student benefits you a lot more. Especially if you are in the start of your yoga journey, this is a gem studio to come practice as you will be able to learn a lot more in a safe way compared to a big room with 60 people and 1 teacher.
It was a beautiful final touch after rising up from Savasana, we had refreshing towels and glass of delicious lemon water waiting for us, complemented by the beautiful view of the rice fields.
Intuitive Flow is another studio I planned to visit, as I heard a lot of amazing comments about this place, however, I ran out of time and surf was calling for the 3 last days in Bali I headed to Canggu. If you have been I would love to hear about your experience!
Go on, get yourself travelling and exploring!