When feeling stressed out and frazzled, one of the best ways to put yourself back into feeling calm, centred and alive again is a combination of Yoga, beach and travel!
My go-to place has always been Bali. I have been travelling to this tropical island since 2010, I have brought more than 80 ladies to this incredible island through my Women’s Wellness Retreats, and now I have made it my home. It is incredible to see the changes over the years and how certain areas have grown and developed. Although this means more tourists, traffic and plastic, the good news (and I like to look at the positives of life) is that, there has also been huge expansion and creation in the Yoga/health café/surfing/retreat centre world as well.
This is great news for us travellers or expats – especially if you are looking for something more Zen!
When you are in peaceful, mindful and calm Bali, it is very easy to slip into their gentle way of life.
What is classified as a Zen studio?
- This is an area where you feel the peaceful vibes and good energy immediately, it is tangible.
- It’s a location that is beautiful and surrounded by nature (which most of the time on this island also means the sounds of roosters!).
- There is space! You are not squashed up next to another 100 yogis in the studio and throwing sweat onto each other because your mats are only 4 fingers distance apart.
- The teachers are of high quality, world-class calibre and have had enough experience teaching more of a gentle yoga style – it’s is amazing how by just the use of their language, a teacher can put you into a Zen vibe or highly irritate you within seconds. Remember that when you are tired and frazzled you have little patience, so you are not in the mood to support the newbie teacher who has just qualified from her teacher training. You love them and are so excited about their new path in life, but you desperately need to be held in a safe space and not do the supporting.
- They offer a selection of Yoga classes, meditation and healing practices. Not just Vinyasa Yoga. Depending on where you are at on the stages of burnout (click here to take the ‘Stress Less, Live More Quiz’ to find out) will determine what style of Yoga your body is craving. Yes, I know you CAN do it all – including the advanced power Yoga sessions – but if you are feeling stressed and exhausted and drained, then you need to listen to what your body is telling you (and not your head or ego). It is therefore wonderful to have a studio with a variety of sessions and times that suit your needs.
If you are looking for a beautiful studio with soul, with an impressive range of Yoga meditation and healing modalities, with a good vibe, energy and incredible teachers then here are the top 5 Zen Yoga Studios that I have discovered in Bali
The Yoga Barn – Ubud
The Yoga Barn is an institution. It is a must visit and it is easy to arrive at this heavenly place and never want to leave (they have accommodation as well so you may not need to!). It is absolutely exquisite and they have many yoga studios and sessions to explore.
The teachers are all world class and are mainly international teachers and they offer a variety of classes aimed at all levels of yoga. I enjoy just quietly listening to what my body needed on the day and then going to a class that best suits what my soul desires.
If you are looking for something more zen I would suggest their following sessions:
- Yin Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
- Yin Yang Yoga sessions
- Gentle Yoga
Besides the yoga classes they also offer:
- Meditation sessions
- Tibetan bowl meditations
- Thai Yoga Massage classes
- Conscious movies every second Monday
- Health and heart talk each evening
- Women circle once a week
- Many other incredible workshops, retreats and teacher training offerings.
After yoga relax at the café and indulge in their ‘Living granola’ breakfast or go for an Ayurvedic healing treatment at their spa Kush – a beautiful way to complete your zen morning.
Cost: Drop-in – IDR 130 000
Location: Just off Hannoman street (one of the main roads) in Ubud, so walking distance to Monkey Forest and most central areas.
Details: The only thing with The Yoga Barn is that classes can get full – depending on the teacher and session that you are going to. Therefore get there half an hour before to book and find a place for your mat.
Desa Seni – Canggu
Canggu is known as the surfing, digital nomad, and good-food area of Bali. It is buzzing and is a great place to visit (or live), but if you want to get away from the hub and are in need of some quiet, contemplative time then head over to Desa Seni.
When walking into this ‘village’ and retreat centre, you feel like you have just escaped the craziness of the world. It is absolutely beautiful with gorgeous gardens and abundant nature, cute thatch huts, a stunning swimming pool and friendly staff. They offer daily Yoga classes, personal Yoga retreats and wellness packages, a holistic spa, an organic restaurant serving farm to table goodness and an artistic gift shop. The outdoor Yoga Shala is enchanting, as is the traditional décor and architecture throughout the resort.
You don’t have to be staying here to enjoy the Yoga sessions. You can either just pop in for a yoga class or spend the whole day! Spend a full day at Desa Seni that starts with a wonderful private yoga, meditation or pranayama class. Relax and unwind by the pool with an organic homemade tea, followed by an organic lunch, poolside or in the restaurant. It is a beautiful place to rewind, replenish and restore the soul!
Cost: Drop-in – IDR 140 000
Location: 10min scooter ride from Eco Beach
Details: Arrive 1/2hr before to chillax in the beautiful surroundings. After Yoga delight in some ginger tea and let all the goodness you have just created for yourself during Yoga, integrate into your body and soul before you set off into the world again. If you want to explore a day spa package then click here for more details and pricing.
Yoga Searcher – Uluwatu
Walking distance from the famous Uluwatu beach and surf cafés, Yoga Searcher is a perfectly located yoga retreat centre to visit and disappear from the world. They offer tailor-made yoga package holidays, an organic spa, daily Yoga classes, an earth-friendly café, an Eco-lodge and a shop that sells yoga apparel. I must admit that the local Balinese teacher was quite creative with his Yoga postures and sequencing, which made me giggle, but the beauty of the Java architecture and serenity of the place got me calm and centred again.
Cost: Drop-in – IDR 140 000
Location: 10min walk from Uluwatu cliffs & restaurants (Single Fin)
Details: Arrange your own Yoga retreat day! Book for a massage after your Yoga session and then enjoy a delicious lunch at their fabulous zen café. They have great couches to lounge on and tap into high-speed wifi if you need it. However, if you are indulging in a make-your-own-spa-day then stay off your phone, bring a book and enjoy the peaceful surroundings instead.
Mu – Bingin
Small but amazing location, spend the day chilling around the pool afterwards
If you are looking for gorgeous views, sunset moments and breathtaking scenery, then Mu is your perfect location. Situated on the cliffs overlooking pristine surf breaks and Bingin beach, this is the ideal place for a quiet surfing and Yoga getaway. Mu offers morning Yoga sessions as well as luxury, dream paradise accommodation, however even if you are not staying it is worth the visit just for a Yoga class. The yoga is taught in their small outdoor Shala and the sessions take around 10 people max. So, it is much more intimate than other studios in Ubud, but still gentle and catering for beginners as well as intermediate yogis.
Cost: Drop-in – IDR 140 000
Location: About a 10min scooter ride from Padang Padang beach
Details: If you are planning on coming here for a yoga session then book out the whole day! This view is breathtaking and so it’s totally worthwhile lazing around the pool for the day. If you do so then there is a charge of IDR 250 000 to use the pool which is over and above any lunch or meals you may have. There is also a spa so if you get tired of pool time then escape for a Balinese massage to end off your day.
The Power of Now – Sanur
If you are looking for an eco-friendly yoga experience by the beach then a visit to the Power of Now Oasis is a must. Sanur is the local area where boats and ferry’s leave to visit Nusa Lembongan and some surrounding island of Bali, and it is only a half an hour drive from the airport. So, if you are in the area it is definitely worth the visit! A full bamboo style studio, the Power of Now Oasis offers daily Yoga classes, Yoga Teacher Training, holistic treatments, various workshops, plus health and meditation events. It is also worth spending some time sipping on a juice from the Genius co-working café after a zen Yoga session.
Cost: Drop in IDR 120 000
Location: Sanur beach
Details: As well as offering Restorative, Hatha and Yin Yoga sessions, Power of Now Oasis also offers a free introduction to meditation sessions Monday through Friday 6:00 to 6:30 pm.
Slow down, enjoy the nature around you and happy Zenning!