Yoga in Bali: A backpacker-friendly retreat

This moment hasn’t happened yet  

As you might have gathered from my last article ‘Taking yourself with you: Lessons learnt from travelling the world’, I’ve been doing a bit of soul searching this year. With a main focus on my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

Yoga has always been something that I’ve dipped into. As much as I’ve felt too tired or lazy to do any during a working week – I’ve always left a session feeling more refreshed, wondering why I don’t do it more often. But as is life; time runs away and before you know it, it’s winter – and you’re in hibernation mode drooling over mince pies. Or is that just me?

In an attempt to get myself back into yoga and calm my over-thinking mind, I have been looking back at notes from my week of yoga in Bali. If you’re on the look out for a backpacker and budget friendly yoga retreat in Bali – this might help.

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Temple in Ubud

Eat, pray… yoga!

The magical town of Ubud has become widely recognised as the spiritual hub in Bali. It’s rich jungle terrain, winding rice terraces and tumbling waterfalls provide an enchanting setting for globe trotters to find some stillness. It’s the perfect place to zen out and connect with yourself.

As a backpacker, I was looking to combine yoga, spirituality and clean eating – but on a budget. There are so many different retreats in Ubud, but Radiantly Alive ticked all the boxes. I signed up for a week of unlimited classes for an affordable fee (£56 for as many classes as you want!) which gave me the freedom to discover different yoga techniques and do some writing in the lounge in between. Radiantly Alive became my safe space for the week – I had my spot at the same table every day *cough* (creature of habit).

Eating healthily in Ubud wasn’t hard – there are lots of tasty cafes to choose from (Lazy Cats, Bali Buda and Clear cafe were my favourites). I stayed in a hostel to save money, which worked out around £5 per night, but there are plenty of hotels nearby.

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Deeeelicious granola at Radiantly Alive

Here are some of my favourites classes

Mystic Healing 

Mystic Healing is a channeling that promotes physical, mental and emotional healing by clearing and releasing energetic blocks in our subtle bodies. – Radiantly Alive

This class focused on meditation and stilling your mind – something I struggle with. We simply laid down and allowed our thoughts to pass whilst drifting into a lucid state. Meditation can help us access our subconscious overtime. We can only move forward and take control of our destiny if we go inside first – our past experiences and past emotions dictate our future.

With each inhale you are breathing in your intentions and with each exhale you are letting go of negativity and releasing emotions that don’t serve you. 

Roll & Release

Roll & Release is a yin styled class of deep-tissue, facially focused self-massage. It uses myofascial release massage balls to access and release the tight and restricted areas in your body. – Radiantly Alive

We laid our mats down and were giving two wooden balls. Here, we were guided into static floor positions, applying the balls to pressure areas in our muscles. It was hard not to flinch at times, but the teacher encouraged us to inhale and tense, and then exhale and relax into it to feel the maximum effect. It was a lesson in pushing past the discomfort in life. As intense as something might feel, the discomfort always fades.

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Tegallalang rice terrace in Ubud
Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. – Radiantly Alive

I had Yin with a few different teachers, all with their own styles. I liked how soothing this class was at the end of the day. It was a chance for our bodies to stretch, relax and breathe out the day. We were encouraged to let any thoughts come in, acknowledge them and let them fade. As tricky as this is, the soft lighting and calm music made me melt into my mat and not want to get up at the end!

We can only move forward and take control of our destiny if we go inside first – our past experiences and past emotions dictate our future. 

Movement improvement

This is a movement class based on the work of Ido Portal. It’s for people who love to move and are curious about creating more fluidity, speed, strength and freedom. – Radiantly Alive

It felt like I was back in a Eurythmy class! (calling on all ex-Steiner students!) – I loved it. This class in particular focused on opening up the hips, but my whole body felt looser afterwards. We did partner exercises throwing and catching balls to test our reflexes, and applied pressure to certain areas of our partner’s body – they either reacted as water (accepting the pressure) or stone (resisting the pressure).

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A studio at Radiantly Alive

What did I learn?

As intense as something might feel, the discomfort always fades. 

This week opened my eyes to the fact that yoga isn’t just yoga. Yoga is an umbrella term for so many different techniques. In fact, I only did one “yoga” class the whole week – the rest was stretching, improving mobility and meditation.

Yoga is about breathing. We connect to our bodies by breathing. With each inhale you are breathing in your intentions, with each exhale you are letting go of negativity and releasing emotions that don’t serve you.

Yoga is about balance: The yin and the yang; pressure and relax; movement and stillness. Pushing your body to grow constantly, whilst also giving it time to rebuild and relax.

Thank you Radiantly Alive for helping me connect to myself again. And reminding me that this moment hasn’t happened yet – so… just breathe.

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Munduk, Bali

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