With fresh produce, peaceful scenery, and retreats that range from fitness-focused to spiritual journeys, Bali and Lombok have plenty of places where you can arrive stressed and leave feeling revived. But if you’re looking for the top spot in Bali for yoga classes, guided meditations, detox programs, and spa pampering sessions, you’ll find it all—and more—in the town of Ubud.
Ubud has been the cultural epicenter of Bali since the late 1800s, when the Sukawati royal family established a base within Ubud. During Dutch occupation of Bali, Ubud was given loose autonomy, which allowed its arts and cultural scene—typically centered around Hinduism—to flourish. Today, Ubud draws in philosophers, devout Hindus, artists, dancers, musicians, and others seeking inspiration from all over the globe.
With religion and tradition as the overlays to Ubud’s unique culture, it has begun attracting those in pursuit of enlightenment and optimal health. It’s common to see Balinese dressed in ceremonial attire walking next to a tourist in yoga leggings. As you stroll among the surrounding rice terraces and listen to the sounds of birds singing and water trickling downstream, a form of moving meditation is nearly forced upon you.
Know before you go:
Ubud is 35 km (22 mi) northeast of Ngurah Rai International Airport, about an hour away by car. Rivers, steep valleys covered in tropical plants, and rice paddies make up most of the terrain surrounding Ubud, and it is often a few degrees cooler than the coastlines. Since traffic is confined to set areas, it’s very easy to walk or cycle along Ubud’s outskirts.
Yoga Classes in Ubud
Ubud is one of the best places to branch out of your regular style and try something different. Typically, general yoga classes included with your hotel stay, or one-off yoga classes where all are welcome, will be led by a teacher who can scale each pose from beginner to advanced. For example, newcomers might only be able to touch their knees in a forward fold, while more flexible yogis can touch the ground. General yoga classes or classes that are advertised as beginner-friendly offer a great introduction into the world of moving meditation.
If you’re new to the scene and find that the yoga schedules might as well be written in Sanskrit, here are some common terms you’ll encounter.
Ashtanga is one of yoga’s most ancient school of yoga teachings, where each pose sequence correlates to rhythmic breathing. In Ashtanga, a set of poses is done in the same order each time.
Restorative or yin:
Restorative yoga is a slow-moving class where postures are passive and held for a long time, allowing you to relax and work deep into each pose.
Most general yoga classes are hatha yoga classes. Hatha classes tend to be great introductory or intermediate classes because they feature accessible poses, and the teacher typically goes into detail on correct alignment.
Iyengar classes center around proper alignment, and students of Iyengar will use props like blocks, straps, and bolsters to ensure that every body part is in the right place. Some studios require that you take a fundamentals course before joining an Iyengar yoga class, as its suited for moderately experienced yogis.
Vinyasa yoga classes focus on breathing strategically as you flow from one pose to the next, making it a very active class. Poses are typically not held for long, and no two classes are exactly alike.
Bali Wellness Bucket List
Going on vacation often means lounging as much as possible, imbibing sugar-laden cocktails, and eating deep-fried foods. In Ubud, however, you can indulge in pampering treatments for the body and mind that will help you to leave in a better condition than when you came. How often can you say that on vacation?
At just about every spa, you can get a full-body massage treatment that works on relaxing your muscles and mind. Massage therapists use scented oils, calming music, and a firm touch to relieve knotted muscles and tension.
The humidity, dust, and sweat can irritate and clog pores as you travel. A sugar scrub exfoliates your skin, sloughing off old cells to make your skin silky and smooth.
Our minds run all day long, rarely getting a chance to rest. Join a guided meditation session to reduce stress and increase self-awareness.
Coconuts are available just about everywhere in Bali and provide a wonderful source of hydration, electrolytes, and nutrients. Swap out your soda or juice for coconut water and see how you feel.
One Day in Ubud
1. Motorbike or walk to Sayuri Healing Food Café for breakfast.
2. Take a yoga or guided meditation class at Radiantly Alive.
3. Stroll along rice fields toward Sari Organik, where you’ll stop for a long and leisurely lunch overlooking the neighborhood.
4. In the afternoon, get a Balinese massage and sugar scrub at Jaen’s Spa.
5. Dine on fresh salads, soups, or gado-gado made with fresh vegetables at Warung Enak
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