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How to create your own DIY yoga retreat in Bali

diy yoga retreat in Ubud

Yoga retreats in beautiful Bali are undoubtedly some of the best in the entire world. But if you ask me, sometimes the itineraries can be a little too fixed and expensive.

With a DIY yoga retreat in Bali, you can create your own program. Your schedule is flexible, so you can choose the classes and courses you like and make the best of your experience both as a yogi and traveler.

In this post, I’ll share how you can create your own DIY Bali yoga retreat for a fraction of the cost. I planned my own yoga retreat in Bali and have included all my tips.

I’ll also share where to stay, eat healthy food and get the best spa treatments.

Namaste!

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Why you should create your own yoga retreat

  • A DIY yoga retreat in Bali is more affordable than a pre-organised retreat.
  • With Bali’s many yoga studios offering flexible passes, you get to customise your own experience. Choose what kind of classes to attend and when, without being limited by a fixed program.
  • Flexibility is key – once you’re done with yoga for the day, explore the many things to do in Bali, like massages, white-water rafting, the many beautiful temples or hiking Mt Batur for sunrise.
  • One of the good things is that you decide your own meals. Whether you’re vegan, meat-eater, vegetarian, love raw food or something else, you can get delicious, nutritious dishes all over Bali.

How to plan your yoga retreat

Planning your own DIY yoga retreat in Bali is not as difficult as you might think. With affordable accommodation and plenty of yoga options and healing traditions in Bali, Indonesia, it basically comes down to finding the right yoga studio and hotel.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Find the best town and yoga centre

Bali is a treasure trove for yoga lovers. While Ubud is the obvious choice for a retreat, there are other towns on the island of the gods that might be a better fit for you.

These are the three best places for yoga and meditation retreats in Bali:

  • Ubud: For yoga, meditation, spirituality, cultural activities and healthy food
  • Uluwatu: For yoga, dramatic and beautiful views, surfing, beach
  • Nusa Lembongan: For yoga, quiet island vibe
DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Find accommodation nearby

You can stay at home-stays, hotels, hostels and private rentals around Bali. Anything will do, really, as long as you just make sure to stay close to your yoga centre. You don’t want to have to walk 2-3 km each time there’s a class.

Choose your yoga and meditation style

Anyone can join a yoga retreat in Bali and there are both beginners and advanced classes.

The types of yoga and meditation vary from class to class and it’s an excellent idea to try something new while you’re there. You might even improve your skill levels.

I’ve practiced meditation for many years, but was surprised to find out how many different kinds of meditations there actually are. I tried out several classes and it took my meditation practice to a whole new level.

When you are choosing what style of yoga you want to do, have this in mind:

  • Choose a teacher and style you love
  • Pick a focus that speaks to you
  • Choose a yoga style that matches your current fitness level, your personality and goals for practicing yoga. E.g. do you like spiritual yoga sessions like kundalini tantra yoga or would you rather focus on the psychical aspect like in yin yoga classes?
  • Do you prefer challenging or gentle yoga? E.g. Ashtanga (challenging), Bikram (challenging), Hatha (gentle), Viniyoga (gentle) and so on. You can ask and read about the classes at the centres.

Read next: The one day in Ubud itinerary you don’t want to miss

Book flights

Now, all that’s left is to book your flights to Bali, and you’re all set. There’s only one airport in Bali, and it’s located in Denpasar. You can pre-book an airport transfer for an easy and stress-free arrival. That’s what I always do.

DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Have a healthy skepticism

When it comes to spiritual practices, meditation practices and self-development, we expose ourselves and become vulnerable in order to grow and learn.

Whether you believe in spirituality, alternative treatment or not, you need to take good care of yourself and make sure you’re doing this in a safe environment with a trained teacher or practitioner.

In the spiritual field, there are people taking advantage of this vulnerability. I’m not saying that you should second guess everyone’s motives, but you should develop a healthy skepticism towards spirituality and everything it entails.

Make room for asking questions, and don’t participate if it gets too much. You should take care of yourself first and foremost; that’s what you’re here for.


DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Yoga retreat in Ubud

Ubud is the perfect place to improve your yoga practice and experience the Balinese culture. This small town, situated in a beautiful location among lush tropical forests and terraced rice paddies, has long been known as a spiritual hub of Bali.

Ever since Elizabeth Gilbert published her iconic memoir Eat Pray Love, she put Ubud at the top of my list for a Bali yoga retreat. With various spiritual retreats to choose from, I’d say this is the best place for a soul-searching holiday and peace of mind.

DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Yoga studios in Ubud

As a spiritual centre, Ubud has several great yoga studios. The Yoga Barn is one of the first, largest and most popular yoga studios in Southeast Asia.

With more than 15 classes and workshops available each day, ranging from traditional Hatha and Vinyasa Flow to Power Pranayama, yoga nidra, Iyengar, yin yoga and Aerial yoga to meditation and even Ecstatic Dance and sound healing – the Yoga Barn is a great choice if you’re looking for variety.

The best and most economical way to do a yoga and meditation retreat is to buy a class card. Most of the studios offer a class pack (e.g. 10 classes valid for 6 months) or days pass (e.g. 30 day unlimited class card), which is a great option.

You can also get an unlimited class card or a monthly pass if you’re looking at long retreats.

These are the best yoga retreats in Ubud:

DIY Yoga Retreat Bali
The Yoga Barn

Where to stay

I recommend staying at Ulun Ubud Resort (⭐9.0). While you can find cheaper options, this hotel will just complete your stay with its modern Balinese-style rooms and private balconies. It has an outdoor swimming pool where you can relax after a hot day with views of the rice fields.

There’s also a lounge bar & library, free scheduled shuttle service to Ubud Center, and free afternoon tea daily. Check rates here.

Healthy food

Ubud is a mekka for healthy food lovers, and raw food, vegan, macro and vegetarian food can be found everywhere. Here are some of the best restaurants you should definitely visit:

  • Kafe
  • Clear
  • Down to Earth
  • Alchemy

Spa treatments

Speaking of taking good care of yourself… Creating your own yoga retreat in Bali is more than the exercise. It’s also about relaxing and unwinding.

You’ll find balinese massages and spas all around Ubud, but if you want excellent treatment (as in the-best-you’ve-ever-had), I recommend splurging a little by going to one of these places – Taksu is my personal favourite (ask for Jero).

Yoga retreat, Bali
I had a massage here every day. It was divine!

DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Yoga retreat in Uluwatu

Uluwatu lies on the south-western tip of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, and it’s another ideal place for a week-long retreat. From its stunning views to amazing cultural attractions like Pura Luhur Uluwatu Hindu temples, this spot has something for everyone.

Uluwatu is also considered one of the top surfing destinations in the world! So, if you want your DIY retreat to include surfing, then Uluwatu could be perfect for you.

DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Yoga studios in Uluwatu

While Uluwatu has several beautiful vistas, the Aylan Yoga School at The Istana takes first place. This is a luxury yoga retreat.

With daily yoga classes perched on cliffs overlooking the spacious ocean, The Istana offers unique Istana Vinyasa and Jivamukti Yoga with music classes and meditation sessions.

Additionally, there are yoga teacher training and Tantric-Hatha fusion classes to help you feel empowered as well.

DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Where to stay

I recommend staying at Uluwatu Cottages (⭐9.0) to experience Uluwatu in a unique way – from atop a cliff.

Located about 1 km from the Aylan Yoga School and retreat center, these cottages overlook the sea and landscaped gardens for an ahhh-mazing view. You can enjoy lounging around the outdoor infinity pool or opt for a relaxing Balinese massage. Find the latest rates here.

Healthy food

The café culture and fine dining movement in Uluwatu is booming – and it’s no wonder why! From healthy vegan diet eats in Bingin to award-winning menus from world-class chefs, there are plenty of delicious food and fresh fruit smoothies here.

These are the best restaurants and cafes in Uluwatu:

  • The Cashew Tree
  • Kelly’s Warung
  • Drifter Surf

Spa treatments

If you like pampering (who are we kidding, of course you do), you’ll love Uluwatu.

Whatever you’re looking for – from a mani-pedi or tanning session to a relaxing massage or full-body scrub – the Bukit has lots of spas to choose from. These are the best ones:

  • The Istana
  • Spa Alila at Alila Villas Uluwatu
  • The Asa Maia

DIY yoga retreat Bali

Yoga retreat in Nusa Lembongan

Looking for a peaceful escape with an island vibe? Then you’ll like Nusa Lembongan.

Located south of Bali, this small island is the perfect place to find balance and relaxation. Enjoy all it has to offer – from surfing and diving to snorkelling and lazy days – and add a little yoga into the mix.

Check out Dream Beach for its secluded atmosphere and breathtaking views, or head over to the Blue Lagoon with its mesmerizing turquoise waters.

DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Yoga studios in Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan offers world-class yoga studios with daily classes, workshops, retreats, and private lessons. This is where you can find the best yoga sessions from power yoga to vinyasa yoga:

  • Yoga Bliss
  • Serenity Yoga 
  • Yoga Dunia
DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Where to stay

The Bay Shore Huts (⭐8.9) is located on Tamarind beach. Here, you can experience air-conditioned rooms with a terrace/balcony with views of the garden, pool or sea – perfect for watching beautiful sunsets every evening! Find rates here.

Healthy food

Mhhm, the Balinese food should definitely be included in your yoga adventures in Nusa Lembongan. You’ll find it easy to get fresh and healthy dishes in these highly rated restaurants:

  • Ginger & Jamu
  • Bali Eco Deli’Bali Eco Deli
  • Kayu Lembongan
  • Ombak Zero Waste Cafe
DIY yoga retreat in Bali

Spa treatments

From cheap and cheerful massages to luxurious multi-hour rituals, a spa day here is guaranteed to be an amazing experience! Enjoy complete serenity in one of these spas:

  • Spring Spa and Sanctuary
  • Tonic Body & Soul Spa
  • Indiana Kenanga

Practical info and tips

  • A yoga mat is free to use at the centres, but you can buy your own anywhere in Bali.
  • Buy a class card. Not only is it cheaper, but it will work as a motivation for you.
  • There’s no need to buy a yoga retreat package or stay at the centre. Planning it yourself is your cheapest option.
  • Bring a good book and preferably something you don’t normally read. Focus on learning something new.
  • Write a journal and describe what you experience and learn.
Yoga retreat, Bali

Packing list for a yoga retreat

  • Comfortable clothes: That ranges from yoga or workout clothing, to slacks and skirts, and everything in-between.
  • Layers, layers, layers: Everyone who’s been to Ubud knows that it’s warm in the day and chilly in the morning and evening. And that’s a good reason to pack layers to ensure that you are comfortable no matter the weather.
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • A book
  • A journal
  • An open mind

Want to book a yoga retreat instead?

If you haven’t found what you were looking for, I recommend looking at these two sites below. They’re the best sites for finding yoga retreats around the world, although they only feature retreats, not classes.

BookYogaRetreats is the world’s leading yoga travel site where you can book retreats for beginners and advanced yogis.


BookRetreats lets you book the best handpicked retreats all over the world.

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56 Comments

  1. Ubud was my favourite place in Indonesia, partly because of the amazing vegetarian food and the massages, which were some of the cheapest and best I’ve had in Asia. This is a great guide; I love the way you’ve laid-out your budget information too.

    1. Thanks, Amy 🙂 Ubud was my favorite place too for both the reasons you mention. I don’t think I’ve been to a place with such an atmosphere before. It is truly unique.

    1. In that case you should do it in Ubud. There are other places for yoga retreata in Bali too (Uluwatu and Nusa Lembongan), but living in a town surrounded by rice paddies and mountain tops is just something special.

  2. I didn’t enjoy Bali for the most part, but absolutely loved Ubud! It would be so much fun to go back there for a yoga retreat. It also sounds like a good decision to not stress too much about budget while doing a retreat aimed at wellness!

    1. It’s easy to feel that Ubud is the heart of Bali – there’s just so much postive energy going around! I hope your trip to Bali wasn’t too bad.

  3. I have to admit that this appeals a lot more now than it might have done before travelling altogether. In Asia I came across more often to this kind of mentality, lifestyle and way of approaching life then I suddenly became more and more interesting in trying yoga. I’m still skeptical about it but I’d love to try it and then make my own mind up about its benefits, at the end of the day if everyone says that is incredibly good for you there must be a reason, correct? 😉

    1. I think you should try it. It might surprise you. People do it for various reasons – some for spiritual, some for exercise, others for mental health – it’s all about what you expect to gain from it. I think you will see that yoga is good for balance, flexibility and for mental strenght. Let me know if you decide to try it out – I’d love to hear about your experience.

  4. I recently went on a yoga retreat in Bali in Ubud. I like the city but it’s almost too touristy now a bit. But I certainly enjoyed the health consciousness of it all. I managed to only catch the Yoga Barn and classes at my hotel but they were nice too. This post makes me want to go back!

    1. I was only at the Yoga Barn, too, but I didn’t feel the need to try other places. You’re right – Ubud is touristy, but I actually didn’t mind. It still had its charm and atmosphere which is the thing I love most about this city.

  5. Hi Miriam, I love your blog. So informative and helpful. 🙂
    after reading about your spa experience in Bali I want to do the same. I have been very close to Bali but never adventured thee yet. A spa retreat is the perfect dream for me.

    I am new in the travel blogging sphere so please have a look at my blog and tell me your opinion

    http://www.cinderellajourneys.wordpress.com

    keep up the good work!

    x Ily

    1. Thanks so much, Ily. I’m glad you find it helpful! A retreat doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s totally possible to do it cheaper than me. I hope you get to experience it.

  6. Just wondering: it’s a good idea to plan a yoga retreat having no previous yoga experience? I think Bali is a nice place and it’s on my travel wishlist, but I’d like to do something useful along the way. Thanks.

    1. Sure, in Ubud you’ll find yoga for both beginners and advanced. You can start by taking a class or two to see if it’s something you like. Hatha yoga is a good place to start as it goes slow.

  7. Thank you for the info! I went to India and wish I had taken a side trip to ubud but I’m ready to go there! Can you recommend some homestays? We stayed in India in them and loved it! Maybe near the yoga barn ?namaste

    1. Hi Susie, I stayed at Aya’s Room, which isn’t a homestay but is close to the Yoga Barn. It’s very easy to find homestays when you get there so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  8. Hi Miriam
    I’ve read your blog and found it fascinating and inciteful. I have the opportunity to go and travel for a week in ubud and what I’m searching for is a truly spiritual and healing experience but I have no idea where to start! I go on the 5th November, not far off at all and I’m terrified I won’t get the most out of my experience because of my lack of knowledge. Can you point me in any direction? I’d appreciate any advice or suggestions.

    Very warm regards
    Helen

    1. Namaste, dear Helen,
      Ubud is the perfect place for a spiritual and healing experience. I recommend you go to Yoga Barn and buy a class card. Then choose different yoga and meditation classes – they are really great! For a vegetarian or vegan diet, I recommend dining at Down to Earth. It’s THE BEST restaurant/cafe in Ubud, and I ate there every day. You will have no problem finding what you’re looking for – just be aware that there are also scammers posing as holy people (especially around temples). Make sure you ask locals before seeing a healer – they will know the names of good and reliable healers in town.

      I’m sure you will love Ubud. It’s such a spiritual place and it’s perfect for soul searching and relaxation. Let me know if you have any further questions. I’m happy to help.

  9. Thank you so much for this. I had lots of questions about the spirituality of it all and you really nailed it with your answers. I’m going next week! Wish me luck! 🙂

  10. I am planning to visit in bali for short family vacation around mid august though I am very intrest in yoga ,so please suggest me how to explore it and which will be the best place to start,I am just beginner.

    1. Hi Ujwol,
      Thanks for commenting. I recommend Yoga Barn for yoga and meditation classes. You can buy a class card if you plan on coming many times or just pay for single classes (the class card is cheaper if you’re taking more classes). They have all sorts of yoga classes, from beginners to advanced. I was very happy with them!

  11. Hi Miriam,

    Thanks for the article, I found a lot of useful information. I was wondering if there is any vegan resorts you’d recommend? I’m having some major lower back issues, most likely caused by stress. I was wondering if there is a resort (basically one stop shop) that can accommodate to stretching, healing (physically, mentally, spiritually) and a vegan diet.

    1. Hi Gary,

      I’m sorry to hear about your back problem. I’m not aware of any vegan resorts, but there are many healers in Bali (especially in Ubud). I recommend taking classes at the Yoga Barn. They have gentle yoga and restorative classes, which are good for body and mind. They also have healing, but I haven’t personally tried it. The best vegan food I had was at Down to Earth cafe – it’s amazing! It’s not too far from Yoga Barn (7 minutes walk), but the food at Yoga Barn is not particularly good.

  12. I’m in Ubud now and LOVING it! I’m a yoga instructor taking some time to focus on my own practice before leading my own retreat. The energy in Ubud is unlike anything I’ve experienced anywhere else. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate all of the restaurant suggestions.

  13. Hi Miriam…I stumbled on your blog after visiting one of my favorite travel blogs. I’m impressed by the great content you have and super helpful info on traveling. I’m looking forward to reading more and getting to know you and your ventures better.

    Have a great day!
    KaSonndra

  14. I’ve heard a lot about Bali for yoga retreats. This article clears my all doubts. Budget part is super helpful. Soon, will plan my trip to Bali. Thanks for writing!

  15. That Taksu Spa looks amazing! I’ve never had a massage in a place like that. It looks like you’re really in the jungle and the natural noise would be beautiful. I usually fall asleep at some point during my two hour massage and that place would be perfect for it.

  16. nice post Indonesia is the best destination for Yoga Retreat You can enjoy some best time at the beach between your yoga classes. In your spare time, will you visit cultural sites or attend some events? Disconnecting you from technology and connecting you with nature, the best and most affordable yoga retreats in Indonesia give you the inspiration and mindful thoughts

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