How to Plan a Yoga Retreat in Bali

By |2017-05-14T16:01:07+00:00October 8th, 2014|Asia, Confessions, Destination, Indonesia, Inspirational, Yoga and wellness|50 Comments

Yoga retreat

As you may know, I recently returned home after spending 3 weeks on a yoga retreat in Bali. Bali has a reputation for being an excellent location for this and not too long ago, The Guardian named Ubud, Bali one of the top 10 yoga retreats in the world. The mountain town of Ubud has an incredible spiritual atmosphere and abundance of healthy cafes, vegetarian restaurants, yoga centres in the midst of lush rice paddies. For me, it was the perfect place for a yoga or meditation retreat.

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BUDGET FOR 1 WEEK YOGA RETREAT IN BALI

I lived on a midrange budget which means that I could easily have saved and stayed on a much tighter budget, but I chose not to. For me, being on a yoga retreat in Bali was also about wellness and getting to eat and do what I wanted without having to think about saving. 

* This budget does not include plane tickets.

Lodging

$140
  • Negotiate the price

Food

$80
  • Breakfast incl. in room

Taxes

$45
  • Visa on arrival: $25

Card

$37
  • 10 day class card: $62

Wellness

$21
  • 1 massage: $7 

$0
IN TOTAL PER WEEK

YOGA PLACES IN BALI

The best and most economical way to do yoga 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).

At the yoga centres, you get access to traditional yoga styles of Classical Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Power, Pranayama, Restorative, Iyengar, Yin & Anusara. Other modalities include Meditation, Sound Medicine, Kirtan and Ecstatic Dance. I only did yoga at the Yoga Barn, but I also heard good things about these places:

Yoga retreat, Bali

HOW TO CHOOSE A YOGA OR MEDITATION STYLE

Anyone can join a yoga retreat in Bali and there are classes for both beginners and advanced. The types of yoga and meditation vary from class to class and it’s an excellent idea to try something new while you’re here. Personally, 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 type 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
  • 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 centers

Try different classes and see what works for you.

Yoga retreat in Bali

The Yoga Barn

ORGANIC AND VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS

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:

CLEAR 
With its temple-like interior and menu full of enticing elixirs, Clear is the perfect place to indulge in raw food, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes.

Price range: $6-20 
Address: Jalan Hanoman No. 8

Website: Clear cafe

DOWN TO EARTH 
Everything about this vegetarian restaurant is so thought through from the macrobiotic chef and all organic foods to only using local supplies and supporting the community. The meals are exceptionally tasty and beautifully presented.

Price range: $4-8
Address: Jalan Guatama Selatan
Website: Down to Earth Ubud

ALCHEMY 
A raw food vegan cafe offering delicious organic meals, raw chocolate and amazing garden surroundings.

Price range: $7-15
Address: Jalan Penestanan, Ubud
Website: Alchemy

WARUNG SOPA
All organic, tasty meals! This vegetarian restaurant with an emphasis on wholesome and organic food offers a mix of Japanese and Balinese dishes.

Price range: $3-8
Address: Jalan Sugriwa 36
Website: Warung Sopa

Yoga retreat, Bali

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS

If you’re going to the Yoga Barn, you have to be prepared to hear the name Ganesha a lot during classes. If you aren’t okay with this and you don’t want to bow to Ganesha, then don’t. You shouldn’t succumb to peer pressure and it’s not written anywhere that you have to be spiritual to practice yoga or meditation.

You will see that a lot of the classes are opened with a thank to Ganesha or that he or some other hindu god is mentioned in the mantras. I’m no hindu so I simply refrained from saying the mantra or I replaced the word Ganesha with something else; like God, myself or whatever makes me happy. Do what you are comfortable with.

Yoga retreat in Bali

HOLISTIC TREATMENTS

You’ll find plenty of alternative and holistic treatments in Ubud. The most common kinds are reflexology and healing, but you can also find acupuncture, palm reading and many other things.

Healing 
Legend has it that as far back as the 8th Century, royal families from across the island sent their ill to Ubud to be healed, and the tradition continues today – with people from all over the world arriving in hope of curing what ails them. Whether it’s sound healing or heart problems, depression or a chronic disease – Ubud has a cure for it.

Reflexology 
This natural healing art is based on the principles of using acupressure points in the hands and feet to combat stress, tension and to promote general well-being in the form of better circulation and function of the organs. For trained and excellent practitioners, head to Taksu, Reflexology Bali or Kenco.

Yoga retreat in Bali

HAVE A HEALTHY SKEPTICISM

When it comes to spirituality 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. You should take care of yourself first and foremost; that’s what you’re here for, remember.

SPA AND MASSAGE

Speaking of taking good care of yourself… A yoga retreat in Bali is more than the exercise. It’s also about relaxing and unwinding. Everywhere you look, you’ll see massages and spas, but if you want excellent treatment (as in the-best-you’ll-ever-had), I’d recommend you to splurge a little and go to one of these places – Taksu is my personal favorite (ask for Jero).

Yoga retreat, Bali

I had a massage here every day. It was divine!

WHERE TO STAY

If you’re doing a yoga retreat in Bali, your cheapest option is a home-stay, which is a very common type of accommodation in Ubud. Home-stay accommodation is where a Balinese family rent out a room in their home starting from as little as $9 per night – if you remember to negotiate the price, that is. Try to find accommodation close to your yoga center as this will motivate you to go more often.

Great accommodation in Ubud:

High-end 
Alaya Ubud ($155 per night)

Mid-range 
Aya’s Room ($39 per night)

Budget
Dudek Home stay ($19 per night)

Yoga retreat, Bali

PRACTICAL INFO AND TIPS

  • Yoga mattresses are free to use at the centers, but you can buy your own anywhere in town.
  • 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 center. It’s cheaper to plan it yourself.
  • 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

WHAT TO BRING

  • 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. Packing layers ensures that you are comfortable no matter the weather.
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • A book
  • A journal
  • An open mind

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Ubud in Bali has an incredible spiritual atmosphere and abundance of healthy cafes, vegetarian restaurants and yoga centres in the midst of lush rice paddies. It's the perfect place for a meditation or yoga retreat. In this article you'll find tips for budget, accommodation, restaurants and much more.

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50 Comments

  1. Amy October 10, 2014 at 3:52 am - Reply

    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.

    • Miriam October 10, 2014 at 11:15 pm - Reply

      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.

  2. Becky Padmore October 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I would love to do this in Bali one day! Loving all the photos 🙂

    • Miriam October 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      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.

  3. Agness October 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    I did some yoga in China and in Bali as well! I absolutely loved it. Felt so chilled out and relaxed!

  4. Silvia October 12, 2014 at 5:24 am - Reply

    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!

    • Miriam October 13, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      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.

  5. Franca October 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    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? 😉

    • Miriam October 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      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.

  6. Catherine October 19, 2014 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Great post! I have never tried yoga, but have always wanted to, and this looks like the perfect place to give it a go. Sounds so peaceful and relaxing 🙂

    • Miriam October 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Catherine. If you’re ever in the area, I’d definitely recommend you to visit. Yoga in Europe is great, too 🙂

  7. Stephanie October 24, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

    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!

    • Miriam October 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      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.

  8. Ily Pop November 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    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

    • Miriam November 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm - Reply

      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.

  9. Fidel April 17, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

    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.

    • Miriam April 17, 2015 at 10:37 am - Reply

      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.

  10. Susie May 1, 2015 at 4:29 am - Reply

    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

    • Miriam May 3, 2015 at 10:40 am - Reply

      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.

  11. awakeconbal September 7, 2015 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Nice information i have read the blog and gain to many new things thanks for sharing

    • Miriam September 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      I’m glad to hear that. Yoga really is amazing!

  12. Helen baxter October 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    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

    • Miriam October 13, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      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.

  13. Claire March 22, 2016 at 4:35 am - Reply

    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! 🙂

    • Miriam March 22, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Hi Claire, I’m glad you found what you were looking for! All the best, you’ll love Bali 🙂

  14. Ujwol July 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Miriam July 21, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

      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!

  15. Tracey Rohan Irwin August 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    This article is very good and informative. Thank you for sharing this. Keep it up.

    • Miriam August 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Tracey! I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  16. Gary August 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Miriam August 3, 2016 at 6:45 pm - Reply

      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.

  17. Yoga Teacher September 7, 2016 at 10:00 am - Reply

    I love this article. This is very well written. You have truly enriched me with some excellent knowledge.

    • Miriam September 7, 2016 at 10:08 am - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  18. Bali Wellness Retreat & Bali Yoga Travel September 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    You forgot to mention that Ubud has the only vegetarian move theater. Paradiso Ubud! 🙂

    • Miriam September 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Uh, I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info! 😀

  19. Autumn Adams October 9, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    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.

    • Miriam October 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      You’re very welcome, Autumn! I love your name by the way x

  20. KaSonndra March 16, 2017 at 9:54 am - Reply

    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

    • Miriam March 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      I’m glad to see you on my blog, KaSonndra. Welcome, and do let me know if you have any questions 🙂

      All the best from Denmark

  21. Tracy April 13, 2017 at 7:45 am - Reply

    This blog is outstanding and the courses provided in this blog are very useful for me to learn yoga easily.

    • Miriam April 16, 2017 at 10:51 am - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that, Tracy! Thanks for stopping by.

  22. H2O Yoga And Meditation Center June 14, 2017 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Awesome Information….. thanks for share…………….

    • Miriam June 15, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome. Thanks for reading!

  23. Eva Sharp June 6, 2018 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Great post! I like your article its really helpful for restaurant suggestions.

  24. Bali Wellness Retreat & Yoga Travel August 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Great listing of venues!!

  25. James October 23, 2018 at 7:02 am - Reply

    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!

    • Miriam November 5, 2018 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      You’re very welcome, James. Thanks for reading 🙂

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