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Sunsets and Salutations: My Two Weeks of Yoga in Bali

Lizzie in a side lunge in front of the ocean.
Practice by the volcanic beaches of North Bali.

In March I was lucky enough to take a 2 week holiday in Bali. A chance to catch up with family living in Australia, I was busy bonding with my new niece - but soon the culture and yoga scene on the island completely captured me too.

A haven of nature, culture, food and wellness, what can two weeks in Bali offer yoga-lovers? 

The Venues

From idyllic rainforest shalas to escapist mountain studios, Bali must have some of the most beautiful venues for yoga practice in the world. Practise to the sound of a running river, the song of birds or the wind in the palm trees, all whilst looking over a beautiful view. 

As we know, the location of our practice isn’t necessarily the most important thing in our yoga journey. Nonetheless, the attention to detail, integration of nature and surroundings and the warm staff and community atmosphere really add to the Bali yoga experience. 

Some of my favourites were Alchemy Yoga and Meditation Centre (Ubud), The Yoga Barn (Ubud) and Santhika Dream Hill Retreat Center (Lovina).

An open yoga shala overlooking jungle.
Santhika Dream Hill Retreat Centre, Lovina

The Teachers

As a yoga hub, Bali has attracted a great blend of teachers from all over the world. I practised Hatha with a calming and wise Canadian, Gentle Flow with a warm and soft-spoken Spanish teacher, and Power Flow with a strong yet encouraging Brit. Perhaps even more rewarding, Balinese teachers are widespread and offer a deep understanding of yoga and spirituality that is so powerful to experience. 

This abundance of teachers means that the variety of styles and offerings are equally diverse. Whatever yoga you are into, or if you’re looking for a new experience, I’ll bet you can find it in Bali. Sound baths, meditations and breathwork sessions are everywhere too, and prove to be a wonderful experience amidst the beauty of Bali. 

The Culture 

Bali is rich in colourful culture, spirituality and religion. It is exhibited in countless temples, widespread ritual and prayer, daily offerings at the home and workplace, and iconography everywhere you look. One of the true blessings of visiting Bali was the openness with which people share and explain their culture and beliefs - from my taxi driver explaining the significance of colours and deities, to the guide who led us through the beautiful purification ritual at Tirta Empul Temple

Local food is delicious, and there is truly something for everyone on the island, whether you are a clean vegan eater or partial to your sweet or savoury treats. I took a cooking class with a local family in the North, and their reverence for ingredients, generosity in welcoming me to their home and openness in sharing their recipes was a highlight of the trip. 

In the background of any stay in Bali you are sure to hear the distinctive sound of Gamelan music and spy traditional dance performances that tell epic stories from their culture. This only adds to the vibrant tapestry that makes a stay here so wonderful, the perfect backdrop for some yogic self-enquiry. 

Lizzie standing in front of a waterfall with hands in prayer position above head.
Waterfalls of Bali

The Nature 

A lot has been said about the effect of tourism and waste on Bali. Granted, there are areas where you can notice significant plastic pollution, and places that are extremely busy and geared towards photo opportunities for tourists. Nonetheless, the awe-inspiring nature shines. Towering waterfalls to shower in, thick jungle to observe monkeys at play, and cascading rice paddies as green as you’ve ever seen. 

This lushness made it all the more impactful to take moments of stillness, of gratitude, for nature and our time here amongst it. A refreshing change from the concrete jungle of London, the nature of Bali provided the perfect environment to experience awe of the natural world, to gain perspective, and to find a greater sense of peace with which to explore my yoga practice. 

So… is Bali worth the hype for yoga enthusiasts? 

Yes! For me, it surpassed expectations and I am desperate to return to uncover more of the island and its plentiful yoga offerings. Beautiful surroundings, warm people, excellent teaching, a plethora of options, nourishing food and culture - what’s not to love! 

Counting my blessings to have had two weeks to explore - now, when can I go again?

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