A little slice of heaven amids the hustle and bustle of Ubud – The Yoga Barn is my sanctuary. The sounds of excited tourists and locals offering taxis or a place to eat, suddenly melt into the background as I wander through the tropical gardens, past The Garden Kafe & Juice Bar, past the Surya studio which overlooks the tops of palm trees, and down the steps to sign up for my class.
Tibetan Bowl Meditation Class
The first class I took was a Tibetan Bowl Meditation – it was magical. For the entire class, I felt like I was floating. We lay down in a completely relaxed posture using whatever props our bodies felt the need for, and let the sound wash over us. I left this class in a dreamy state.
The Garden Kafe & Juice Bar and a Little ‘Follow Your Dreams’ Rant
I needed some serious grounding after that, so I headed to the Garden Kafe & Juice Bar for a green juice and a raw cacao bliss ball (oh hell, I just heard that sentence in my head, I’m living that Insta-worthy life HARD). It was very much needed and brought me right back to Earth, floating down on a cloud of rich, earthy cacao and bitter greens.
There were some beautiful spots to relax around the grounds, so I found a day bed, covered in cushions and sheltered by leaves and enjoyed my snack and juice. I journaled and contemplated how the hell life got so sweet. (Cliche warning) ‘I followed my dreams’ was the conclusion I came to. In all seriousness, I’m travelling alone for the first time, I’ve quit my job and am living on a serious budget – it wasn’t easy to get here. I worked my butt off before leaving London and fought with the fear of being lonely or unsafe as a solo female traveller. So please, anyone reading this, know that this dreamy experience wasn’t handed to me on a plate. I got here because I knew where my heart was leading me and did exactly what it took to get me here, and you can too – no matter what your dreams may be!
Yin & Yang Class
This class was on the top of my list to try. Back in London, I found yin to be one of the most beneficial styles of asana practice for me, but I had never seen one combined with yang. It was absolutely not what I expected but boy was it special! I would go as far as saying that the yin & yang class I took was the best yoga asana class I have ever taken in my life.
The hour and a half was separated into yin and yang – the first 45 minutes was yang and the last 45 minutes was yin. The yin portion was as you would expect – blissful and relaxing, allowing my body to trust in the postures I was sinking into. It felt extra delicious after the yang portion of the class! During the yang section my body felt so free. First, the teacher told us to jump up and down, move around and let our bodies become free and loose. Then we were led through ‘exercises’ that involved bouncing, which was very different to other practices of finding stillness in postures.
Throughout the yang part of the class, we were continuously brought back to the jumping around and letting our body go. It felt like such a natural way to move. As strongly as the stillness I find in other yoga classes resonates with me, my body was craving this more erratic movement: the blissful release of energy that to me felt very similar to the practice of ecstatic dance.
Vinyasa Flow & Vinyasa Slow
Both the vinyasa flow (level 2/intermediate) and vinyasa slow were super-intense for me. I left both classes glowing, with that yoga high feeling, and hella sweaty. The vinyasa flow class was fast-paced, flowy and super-tough. A theme that the teacher brought into the class (which I had never heard any other yoga teachers talk about before) was active and passive range of motion. As someone who is pretty flexible, and in an intermediate class full of other flexible yogis, I felt this that this was an interesting topic and something important to us all to take our practice to the next level.
Thai Yoga Massage Class
The Thai Yoga Massage class I attended was dreamy. It was split into two – giving and receiving a massage. We were asked to partner up at the beginning. It was wonderful to experience a class where a connection is required between two people as opposed to the solo practice of a yoga asana class.
To begin with, the teacher demonstrated how to perform a simple Thai yoga massage, a technique that involves the masseur using their entire body. Then, with our teachers guidance, half of the students performed the massage on their partners. The human contact felt sacred. The way that the whole body was involved in creating this blissful experience for the other allowed us to be fully present. Focusing on each movement of my hands, on where my foot was placed, and on the degree to which I was leaning over my partner, was a peaceful, meditative experience.
Receiving the massage, needless to say, was equally dreamy. I drifted in and out of sleep, and when I was awake, I would focus on how my partner’s hands felt on my body. I would love to attend another of these classes, and I look forward to sharing this technique with others.
When it was time for me to leave Ubud, while I was excited for my next destination, I looked forward to returning to The Yoga Barn, and to all the peace and calm it brought me in this bustling part of the world.
Photos from the Yoga Barn Facebook page. <3