Bali Yoga Retreat Part I

Day 1, January 15th, 2020

I got into Bali around 11:45 am. Full of excitement. I was going to meet my team of 4 students in a few hours. Joyce would be the first to arrive at 3:30pm and then Rosa, Augosto and Lorenzo would be next at 5:30pm.

What do I do for 3 hours? Go to the beach of course! The beach closest to the airport in the town of Denpasar is Kuta Beach. It’s known for being a bit busy and crowded, but I didn’t think it was too bad. I took a taxi there and jumped straight into the water. It was warm! I was loving it.

Kuta Beach, Bali

After a short swim, I went back to the airport and Joyce arrived on time via Taipei. She is one of my regular students in the San Francisco Bay Area and this is her second yoga retreat with me – the first one being in Buenos Aires last August. So great to have her back again!

After a late lunch at the airport we received Rosa, her boyfriend Augosto and her brother Lorenzo. They flew in from Los Angeles via the other ocean, the Atlantic with a stop in Doha, Qatar. Their flight was also on time!

Nabeel, Augosto, Rosa, Joyce and Lorenzo

And our driver Dewa was waiting for us with a sign. The five of us cosily fit into his Toyota SUV and were headed to Seminyak, where the more quieter and peaceful beaches awaited us.

Upon arrival, Edith the owner of our villa greeted me with two kisses on either cheek. She’s French you see. Edith showed us around our villa. My jaw dropped. It was the perfect home for our one week yoga retreat in Bali. The pool was blue and inviting, with a little stone frog water fountain. Spaces for yoga abounded, inside and out, and the grass was so well kept, it almost seemed like astroturf! And the rooms were massively big with indoor and outdoor showers. We were in a Balinese jungle environment, an 8 minute walk to the beach so as expected, we had frogs, geckos and other beautiful critters around. Oh and 3 neighborhood cats passed through that evening.

The retreat had sold out and as Joyce signed up late – I made special accommodations for her at the neighboring Amadea Resort just 2 minutes away. In the evening some of us checked out their restaurant Bistro Batu Kali that night and then crashed!

Bistro Batu Kali, Seminyak

The four of my students collectively had circled the entire globe to get here (Pacific and Atlantic directions both). How cool!

Day 2, January 16th

Today I gave our students a little extra time to sleep in and recover from their long journeys to paradise. But I was up early and scouted out the beach in Seminyak. It was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The sky was blue with a few puffy clouds, but the beach was covered in a silver glow that reflected the sky perfectly. I made a few new friends and I hurried back to make sure the students were being fed properly by our housekeeper Ayu.

After breakfast we walked down to the beach. And after a few swims we decided our first yoga lesson should be at the beach! It was a fantastic experience and the students did an awesome job. We had to move once or twice as rogue waves kept us on our toes (literally πŸ˜‰).

First Yoga Class

After yoga and lounging around the beach we came back to the villa and had a delightful afternoon, swimming in the pool. Augosto and I practiced synchronized diving. Yup, no Greg Louganis πŸ˜‚. But it was super fun. We listened to 80s music and just lounged around in a slumber all afternoon. The rest I had been searching for all year. Magical.

At 5 pm we hit the mat again for yoga class number 2. The students did a great job once again.

Then we went to Ku De Ta, a beachside resort to watch a spectacular sunset followed by a very nice dinner.

Sunset, Seminyak, Bali

We were all pretty tired by then and some were a little jet-lagged so we just came back and crashed again! But the next day we would start our regular routine of 8 am yoga. All in all a full 2nd day ☺️.

Day 3, January 17th, 2020

I again went for an early walk to the beach to stretch my legs and then had yoga again at 8 am. The students were enthusiastic. We worked on balance today and the peak pose was Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon). We also did Vrksasana (Tree). The students enjoyed that.

After breakfast we hit the road with out trusted driver Dewa. He first took us to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Wow. What a spectacular place with monkeys everywhere. Most were very well behaved and they were cute and just playing around. But every now and then, one would try to open the zipper of someone’s backpack!

The sculptures and the temples in the Monkey Forest were just as intriguing for me! What an amazing display of art. Bali is primarily Hindu, with Muslim, Christian and other minorities. Indonesia is mainly Muslim as a whole, so Bali is quite different.

I quite enjoyed and appreciated the intricate stone carvings depicting characters from the Ramayana and figures representing Hindu deities. It’s always nice to appreciate a culture and religion different from one’s own. Such a learning opportunity.

After the Monkey Forest, Dewa our driver took us to the Rice Terraces. They were beautiful but a bit crowded. We had a short stop there and the highlight was Rosa who soared in a red dress on a swing. You could tell she was loving life, soaring high!

And the next stop was lunch with a view of Mount Batur. It was an amazing set up with us sitting at the edge of an overlook looking straight at Mount Batur with Lake Batur right there as well. It was slightly unnerving at first since I had just escaped being trapped in in the Philippines due to the erupting Mount Taal volcano. It was a similar set up, complete with the lake I was supposed to cross to climb to the crater of Mount Taal. But nature had other plans. Lucky to be safe. Dodged another one (read Tsunami 2004).

Mount Batur, Ubud, Bali

The lunch buffet at the rest stop was amazing. Good mix of vegetarian dishes as well as meat. We did a little bit of yoga with Mount Batur in the distance. A good distraction from volcanic eruptions!

We are Warriors, Mount Batur, Bali

Next stop was the Waterfall. We just made it in time to spend about 45 minutes in waterfall. We got there at 6 pm and they close at sunset at 6:45 pm. Only Augosto and I jumped in the water and thoroughly enjoyed cooling off and the splash of the water falling and hitting the whirlpool.

We soon hit the road and were back in Seminyak in about an hour and a half. Day 3 in Bali was amazing! Plenty of yoga and a tour around Ubud. The highlights were all the sites! Sacred Monkey Forest, Rice Terraces, Mount Batur and the Waterfall.

Let’s see what the second half of our retreat brings! So far Bali is five stars! Students are happy. That makes me happy β˜ΊοΈπŸ’—.

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