Ubud Mountain High ~ Bali Spirit Yoga Centre

happystretch

Something, well many things, about Yoga portend to be a panacea for healing, fitness and relaxation. As a practitioner and Hatha Yoga teacher for 17 years on 4 continents I’ve espoused this 4000 year old science and practice wherever I’ve lived.

This is why I wanted to share this aspect of Wilder Wellness with you for perhaps a one-stop website! I will be sharing my practice and doing some yoga vids soon as well. Currently in Perth I’m happy to share my Hatha Yoga for Baby Boomers at my park across the street, the beach or Trigg Park and for free to anyone that wants to learn.

Over 100 students in Spokane Washington showed up for my classes in an auditorium, I produced a yoga television series in Charlotte, North Carolina, taught at gyms and resorts from Palm Springs to Brisbane and did a Yoga retreat for Waratah women counselors for the abused, in Yalingup, Western Australia a few years ago too.

My teachers have included a soft spoken Kentucky boyfriend who use to call me “little darling” to a 64 year old Native American who could spring from a standing position into a hand stand. In Murrieta Hot Springs I catered for 250 American yoga teachers and took classes between meal prep.

With every class and every teacher I’ve learned so much more about the deeper and finer points of yoga practice. At 55 now and a 5th time to Bali I headed straight up the mountain to the artistic colony of Ubud. At Bali Spirit Yoga Centre I had a particularly enlightening and technique driven session with Sri Jane, a statuesque English woman with a cheeky sense of humor, “Now just 400 more of these backbends.” She studied in India and is a fully qualified and certified teacher who also designs and produces beautiful yoga garb in her spare time.

Sri Jane also has family in Perth and will return next year for a visit with her classes and designs. Upon my return and teaching (troubled) teachers, Hatha Yoga, I showed them the newest challenging poses I learned. Now they truly see how gentle my classes are. That’s one of the beauties of non-competitive Hatha yoga that each student keeps to their own comfort zone and just pushes the envelope slightly as they exhale and melt into the stretch. As a cookbook author (in my other life) I ask each to surrender to the stretch like melting butter in a sauté pan and warm their muscles like heated taffy until softened and malleable. It must have something to do with writing 6 cookbooks and many restaurant reviews. In any event, I’ll keep everyone posted on Sri Jane’s upcoming visit.

Just recently I read that yoga helps recovery from addictions and divorce too as well as honing any sport and de-stressing from life in general. The breath is an important part of the practice as is the proper techniques and warming up first.

During a 5 day juice fast and silent retreat I took a class at Ubud Sari Vitality for Life resort. Their young, local Balinese teacher got straight into the series of sun salutations and I was quickly winded and not prepared first thing in the morning. The next day his teacher, a venerable smiling local elder took the class. He brought his son to keep him on track to which side we were doing. After each position he walked up to each of us and shook our hand, muttering praise in Indonesian. This class took quite awhile.

Back to Bali Spirit, one may take a number of classes from many different but all qualified teachers. Drop-ins are welcome and tickets for 3 and 5 or more sessions with several times are available. The loft upstairs is outfitted with all the props necessary and a beautiful  Yoga Barn has been finished down the street a few kilo meters.

I enjoyed a motorcycle ride down there with the owner, Kaput, and it is a magical space overlooking the rice fields. Beautiful wood abounds from stairwell to tables, cabinets to floors, walls and ceilings. The team provides a buffet dinner on the grounds below with a movie night once a week at an incredibly inexpensive price. The locals and visitors bring their pillows and kick back on the hardwood floor with the large screen pulled down for family friendly movies.

If you need some of your own yoga gear or props there is the Bali-Sprit Yoga shop next door. If you become ravenous after your work-out practice there an organic Kafe with wonderful healthy foods. The lassies are tasty classics and the grilled tuna steak on wild greens was so good I had it twice in a row.

Just to add some more fun and enlightenment to the mix, Meg is putting together a Yoga Conference next year for both teachers and students. Bali-Spirit already enjoys drop- in teachers from all over the world and others bring a tour to stay at local accommodation and practice yoga and meditation everyday and sometimes thrice a day.

For myself I just hired a mountain bike and took off early every morning up towards the crater and lake before the heat of the day. In the afternoons I took on the Yoga challenges after my fasting (and colonics) was over! Too much information? But hey, I lost the 2 kilos I wanted to and got off caffeine (for awhile) and felt rested and rejuvenated! Make sure you make it to Bali Spirit on your next trip to Bali for healing fit and fun experience.

Check out their website for schedules and more info:

www.bali-spirit.com or askmeg@balispirit.com

An alternative if you don’t have a yoga teacher to take you to Bali yet you want an exquisite retreat, look into Zen Bali. www.zenbali.com

Claude and his partner, the talented Yoga teacher, offer an all frills, no kids retreat of 10 rooms with up to 14 guests to stay for 6 days at this wellness and pampering sanctuary. It certainly doesn’t have the austerity of the Ubud Sari retreat. Wine is served, smoking is permitted outside and pampering treatments are available at Botanica Day Spa. Claude has a strong hotelier food and beverage background and impeccable taste from rooms, to menu to website.

I enjoyed an alfresco luncheon overlooking yet more storybook stunning tranquil and terraced rice paddies. The dishes were a successful (if tweaked slightly) test menu from the sous chef. Morsels of stacked fish filets with sauce art, a quite thick but tasty pumpkin soup and delicious ravioli dish followed by a luxuriant tiramisu actually melted in my mouth (with a slight whimper). So much for the first of the fast….I started really the next day.

Guests will experience a white robed cleansing ceremony at sacred pools, enjoy an exciting bike ride down from the volcano and/or journaling with journalists for the more examined life worth living. Naturopaths will be available for lectures and consultations, cooking classes may be available for some groups and daily yoga classes and pampering treatments abound. It’s a wonderful kick start for a healthy life-style!

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