Every yogi starts their journey differently. It might be while on vacation, introduced to yoga by some enthusiastic travel friends, or in a yoga studio in their hometown. Whichever yoga style one chooses – Vinyasa, Hatha or Bikram – every person experiences the depth of this spiritual practice uniquely. The only thing we need is our breath and a yoga mat.
However, an occasional yoga practice does not compare to the insight and spiritual wisdom one encounters when practicing every day. The sense of accomplishment in reaching certain (thought to be impossible) asanas feels spectacular. The mind becomes peaceful and alert. The body becomes stronger, healthier and more powerful.
Just a week of twice daily yoga practice on a retreat opens up one’s being to authentic connection with a higher essence. Our team joined a one-week yoga retreat in Bali, where we practiced one of the most sacred and traditional styles in the world.
Below we listed some of the reason why we believe that every yogi should experience the beautiful benefits of a yoga retreat in Bali, or another inspirational location.
Watukaru Yoga – The Old Traditional Spiritual Medicine
In a small village in the West of Bali, away from all the obnoxious tourists and oblivious crowds, lies a small village named Megati. It doesn’t hold more than 3,000 inhabitants, however, those who live there, share an ancient tradition of yoga practice, which is only known to that small place.
The practice, called ‘Watukaru yoga,’ is one of the oldest, purest and most spiritual yoga styles in the world. Watukaru yoga was founded in Bali in thousands of years ago. Back in the days when yoga was only practiced in India, 13 different gurus from all over the country decided to gather and meet in Bali, on the Watukaru mountain, which is now a sacred site to the villagers of Megati.
13 Styles in One
The gurus met and practiced yoga together – every one of them in their specific style. Therefore, the practice we know today is divided into 13 yoga styles. Each style has a specific chakra meditation, including the associated mudras and mantras, which represent different gods. Based on that, the chakra meditation is one of the main practices of Watukaru yoga.
Later on, these 13 practices were shaped into a single one, in which there is an outstanding amount of ancient knowledge. This knowledge was passed down by the yogis who spent their lifetime at Mount Watukaru thousands of years ago. The teachers today are proud and eager to preserve and share the original techniques to new generations, and a Bali yoga retreat is the perfect vehicle with which to do so.
Watukaru yoga is based on the classical Hatha yoga asanas, which are used for a prior body warm-up, instead of doing it the other way around, as it is conducted in common yoga practices of the West.
In Watukaru yoga, the classical asanas are an introduction into sun and moon salutations, which are performed throughout the practice, followed by a closing chakra meditation.
Intensity Is Important
A great thing about joining a yoga retreat is the intensity of the practice. We definitely recommend choosing a retreat center that offers at least two daily sessions. Ideally one with the rising sun and one when the sun is setting, as our yoga retreat in Bali did.
At the Balitrees Retreat, it is very common to salute the sun in the morning, where the main intention is to give thanks to this powerful star for all the goodness it is giving to us every day.
Likewise, the afternoon sessions are dedicated to the moon, which also plays a big role in our lives.
Sun salutations, or ‘Yoga Surya’, includes 12 different sun postures, such as Surya Namaskara, Surya Daryam, Surya Kertalam, etc., each representing a different phase of the sun (sunrise, sunset, sun eclipse…).
Moon salutations, or ‘Yoga Chandra’, includes 16 different moon salutations (17 asanas) and also has different flows for each moon phase.
A Watukaru yoga retreat in Bali is a perfect retreat for experienced yogis who strongly believe in the power of repetition and regularity. For the process of self-healing, it is essential that the internal energy flows. This ensures that the essential hormones and other body organs are in perfect balance, which results in a healthy life.
Yoga Retreat in Bali – A Perfect Taste of Culture
Joining a traditional Bali yoga retreat such as this one will open your eyes into what yoga really is all about. In the West, it has mostly become just another form of exercise, a way to keep your body in shape, but we must not forget that what we keep in shape with yoga practice is essentially the mind. The local teachers and the staff will open your mind into their approach to life, and you will feel their genuine spirit.
Choosing a yoga retreat in Bali will also give you an opportunity to learn more about the local culture. Besides yoga, there are many daily activities that you can enjoy and let the place truly leave its mark on your heart.
We made a Balinese Hindu offering and really felt like we connected with a higher being. We visited a Shaman and wore the traditional clothes. We explored the natural wonders of the jungle, and of course, we shared plenty of laughs!
Expect Delicious and Nutritious Food
The organizers of the yoga retreat in Bali know how important it is to keep the physical activity and healthy nutrition in sync. You are taking this time for your healing and growth, which is in a way a detox from your ‘normal life’, which tends to be more stressful. Accordingly, it is vital to give your body the right nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. At every Baltrees yoga retreat, you can expect vegan or vegetarian options, which still contain the much-needed proteins.
Our yoga retreat in Bali was an amazing experience because the local staff cooked Balinese food only. Many guests would expect to be served with a quinoawrap or a berry smoothie bowl at such a retreat. Instead, we were given appetizing local dishes, rich with vegetables and local protein foods such as tofu and tempeh.
When joining a yoga retreat in Bali or another part of the world, it is important to adapt our diet to the local ingredients and supplies. Only this way we can support sustainable living and eating a home-grown, organic food.
If these values are important to you, make sure you ask the organizers of your Bali yoga retreat about the source of the groceries before you apply.
Perfect Relaxation and Serenity
Joining a yoga retreat in Bali is also perfect for those who need some time for themselves. Maybe a hectic business career prevents you from finding calmness at the end of your day, or you have a demanding family life that interferes with self-care and alone time.
In these cases, it is crucial to take some time for yourself, to reconnect with who you truly are. A yoga retreat in bali is the perfect way to achieve this. You will find your inner peace again because the retreat is designed exactly for that purpose.
In the Balitrees retreat center, you will find plentiful small hang out areas that allow you to relax, listen to the sounds of nature, take a deep breath and enjoy the precious time in solitude.
The staff and other guests of the retreat will respect your seclusion and silence. In fact, you might find some guests there, doing their own thing and are enjoying experiencing this journey in silence, too.
Meet New Friends
Don’t worry! Even if you need precious time for yourself, there will still be enough opportunity for meeting like-minded people during your Bali yoga retreat. Remember – you are all here for the same reason: to expand your yoga practice, self-love and of course, to gain new yogi travel experience.
We connected with great people who made our experience even more remarkable. Your new friends will make your challenges become easier, create fun energy in classes, and share some deep thoughts that might teach you something about the world or even yourself.
Saluting the sun, saluting the moon, opening the chakras and praying for the good of absolutely everything in this world will help you set sail on a wonderful personal journey. You will observe growth both on the inside and on the outside. Finally, you will be connected with your essence, with your truth. Every day you will grow and this will teach you that you don’t need much more than simplicity in life.
You will be reminded to take plenty of deep breaths daily, and consequently, you will become aware of your presence many times per day.
The “no-mind” intervals will become longer and longer during meditation, although the mind will still wander. Yet, this very fact will only ground you back to the Earth and show you how a great deal of practice and repetition is needed to find success in anything. But remember, yoga and meditation are journey with no specific end – that is why they are called a practice.
A one-week yoga retreat in Bali will barely crack open the gate to the possibility of enlightenment. But you will feel it, you will feel the Higher Being speaking back to you. As you breathe through asanas and you feel the warm Bali breeze on back, the sun will shine on your face and the thunderstorm will remind you of how small you are.
What to Bring to Your Bali Yoga Retreat
The retreat school will most probably provide everything you need for a comfortable stay there and for a wonderful practice, however, we do recommend being well-prepared and to bring the right amount of yoga clothes with you. Remember – you will practice twice per day and in a humid climate like Bali, you will sweat a lot. Nobody wants to put on the same sticky and damped clothes on day three!
Megati village didn’t offer a yoga clothing shop, whereas bigger towns and cities might, but we still recommend you think of this before leaving home, for the sake of focusing on the truly important things of your retreat, such as your spiritual practice and posture progress.
Also, you can bring your own yoga mat too. Many people hold an emotional attachment to it, just because it has lived through so many breaths, hard asanas, drips of sweat and hours of effort.
We believe every yoga mat knows its yogi the best, therefore it is recommendable to always practice on the same one. Also, if you travel with your own mat, you will always feel at home.
Move with Your Inner Flow
Trust yourself, you can do much more than you imagine right now. After just a week of intense practice, you will reach some previously thought to be unreachable yoga postures and you will feel so proud! This sense of achievement will give you much motivation to keep on going, to keep on practicing.
It has been three months since we came back home from the retreat and there has barely been a day that we have missed our daily yoga practice. Usually, we practice in the morning straight after waking up. It is the best way to start a day and gives us so much fresh energy.
Another amazing thing we have developed since then is a natural alarm clock since we naturally wake up with the rising sun. There is nothing more beautiful than going on the roof and saluting the sun as it is rising. Another proof of how anything is possible with the right mind, breath and pace. One step at a time.
If we have inspired you to try a yoga retreat in Bali – Check out the Balitrees Retreat Center that we attended. If this is your first retreat and you are not sure what to take or how to prepare, leave us a comment below or contact us for advice. As always, we are delighted to be of help.