When you say Ubud, some people may think “Yoga!” — or, even, “Hippies!” — yet the offerings may not be quite as extensive as the tourist-town’s reputation would have you expect. Yoga Barn really has the market cornered for yoga in the style that Westerners are after, while Taksu is another decent offering, though it doesn’t quite attract the crowds of the former. Yoga is also on offer at Bodyworks (the spa of which we’ve written about here) but we didn’t try it out for this piece — and I’m sure there are others tucked away we’re not aware of — please do add to the comments if you know of any and we’ll check them out at a later date.
Thanks to sustaining a knee injury during hot yoga, I headed to a sunset restorative class rather than one of the more energetic classes on offer at the Yoga Barn, tucked a short walk away behind Siam Sally on Jalan Hanoman. The serene space is also home to Little K, which focuses on raw vegan foods (08:00 to 14:00, the receptionist said, though the website says till 09:00 till 16:00 — perhaps call ahead) and KUSH, the Barn’s Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Centre. It’s all immediately calming, all woods and glass and stones and greenery. (Some classes are held back in an “annex” above Kafe further back on Jalan Hanoman.)
A drop-in class is 110,000 rupiah paid upfront, and a small change room and shower caters to the yogis. Both the upstairs and downstairs studios are very natural, soothing, open-air affairs, with the surrounding shrubbery and rice paddy bursting into a cacophony of sound at sunset — perfect for a meditative class. Mosquitoes also descend at this time, but natural repellant is offered ahead of the class beginning, so do put plenty on.
A few arriving students and I weren’t quite sure whether the previous class was just finishing or whether it was full of students for our class; turns out they were students for our class and the Barn was packed. The Iyengar-style restorative class on offer here involves using loads of props, which is a bit of a headache when there are easily way more than 30 people trying to get bolsters, blocks and blankets out of cupboards (would perhaps suggest taking the cupboard doors off and just having shelves?). But once sorted to begin with, the props stay out, and the yoga instructor Tina led an excellent class, relaxing 90-minute class — helped along by the amazing orchestra outside — that seemed to be over before it began.
The Yoga Barn is the place to head if you enjoy doing yoga accompanied by the energy of a crowd. On the other hand, I rolled up a few minutes late to a morning Kundalini/meditation class at Taksu to find I was the only person there. Yikes! I had been hoping to hide up the back, and ride on the energy of everyone else, but nope, it was just the enthusiastic Made and I.
Classes here too are 110,000 rupiah, which you pay at the business-like office before walking down quite a few steps and through the sprawling grounds over bubbling subak streams to get to the open-air yoga studio, bordered by one of the streams and looking onto green shrubbery and fluttering butterflies. Taksu is also home to a spa and offers an array of healing treatments, offered in open-air rooms dotted around; there’s also a raw food-focused restaurant. The vibe is a little different here; a bit bigger, a bit more concrete and stone than at Yoga Barn.
As you’d expect, it was quite an intense 90 minutes, and Made (described accurately on Taksu’s website as having a “priestly essence”), to his credit, gave a class with as much energy as he would have a full house, I’m certain. After a discussion of the philosophy of Kundalina yoga and chakras, we did a seated meditation that absolutely murdered my legs, but I did feel cleansed and energised the rest of the day.
While it seems the influx of tourists looking to find themselves after (*whispers*) Eat, Pray, Love doesn’t seem to have widened the yoga studio offerings in Bali’s Ubud, a new one is now on the way — and it does look fantastic. Check out what’s coming from early next year here.
Thanks to Soma from Localista for some tips on this piece.
The Yoga Barn
44 Jalan Hanoman, Pengosekan, Ubud
T: (0361) 971 236
Jalan Goutama Selatan, Ubud
T: (0361) 971490
By Samantha Brown
Last updated on 18th April, 2015.