Yoga in Bali
Written by Dee Mason.
Nowadays the religious origins of yoga may not be so important to the people who practice it. Many people now practice yoga to stay limber, get into shape and as a form of exercise. The concentration seems to be on an individual cultivating a sense of physical well-being and good health, and not on the spiritual aspects of it. But nevertheless the roots of yoga lie in religion, and many people who practice the ancient art of yoga disregard how important it is as a form of meditation to many people around the world.
The roots of yoga in Bali
Most people that practice yoga will know that its origins come from ancient India. The practice of yoga as a way to find spiritual and physical tranquility has long been associated with both Hinduism and Buddhism. Indonesia is generally regarded as a Muslim country, but the Indonesian island of Bali is an exception. Most of its population practice Hinduism, and along with the Hindu religion and culture yoga has flourished on this lush tropical island.
Bali really is a beautiful place to practice yoga, and its long history of involvement with yoga means you can find out more about it here. Because of its roots in Hinduism many people over the centuries have travelled here and spread the practice of yoga throughout the island. But there is one place in particular where yoga sanctuaries have concentrated, and they offer facilities for people to come and stay while learning more about yoga.
The spiritual village of Ubud
The small mountain village of Ubud was one of the first places that became a center for people that wanted to practice yoga hundreds of years ago. The location of Ubud, with its many rice terraces, rolling plains, gentle streams and swaying palm trees, attracted the first people trying to spread yoga in Bali immediately. The calm surroundings were and still are perfect for practicing yoga, and now there are many yoga sanctuaries set up for travellers and tourists to come and stay.
If you are one of the people that don't pay so much attention to the spiritual side of yoga then a week or two in Ubud will soon change that. There is a real emphasis on embracing your spirituality here. In Ubud you will find local medicine men that are believed to be able to harness the power of healing energy, and spa's that offer only holistic treatments with natural ingredients. Ubud attracts spiritualists and artists as well as people interested in yoga, so you will also find exhibitions with paintings and crafts, writing groups, and a whole host of other things as well.
Ubud's yoga retreats
The Yoga Barn is a great place to take a class in yoga, meet people staying in Bali, and find out more about yoga from teachers with years of knowledge and experience. They have regular classes every day, but if you come as a large group the management is happy to hire out their studio for you and your friends to practice. The surroundings are stunning, and there is a restaurant on site where you can enjoy healthy meals made with locally grown ingredients.
Another place any yoga enthusiast should check out when visiting Ubud is the Bali Yoga Retreat. The facilities here are simply amazing. You can stay at the retreat in one of its traditional Balinese thatched bungalows, plus enjoy the retreats sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and swimming pool. Guided meditation sessions are held every day at different times, or you can practice yoga yourself at one of the special areas where you won't be disturbed. Fresh natural fruit and vegetable juices are available to drink throughout the day, and if you want to relax complete body rejuvenation is an option here. Body scrubs, facials, massages, aromatherapy, manicures and pedicures are just a few of the things that the trained therapists are happy to perform.
Bali really is a must for anyone that wants to take a holiday and improve their yoga at the same time. The Balinese people are serious about their religion and all the different parts of it, which includes yoga. Physical well-being, spiritual enlightenment, and the ultimate in relaxation all seem to blend together here, to make yoga something that is good for your body and mind.
Dee Mason is a homemaker, freelance travel writer and fan of an easy life. She is by no means a veteran who practices yoga, but she sure as hell enjoys it. When she isn't globetrotting she writes on behalf of numerous publications and sites, including a leading reclining sofa retailer.
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