An Ayurvedic Health Retreat at The Yoga Barn
Anyone thinking of doing yoga in Bali, must surely think of The Yoga Barn. It is a bit of an institution in Ubud. A holistic centre for wellness and healing, offering plenty of yoga classes, workshops, retreats, Ayurvedic treatments, detox and meditation sessions, alternative healing, a vegetarian cafe and juice bar, and accommodation. The Yoga Barn provides everything you need for a body and mind cleanse and to feel the healthiest you ever have.
My first impression of the Yoga Barn was that of an idyllic, massive site. Very popular and famous among yogi expats and travellers.
I only stayed at The Yoga Barn’s new accommodation, The Nest, for one night, which didn’t leave enough time for me to attend a yoga class, but I did go in for an Ayurvedic treatment at their spa centre and tried plenty of food at The Garden Kafe. It might not have been a long enough stay to fully take in the yogi vibe, but it was definitely enough time to remind me of how good it feels to take care of your body and nourish it with exactly what YOUR body needs. I’m a big fan of Ayurveda (though I’ve only been following its principles on and off in daily life). During my two days at The Yoga Barn I could really feel the positive impact of an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle customised for my body for the first time. It got me excited and motivated to incorporate more regular Ayurvedic principles in my life.
I went into Kush, the Yoga Barn’s Ayurvedic Spa that night for a massage. It was absolutely AMAZING! As usual, you get a cold water towel for your face and water infused with lemongrass on arrival, your feet washed in a bowl of water full of flowers and beautiful leaves, and there are flowers under the head rest of the massage table. The foot and hands massage was SO good. I didn’t even know how much I needed it (as well as being massaged everywhere else, in places I didn’t know would feel so good (e.g. face, belly)). I was fully relaxed, my therapist Ani was great, and used oil instead of lotion (so much better), which of course smelled amazing. I would definitely go back!
The Ayurvedic tea afterwards was perfect too, great for my digestion and stomach that day (after having been in Bali for a few days!). In fact, I loved it so much, I ordered two huge mugs at the cafe the next morning. I don’t usually sweeten my drinks, but I put a little honey in, which I recommend. I also had the Ayurvedic breakfast wrap to complete the “treatment” and the fresh tropical food bowl for breakfast. Perfect!
Let’s talk about food a bit more - The Garden Kafe’s food looked amazing. When I first arrived, I was tempted to try literally everything on the menu. The tiger bowl looked great, and so did the salad bar and everything else people were eating. As I mentioned just before, and could keep mentioning, I absolutely loved the Ayurvedic breakfast wrap and tea. It felt great to be full from healthy, fresh, vegan food. I also met Adi, the Garden Kafe’s chef, who has been working as a chef at The Yoga Barn for 11 years! He is such a fun, warm, welcoming, and generous character. On that note, his favourite dish at the cafe is the Tempeh Curry (it’s a family recipe!).
However, I didn’t like that they use disposable water cups. Something I would love to see them change, and believe would be even more in line with their values and offerings.
A big part of The Yoga Barn’s ethos is to contribute to the community. They run charity and fundraising events throughout the year and offer five community classes per week (yoga in Indonesian, health and astrology) that are free for locals to attend. They also run an HIV programme, promote bamboo reforestation and partner with local charities in organising events.
As Denitsa, The Yoga Barn’s marketing manager told me, the centre has been around since 2007 and grew rapidly. I loved hearing about their expansion, as it all came about naturally. People were asking for a bigger space and more yoga classes, and the need to expand and grow became obvious quickly.
Personally The Yoga Barn felt a bit too big and overwhelming for me, with strong “hippie” and yogi vibes, but I can definitely see why it would be a great place to attend a detox programme or yoga workshop at. I enjoyed my stay there nevertheless and would always come back for the amazing massage and Ayurvedic food!