I’ve long been a devotee of yoga, recognising the incredible benefits of this ancient practice, such as maintaining strength and flexibility in our physical bodies as we age. I also love to learn about the philosophy of yoga which was developed as a way to achieve harmony between the heart and soul.
That’s why I was so looking forward to attending a yoga retreat at Oneworld in Ubud in September this year, conducted by Wendy, whose yoga classes I attended whilst living in Mornington in Victoria. It was Wendy’s 10th and (she claims) her last retreat and I was very excited to be a part of this wonderful event.
Wendy is a yoga teacher who always puts her heart and soul into the preparation of all her yoga classes, and to complete a week-long event such as the retreat in Ubud takes many many hours of preparation and dedication. Wendy’s patience and commitment was appreciated by all participants and evident throughout the week as we experienced a gamut of emotions through yoga, meditation, laughter, friendship and 24 hours of silence.
There were 14 of us in total, including two New Zealanders, one of whom is Chris, currently living near Hastings in Hawkes Bay (my old stomping ground) and also Maureen from Cambridge. It will be pretty amazing to catch up with them the next time I visit Kiwi-land. I should not forget to mention our lone young man named Julz, Sophie’s partner, who was with us for a few days, having filled in at the last minute for one of the participants who was unable to come to the retreat. Brave man Julz!
I first flew from Broome to Perth, where I spent a couple of days exploring the city and the beaches. I stayed at the Kings Park Motel near the beautiful Kings Parkhttp://kingsparkmotel.com.au/, and enjoyed walking the local streets and eating delicious food at a couple of great restaurants including my favourite Piccolo Trattoria http://piccolotrattoria.com.au/
Arriving in Denpasar on Saturday morning, I was met by a taxi from the retreat and it took over two hours to get to Ubud due to the traffic mayhem, including whole families piled onto one motor scooter, darting in and out amongst the cars and trucks.
Eventually we made it to Oneworld and right from the start, it was impressive. Built from stone and surrounded by many levels of quite steep steps and lush gardens, there were two swimming pools, dining room, spa, yoga studio and beautiful temple.
We each had our own private room with balcony overlooking the jungle and rice paddies. In particular, the yoga room was a serene and peaceful shelter for our yoga and meditation practices, with the background music of bird song and the murmuring of animal chatter.
Other activities that were enjoyed during the week were the 25km bike ride (all downhill) into Ubud. We were taken by bus to a hotel viewing point where we could see the notorious volcano Mt Agung and its counterpart Mt Batur.
And then it was full on bike riding. Well, I hadn’t ridden a bike for a few years so was a bit wobbly to start with, but in no time at all managed to keep up with the others and enjoy the scenery, waving at the locals along the way.
Wendy has always supported Bumi Sehat , https://www.facebook.com/bumisehat/a wonderful natural birthing centre in Ubud, which we were fortunate enough to visit. It was a privilege to meet Robin Lim, midwife and founder of Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation).
There is so much to see in Ubud and so much fascinating early history surrounding this area. There was no hotel in Ubud in the early days, so travellers stayed in the bungalows that Prince Gde Agung Sukawati had apparently built for the circle of artists he patronized. Here is a photo of this amazing looking hotel today.
And finally, another memorable experience was our visit to the https://pyramidsofchi.com/ sound healing Pyramids of Chi. Many people lie down inside the air-conditioned pyramid, side by side on comfortable mattresses. Those who started to snore through the blissful experience were promptly given the gong to either sit up or turn over …