The Yoga Barn was on my list of to-do’s when we arrived in Ubud. After months of vacation anticipation, I was ready to arrive in Ubud, chill by the pool with a book, and re-connect with my zen with some yoga sessions – so the Yoga Barn was a must visit for me during our trip. And it did not disappoint!
Located in the center of Ubud, Yoga Barn is huge complex. It has everything you could want: A yoga studio set against a jungled background, complete with a cafe serving organic food and juices for you to refuel after your session, plus a guest house if you plan to stay there long term.
I never thought of going on a yoga retreat, but after visiting the Yoga Barn I would really love to come back to Ubud for at least a week and stay there just to recharge and refuel. The setting is completely peaceful – all around you lush jungle, radiating heat, thatched roofs and palm trees. I feel relaxed just thinking about it again.
What to expect at the Yoga Barn
I’m not a hardcore yogi – actually I’ve always been a runner, but I was in desperate need of some good yoga sessions during our visit to Indonesia since it was just a few weeks after we ran the New York Marathon. Despite what you might expect, there is absolutely no yoga intimidation here! Sure, there are some people who stay at Yoga Barn to practice for weeks at a time and can do headstands and effortless crow poses, but if you’re like me and only practice yoga from time to time you’ll be more than welcome here. My boyfriend who had only done yoga once in his life before even enjoyed it.
The classes are huge – I’m talking 60+ people sweating it out under the roof of the huge wooden gazebo. We were in Ubud in December when there were barely any other guests at the restaurants we visited – and yet the Yoga Barn was packed – keep that in mind if you visit Ubud in the busier months.
Initially I was a bit concerned that the class size was too big, but when we got to the portion on laughing yoga, I was glad we were surrounded by dozens of other people…
Laughing my way through
Part way through the class, our teacher Greg said, Now we’re going to do some laughter yoga
I know what you’re thinking… what the hell is that? That’s what I wondered too.
Laughter yoga, he explained, is when you voluntarily laugh, i.e. a forced laugh. It is based on the theory that forced laughter can give you the same health benefits as spontaneous laughter. The class is encouraged to force laughter – no matter how crazy or strange it may sound (now is your time to laugh like a hyena). Soon the forced laughter erupts into real and genuine laughter. The more that you hear people laughing, the more you realize how ridiculous it is and can’t help but laughing yourself. Laughter is contagious… once a few people start in around you, and then more and more, until a group of 60 people are laughing, it’s pretty incredible. You can go from laying on your mat thinking I’m sure I won’t find this funny, like I did, to laughing to hard you have tears streaming down your cheeks.
And it did make me feel jus as good as I do after laughing with friends. Don’t you ever laugh really hard and feel stress lifting away? Laughter yoga can (strangely) make you feel that way too, making you laugh so hard your stomach will hurt.
I’m now a believer.
Freshen up after your Yoga Barn session
There is one thing I have to add about my experience at the Yoga Barn. I got sweaty. Very very sweaty. Sweatier than when I run. But hey, that’s what happens when you do yoga in a place as hot and humid as Indonesia. You sweat. A lot.
Thankfully everyone else in the class was as sticky as I was and we were all still welcome at Yoga Barns’ cafe. I don’t think a post on the Yoga Barn could be complete without mentioning the Garden Kafe. It’s exactly what you would expect from a yoga studio in Ubud: fresh pressed juices, energy balls, smoothies. All the tasty treats that can refresh you and tickle your taste buds enough to get your mind off of your worries about how you look after your hot session.
Where to stay in Ubud
We stayed at Pertiwi Bisma 1 during our time in Ubud, and we loved it so much we decided to stay an extra night! Pertiwi Bisma 1 is very affordable – I think we paid around $35 per night. Not only is it conveniently located just a short walk from all the best sights of Ubud, but it also has an epic infinity pool that looks out over the jungle. I never ever wanted to leave…
Have you visited Yoga Barn? What did you think?
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.