Active, Travel

Ubud Diaries

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A few posts ago, I set out to discover why Bali is known as the Island of The Gods. It’s not only because of the untouched lands, live volcanoes and pristine beaches. Greenery is abundant on this remarkable island; one connects with and is surrounded by nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of life. It’s in the culture of the Balinese people, who in all my travels, I find to be the friendliest and most hospitable. This makes sense to me because of their prayer rituals. Bali is very unique where the locals believe in a whole basket of religions, effectively combining them all (predominantly Hindu with Buddhist, Shinto, Christian and Muslim). Throughout the day they offer fresh flowers and burn incense sticks for different idols/objects. This much gratitude for everything around them really shows their happiness and therefore reflects in character.

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Thanks @liviayogaretreatsae for organizing this yoga, nature and adventure-filled week for 14 of us. Thanks to @ashokatreeresortubud for your hospitality and good vibes; from the very first encounter we knew we could expect a comfortable stay. The 5D6N retreat consisted of twice a day yoga/meditation at the resort, time to explore Bali, outdoor activities such as cycling and rafting, and healthy meals from the resort and a few local restaurants. Special mention to the traditional Balinese massages; the differences you can feel in the last massage compared to the first one clearly show how de-stressing the trip was. With most of us coming in from Dubai, it’s not ironic that we are from all parts of the world, also with such a wide age range!

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One day we visited a monkey forest and on another, an elephant cave temple. For me however, the highlight of the trip was the cycling tour up and down hills across over 20km. This was my first time cycling outdoors over patches of rocky terrain which, in all honesty, was nearly as tough as running on rocks at the Spartan Sprint a couple of weeks ago. We cycled along the slopes of Mt. Batur, an active volcano (pictured below, the grey is dried burnt lava!), stumbling and falling a couple of times. I have Indoor Cycling Training coming up this weekend and I’m glad it’s exactly that – INDOOR!. Another really fun and tiresome day was the trek down to a river where we went rafting in groups of 5 for a couple of hours.

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Livia conducted very mindful sessions of yoga and meditation; I was able to deepen my yoga practice further as with every other lesson. We were able to check out the Yoga Barn which is the countries most well known yoga studio and retreat complex. I was unable to take a class there but the place is really cool and can be described in one word: zen.  With my sister wrapping up her yoga teacher training in Dubai, I’m inspired to pursue this education as well either in Dubai, some place in India, or now potentially in Ubud. This is only the start of my Bali adventures as I will visit again in the near future. Another area south of the island by the name of Canggu (pronounced CHANGU!) is famous for surfing and I cannot wait to attack those waves! If that’s not a calling, what is?

Until next time, Bali..

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