Taking meditation and yoga classes in Ubud is easy, available, and relatively affordable. As I mentioned before in my last post, I’ve taken it upon myself to explore new types of meditation and yoga. I’ve previously found one that works for me, which is the moving meditation of yoga, particularly ashtanga vinyasa. Still, I believe in exploring and understanding other types as long as I find them interesting.
The two studios where I’m attending classes are Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive. Both are the typical places that your “alts,” hippies, and yogis go to, but they are typical for a reason – they’re awesome. Both studios have a clean and comfortable vibe with beautiful studios and friendly staff. The communities at both studios are inviting and active. I’ve really been enjoying my time in these spaces and all the classes offered.
And besides, no one has ever said they didn’t feel great after taking a meditation or yoga class. So here is a review and explanation of some of the courses I’ve been taking and what to expect if you find yourself taking meditation and yoga classes in Ubud or anywhere else on this abundant earth.
Tibetan Bowl Meditation
This is one of my new favorite classes. It is taught by Wakuha Blueflame at Yoga Barn. She is a shaman, healer, and meditation teacher who has a wonderful capacity to hold space. In the past few days of taking many yoga and meditation classes in Ubud and Bali, this is by far one of the deeper meditations I’ve been able to access.
As you enter the room, the lights are dim and Wakuha sits in the center with several Tibetan Singing Bowls. She opens the circle, by placing several cards in a circle with a candle on every fourth card.
After burning incense, she opens the circle with a Namaste and mentioning that this is a sacred meditation. Just the word “sacred” demands attention. For me, this resonates and reminds me that I am one of many who have done and continue to do this meditation – past, present, and future.
You then lie down with your head toward the center where the bowls are and focus on your breath without judgement. You become the silent observer of your mind and body. She plays and the sounds vibrate through your whole organism. For me, I fall into a deep relaxing state and am able to let go. It’s a nice balance to the Yang of my daily practice.
These classes are held 2-3 times a week and are limited to 33 people. They are always sold out one hour before the session.
Although I promised myself many times that I would do a yin yoga class in San Francisco, I never did. I was (and am) addicted to the more fast-paced yoga. That being said I’m becoming more and more excited about yin yoga as an addition to my regular practice.
It’s really nice to go deep and hold poses for longer. The core of yin yoga, for me, is more a mental game – how can I let go of more the longer I hold the pose. It’s been showing me how I push too hard in my practice and where I need to release ambition. This type of yoga also goes deeper into the myofascial layer of the body. This is the connective tissue that wraps around the muscles and bones (fascia, ligaments, tendons, etc.).
Fascia is commonly said to be the scientific explanation of the vague concepts of Qi, Nadis, Meridians (tiny energy centers that are dispersed all over the body). By releasing tension at this deep layer, we affect the joints in a different way. These tissues respond differently in a more yang or muscular yoga, such as vinyasa or ashtanga. Affecting this deeper layer requires another level of awareness and release. One that I am growing and appreciating more and more.
Practicing yin yoga has set my ashtanga practice on a whole new course, and it’s added a great balance.
Mysore Ashtanga has been something I’ve generally avoided, preferring yoga that is less strict in terms of activity and sequencing. Like all practices, it may not be for everyone. Since I’m still addicted to the fast-paced energy ashtanga offers. So while outside of San Francisco, I’m left with Mysore.
I’ve grown to understand that this practice is incredibly powerful and has become a joy for me. I like the primary series a lot, and have learned a lot from showing up to it each morning, or whenever I practice it.
Mysore is the original ashtanga. You show up to a class and are given a posture which you hold for five breathes. You continue through the series until you can’t anymore. Everyone is moving at their own pace and at a different levels. The practice is done silently. The silent, self-practice method can be intimidating for some, because you are left to experience your own inner teacher.
The Mysore teacher does not lead the class verbally, but will walk around the room offering adjustments to help a student deepen in the posture. This is a very loose definition of Mysore. I encourage you to find your own or simply try it out for yourself.