Yoga Barn: Disneyland For Yoginis

Whenever people ask me what I did in Ubud, Bali, my answer is, “Eat, play, yoga.” When I said I took classes in Yoga Barn, I got a few sneers and eye rolls from travel hipsters who made up their minds that Yoga Barn is one of the most cliché things female travelers do when escaping to Bali.

Yoga Barn’s main entrance and reception area where you can buy your membership card and class passes

Check out these cute little Buddha statues.

“Wow, it’s like Disneyland for yoginis,” I told myself when I first stepped into this sprawling property in the heart of Ubud. Turns out I’m not the only who uses this line to describe Yoga Barn. Online and in person, you will meet a lot of people who refer to Yoga Barn as the Disneyland for yoga lovers.

Launched in 2007, Yoga Barn is one of the largest yoga retreat centers in southeast Asia.

Well, I’m not ashamed to say that I did run amuck in this Disneyland for yogis, in the same way I enjoyed all my Mickey Mouse encounters from childhood.

People have described Yoga Barn as a yoga factory, mecca for yoginis, a well-oiled yoga machine, and my favorite description, “Disneyland for yoginis.” Can you spot the yoga couple practicing their lifts in this photo?

During my stay, I noticed that most of the students were from Europe, Australia, and the US. I was one of the few Asians in my yoga classes. I’d say around 95% were foreign.

When I visited Yoga Barn in November to December last year, I came across fellow floral-garbed bohemians, complete with their 70s-style hippie headbands and healing beads. Barefoot practitioners with their tattoos of Sanskrit and other Asian symbols practically glided across the landscaped paths as the birds chirped in the daytime and mosquitoes feasted on my skin at dawn. I enjoyed watching them float by. The mosquitoes—not so much, as my organic citronella body spray didn’t seem to work.

The entrance and parking for motorcycles

Pranayama class in session. Can you spot Yoda?

Peace-searching travelers from around the world congregated in the Garden Kafe and Juice Bar, waiting for their smoothies and detox juices to arrive. I could smell the freshly cooked herbs, spices, and vegetables in the morning as checked-in guests went for their complimentary healthy breakfast. Teachers and students of all ages and nationalities each had their own story of spiritual journey.

One of the six yoga studios in Yoga Barn. This one is located near the entrance.

This 50-acre space offers more than 100 yoga classes a week. Click here to see the class schedule.

Sometimes I felt like the foreigners I encountered there were more Asian that I am. No, I will not cry cultural misappropriation. I actually appreciate it when non-Asians revere our culture so much that they’ve decided to incorporate it in their life philosophies and the way they dress.

Second reception area, where you’ll also find the Yoga Barn shop

After my Iyengar class. Yoga class rates: 130,000 IDR (₱490 or $10) for a single drop-in class, 900,000 IDR (₱3,400 or $67) for a 10-class pass, and 2,600,000 IDR (₱9,750 or $194) for a 30-day unlimited class card. They also have donation-based community classes for those on a budget. Click here for the schedule and updated prices.

Sadly, I didn’t go for the full Yoga Barn experience. Their accommodations were a little too pricey for my budget. Yoga Barn’s Guest House goes from $65-91 per night (about ₱3,300-4,500) for a private room. I decided to book the hotel next door, Yarama Cottages, for only $20 (about ₱1,000) per night.

Aside from yoga classes, they also offer spa treatments, dance classes, cleanse retreats, holistic wellness treatments, yoga workshops, and events for the community. Click here to see their schedule.

Private retreat area. During my Bali stay in November to December 2017, there weren’t that many tourists because people were afraid of Mt. Agung.

I didn’t do the major workshops, healing treatments, or spa services. I focused on the yoga classes, which are more affordable than the ones in Manila. It made me realize that the Philippines could have the potential of developing a yoga-health-healing tourism. It’s too bad Manila’s yoga-health culture is expensive and caters to mostly the AB market.

The Juice Bar. Click here to see the menu.

Buffet area for the guests and paying customers

One of the surprising and unintentional benefits of my trip was that I lost weight. I was actually expecting the usual vacation weight gain, but was surprised to see that after just one week, my tight skimpy shorts started to fit better. After all the yoga classes, miles upon miles of daily walks, hikes, tours, and healthy food (Ubud is sprawling with affordable vegetarian restaurants), I returned to Manila five lbs. lighter, with less cellulite, and a refreshed psyche.

Garden Kafe. Click here to see their healthy menu.

Thank you, Yoga Barn, the happiest place on Jalan Sukma Kesuma!

The Yoga Barn is located at Jln. Raya Pengoseken (between Jln. Raya Pengoseken and Jln. Sukma Kesuma), Ubud, Gianyar 80571.

January 12, 2018

One Comment

  1. Kate wrote:

    While my Yoga Barn experience was pleasant, I read this disturbing report long after my stay in Bali:

    Ex-followers claim Yoga teacher Uma Inder used the world famous Yoga Barn studio in Ubud, Bali to operate a cult from 2008 until she was fired in 2016.

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