It has been a year since I had made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and look for opportunities to teach yoga overseas. Now the time has come and I find myself on my way to the Bali Silent Retreat located in a small village about an hours drive from Ubud.
As my driver turned off the main road out into the rice fields with Mt Agung in the distance I knew this was going to be a magical place. I was met by the smiling 'office angels' at reception who helped me with all of the paperwork and then I was met by the program manager who took me on a tour of the retreat.
The retreat consists of 3 styles of accommodation for the guests, male and female dorms, private single rooms and the bungalows overlooking the rice paddies. There is a beautiful open-air yoga shala equipped with manduka yoga mats, blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets.
A magical crystal labyrinth for walking meditations, a huge open-air lodge complete with views of the retreat to soak up when you're enjoying your meals and a well-stocked library with an array of books to enjoy.
But my favorite part of the retreat was the open air kitchen, complete with a tea making station of fresh herbs, spices, and flowers from the garden, along with the snack jars of homemade biscuits and lots of tropical fruits.
The main table was surrounded by muslin curtains and behind them was an incredible feast of freshly grown and locally sourced dishes made by Simon and his kitchen staff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
During the week guests can come along to Simons food/health talk and his walking tour of the edible garden. There are also evening meditation classes, fire ceremony circles, guided rice paddy walks and a cultural talk as well.
The main focus of the retreat is to observe silent, disconnect from all technology and to go within. It's a beautiful environment to be with one's own thoughts and contemplate life. In the yoga and meditation classes, guests were allowed to ask questions or have a chat about any concerns. I would often have students come up after the class to chat with me about their practice or ask for advice.
Teaching here has been an incredible experience for me on so many levels. I enjoyed getting up early before the sun rose to teach the morning meditation and yoga classes. Watching as the night sky changed into shades of pink, orange and yellow as the sun slowly rose. The sounds of nature all around me, the gentle morning breeze and the many creatures that would start stirring from their slumber to greet the day.
I loved teaching classes to a vast array of people from all corners of the world and guiding them on their yoga journey. But most importantly I had the time to deepen my personal practice and take care of myself for a change with good food, fresh air and plenty of rest.
Thank you to all of the amazing staff and guests who helped to make my experience at Bali Silent Retreat one that I will never forget. It's been an honor and a privilege to have been apart of something so special and I look forward to returning in the future.