The Yoga Barn, in central Ubud was started in 1992 and is owned by an American woman. She has built a mini-empire consisting of a two-level yoga studio with classes all day, a shop selling yoga clothes, a restaurant that is one of our favorites (Kafe--a true natural food/organic spot) and offerings of healing sessions and related events. Besides the Yoga Barn there are Yoga classes offered in many hotels and Yoga studios. We go to Yoga sessions at a small studio just a five minute walk down the path from our house. It is owned and run by a French-Canadian woman, Linda, with one or two classes a day and most taught by Linda. She is a wonderful teacher and her two hour classes are a generous mix of yoga and meditation.
Ubud is a small town--no traffic lights and only 3 main streets but filled with touristy shops, spas, yoga studios, hotels, (nothing is taller than 3 stories) and restaurants. (Speaking of restaurants, there are so many good to excellent eateries plus many local places that serve good, wholesome food and all at ridiculously low prices compared to the cost of food in the states. We also find a lot of organic produce and grains and even the locals are getting with it. We eat out almost every night because the restaurant food is better and cheaper than what we can cook at home--altho we do make breakfast and lunch at home.) Ubud has become, over the last 10-15 years, a true yoga/healing/new-age center. One cannot walk very far without passing offerings of Tibetan sound massage (you must try this!), healing sessions by local healers as well as healers from all over the world, yoga classes, chakra healing, meditation workshops and every kind of new-age treatment and event. All of these things are frequented by tourists of all ages and nationalities, ex-patriots from all over the globe and even some locals. [Yoga is a tradition among the Balinese as their religion is Hindu, but a Balinese form of Hinduism, with their own Gods, some animism and a few other goofy practices.]
People come from all parts of the world for Yoga workshops and teacher training in every form of yoga--hatha, vinyasa flow, ayenga, ashtenga--you name it, we've got it. In March the Yoga Barn sponsors a week-long Yoga festival with classes, dance, chanting and a lot of fun. There is also a large and varied selection of healing and massages including the newly popular ayurvedic. I should add that all of these classes and sessions are very inexpensive compared to what they cost in the states. Of course there are the expensive, upscale hotels and spas which due charge US prices.
So we pick and choose our medicine, love our local yoga studio--Intuitive Flow, and go with the flow! ((Do you kids still say that?) As a matter of fact I'm off to to a class as soon as I finish this post.
Last night there was an Indian music and dance recital right in our neighborhood and the price of about $10 included a meal beforehand--it was great! A lot of people showed up and we all had a fabulous time.
A LOCAL CEREMONY
This past week we went to a special ceremony in our friends village celebrating a 30 year cycle. He said it is done in order to re-charge people's interest in their religion.
Ceremonies here are so frequent and ubiquitous that one could go to a ceremony just in our town once a week--easily. There are thousands of temples on this dot in the ocean--family temples, village temples, community temples, public temples and then the larger temples for larger areas--and they have ceremonies often. Every full and new moon (they call dead moon), births, weddings, deaths (no bar mitzvahs) and to celebrate events as well as Balinese holidays. Small offerings of coconut baskets filled with fruit, rice, flowers, cakes and incense are made every day and put out in front of every house and shop. On special occasions these offering are large and may include dead animals.
At this ceremony we attended we were the only westerners and squeezed in this small and very busy temple filled with dances, a shadow puppet play, praying, chanting socializing and all going on the same time--crazy! Here are some photos.
|WAITING TO GO ONSTAGE AND DANCE|
|ROASTING A PIG|
|SHADOW PUPPET MAN WITH HIS PUPPETS|
|THE DANCE PERFORMANCE|