Bali won me over, but after spending two weeks there in January with my boyfriend, we decided to head east for Lombok beaches and diving in the Gilis. We managed to take a few yoga classes in that part of the country – one at Ashtari on Lombok and two at H2O Yoga on Gili Air – but our time over there was mostly spent in the sand or under water.
Once I was back on Bali in February, this time solo, it was time to hit the mat and fall fully into the Ubud lifestyle again. While my first time there was dominated by classes at Yoga Barn, I decided to branch out during my second visit and check out Radiantly Alive, a smaller studio across town. I bought a three-class card for about $22 that I used over my four-day return trip.
My first class was pilates with Acacia, a former dancer and yoga teacher from Canada whose energy and enthusiasm for movement lift up the entire room. The class reminded me somewhat of a barre workout, with small pulses within yoga poses to challenge the muscles. We moved in and out of poses quickly, doing a lot of ab work to strengthen the core.
The next morning, I took Daniel’s RA vinyasa class, a class offered only a few times a week. Daniel is the founder and director of the studio and teaches the class in addition to running workshops and hosting yoga teacher trainings.
He began the class by asking about our relationship with time. Is it a positive relationship or a stressful one? Is there never enough time? Are we always worried about what time it is? Ubud may be one of those places where time doesn’t matter, but for most of us, our lives are dominated by schedules and timelines. It was an interesting way to begin the class, and I find myself – a month later – still wondering about my feelings towards time.
Physically, the class was dynamic and demanding. The room was crowded and sweaty, and the day’s heat was in full swing already at 9 a.m. After core work, we played around with half moon pose, practiced going deeper and opening up more, losing our balance, laughing and trying it again. This led to the final challenging pose of the class – pincha mayurasana, aka feathered peacock pose. The inversion practice began by placing our forearms on the mat, walking our feet in and raising one leg. From there, we practiced little hops, floating our standing foot up just a few inches as we put weight into or arms. With practice, those hops become higher until the full inversion is reached with both feet overhead.
Daniel related learning to balance in pincha mayurasana to learning to walk on two feet. We’re afraid of falling, but bit by bit, with continual practice, we can find our balance. The body knows how to fall, he said. We recover and try again.
I intended for acroyoga to be the final class of my Ubud experience, but a cancelled class meant signing up for something I never had any interest in – yoga dance. Again taught by Acacia, the class was packed with yogis who came for acro and ended up playing together in a completely different way. We began the class with a free dance – no mats to contain us – closing our eyes and moving to the beat of the music in any way we felt. Once we got a little loose and more comfortable, we started learning the 3:39 minute dance that Acacia had choreographed.
Yoga dance incorporated yoga poses, like standing forward fold, seated twist, and downward facing dog, with quick dance moves. The class was full of laughter, and Acacia’s encouragement carried us through to the end of the 90-minute session. Check out the embarrassing but awesome video of a few of us practicing the choreography one last time after class, here.
Radiantly Alive has one main open-air studio with a gorgeous jungle view. Drinking water is available at the front desk, and the studio is equipped with mats, blocks and straps.
Anywhere from two to seven classes a day are offered, with 15 different classes throughout the week as well as yoga teacher trainings and workshops. Visit radiantlyalive.com for more info.
Radiantly Alive offers just about any option to suit your stay in Ubud, from single drop-in classes at $9.50 to 180-day unlimited passes for $495 – and everything in between.