Planning for a year!
My friend Kristin and I have known each other a long time. We met during her yoga teacher training in San Diego not long after I finished mine. We both love Vinyasa yoga, kirtan, mala necklaces, crystals, inspiring books, and good music!! We've spent many weekends at Shakti Fest together, enjoying the music, dancing our hearts out, and figuring out life in the Joshua Tree desert. After Kristin attended my first retreat in Costa Rica, I asked her if she'd ever want to partner to lead a retreat together. She said YES! After a few years (and several Michael Franti concerts later), we chose Soulshine Bali as our retreat location. And so began an entire year of prep, planning, and excitement! I am so grateful for our long, sweet friendship and the amazing professional relationship we have cultivated. What a dream it was to work with Kristin <3
Travel to Bali
Finally April 2018 arrived and we headed to Bali to host 19 brave, adventurous yogis. We went a few days early to acclimate to the time difference (15 hours ahead of California!) and get settled into the culture. It was a long long, long flight (shout out to the adorable EVA Air Hello Kitty plane, the amazing breakfast noodles in Taipei, and the travelers who didn't look at us funny while we did yoga in the airport!) but we arrived safely in Denpasar. First stop: Canggu, Bali, Indonesia on the Indian Ocean.
Desa Seni + Canguu
Kristin and I stayed at the dreamy and delightful Desa Seni village resort for a few days for our own mini retreat. We got to practice yoga each morning and eat wonderfully fresh food. We took a harrowing walk to the beach (Bali traffic is no joke) but mostly enjoyed the beautiful grounds and people at Desa Seni. We were so excited anticipating the arrival of our group to Soulshine that we awoke early each morning (okay, maybe it was jet lag) to plan out our classes and retreat schedule.
Calma + Ubud
Next stop: Ubud! For the two days prior to our Soulshine Retreat we stayed in the town of Ubud. The town of Ubud has long been known as a cultural and spiritual center in Bali and in recent years has drawn foreign travelers and ex-pats. The book and movie Eat, Pray, Love really spurred the trend of vacationers visiting Bali and yogis continue to flock here. And for good reason! Ubud is bustling with art, local crafts, great food, and Balinese tradition (Hindu ritual + kindness + rice fields + monkeys). We stayed at Calma, a little bit off the main drag, and took some exciting taxi rides into town. We laughed at driving on the "wrong" side of the road, even after several days of travel :) We ran into some monkeys in town and decided that the oft-recommended "monkey forest" was not for us. One of the highlights for us was checking out The Yoga Barn. We took a super sweaty two-hour vinyasa class, ate at their delicious cafe, and experienced one of the best pleasures in life: a crown massage! ("what could they do to our heads for a whole hour?" -Lena *sighhhhhhh* "this is one of the best things that has ever happened to me" -Kristin).
Finally we made our way to Soulshine Bali! We got a tour of the property, got settled in, and prepared goodie bags for the retreat guests. It was so incredibly exciting when our guests began to arrive. It's awesome and stunning to see familiar faces after such a long trip and we were glad everyone made it safely. We began our retreat with an opening circle, a yoga class, some dancing to Michael Franti music (we HAD to!), and a delicious opening meal. From there the retreat was off and running. We began each morning with a long yoga practice, meditation, and mindfulness. It was such a treat to practice and teach in the open air yoga pavilion with a view of the rice terraces. Our days consisted of delectable shared meals, lounging by the pool, and various excursions into Ubud and beyond. It was such a fun group of yogis and I loved getting to know everyone better. I most enjoyed the cultural dinner where we tasted the best of Balinese cuisine and got some cool insights into Hindu rituals, the temple tour where we cleansed in the purifying spring water, and our visit to Bumi Sehat where we enjoyed a tour of the birthing center and brought donations. Oh, and also the daily full body massages :) Writing about the retreat now brings me back to the sights, sounds, and sensations of Bali immediately. I'm so grateful for the beautiful souls who joined Kristin and me on this first journey in April 2018.
Before we headed home, Kristin and I checked out the beach town of Uluwatu. We stayed at Mu Bali and recuperated with more daily massages (why nottttt??), fun shared meals with other international travelers, and a sweet, sweaty walk through the Uluwatu temple (on the coast!). We were terrified off of our balcony after one morning yoga session by some aggressive monkeys who stole Kristin's bag and bared their teeth at us! We loved Uluwatu but after that ordeal we were definitely ready to begin our long journey home. Until next time, Bali. I miss you all the time :)