I took up yoga a year ago, looking for a slightly gentler form of exercise to do on my ‘rest’ days. Some people get hooked on yoga; I didn’t get hooked exactly, more pissed off that I wasn’t very good at it. I wanted to improve so I developed a bit of a yoga habit quite quickly!
Yoga is a great form of exercise for when you’re travelling; it’s easy to do solo with no equipment and there are also classes everywhere. Last year, I did yoga classes in 6 different countries!
I also went on two yoga retreats; one in Bali in April and one in Cambodia in November. They were both quite different experiences. A yoga retreat is a great idea for a short break in its own right or as a break when you’re travelling long term. But each yoga retreat is different and you need to find one that suits you and what you’re looking for. This is my take on the two I experienced.
Blooming Lotus Yoga, Ubud Bali
I absolutely loved my stay at Blooming Lotus. The hotel villas were beautiful, the classes were great and catered really well to a mixed ability group. I did a four night stay which included two yoga classes, a meditation class, breakfast and lunch every day. Shuttle buses are laid on every evening if you want to visit Ubud for dinner.
I can highly reccommend this retreat. There was literally nothing I didn’t enjoy about it. The standard of accommodation in particular was impressive and it’s a really good price for all that you get!
Angkor Zen Gardens, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The facilities are Angkor Zen are a little more rustic but still comfortable. There are private bungalows or a three bed dorm. The three absolute best things about Angkor Zen are the stunning salt water swimming pool, the amazing food and the manager, Marc who is always eager to help or tell a story anytime he can!
But really, the yoga should be a highlight. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the classes, I just didn’t love them. One of the teachers was great and adapted to the needs of the class as we moved along but I found one teacher a bit of a headache; she was constantly talking about the healing power of positive energy – apparently it can cure cancer and stop the war in Syria. When I go to a yoga retreat, I go for yoga, not to sit through half a class listening to someone else ridiculous, baseless views! So that took away from the experience somewhat to be honest.
I certainly wouldn’t advise against going to Angkor Zen; it just didn’t suit me and my particular needs at the time I went.
If you’re in Cambodia, Angkor Zen is a good spot but if you’re deciding where to go, Bali is probably your best bet for a yoga retreat. Aside from Blooming Lotus, there’s such choice and availability on the island, it shouldn’t take long to find a retreat that suits you!
I found both retreats via Book Yoga Retreats which is the best website around for finding yoga holidays!
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