We are excited to announce Azulie's next Yogi Travel Guide - Bali, Indonesia. Bali is a special place full of spirituality, creativity and lush nature. Bali has long been know by artists and surfers as a revered place of inspiration. Over time Bali's healing spirit, magic and culture has made it something of a mecca for wellness, spirituality, healing, superfoods, and yoga. It's a place you want to go and stay awhile to really understand the essence of the island and the people, to really soak in the magic. We have divided our Bali Yogi Travel Guide into two parts, the first being Canggu / Seminyak area and the second Ubud. Enjoy the guide and check out our favourite spots below plus insider tips from yogini Insiya Rasiwala-Finn.
Desa Seni - eat here, stay here, do yoga here – it’s all good! For food, you get amazing meals featuring fresh and local organic food. They serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offer cooking classes. Come for the day and sit by the salt water pool while you sip on fresh coconut water and order from their tasty menu.
Betelnut Cafe - a favourite for those staying in Canggu, this little café serves up hearty and healthy meals, smoothies and fresh juices. We loved their Jamu shot (fresh turmeric and lime)
Watercress Cafe - delicious rustic food, breakfast is the best
Biku - the place for tea in Bali, try the Chai with honey
Earth Cafe - health food store and café, try the Indian plate
Bungalow Cafe – cute eclectic little café, juice/smoothie bar and shop, great place to chat with friends and have some nibbles and fresh juice
The Kitchen Lab - health food cafe at Samadi Bali that serves up vegetarian cuisine using local and fair trade ingredients for high vibe foods
Bali Buddha - with more locations on the island now, this health food store and restaurant is a convenient place to pick up some picnic ingredients and head out on the scooter for the day or sit in and mingle amongst locals and travellers
Milk & Madu - healthy and tasty all day breakfast and lunch spot with a relaxed Balinese vibe
Desa Seni - book a room in one of the unique indonesian wood homes at this eco yoga retreat. Your stay includes unlimited yoga, the best organic breakfast, access to the grounds and salt water pool. We stayed here as part of our honeymoon and it was heaven.
Canggu Apartments - a range of modern contemporary apartments for short term and long term stays
Samadi Bali - immerse yourself in a tranquil yoga lifestyle at Samadi Bali - yoga, organic breakfast, acupuncture, massage
Desa Seni - a range of yoga classes held everyday in one of their beautiful open aired studios
Samadi Bali - specializing in Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga and yoga for surfers
Deus Ex-Machina - hangout, cafe, art gallery and shop for hand made surfboards, skateboards, custom motorcycles, and clothes
Desa Seni Gifthsop - nice collection of unique yoga clothes, malas, incense and more
Bali Buddha Shop and Cafe - the health food shop and cafe carries superfoods, snacks, produce, fresh baked goods and organic beauty care
Home Mate and Jewel Rocks - head to Home Mate for one of kind minimalist home wares, plus stay for a little snack at there cafe. Jewel Rocks next doors has a great selection of tribal inspired bracelets and necklaces.
DAY TRIPS/NATURE/SACRED SITES
Pantai Pandawa - along the drive to this beach you will see various statues of Pandawa carved into the rock side and you will eventually reach the white sand beach and turquoise waters. Enjoy this peaceful swimming beach and rent out one of their lounge chairs and umbrellas so you can enjoy the entire day while sipping on some fresh coconut.
Berwawa Beach - a locals hang out, come here to watch the sunset, catch an early evening surf or take a sunset walking meditation
Canggu Beaches - head over to Echo Beach or Pererenan Beach for some surf and sun
FEATURED YOGINI: INSIYA RASIWALA-FINN
We are excited and grateful to have Insiya Rasiwala-Finn share her Bali with us. Insiya is a yogini, writer, and Ayurvedic practitioner who grew up in India with the principles of Yoga and Ayurveda informing her life. She is a certified Blissology ™ Yoga teacher that brings a unique, insightful East-West perspective to the modern yoga practice and a passionate inquiry and modern understanding to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. Insiya currently lives in California with her yogi husband Eoin Finn and their adorable son Ananda. Connect with Insiya through her yoga and wellness blog, Yogue and stay up to date with the latest Blissology retreats, trainings and workshops.
How often do you visit Bali
At least once a year for 3 months. I think I’ve been returning to Bali since the last ten years and a few years we’ve been able to return twice in a year!
What is one of your favourite things to do in Bali
Ah… so many things but I think my top picks are: drinking fresh coconut water; immersing myself in the warm ocean and practicing yoga in a beautiful wood floored studio with my only walls the foliage of tropical ginger and palm trees.
What are a few beautiful beaches you love to visit
Of the beaches in the southern part of Bali, which incidentally is the only part of the island that has golden sand, Bingin is still quiet and beautiful and unspoilt. I love slipping away here for a few hours and swimming in the natural rock pools when the tide is high. I also love the beaches north of Candidasa in eastern bali.
Healthy cafe / restaurant you love to go to
It used to be that the only healthy food could be found in Ubud, but it has spread to the surf coast as well, thankfully! In Ubud, I still love Kafe, the smoothies in particular are so delicious, but in Canggu, I love the new restaurant at yoga + wellness center Samadi – they have fresh vegan food and their dosas are so yummy; closer to Seminyak Watercress is a standout especially for Brunch.
A favourite Balinese dish you recommend trying
I love Nasi Campur; a mix of vegetables and curries and rice, so delicious and healthy, especially with freshly ground sambals. I also love a good gado gado, a fresh salad with a peanut sauce.
A sacred site/temple you go to to feel grounded and connected
We visited the temple with the holy water, it’s in the mid north of the island. It was a day of ceremony with anyone afflicted with disease, emotional or physical, there to receive an immersion in the holy water. Such a throng of people, the women dressed in their finest, the men ushering their families through. A memorable imprint.
Where do you love to practice yoga / meditation in Bali
Some of my favourite spots have been at the studio at Uluwattu Surf Villas on Bali’s southern tip, as well as at the cliff’s edge where you feel as though you are part of the terrain. You can watch the waves and surf on your mat at the same time. Desa Seni is another favourite spot and I so want to stay at Bambu Indah in Sayan near Ubud just to practice at their yoga studio!
A favourite place to stay
Desa Seni is always our landing spot, a microcosm of Bali in its beauty and a beautiful community. We know the staff, they’ve seen our son grow up and it feels like home. We usually stay in a villa that we rent longer term after a few days at desa seni!
A hidden secret gem in Bali to share
It’s not really a secret, but it can be hard to get a spot here as it is so small, but Mu Bali in the Bukit is one of my favourite hideaways. Above the cliffs of Bingin beach, it is run by a French man and resembles a Tahitian inspired paradise. The homes are round and made of straw and curved wood, open on most sides. You can linger over fresh home made food and long table dinners with other guests or simply enjoy some chill time on your own. We took our son there during the break of our intensive month long YTT a few years ago and really recharged.
How does Bali influence your yoga practice
There is a daily practice of spirituality in Bali. The people are immersed in their hindu faith and they don’t question it. You see pure faith and rituals flow into the rhythm of each day. It is impossible not to be touched by that simple beauty and it inspires me to simply practice without expecting any outcome from my yoga practice. It’s really the message of the Gita. Perform an action and relinquish all expectations of the action. Bali is a living, breathing emblem of that. Of course I know this is interpretation and that the people are performing rituals to enhance the wellbeing of their families and themselves, but there is still presence and perseverance in their doing this day after day after day and living their life centered around their faith.
Also, Bali is one of the warmest, most humid places I have ever spent time in (and I grew up in India) and there is nothing quite like tropical warmth to allow you to go deeper in the yoga asana practice. I love that.
A non-profit organization you are passionate about that supports the Balinese community
I love Robin Lim and Bumi Sehat. We'd taken Ananda there when he had his first ever fever at a wee 9 months and they were so wonderful and I think connecting women back to their power in the process of birth is work that inspires a peaceful planet, as a child birthed peacefully by a strong, supported mother is a healthy, happy and peaceful child.
Robin Lim is a midwife and founder of Bumi Sehat clinics, which offer free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid in Bali and Indonesia. The clinics are funded entirely by donation Bumi Sehat's mission statement: "We believe that access to quality healthcare and to kind, hygienic, culturally appropriate childbirth is a human right. We believe that each individual is an essential societal component of peace. By caring for the smallest citizens of Earth - babies at birth - we are building peace: one mother, one child, one family at a time. We are devoted to working in partnership with people to improve quality of life and to encourage peace." To connect with Bumi Sehat and their mission, click here.
Thank you so much to our featured yogini Insiya! Stay connected with Insiya through instagram as she travels the world with her family, sharing the teachings of yoga and living an authentic yogic lifestyle. Be sure to also check out our Yogi Travel Guide for Ubud, Bali. Suksma!
Photography by Azulie