The view from the yoga pavilion. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington.Yoga classes, included in package at the COMO Shambhala Estate, Ubud, Bali Where: The COMO Shambhala Estate, Ubud, Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia The vibe: Believe what people tell you – Bali is a magical place. The beaches, the jungles, the people, the food – all of it truly is a good as everyone says. You just need to get there to experience it yourself. At the COMO Shambhala Estate you’ll be tucked away on a mountaintop in the jungle – not a beach in sight, but you won’t mind. This sanctuary is hidden to offer the most peaceful and Zen experience you can have while you reconnect through yoga, wellness and the spa. Stay in one of the suites, or if you want to get really swanky do as the celebs and the elite usually do and book one of the exclusive huts. The only sounds you'll hear are of the grounds people sweeping up leaves off the grass, crickets, frogs, rain and soft chants at prayer time. If you're looking to relax, detox and not gain 20 pounds while on vacation, this is the spot for you. What: Yoga in the jungle? Yes, please! I’ve already digressed on another reason why Bali is a magical place ( read about my best-ever massage here), but I do have one more to add (and to also convince myself that I must go back). On my third day in Ubud I was already walking around the acres of the COMO Shambhala Estate like I had found my true inner Zen. Nothing could faze me. A snake appeared outside my hut the night before – my reaction was calm. That mini 6.2 magnitude earthquake that shook my entire hut in the middle of the night? I barely flinched (ok, I did, but went soundly back to sleep after a call to the front desk assured me it was “just a little one”). Yes, I was in a place of inner peace and more than ready for my early morning yoga session in an open-air pavilion overlooking the scenic jungle.
The grounds at the COMO Shambhala. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington.I don’t claim to be a yoga aficionado. I take classes here and there, but I’m not a die-hard, loyal fan. I can’t get in to every pose, but I will at least attempt them. I thought I was at a pretty good level, until I met our yoga instructor who was mid-meditating when I enter the pavilion. Turns out he’s not only a well-trained yoga teacher, but also an India-based medical doctor. That equals a yoga teacher that fully understands each and every pose from a spiritual standpoint and also from a medical view. He explained in detail each pose and the benefits. I’m feeling pretty good about myself mid-way through the class. “You need to go deeper,” I heard softly behind me. He is pushing down on my shoulders and despite my wobbly state, I manage to ground myself. “Hold it,” he instructs. My legs are burning by the end, but at the same time it’s the best yoga class I have ever had. After a session to end the class on proper breathing techniques my head is light and my body feels amazing. Maybe it was the fact I was in Bali, maybe it was the hotel location, maybe it was the yoga instructor, but I left that class with a new found appreciation for yoga. Bliss factor: 4 out of 5 aromatherapy oil drops. OVER TO YOU! TELL US: Where is your dream spa destination? Are you a yoga regular? Would you go on a health retreat?