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Bali - a perfect spiritual retreat

What makes Bali an ideal spiritual destination

The way we travel has changed. Instead of just exploring a foreign country and snapping a few pictures by the great landmarks, people started seeking for a deeper experience.

As a devoted yogi, I too belong to this group of travelers. To me, yoga was never just a way of handling stress and staying in shape, but also a part of finding balance in my life. I became aware of how little time I devote to self-care, and knew it was time to prioritize and reconnect with myself.

Natural stone arch at sea in Bali
The natural beauty of Bali lends itself well to being a spiritual destination

At first, I was thinking about choosing Rishikesh in India as my spiritual destination, because of its reputation of being the yoga capital of the world, but the fact that it’s a continental city was a bit off-putting. I chose Sanur in Bali instead, and traveled across the island. Best decision I ever made: Bali turned out to be a perfect location for a spirit-renewing experience, and here’s why.

Spiritual ceremonies and festivals

There is something really intriguing about the Eastern philosophy and how it constructs a specific lifestyle, filled with gratitude for life and respect for the tradition. Balinese people are very devoted when it comes to religion. They practice Bhakti – a thoughtful way of living filled with gratitude, which is something that’s deeply rooted in their culture and can be strongly felt.

Spirituality is reflected in every segment of their lives and it is simply beautiful. I’ve witnessed quite a few temple processions, and they happen on a daily basis. As I’ve learned, the greatest role of rituals is to ensure a man (as a microcosm of the world) is in harmony with the whole system: Universe, himself and gods. Everyday religious practices of the Balinese were a great part of the charming and authentic scenery for my spiritual quest.

Temples in Bali
It's called "island of gods" for a good reason,
featuring thousands of temples across Bali.

Incredible temples

No wonder Bali is called the “island of the gods”, being a home to thousands of different temples. I traveled across the island on a scooter, and it turned out to be a fun and cheap (only $3 per day!) way to explore. Obviously, there are numerous temples you can visit, but the most exciting - for me - were the Goa Gajah in Ubud and the Tanah Lot in an offshore setting that looks completely surreal. However, make sure to show respect and wear covering clothes or a sarong when entering the temple.

Yoga retreats

If you point your finger to any location on the map of Bali, rest assured – it’s got a great yoga offer. I stayed in Sanur where I practiced Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, but also discovered Bali yoga which included teachings about microcosm and macrocosm, counting chakras during focused breathing (pranayama breathing). If you are interested in becoming an instructor yourself, you can attend the Bali yoga teacher training that really focuses on incorporating the spiritual dimension to practicing yoga. Usually, these teaching courses are intensive and are designed as 200 hour or 300 hour programs.

Two women practicing yoga in Bali
Compliment your spiritual visit to Bali by taking up Bali yoga at your retreat

Waterfalls, hot springs, and the ocean

Water does have healing properties. I’ve discovered quite a few waterfalls in Bali, all of which the Tegenungan waterfall was the most mesmerizing. It felt as the water washed away all the negativity that’s been piling up inside my body. You can use swimming as a meditative activity and it honestly has a healing effect. When you slow the tempo of your breathing, you heart beats so peacefully and it creates a serenity you’ll remember forever. The air freshness and surrounding nature create a relaxing feeling that turned out to be crucial for my transformative journey. Batur natural hot spring (in the Batur lake) was another amazing experience, as well as the off-beaten Nyang Nyang beach.

Adopting the locals’ way of life

If you let yourself go, you will see just how the Balinese way of life can get under your skin. You’ll find it easy to forget your tech gadgets and simply be present. I’ve renewed my connection with nature, I walked barefoot after a long time and it made me so incredibly happy. Exploring Balinese cuisine, their culture, nature and wildlife is definitely worth a trip.

Balinese people at work in rice fields
Balinese people are very connected with nature - seen here working in rice fields.

Going on a spiritual journey helps you level up and get a fuller understanding of your spiritual practices, right there - in locations and sceneries where it all started. Consider Bali as your spiritual destination: it will truly transform you.

Nicole Noel - Twitter

Author bio:

Nicole is an avid traveler passionate about yoga and healthy living. She always seeks new adventures and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. You can find her on Twitter and FB.

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