Ubud Bali; Let’s recharge!

by Margaret Elizabeth Johnston
bali ft

Staying healthy as one travels is always a challenge. Whether it is healthy food choices or trying to work out in your hotel room, making sure you walk enough and drink enough water without your kitchen at hand can make or break a holiday. I have been having a roaming “holiday” and more like a sabbatical as of late with living in different SE Asian countries.

I am leaving Bali Indonesia in a few weeks after spending 3 full months in Ubud, the world yoga capitol and vegan/vegetarian centre at same time, they seem to go hand in hand. I was vegetarian for 15 years “back in the day” but since have slipped back into average ways with eating, yes, still healthy, but having dairy and meat too. I now have been back on the meat and dairy free programme and the lightness of being and pure energy I have been feeling is certain. Of course, since I am doing yoga everyday too, it is a bonus!

Ubud is a place where one can come to rejuvenate, go for yoga, spa treatments, eat healthy easily and enjoy the cool of the mountain air here on Bali. It is a centre for healing; mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual. Hinduism is what prevails and the Balinese families live their spirituality, in every moment of their waking time they are aware of the deities and the desire to appease them, thank them, pay homage and respect.

The amount of temples and incense burning surpasses anywhere else I have seen so far in SE Asia. One can find accommodation in beautiful hotels with a pool for $15 a night (I was in Pande Permai Bungalows off Agoda and had the Superior Delux air con room for $15 night and it was absolutely fabulous) or rent through airb&b for about $450 a month and have a decent place to call home for a time.

bali flower

I have met a lot of health leaders that charge a fair amount for a health programme, package deals to come and just indulge in all Ubud has to offer. However if you want to go it alone it is easy to do. I came here and joined the unlimited pass at Yoga Barn for a month for $200, there are over 13 classes a day including all different types of yoga for the beginner to the advanced, sound medicine healing’s with indigenous instruments, a selection of guided meditation classes to choose from and even some Thai Yoga Massage and Acro yoga to learn! Kundalini and Pranayama breathe work classes, ecstatic dance evenings and Sunday free form dance were the highlights for me! There is a holistic health café with wheatgrass shots, jamu (a turmeric/ginger/lime/honey drink famous in Bali), smoothies of all sorts, brown/red rice dishes with tofu/tempeh and veggies. Fruit bowls, vegan and raw food choices, teas and coffees, elixirs for health and snacks made with fresh ingredients.

Yoga Barn truly is an “all-in-one” experience. One can come to Ubud and give themselves their own mini retreat just buy putting themselves up in a nice hotel/homestay for the month and buying the YB unlimited class card. If you go 2 times a day that is just over $3 a class, it is well worth it! There are 10-20 class cards available too but this isn’t a sales pitch for YB, this is just one of the many ideas that I am suggesting for a healthy easy retreat that doesn’t cost a lot. There are a few other centres too, Radiantly Alive and Intuitive Flow are the other two well known yoga/meditation centres.

I am offering a list of some of the better restaurants for vegan/raw food or vegetarians: Seeds of Life, Soma, Moksa, Alchemy, Clear, Atman, Bali Buda, Mudra and Sayuri. There are many others but these cater for the extremely advanced health conscious person and you can refill your water bottles at these places also. Bali Buda has a healthfood store around the corner from the restaurant and there is a used bookstore of good value called Ganesh next door. If yoga isn’t your thing, there is a good gym called Ubud Fitness Centre and one can buy a week or month pass. It has all the normal cardio equipment and air con/café/changing rooms. There is also aerobics and some dance.

The main attractions, or shall I say “experience’s” the health and spiritual seekers seem to flock to is the Tempak Siring Temple, the Pyrmids of Chi, Akasha and a few Ashrams in Ubud. The little village is no longer little anymore and has grown over the years with galleries, massage centres, little local yoga centres, clothes and jewellery for the yogi and/or metaphysical person. Crystal shops, tarot cards, sacred geometry designs on T shirts and made out of metal to hang in your windows. The whole Ubud vibration is about raising your mindset to another level of awareness and I feel that even though it may be a bit overkill, it is a fabulous place for likeminded souls in the health and spiritual family to come together and for the novice to explore new ways of living and thinking without feeling threatened.

dance of shivas

As usual, I have been carrying around my suitcase with my art portfolio and paints ready to get to work when inspired. The last painting I did in Ubud is this magnolia painting called Blooming Radiance. “The Dance of Shiva is a well-recognised symbol/deity in Hindu mythology; it is the continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena. I represented this is my own way by incorporating the Ring of Fire that surrounds Shiva in combination with rays of sun shooting from the centre through the darkness.

The magnolia is a symbol of strength and endurance yet with a gentle unfolding. We are all capable of connecting with the One, reminding us of our own inner light that can shine forth through any turmoil, being receptive to uplifting and healing qualities that flow through the universe to guide our way on. Sometimes we may get lost in the darkness and then from somewhere within we can remember and bloom again. There will always be death and rebirth, dark and light, self-doubt and amazement. Being in Ubud has set me on a rather “esoteric” path. It is exciting to see what happens when I allow myself to “step out of the box” on paper with my art and a way for me to express what I am going through visually. I will be “off the beaten track” with my artwork for a while but something else may develop as I go. I highly recommend Ubud in Bali for a place to recharge, recreate or discover new ways to be healthy, happy and harmonious in your life!

Journey’s are gifts to ourselves, the ups and the downs, the all of it. Our inner journey is also worth taking.


Margaret Elizabeth Johnston ND enjoys travelling through different countries to explore new ways of living that may inspire her paintings, writings and teachings. Holistic health is a way of life for Margaret as she hopes to ignite in others some fresh ideas and paths that can be taken. You can follow her journey through her website or Facebook: www.mejcreations.com


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