In November, I customized a yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali as a birthday gift to myself. For four days, I went for yoga classes daily at a popular but not-overcommercialized-yet yoga studio: Radiantly Alive,.
Daniel Aaron founded Radiantly Alive in 2005*. From the looks of the entrance, Radiantly Alive looks quite the unassuming yoga place. Located along a quiet road, away from the main roads, I wouldn’t have noted its existence if I didn’t know the address!
There’s actually more than one yoga shala inside – three in total! Radiantly Alive has various classes in a day (check out the schedule at the entrance and online too), plus a good number of enthusiastic yogis joining the classes. It also has a team of experienced yoga teachers who each inspired me in their own ways.
Did I enjoy yoga classes at Radiantly Alive?
The Yoga Classes
- Gentle Flow: Early morning at 715am and skipping breakfast, I arrived for a 715am class. Erica Pontalti gave my morning a great start! Sharing snippets of wisdom, it felt so nice to connect the mind with the body.By the end of class, I felt so energized and cheerful that I continued with a second Vinyasa class right after, which means I did 3 hours of yoga in one morning!
- RA Vinyasa: I went for a few RA Vinyasa classes taught seperately by Paul Hack, Jasmine Danino and also James Mattingley. The classes range differently in terms of mood (for example, Paul was determined to have a class dedicated to “Play” and it was fun; James’ class is filled with a zen aura, Jasmine shared about overcoming life’s struggles).
- Yoga Dance: Honestly speaking, this was the class I didn’t enjoy the most although it was still fun. I guess it must be pretty challenging to synchronize the vibe and energy level across different ages, nationalities and physical levels within a very short time. The teacher taught a sequence of dance steps, adding yoga flows and poses. By the end of the session, we all would dance/flow to the same sequence.
- Roll & Release – This class felt really awesome. The teacher, James Mattingley, speaks in a really calm way which adds to the “zen” vibe of the workshop. James had us make use of bolsters, yoga blocks and a special prop – myofascial yoga balls (it’s like tennis balls but made of rubber), to help us release tension from various parts of our body.So we were all rolling around on mats on top of these balls and the effect was indeed like having a deep tissue massage! Before I left for Singapore, I purchased two of the little balls for about S$25 or S$30, so I can use at home! #SupportSmallBusinesses
- Restorative: This was such a healing class, I enjoyed it so much. We held relaxing stretches long enough to make you doze off. To add to the mood, tea-candles were lit around the shala. Thank you Paul Hack for the amazing workshop!
There are other classes that Radiantly Alive holds which I didn’t get to try, such as Iyengar Inspired, Fly High Yoga, Yin, Pilates, etc.
What I Like About Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio!
*Good prices. A one-week pass costs 550,000 IDR, which is S$58/USD$42*. Even if you only go one class a day, it’s still a good price. Radiantly Alive also has packages for you to come for 1 class, 1 day, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3-class, 10-class or more!See new prices below.
- Not so commercialized: Depending on class and timings, the studio won’t be jam-packed with people. At any one time, there’s no more than 30-40 students.
- Good and fun classes of mostly 90min each. You’ll sweat A LOT for the classes in Ubud’s weather!
- Teachers are wonderful, patient and mindful. I took classes with James Mattingley, Erica Pontalti, Paul Hack, Jasmine Danino and all of them are lovely!
- The main shala is big and airy with a high ceiling. There are 3 shalas in total at Radiantly Alive, including one used for aerial yoga.
- There’s no aircon and windows will be open and perhaps the fans will be switched on. You can hear insects and birds outside at the trees, which make your practice feel more holistic (insects might also fly into the shala).
- Plenty of mats to go around.
- Props are sufficient for your practice.
- There are spray flasks with water inside and small towels for you to wipe down your mat before and after class.
- You can help yourself to insect repellent provided in the shala.
- There’s mineral water available outside the studio.
- Clean toilets.
- No hard-selling: No one’s trying to upsell you anything because the people that go for practices are mostly travellers who are in Ubud for a short term only. With that said, most of the yoga students are Caucasians.
- Fuss-free ways to obtain a pass: Turn up 15min before your first class, purchase a class/pass, pay, and you’ll be given a little card which serves as your member pass. Before your other classes afterwards, you’ll just show that pass at the reception, they’ll scan to verify it and you’re good to proceed.
*Update (June 2017): In late 2016, Radiantly Alive came under new owners. The package rates have since been revamped and prices increased. Now, the prices are in USD$.
The Less Awesome Parts about Radiantly Alive
- Mats: Manduka quality yoga mats but obviously very used, because they’re pretty flat by now.
- Mat smell: On my first day on a Sunday, the mat I was using smelled really awful. I could smell it even when my face wasn’t near the mat. It was as if 10,000 people had left their sweat on it and over time, the smells combined and mutated with the mats to produce a uniquely pungent smell on its own. Thankfully, from the second day onwards, it was more bearable. I’m pretty sure the staff cleans the mats at the end of the day though!
- Foam blocks are getting very soft. There are wooden blocks available though.
- Cleanliness: The floors are not perfectly clean the way SG studios are, but you can say it reflects the rustic side of Bali.
- Shower areas looked kinda ‘too rustic‘. I didn’t dare to shower there, preferring to go back to my hotel for a quick shower.
- There’s no booking system. People just turn up at the studio before class and everyone will try to make space. I’m not sure what happens when the class gets too packed though.
With all things listed out, there’s not a lot of cons about Radiantly Alive! It’s a studio I’ll be happy to go back to in the future!
Tips before you go for classes at Radiantly Alive:
- If you’re a stickler for hygiene, bring your own mat towel or even your own mat instead of using those at the studio.
- Put on insect repellent before going for class.
- You can bring your own natural disinfectant to clean the mat before using(my friend uses Young Living’s Thieves Spray). It should be natural because someone might complain you’re spraying toxic stuff onto the mat..
- Bring sufficient yoga-wear for the duration of your yoga retreat because you’ll definitely sweat a lot from each class and Bali’s heat.
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