What It’s Like to Go to Bali for a Yoga Retreat

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Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson is the founder of Aussie-based global activewear brand Lorna Jane, and has spent her life and career building a community around her holistic approach to health and happiness. Looking pretty incredible at age 50, Clarkson recently traveled to Bali, a destination she chose for its natural beauty and the fact that it’s conducive to eating fresh, healthy produce and spending time outdoors.

Since spending a month in Bali is pretty much everyone’s dream vacation, but a rare one to experience, we asked Clarkson to document her trip for us so we could live vicariously. Here, she shares her experiences in Bali in her own words.

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

I went to: Bali on a yoga retreat for—can you believe it—four weeks! I’m obsessed with all things health and fitness, so a Balinese getaway was the perfect way to escape to a beautiful and exotic location with the added benefit of working out, eating great food, relaxing with daily meditation and simply escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I find that taking a regular vacation is a good reminder of how important it is to make time to do the things that we love—and while we cannot literally escape as often as we would like, we can take snippets of time to read a few pages of our favorite book, sit in silent meditation, catch up with friends or simply step outside in the middle of the day to enjoy the sunshine.

MORE: The Beauty Products Our Editors Won’t Travel Without

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

I stayed at: The W Hotel in Seminyak, which was amazing! We then travelled to Jashri for the yoga retreat where we stayed at Villa Mandala, which was more like staying with a Balinese family than in a hotel and was the perfect way to immerse ourselves into the Balinese way of life. We then moved to Ubud where we stayed at Annunda Cottages and then moved on to The Viceroy. The last few days I spent in Seminyak shooting our latest campaign with my team and we stayed at Chandra Villas.

I ate: Completely vegetarian for the first three weeks, which was perfect for our practice and felt so good that I continued it for the rest of my stay. One of my favorite sayings is “you are what you eat” and I’m mindful with what I choose to put in to my body at all times. It was so hot while I was in Bali that I became completely obsessed with drinking fresh coconut water to keep me hydrated. And fruit platters, acai bowls and smoothies were an everyday thing.

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

I packed: Plenty of activewear, a bikini, sarong, casual pieces, sunscreen, natural insect repellant and my favorite beauty products.

While I was there I: Practiced yoga and meditation most of the time, but still found time to hike, visit some temples and have plenty of massages and spa treatments. I will admit, I spent quite a few hours staring at sunsets, which sounds boring but they are amazing in Bali! We also did a group clean-up of one of the local beaches which was a real high-five moment when we finished.

MORE: 7 Yoga Moves That Will Improve Your Sex Life

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

My favorite part wasOur stay at The Viceroy would have to be a highlight. After 3 weeks of yoga—which was amazing, but exhausting—it was so nice to relax without any early morning meditation calls.

My top Instagrammable moment was: The sunsets—they are utterly breathtaking and so much better in real life than you could possibly capture on camera. The beauty of the Balinese people is also something I will never forget; I think we can learn a lot from such a kind and compassionate culture.

img 9144 What Its Like to Go to Bali for a Yoga Retreat

Lorna Jane Clarkson

To live like a local, I went to: Alchemy Café in Ubud is the island’s first 100 percent raw vegan cafe and everything on the menu was not only beautifully presented but absolutely delicious. It is a local hangout, where yogis sit cross-legged on cushions playing guitar with their dogs sleeping peacefully at their feet. I drove everyone crazy wanting to eat there every day and even grabbed a takeaway as a ‘last supper’ when we were heading to Seminyak. They are also just about to release a cookbook, which I am keen to get my hands on as soon as I can.

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

If you visit Bali and only do one thing, it should be: Hiking the Pura Lempuyang Temple—it’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the Balinese culture while seeing the best views of Bali. The hike is pretty tough, so be prepared, and you do need to cover your arms and wear a sarong as a sign of respect for the Balinese culture.

Lorna Jane Clarkson

Lorna Jane Clarkson

MORE: The Best Quick Road Trips from Every Major U.S. City

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