One month at Serenity Guesthouse, Canggu, Bali.
One day – 6 months ago – I discovered that I wanted to be a yoga teacher, that it would be my new way, my new career goal. I had always been attracted to yoga and I liked doing it, but I had never been really committed in a studio. So the question was: how to do when you suddenly want to become a teacher when you have never really practiced before?!
A teacher training was far too early, me who needed to regain possession of my body, and to familiarize myself with the Upward Facing Dog. Waiting to practice a year or two in a studio didn’t suit me neither, especially since I’m always on the road.
So I decided to start “gently”, taking an unlimited pass in a yoga studio in Bali. My intention was to be fully immerged in one place where I can create for myself a “mini retreat”. In this way, I could go at my own pace and the rhythm of my desires.
If I chose Serenity it is first for its price. When you look for retreats and other possible trainings in Bali you can really be scared! Indeed, you can easily end up paying 700 € a week… This kind of package is especially for devoted yogis wanting to cut with their real life for a few days but having maximum of comfort in the same time. That is not what I was looking for. I was less interested in the comfort of the rooms and the pool than the courses offered and my freedom of action.
So I opted for an unlimited yoga pass with room and breakfast included and I tell you my experience.
What immediately pleased me when I saw the schedule of the month of April is the variety of the courses. I could find the classics styles (Ashtanga, Vinyassa, Hatha), but also their variants that allow a more targeted practice (such as Core Strength Vinyassa, Hatha Flow or Vinyassa Krama). There are also others styles like Yin, Restorative, Detox-Retox, Power, Aerial or Chackra Flow.
The choices are almost endless! The classes are well balanced all day and week, which allows to work according to the energy of the moment. In this way you can adjust what kind of classes you want to do regarding your injuries or your physical and mental needs (more technique VS more relaxation, smooth course VS intense course). For those who really want to go deeper into yoga, you can find yourself doing it from 8am to 8 pm. This requires a little bit of organization, but it is quite manageable. But tiring, very tiring! What is also very interesting is that the teachers varies over the days, which makes the learning day more interesting, each teacher having his own way to teach.
The studios are correct, well ventilated and there are always available equipments for everyone: bolster, eco-friendly mats, straps, blocks, spray cleaner and rags, (and even the natural mosquito repellent, very useful during a Yin session on the end of the day!).
Generally, I was not disappointed with any teacher. They all have something to contribute, both in their words and in their teaching. A teacher may disappoint you at the first class. Try again. I noticed that it is often necessary to get a double idea of the class that we have just done. First because your body or mind could not be in ideal conditions, and also because your teacher might be in a “no-go” day. This is a normal human reaction, even for a teacher! Try twice so to have a double opinion on the subject you may be surprised.
The only thing I have found sometimes disappointing (but this is not the case for all teachers) is that courses are not always renewed. Some teachers prepare their courses in advance, change certain passages, and propose new postures to try and it is very motivating. But others keep a very strict guideline at each class, which can make the session boring after several tries for me. While yet the teacher is great. It’s a pity because the teacher only shares 10% of his knowledge and the student does not learn anything new (which nevertheless encourages him to go to his yoga mat).
Laura and I were in one of the resort’s outbuildings, so our room was a little further down the street, exactly 7 minutes walk. A small shuttle proposes to carry you of the room in the main building which is very practical at night time, when it is very hot or when it rains (so almost all the time! Ahah) Nevertheless it is not always very easy to have the shuttle, which is often busy or used to drive the staff for room maintenance.
Our room was really nice and we felt very good for a month. It includes:
– a bedroom area with king size bed, mosquito net, large bookshelf
– a “kitchen” part with a sink, a worktop, a fridge and a safety deposit box
– a bathroom with toilet and shower, hot water included (you may have to adjust the electrical device because it’s very hot water !)
– a nice terrace with two chairs
The only thing downside was the lack of lights on the road between the center and our rooms which did not reassure us too much. Indeed, we found that Canggu was not a very safe Indonesian city, so we often came back worried about having a bad encounter. And for proof, we got our bag pulled on the path at 8pm, while we were walking handbags ditch side. Fortunately the weight of the bag (my computer was in it!) surprised the aggressor and made him almost fall so he had to run away. Be very vigilant and favor strong backpacks.
We have been seduced by the staff of Serenity Guesthouse. Young, smiling, patient and always in a good mood! Little by little we became friends and leaving them was not easy! For those who love animals, the team also includes 3 mascots, a dog and her two adorable puppies that should already have grown well!
Without a doubt, the meals in the restaurant were always excellent! Vegetarian cuisine, vegan, healthy and balanced, the perfect combo is there! We have never been disappointed and we have noted that each dish was prepared with care, from products selected for their quality. Special note for desserts that were as pretty as good, and good for the body. Made with natural sugar, “healthy” and not greasy products, it’s the perfect combination to crack without worrying! Nevertheless, we could not enjoy it often because our budget did not allow it. We thought it was expensive compared to the local food (that was our budget) and regarding to the size of the plate (for the big gourmet that we are!!).
Only breakfast was included in our “package” for only 25 000 RP more. Again, we feasted! Each morning we had the choice with several options, including the “choice of the day”. Everything was very good. I can tell you that on the day of the coconut pancakes we were crazy for joy! You know, those little pleasures of life…
We were very satisfied with the location of the resort. 5 minutes from the beach, and 15 minutes from downtown, by foot. Despite our years of travel, we are not yet comfortable to ride a scooter but we advise you to rent one, for more freedom. Between heat and fatigue, reaching the city can be easily discouraging and we didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy it so much. And as I told you earlier, it is better to travel by scooter or even by bike at night to reduce the chances of aggression. By foot, be careful to walk well along the road.
- Very friendly and smiling staff at all costs
- The swimming pool that saved our afternoon at 35 degrees!
- The ecofriendly label and all the initiatives put in place
- The water refill
- Hot water available, to make tea all day long
- Gourmet and healthy food
- The unfortunately unwelcome welcome on arrival. Apart from the room, no one has made a mini-guided tour of the place, nor explained anything (schedules, amenities, services)
- The Lack of awareness of their eco-friendly approach (we have to find the info)
- The lack of interest of the managers. They saw us every day, for a month but they never came to present themselves or say hello. It would have been nicer to connect with them.
- The lack of lights on the way back to the rooms
While writing this article (8 months later), I realize even more how beautiful is this place, and we advise it to everyone. We hope to have the opportunity to return soon, for the good quality of the yoga classes! (then because right now I’m hungry and I’m craving for the homemade snickers).
Our package for our “homemade” yoga retreat for one month:
One double bedroom : 6 000 000 RP
A Unlimited yoga pass : 2 200 000 RP
Breakfast everyday : 750 000 RP
The prices are from 2017, and include one person.
And you, did you also found a place like that somewhere in the world?
Note: all our articles are translated by us. We are still learning so please be indulgent :). We wanted this website bilingual to share our adventures with everybody. Also, feel free to tell us our mistake to improve the quality of the article. firstname.lastname@example.org