A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without some healthy movement practices. Here’s your guide to the best yoga, dance, and spa experiences in Ubud.
Ubud is the epicenter of health and wellness in Bali. You can visit healers, receive blessings, practice all different kinds of yoga and meditation, and also enjoy many affordable massages and spa treatments.
So where to start? Start with my overview of the best yoga, dance, and spa experiences I did while visiting Ubud Bali.
Best Yoga Ubud
Most lists of the best yoga in Ubud will have Yoga Barn at the top. It’s the biggest yoga center in Ubud. Established in 2007, you can find over 100 classes and workshops going on throughout the week.
The thing to remember is that bigger is not always better :-) I will say that Yoga Barn has a diverse range of classes and teachers so if a class isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other options.
Yoga Barn is also home to the popular twice-weekly ecstatic dance, which I cover in more detail below. You can also stay at Yoga Barn, as well as eat, and get a massage or other body treatment. It’s full service.
I preferred doing yoga at the more intimate set-up of Radiantly Alive on the opposite end of Ubud from Yoga Barn.
They have 3 studios at Radiantly Alive. All have beautiful views of the jungle with sounds of a trickling stream nearby, making for a very relaxing shavasana.
Radiantly Alive also offers massages and body treatments, as well as a café on site for a post-yoga meal. I missed eating here since I became a big fan of Bali Buda across the street (read about my favorite restaurants in Ubud here).
If Kundalini is your preferred yoga practice, then check out Ubud Bodyworks.
Ubud Bodyworks was founded in 1987 by Master Ketut Arsana. Master Arsana has been practicing yoga, as well as many other spiritual activities for over 25 years.
He brings that knowledge to the center where he teaches Kundalini, as well as offers healing treatments. If you can’t get him, his therapists are all well trained and can hook you up with a blissful experience.
Other Ubud Yoga Studios
Other yoga studios in Ubud that I didn’t have a chance to experience but have heard are worth a visit include:
Intuitive Flow, Ubud Yoga House, and Ubud Yoga Centre.
Ecstatic Dance Ubud
As popular as yoga is in Ubud, ecstatic dance has also become equally popular for locals and visitors alike.
Ecstatic dance is a form of self-expression where you allow your body to naturally flow to inspirational music. You drop into your body and let it move intuitively as the DJ plays music with highs and lows that range from serene to primal and back again. Ultimately this type of dance allows you to get out of your head, release stress, and relieve any energetic blocks in the mind and body. It’s not unusual to hear people scream, yell, laugh, or cry, though talking is not permitted nor is alcohol.
Of the 100+ classes Yoga Barn offers, one of the most popular is the ecstatic dance. It’s held twice a week on Friday night from 7:30-9:30pm and on Sunday morning 11am – 12:30pm.
I heard that it can challenging to secure a spot in Yoga Barn’s ecstatic dance. I arrived two and a half hours before the class time to find about 50 people in line ahead of me. Luckily there was room for all but don’t assume you’ll get lucky and slide in at the last minute. Plan accordingly.
Many of the folks who showed up to Yoga Barn’s ecstatic dance knew each other, so there’s a large contingent of locals. It also felt like quite the pick-up scene with people checking each other out and moving and sweating together in very seductive ways. It is the nature of ecstatic dance but it did feel a bit like an insider’s club. Regardless, I still had fun dancing to the great music with lots of energy in the room.
Paradiso in Ubud often holds ecstatic dance events somewhat regularly, though not with the same consistency as Yoga Barn. You can also catch movies and cultural events at Paradiso as well. Check their website to see what’s going on when.
In My Elements
Malaika Darville leads ecstatic dance and training in Bali and around the world. She DJs as well and is often found running an ecstatic dance and sound bath at Mansion Wellness on Wednesday nights in Ubud. Check her website to see her current schedule.
Ecstatic Dance Bali Festival
If you time your trip to Ubud Bali right, you could hit the Bali Ecstatic Dance Festival. It was July 1-2 this year. It’s two days of dance, yoga, jam sessions, twerking, biohacking, salsa, sound activation, and more. Keep an eye on their website for new dates.
Bali Spirit Festival
The annual Bali Spirit Festival is held in March each year and one of their most popular sessions is the ecstatic dance. You can infuse dance between the many yoga sessions, talks, and experiences that the Bali Spirit Festival provides.
Spa and Spiritual Experiences Ubud
There are as many spas as there are different mind and body treatments to discover while visiting Ubud Bali. Luckily the massages, facials, and bodywork are all very reasonably priced, by U.S. standards, so you can feel bold to branch out and try a few new things without breaking the bank.
Here were some of my favorite spa and spiritual experiences in Ubud.
Taksu Healing Haven
Like many of the Ubud spas on this list, Taksu offers a range of experiences from massage to yoga, dining, and even a sound bath. Taksu is conveniently located in the center of town and is a beautiful spot with a running waterfall flowing through the middle. Treatment rooms are scattered throughout different levels of the large, mostly outdoor center.
I was lucky to catch a sound bath with Kate Wiese before she left Ubud for a month. Over a dozen gongs and musical instrument encircle Kate who plays each over the course of an hour as you lay back and let the sound wash over (learn more about the effects of a sound bath here).
Taksu also has a lovely restaurant to eat after a massage because who really wants to go anywhere when you’re so relaxed. The food is healthy with a range of vegan, raw, and carnivorous meals.
Karsa is another beautiful spa in Ubud Bali. Karsa takes a little more work to get to than Taksu but it’s well worth it. You need to hike part of Campuhan Ridge to get to Karsa. The walk has a steady climb until you get to the Ridge, but then you’re treated to sweeping views of the jungle and luxurious homes in Ubud.
Karsa has koi ponds and flowers dotting the paths and between the covered, outdoor treatment rooms. I tried ear candling here where they stick a long thin candle into the canal to remove wax buildup. My therapist rubbed my neck, shoulders, and ear areas during the treatment for a very relaxing, and productive (!), treatment. I also really enjoyed the Intuitive Heart Massage, which opened all of my energy centers and brought on full relaxation.
Karsa has a restaurant too but the food isn’t as good as Taksu’s. It’s fine for a green juice and some banana bread though before making the (downward) trek back to Ubud.
As I mentioned above in the Ubud yoga section, Ketut Arsana is the man behind Ubud Bodyworks. He’s an internationally recognized healer and Kundalini Yoga Guru. Sadly, he was on vacation the entire time during my visit to Ubud so I wasn’t able to get a treatment with him.
If you’re interested in booking a healing session with Ketut, be sure to book in advance. You can get either a 30-minute energy balancing, or go a full two hours. He’ll balance what ails you through a variety of means, which could include acupressure, reflexology, cupping, and/or chiropractic manipulation.
Radiantly Alive is a full service wellness center in Ubud with yoga, treatments, workshops, and healing therapies. You can explore everything from colonics to astrology, reiki, qigong, and trauma release.
I tried the biodynamic craniosacral therapy with Chris Skidmore, and I highly recommend it. Chris uniquely combines Psychotherapy with spirituality and bodywork to really help you release long-term blockages in your body for overall healing.
Like the other spas and yoga centers in Ubud, Yoga Barn has of course, yoga, as well as a restaurant with really delicious and nourishing vegan food. There are also body treatments like crystal therapy, intuitive guidance, shiatsu, chakra balancing, and tarot card reading.
If you just want a straight up, fabulous massage, Yoga Barn has an Esalen® trained therapist who focus on long slow flowing strokes designed to relax and revitalize the body. Ngurah Sudana is supposed to be a really good Esalen® masseuse at Yoga Barn. I ran out of time to try him out but he’s on my list for the next trip.
There’s no shortage of fabulous five-star resorts in Ubud, and Como Shambhala is one of the best. Como Shambhala feels world’s away from Ubud, even though it’s only about 20-minutes away. If a stay is out of range, then book a massage to enjoy some of the hotel amenities.
I participated in the Ayurvedic program at Como Shambhala, which combined different treatments each day like Shirodhara, which pours warm oil slowly on your forehead for about 30 minutes to open up and relax the third eye. Pizichili is like Shirodhara except that the warm oil is continuously poured over your entire body. My skin has never felt more hydrated and balanced.
The food at Como Shambhala is healthy and healing, but not in a deprived, tasteless way. They use creative spices and flavors and will work with you on any food allergies you have. If you’re looking for a special stay with a focus on health and wellness, Como Shambhala is a great option.
There are many, many more yoga studios, spas, and spiritual experiences to be had in Ubud Bali. Please share if you’ve tried in any others that you’ve enjoyed because I’m going to need to go back to Bali again soon!