Anyone who is into yoga and has been to Bali will of certainly heard of The Yoga Barn. This huge yoga complex set in beautiful grounds within Ubud has become pretty famous for its multitude of yoga and meditation classes, it’s plethora of workshops on wellness and healing, and it’s restaurant which dishes up freshly made, healthy delicious food. Everyone told me to go there, and that I would love it. I was certain I’d love it. The timetable was packed with all sorts of different yoga classes. I was so eager I bought a 3 class pass before I even went into my first class. And it looked amazing. The grounds are beautiful and the buildings are spacious and lush. But after that first class, I felt odd. Normally when I leave a yoga class I feel refreshed, ready for anything, at peace, and like I have learnt something new, whether on a physical or a spiritual level. I didn’t feel like this. It was the first time I actually felt negativity after a yoga class. I felt frustrated and upset, but couldn’t get my head around why, until I got back to my guesthouse and had the time to reflect on it.I don’t think the Yoga Barn is an incredible place to practice yoga and get more in touch with your spirituality. I actually see it as a huge, money making machine. Not only are classes expensive (which can be expected in Ubud), but the class was far too packed, and I think this is why I couldn’t get the most from the practice. To be exact, the class I was in was maximum capacity: 42 people. That’s right. 42 people in one yoga class! Everyone is different, but for me, I can get the most out of a practice in a small class, maybe 8 to 12 people max, where a teacher can interact with you and correct your posture if need be. Where you have your own personal space to belong and to be at one with yourself. Where, despite trying not to, you aren’t constantly comparing yourself to everyone else in the class.

The class was meant to be a ‘level 1’, so suitable for beginners. While I’m not a beginner, I am in no way advanced, but it definitely felt more like an advanced class. The teacher asked us to do very complex moves, which take time and when attempted without practise, can seriously injure you. Many of the people in the class were well advanced though, which made me feel inadequate, I’m sad to say. The postures were not explained in terms of their benefits and there was no emphasis on breathing. It felt more like an aerobics class than a yoga class. It felt  like only one sort of person was welcome there, and I was not that sort of person. I like to play. I like to laugh. I like to not take it too seriously. I like to be unhealthy sometimes and not feel guilty for it. I like to work within my means. This was not the sort of place I could do that.

I can understand why some people like the Yoga Barn and this post is in no way saying: do not go there. But for me, it was too overwhelming and just felt like a corporate machine. There are so many other yoga centres in Ubud and across Bali that would provide a more intimate and authentic atmosphere. I don’t normally like writing posts that are so critical, but I really do not agree with the way the Yoga Barn operates. It felt fake. Sorry Yoga Barn, but your huge classes with no time for personal adjustments are just not for me.

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