Radiantly Alive Yoga studio in Ubud, Bali – A Review

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In November, I customized a yoga retreat for myself and went on a 5-day trip to Ubud, Bali. Over a period of four days, I practised yoga every day at a popular-but-not-overcommercialized-yet yoga studio: Radiantly Alive.

Customize DIY yoga retreat • Petite WandersFounded by Daniel Aaron in 2012, Radiantly Alive looks quite the unassuming yoga place from its entrance. However, within its grounds lie more than one spacious yoga studio – but three. Radiantly Alive has various classes a day and a good amount of enthusiastic yogis joining the classes. It also has dedicated yoga teachers who each inspired me in their own ways.

Customize DIY yoga retreat • Petite Wanders

Why I’ll recommend Radiantly Alive yoga studio

  • Good prices. A one-week pass costs 550,000 IDR, which is S$58. Even if you only go one class a day, it’s still a good price. Radiantly Alive also has packages from 1 class, 1 day, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3-class, 10-class and more!
  • Not so commercialized: Depending on class and timings, the studio won’t be jam-packed with people. There should be about 30-40 people in the studio at any time.
  • Good and fun classes of mostly 90min each. I tried RA Vinyasa, Gentle Flow, Yoga Dance, Restorative, Roll & Release. I particularly enjoyed Roll & Release and all the RA Vinyasa classes! 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 studio is big and airy with a high ceiling. There are 3 studios 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 studio).
  • Plenty of mats to go around.
  • Props are sufficient for your practice.
  • There are spray flasks with water inside and cloths for you to wipe down your mat before and after class.
  • You can help yourself to insect repellent provided in the studio.
  • There’s mineral water available outside the studio.
  • Clean toilets.
  • No hardselling: 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.
  • 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, they’ll scan to verify it and you’re good to proceed.

The less-awesome part about Radiantly Alive

  • Mats: Manduka quality mats but obviously very used as they’re pretty flat 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 have combined and mutated with the mat to produce a uniquely pungent smell on its own. Thankfully, from the second day onwards, it was much bearable. I’m pretty sure the staff cleans the mats at the end of the day.
  • 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 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!

Classes at Radiantly Alive

  • Gentle Flow: This was the very first class I took in the studio. I went for a 715am class by Erica Pontalti, and this teacher gave my morning a good start! Erica is a wise teacher and it was so nice to connect the mind with the body in her 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 of these conducted by Paul Hack, Jasmine Danino and also James Mattingley. Generally, the classes will range in terms of mood (for example, Paul was determined to have a class dedicated to “Play” and it was fun, while James’ class was more calm).
  • Yoga Dance: To be honest, this was the class I didn’t enjoy the most although it was still fun. The teacher taught a sequence of dance-steps and added in yoga flows and poses, so by the end of the session, we all could dance the same sequence.
  • Roll & Release – This class felt soooooo good. The teacher, James Mattingley, speaks in a really calm way which adds to the “zen” manner of the workshops. 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) from the teacher’s venture – Good Dog Yoga gear, to help us release tension from various parts of our body. We were rolling around on the mats on top of these balls and the effect was indeed like 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 a very zen-like class of holding relaxing stretches long enough to make you doze off. The class I went was held by Paul Hack.

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.

Tips before you go:

  • Not a must but it’ll be good to bring your own mat towel or even your own mat!
  • 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.

Customize DIY yoga retreat • Petite Wanders

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