So you want to go to Canggu?

In the last year and a half I spent about 5 months off and on living in Canggu, Bali. It’s now the unofficial #1 digital nomad destination in the world and a few people have asked me for tips so I thought it would be worthwhile to put together my own little guide to living short term in Canggu.

I’ve never been a backpacker in the traditional sense. Whenever I go away for a chunk of time I tend to find one place I really like and settle down there till it’s time to go home (and then I usually go back a few times). Example:

  • Ios, Greece: A tiny party island in the Cyclades, near Santorini. I went for a week, stayed for a month and returned the next summer for four months. This was when internet was dial up and you had to pay $/minute(!). I worked as a waitress at a breakfast restaurant on the mountainside overlooking the ocean and made 20 euro/day, my room was 6 euro/day and that was all I needed.
  • Jaco, Costa Rica: A touristy beach town, an hour and a half from San Jose. I went for a week, came back for a month, stayed for three months, came back for another three months and then some more. I was already working as a freelance web designer in Canada and just continued working full-time in Jaco. 9-5 (give or take), Mon-Fri on my laptop, outdoors at beachside cafes, sweating like crazy and stopping when the mosquitos started to come out.
  • Canggu, Bali: A touristy beach town (they seem to be my fave), close to the well-known Seminyak and Kuta areas. I visited for three days during a girls trip, came back for three weeks, then later a month, then later three months. I tried not to do the full-time thing like I did in Costa Rica, but did do a few small freelance projects while there (a little $ goes a long way in Indonesia).

I still love all three places and basically left a piece of my heart in each one. It’s crazy to see how fast they’ve grown though. In the last few years Canggu has really exploded – so much development and SO MANY digital nomads. Even if I’ve only been away for a month, Canggu is different every time I go back. This guide is very specific to my experience and my little pocket of life on the island of the gods. There is so much to do and see in Bali that I just can’t cover here, so for now…

Canggu

There are definitely some misconceptions about Canggu. It’s not jungles and waterfalls and endless rice fields (although there are a few beauts left!). And on the main streets it’s crowded and loud and dusty. The beaches are not white sand and they come with their fair share of garbage (although there are lovely groups coming together to clean it). The sea is not turquoise tropic – you can go to the Gilis for that. But it IS beautiful in all its messy glory. There is peace amongst the chaos. And once you start to understand its rhythms you’ll find so much joy bubbling up from the surface and understand why it’s becoming (if it’s not already) the most popular place to live in Bali.

The beauty of Canggu

Why did I go?

The first time I went for an extended period, I had a yoga retreat in Keramas to go to and decided to come early (three weeks early) and give myself the first proper break I’d had in a few years. After that I went back each time with different projects in mind, like finishing my portfolio, starting up Tnfld, and doing two different yoga teacher trainings at The Practice.

Living in Australia, Bali is a quick five hour plane ride away. You can get a return flight for under $400 AUD if you’re lucky. My favourite reasons to go: Surfing, yoga, food, people and the Hindu-Balinese culture.

The thing is…Bali is cheap. Like so cheap it makes Costa Rica seem like a high flyer trip in comparison. The low cost of living, combined with a ridiculous high quality of life is why so many people end up coming and staying. The beauty of this dynamic is that if you’re trying to get an online business off the ground, study long distance, write that book, etc. it buys you time. It gives you space. All of which give you the biggest luxury of all: creative freedom.

 

Recommendations

(Culture / Work / Sleep / Eat / Play / Getting around / Money / Visa)

Culture

Beach ceremonies at the temple

My friend, who had never been to Bali, recently went and texted me from the airport –  “Alex…I love Bali already…it smells AMAZING!”. It’s true. The island of the gods is full of dreamy incense, beautiful flowers and 3x (or more) daily offerings to the deities. There’s always music in the air, ceremonies to be performed, special holidays shutting down the streets. The ‘ishvara pranidhana’ (yoga term for ‘devotion to god’) is everywhere. The thickest thread tying together the cultural fabric.

Day out with the Five Pillar Foundation – a must do!

The Balinese are some of the most kind, friendly, funny, and easy going people. Family is everything and you see that everywhere. The support system is so strong. The Hindu Balinese religion is one based on karmic beliefs, which makes it the most special community I’ve ever seen.

I highly recommend doing a day trip with the Five Pillar Foundation. I can’t recommend it enough and I’m NOT regularly a day-trip, tour type of person. It’s amazing and will start you off on the right foot in terms of beginning to understand the roots of where you’re living. Check out my “Learn/Bali” highlights on insta of my day with them (not sponsored!).

It’s really easy in a Westernised place like Canggu to skim over the Balinese culture, but if you want the full Bali experience, do yourself a favour and open up. There’s legit magic in the air there – let it in!

 

Work

Good little worker bee (at Alter Ego cafe)

Don’t go to Bali expecting to find paid work. To legally work you need a KITAS permit. The government is very strict about this (especially in more populated places like Canggu) and has been known to look at social media, etc. so always be careful. Even if you’re teaching a one-off yoga class and want to advertise it online, it’s something to be mindful of.

I went with money saved and a few freelance clients and that was all I needed to get by. I’ve met people doing everything from everywhere:

  • Marketers/developers/designers…and one lawyer (shout out Bibi xx) working full-time remotely for companies abroad (https://remotive.io/)
  • Startups: lots of drop & ship, apps, fashion (baby wraps, bikinis, etc.)
  • Online English teachers for Chinese students
  • Freelance writers
  • Yoga teachers working exchange for room and meals
  • Bitcoin adventurers
  • Online health coaches, yoga teachers, fitness gurus, life coaches, etc.
  • And a lot of expats opening their own businesses in Canggu (restaurants, salons, fitness studios, luxe villas, etc.). 

Co-working: There are a ton of co-working spaces now in Canggu, but I only have experience with the original: Dojo. It’s expensive, but it can’t be beat for an introduction to Canggu. Such a great, welcoming staff, awesome community, events, talks, Friday drinks (Beach & beers). So many inspiring people – you’re always learning something new. The Facebook group is one of the best resources and ex-Dojoers are still active (including me) from all over the world.

I usually get a smaller package of hours and spend most of my time working from laptop friendly cafes.

 

Sleep

My #1 office

Guesthouse or villa? If you’re staying for a little while this is definitely something you’ll need to consider.

For me location is most important. To make sure I would go surfing early mornings, get to yoga on time, be able to walk home safely if I went out at night…I needed to be close to the beach and pretty much on Batu Bolong (the main street).

Check the map when you’re looking for a place, Canggu is actually quite large, long and wide. If you’re not riding a scooter you want to make sure you’re near the places you want to be. I’d also recommend booking a place for a few nights and then seeing how you feel about it once you’re there. It’s way easier to walk around and find a place you like (not to mention negotiate a better long-term deal) if you’re there in person.

It’s hard to find a villa that matched my location needs (they’re usually a lot further out), so I chose guesthouse. I loved my big room, my balcony overlooking a field, within earshot of my yoga studio (and all the “oms”).

If I was staying longer than a few months I would look into a villa, but for me (and for most of my friends) guesthouses were the way to go.

Price: I paid $22/night and stayed at D’Canggu (you can pay a lot more or a lot less, there’s something for everyone in Canggu).

Guesthouse: booking.com, airbnb, all the usuals, Villas: Facebook groups are the way to go. Try Canggu Community, Canggu Community Housing, etc.

 

Eat

The summer salad at Cafe Vida, topped with Barramundi. It’s one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten.

Eating is a huge part of my day when I’m in Bali. I tend to pick spots I can stay at for a while and get some work done, so they end up doubling as an office for me. If you aren’t living in a villa you really won’t have much, if any opportunity to cook. It’s usually cheaper to eat out anyways. It’s really interesting to see how much extra time you have when you take grocery shopping, food prep and cooking out of your day.

The food in Canggu is just…wow. Like you will dream about it for the rest of your life. It’s like living in a real life Instagram foodie account and finding out there are no filters. There is nothing sweeter than sitting on the porch at The Shady Shack for a whole morning, getting your work/study/relaxing done and enjoying every minute of it.

You can get Balinese, Australian, American, Vietnamese, Mexican, Japanese, Greek or search by vegan, paleo, refined sugar free, gluten free, avocado based (seriously) – whatever your preference.

You can eat for as little as $3/meal at a local warung or go as big as you want at one of the more ‘fine dining’ restaurants. It’s all up to you and your budget.

As for drinking…I don’t really drink when I’m in Bali. The odd cider here or there, but I’m not there for the Bintangs and spirits are almost the same price they’d be in Australia. Sparse drinking helps keep my spending in check the most. It also helps me stay on track with everything else I love to do…like waking up early to surf, go to yoga, etc.

And not seriously, but also actually very seriously: coconuts. I drink at least one a day (avg. $3/coconut). Nothing better than getting a coconut, sitting on the beach, watching the sunset and listening to some live reggae.

Tory comes to visit. We drink coconuts.

My absolute fave places to eat in Canggu: (honestly even though a new restaurant pops up every week, these have all stood the test of time so far)

For doing (a lot) of work:

For some variety:

Food: I spent $15-30/day on avg. Check out my “Eat/Bali” highlights on my insta.

Cafe Vida strikes again. Fish tacos – art on a plate.

 

Play

Surfing

Living my best life

Yes, I live in Australia. Yes, I live a few minutes from the beach. But seriously, the surf in Canggu is my favourite. If you seem to be an eternal beginner like me, this is the place to be. On good days (and there are a lot of them) the waves are big enough to get on, but soft enough to not hurt, they break far back from the shore, and the water’s deep and gentle…it’s the most forgiving surf playground I’ve ever been to. It’s usually pretty easy to paddle out. Standing up is…dare I say…kind of easy. You get to focus on practicing your turns, your speed, etc. Just like everything else in Bali…the waves give you time and space. Also the social aspect is phenomenal, people are friendly and open, you can sit on your board and chat between waves. It’s something really special. Go early, it gets way too crowded later in the day and watch out for beginner-beginners, their boards are heavy, big and all over the place!

I’ve thought about buying a board while there before or bringing one from Aus, but in the end I always chose to rent ($5/day). Here are my reasons why:

  1. It’s cheaper. If it gets damaged, you pay a nominal fee and that’s it. You don’t have to spend the big $ to fix it or replace your own and there’s no downtime waiting for it to be fixed or finding a new one.
  2. You can change it up. Big waves = smaller board, small waves = bigger board…the waves are your canvas to paint with whatever brush you feel like.
  3. It’s social. You always meet other people renting, the surf hut locals, etc. Always a laugh.
Yoga

My happy place. Ginger tea, bean bag chair, & the garden. Cue sounds of birds chirping and the pond flowing.

You can’t come to Bali and not do some yoga.

The Practice: And if you’re going to do some yoga…you can’t go past The Practice. It’s the heart and soul of “my” Canggu. Grab a ginger tea, cozy up on a bean bag facing the garden, look out for Jamu prowling through the grass and bliss out. And then maybe get to a class or two…

This is probably my most luxe purchase. It’s more expensive than a month at a Sydney studio, but it’s 1000x worth it. This is the real deal. Get to one of Octavio’s class if you can and let me know your thoughts!

Serenity: I sometimes get a 10 pack of classes, my favourite thing to do is check out the different treehouse feeling yoga shalas and have tempe curry in their cafe. All their teachers are Balinese too, which can be a nice change of pace.

Getting around

To scooter or not to scooter?

So…I don’t know ANYONE who rode a scooter and didn’t get into an accident. It definitely freaks me out. A friend’s brother was in a life-changing accident and over a year later he’s still recovering. I’ve seen more than a handful of crashes and injuries happen right in front of me. People don’t wear helmets, they don’t wear proper shoes, and they drive drunk (a lot).

That being said. It’s hard NOT to have a scooter and really experience Canggu. I was limited with where I could live and what I would do because of it, but I didn’t have a proper driver’s license at the time and I didn’t have insurance to cover any scooter injuries (***your insurance DOES NOT cover scooter accidents unless you have a scooter license back home – check into this!***). So even though I’ve seen so much firsthand I will probably drive a scooter the next time I go back (but get my license first, like my friend Ruth is doing atm).

So my advice for scooter riding is:

  1. Just wear the helmet. And make sure it fits.
  2. Wear your Supergas/Converse/runners. Don’t wear flip flops. The first thing people do in an accident is put their feet down…and it’s not pretty. I had to pull a scooter off a girl who had fallen over while driving slowly down the street in the late afternoon. The kickstand had gone straight through her foot and dollar store flip flop. It was awful 🙁 Shoes people, shoes!
  3. Don’t drive at night. Or at least please don’t drive drunk. You may think “I would never”, but that’s what they all say…before they do it! Things feel different when you’re in the moment.

Pretty much anything goes with scooter driving, for better or worse…

Money

Atms are everywhere, but be smart about which ones you use – there’s a lot of skimming going on. Just stick to the highly visible, high traffic ones…I’ve never had a problem.

If you have to exchange money, get a recommendation – I’ve heard so many stories about people getting conned.

They accept card almost everywhere – the positives of living in a highly developed piece of Bali.

Sid comes to visit. We sunset.

 

Visa

This is super basic advice, based on a Canadian passport experience. As always, do your research, they don’t mess around with this stuff, so get yourself in order before you go!:

  1. Make sure you have more than six months left on your passport otherwise they will turn you around at the airport.
  2. You have two easy options (there are more long term choices available, like a social visa, but I haven’t pursued them). The first one is an automatic you get 30-days as a tourist to enjoy. If you overstay your 30 days you have to pay by the day (I think it’s about $30/day atm). The second option is to do a visa extension which gives you 60 days, but you need to make sure you buy the ‘visa on arrival’ that allows you to extend it with a visa agent past the initial 30 days. I think all-in-all the whole thing cost around $100, but I could be wrong (did not keep track). Doing a visa run is really common and pretty much essential if you want to stay longer. There are cheap flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, etc. some people just do a quick run around and don’t even leave the airport, but I was lucky enough to have a good friend in Singapore, so I tried to make the most of my visa run when I was there for three months.

Sunsets. Worth every visa run.

My basic daily budget in AUD (not skimping, living THE LIFE):

Accomodation: $22/night (I made a long-term deal. You can do a lot cheaper than this, but I loved where I stayed – so much that I stayed there twice!)

Food: $15-30/day (At first I thought…wow, is that actually a lot? Then I realised I don’t buy groceries. In Sydney my weekly groceries, combined with going out for food with friends adds up – a lot! In Canggu I eat exactly how I want to, my dream day on a plate basically. It’s the greatest luxury.)

Surfing: $5/day

Yoga: TBD / You can buy class passes or unlimited per month

Co-working: TBD / Hour-based packages

Sim card: $20 every so often (they have great data packages, I always buy one as soon as I land and then top up at the convenience store. I think in three months I had to top up twice.)

My basic daily schedule:

Surf, fruit stand brekkie, yoga, brekkie/lunch & work for a few hours. Then nap or beach or popsicle or massage or all of those things together if I’m lucky. More work. Maybe some yin yoga. Sunset on the beach with friends and then dinner. Maybe some dancing. Bed. Repeat as much as needed.

 

Questions to ask before you go

  1. How long will you stay? (visas)
  2. Will you scooter? (insurance)
  3. Guest house or villa? (lifestyle)
  4. What do you want to focus on? Surfing? Yoga? Crossfit? Jujitsu? Work?

Best apps

Go Jek: it does everything for you. It’s your Uber, your Deliveroo, your grocery shopper, your Dial a bottle, you name it.

Gu Guide: Best advice on everything in Canggu from an Aussie girl who fell in love with an Indo boy and is raising their beautiful baby in the Gu. Her insta stories are my favourite.

What have I gotten from my times in Canggu, Bali?

I’ve made some of my best friends in Canggu. Real kindred spirits. People I can’t believe I haven’t known my whole life.

I’ve found so much inspiration, as well as confirmation that success is yours to build and hold. It seems like anything is possible in Canggu and I think that’s because you get a great spattering of entrepreneurs from all over the globe, it’s hard not to pursue your dreams with that kind of influence around you.

The first time I went on my own, I was coming off of a real hard period in my life. My health was haywire, I didn’t really know which way was up. But I went surfing every day. I got massages every day (did I forgot to mention the cheap massages…?!?!). I did yoga. I met amazing people. And legit, for the most part, all my physical ailments went away. There’s something to be said about getting out of your regular physical space. Sometimes all you need is a big hit of perspective and the soothing magic balm of Bali to believe.

This is the longest thing I’ve written for Tnfld by far and I feel like I haven’t even touched the surface. If you’re thinking of going to Bali, just do yourself a favour and buy the ticket. Be open to everything and get amongst it…you won’t regret it!


YTT: Yin and Traditional Tantra Hatha at The Practice Bali

If you’ve followed my Yoga Teacher Training Journey (see here, here and here), it’s been about a year since I did my 200hr course with Power Living in Bondi.

Since then I fell head over heels for the yoga at The Practice in Canggu, Bali. So when I found out about the 50hr Yin Teacher Training course they were holding, as well as the 50hr Traditional Tantra Hatha bridging course (for people who didn’t do their 200hr YTT with them, but want to learn the foundations of what they teach)…I knew I had to sign up. Here are my reviews of both:

50hr Yin Teacher Training with Nik Robson

Price: $850 USD

I’ve been to my fair share of yin classes with varying experiences, but when I started attending Nik’s yin classes last year I felt what I could only describe as pure magic. When I saw the training open up I knew I needed to find out what was behind it.

The training started with a half day, which included an opening ceremony and two hour practice. Our first full day was done in complete silence (definitely an experience). As the week went on (and we started speaking again hah) we learned about the pran vayus (different energies within the body), how to sequence a yin class to create specific experiences based on these energies and most importantly, how to create and hold a safe space for people to be free to create the *magic* for themselves.

We’d do yin practices that felt like an hour only to find out we’d stayed for three. Time didn’t exist and our little yin bubble was strong. We went deep and I felt like the course was lead the way Nik’s yin classes were lead: as a safe, strong, nurturing experience that gave us the space to really experience what we were learning and take it on board. There was a lot of trust put in us and the message was clear…it’s our duty to take these learnings, make them our own, and provide our own unique sacred spaces for people to experience yin.

50hr Traditional Tantra Hatha with Octavio Salvado

Price: $650 USD (a steal!)

If you’ve always wanted to take an extended spiritual pilgrimage to India, but haven’t found the time (hah), then this course is definitely for you. Not only is it insanely rich in content, but it also systematically shows you how to apply traditional tantra hatha yoga to your life…and how to reap the benefits.

This course was a whammy. So much information. So little time. We were given the same manual as the 200hr YTT course and I feel like we covered a lot of it. Each day was comprised of a two hour morning vinyasa krama, pranayama and meditation exercise followed by lectures with mini meditations and mantra chants in between. We were living and breathing the teachings being passed down to us. This is not the place to learn how to do your best downward dog (which you know if you’ve ever been to The Practice).

The majority of students were practicing yoga teachers (some even ran their own 200hr trainings) and a few yoga newbies. The yogis who had a fair share of trainings under their belt, all said they’d never found a course like this anywhere else in the world.

Here’s the course curriculum (direct from the site):

  • Tantric Philosophy, Cosmology and Methodology.
  • Moon, Sun and Fire: The 7 Stage Process to Awakening Kundalini.
  • Advanced Sequencing: The Energetics of Asana.
  • Mastering The Prana Vayus.
  • The Gunas and Their Connection to Emotions and Meditation.
  • Kundalini and The Chakras.
  • Understanding The Science and Connection Between Asana, Pranayama and Meditation.
  • The Science of Sound: Mantra, Vibration, Energy and Frequency.
  • Key Tantric Insights Into The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
  • Ayurveda and Tantra.
  • Yantra Yoga: The Mathematics of Dharma.
  • Kriya Meditation: The Ultimate Practice for Modern Yogis.

It was truly fascinating and the response I have to everyone who’s asked me about it is that I feel like I’ve learned all the secrets of the universe…and who doesn’t want to do that?!

It was amazing. Now go meditate!

Written by Alex


200hr YTT pt.3: One year later

Wow. So it’s been one year since the Power Living Bali retreat (part of the 200hr YTT). Basically after that week it felt like everything was BY (before yoga) and AY (after yoga).

My yoga journey since the Power Living 200hr YTT:
  • I bought my yoga teacher insurance and completed my CPR and first aid course
  • I participated in the Power Living assisting program, a great way to get used to the flow of a yoga class as a teacher, rather than student
  • I went on a giant exploration of different styles of yoga, different teachers, different spaces (in Australia and Bali), trying to understand what was going on when something resonated deeply within me
  • I practised my Yamas and Niyamas daily and dove deep into Svadhyaya
  • I created my own yoga series called Yin + Din, where I lead a yin class for small private groups and then host a healthy dinner afterwards
  • I continued my teacher training – I’m currently in Canggu, Bali participating in two separate 50hr teacher trainings with The Practice (yin yoga and traditional hatha tantra, which starts next week…yippee!)
What I took away from the course (apart from yoga teaching qualifications):
  • A daily yoga practice – whether that’s getting on my mat, reading yoga books, journalling, saluting the sun, meditating by the ocean…I do something everyday to connect me back to the point of this thing called life
  • Some of the best friends of my life, soul sisters – and an amazing community of friends (three of whom lived on my street!) that made me feel like I had moved to a new neighbourhood in the best way
  • The ability to go into any yoga class and not feel like I have to be ‘good’. I don’t look around at what everyone else is doing. I’m able to be with myself on my mat, in my own little world and it’s da bomb
  • I fell in love with Bali – specifically Canggu. I’m writing this from the most gorgeous balcony overlooking rice fields here…my third time back in one year,
  • I found a clear pathway to live life that has given me so much peace, power and understanding (will post my yoga essays from the course soon and link here).
  • Certainty in who I am. What I’m doing. Why I’m doing it. Acceptance. I feel like I was given the permission I seemed to be searching for to stand strong in myself. No apologies for who I am. Can it get more liberating than that?!
Will I teach yoga in studio (apart from private sessions)?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach yoga when I signed up for the 200hr YTT and when I finished the course I was so high off of the experience and the excitement of our final exams (teaching in the main room at Bondi’s Power Living studio was one of the most exhilarating highs), but when I thought about actually going into a studio and teaching people I didn’t know, I just didn’t feel ready yet. That’s no reflection on the teacher training though, lots of my friend’s have gone off to teach studio classes and are doing amazing jobs of it, but for me there was still a hesitation. I wasn’t sure if it was just nerves, but I decided to just keep doing what felt right and see where it took me. One of the biggest things I learned from the retreat was the power of surrendering and giving space to receive what comes next into your life – as someone who lived a previous life as an anxiety-riddled, Type A planner, this was a huge revelation (thank you Keenan Crisp!).

One year later, and one post 50hr Yin training with The Practice under my belt I can say now that I do feel the call to teach in studio. I love the style of yoga I’ve found at The Practice here in Bali and I’m trying to figure out a way to bring the essence of it back with me to Sydney. When I finish the 50hr Traditional Tantra Hatha training I will most likely do a writeup on my yoga learning experiences here too, so stay tuned!

Written by Alex

The 200hr YTT series:


200hr YTT pt.2: One week in Bali – the Power Living retreat

*This post is from 2017 and transferred from an old blog*

So I had the best of intentions to write about the Bali retreat that was part of our 200hr yoga teacher training with Power Living as soon as I finished, but I had no idea how big a week it would be and how long it would take to digest everything that happened.

I was going to write in detail about what to expect, how the days worked, etc., but now having done it I think it’s such a special experience that it’s better to leave an air of mystery around it (and if you really want there are a few blog posts about it if you Google).

Here’s what I can tell you:
  • The food was great and there was A LOT of it. They described it as ‘sattva’, which means pure and clean in Sanskrit, but for someone who eats quite healthily at home I actually felt like I was ‘letting go’ during the week. We had breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner and it was delicious. A few people from our group also bought meals regularly at the hotel beach bar, so you really can have whatever you want (but you pay extra for it, whereas the buffet food is all included).
  • The rooms were beautiful, although we didn’t spend much time in them. It was nice to come back after a long day to soft sheets, a rainfall shower and a little luxe.
  • Komune Resort in Keramas was wonderful. The staff were just superb, so, so helpful, nice and professional. The shala where we spent most of our time was gorgeous. The grounds were beautiful – flowers and lush plants everywhere, beautiful stone paths to the beach and bean bag chairs by the pool.
  • We had the pleasure of having Duncan Peak (the founder of Power Living) and Keenan Crisp (co-founder) leading our retreat so the tone and all the activities involved truly reflected the Power Living philosophy.
  • You will feel up and down pretty much every day, probably more than once, and so quickly between the two that you will confuse yourself. You’ll belly laugh, sob cry, dance like a maniac and feel so deeply connected to the people around you that you’ll surprise yourself.
  • You will come back with a lot to think about and a new perspective on pretty much everything. You won’t ever forget it!

My biggest piece of advice would be to come with a big open mind and heart – let yourself feel every emotion, even if it’s negative and know that it too shall pass. Embrace the process and see what comes up.

Written by Alex

The 200hr YTT series:


200hr YTT pt.1: How I chose my 200hr yoga teacher training course

*This post is from 2017 and transferred from an old blog*

So you want to yoga…

I’ve wanted to do my 200hr yoga teacher training for the last three years, but it wasn’t until I quit my job that I felt like I finally had the time (and mental capacity) to go for it 100%. There are so many options for yoga teacher training – in so many countries – that it can be overwhelming choosing which one is right for you. I decided to make a list of what I wanted from the experience and find the program that best fit.

What I wanted from my 200hr yoga teacher training:
  • Recognised accreditation
  • A reputable, well-known, popular school/studio, with a post-course community
  • Sydney-based yogi friends
  • Exotic locale
  • A dense, shorter time frame (as opposed to every weekend for a few months)
  • Personal development
  • Positive reviews
  • Value for money $
  • A good vibe!

With these factors in mind I spent a good afternoon going down a rabbit hole of yoga. I hemmed and hawed over the idea of doing my entire training in Bali, but decided it was really important for me to have training that was well-recognised in Australia, as well as a post-course support group if I wanted to do my 500hrs in the future. I also looked at schools in Byron Bay and Hawaii, but the costs of doing the course, paying for accomodation there, plus my rent in Bondi made it too expensive. In Sydney, there were only two studios who’s programs I seriously considered: BodyMindLife and Power Living.

Both had schedules that I could fit my life around, but Power Living stood out because not only was the training in Bondi (and five minutes from my apartment), but there was a one-week immersive retreat in Bali as part of the program*. And – serendipitously – there just happened to be a 200hr yoga teacher training info session at their Bondi Junction studio that next day.

So what I haven’t mentioned yet is that even though I’d been wanting to do a yoga teacher training course for a few years, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a yoga teacher per se. I loved going to yoga, but I would leave amazing classes feeling high, elated and searching for something more…like I’d only touched the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to know more and I wasn’t sure if that was enough to do a teacher training course – would I be the odd one out? The info session at Power Living helped dissipate every worry I had. Sol and Jordan were so chill, inspiring and very firm about how the course was a journey for anyone who loved yoga and that I didn’t have to be a flexible, hand-standing, perfectly lycra-ed being to partake. They also explained how the early bird discount worked in conjunction with the Power Living member’s discount…which meant the course, including the one-week Bali immersive retreat (!), would end up costing me less than any of the other courses I’d looked at. I signed up the next day without any hesitation, ready to yoga.

So how did Power Living stack up to my original list?
  • Recognised accreditation:
    • Yoga Alliance (USA) & Provisional Membership with the Yoga Teachers Association of Australia (YTAA)
  • A reputable, well-known, popular school/studio, with a post-course community:
    • 8 studios in AUS and one in NZ
    • An extensive, wide-ranging selection of advanced modules/retreats that go towards your 500hr credit
    • Power Living Teachers Network: a new program for graduate teachers to promote themselves, connect with each other and get discounts on upcoming workshops and retreats ($$)
  • Sydney-based yogi friends:
    • Most of the students in my group are from Sydney (others are from the Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide and even Philadelphia (!))
  • Exotic locale:
    • Hello Bali. One-week immersive retreat at Kommune Resort in Keramas. And even though Bondi itself might be considered an exotic locale to some…haha, it doesn’t hurt to be able to go for a swim at break 🙂
  • A dense, shorter time frame (as opposed to every weekend for a few months):
    • They have a few different types of courses to suit different schedules
  • Personal development:
    • Power Living is big on this, which was a huge attraction for me. We’re constantly questioning our assumptions about ourselves and trying to identify our self-imposed limitations. LOVE THIS.
  • Positive reviews:
  • Value for money $:
    • Great early bird and members discounts. These helped me sign up without hesitation, but even without those discounts it’s worth it and then some – an invaluable life experience (and I’m currently only halfway through).
  • A good vibe!:
    • The instructors are amazing, so knowledgable and so conscious of what different highs and lows everyone might be experiencing. They speak to this a lot and it really makes a huge difference.

Link: Power Living 200hr teacher training

* Two months later I just checked out the BodyMindLife site and they’ve added on a one-week Byron retreat to their program, which would be a GREAT value add. Byron Bay is AMAZING.

I’m currently in the middle of the course. I’ll definitely write about my experience at the retreat in Bali, as well as the entire 200hr yoga teacher training course as a whole once I’m done my exams in mid-July. Stay tuned x

Written by Alex

The 200hr YTT series:


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