Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bali yoga teacher training review

Katya (UK) completed her 500 hour yoga teacher training with Zuna Yoga in Ubud Bali in autumn 2017. She shares her impressions here:

"My two months in Bali with Zuna was an experience that will stay with me forever. This time one year ago, when I was deciding on which yoga teacher training to choose, I was overwhelmed with the choices, and was very nervous that I would go with the wrong one. I struck gold with Zuna Yoga, and am extremely grateful to have studied there.

I often say that I came away from my yoga teacher training having learnt more than I had in four years at university. The teaching was so extensive and thorough, in both philosophy and anatomy. And being able to learn how the wisdom of Eastern tradition is now substantiated by modern science purely strengthened my faith in everything I was learning.

Katherine, Everett and the rest of the Zuna team created such a safe and nurturing environment for us all. It enabled me to take the time to really get to know myself, and to work on and let go of all the things that were holding me back. In doing this, it also allowed me to just be myself, which is something that I hadn’t been able to do for a long time.

I made friends on both trainings that I know I will remain in contact with for a long, long time. These friendships have taught me that within every single person, there is a beautiful soul to be discovered and shared. I will remain forever inspired by the people that I met during those two months.
What Everett and Katherine have created is something very special, very important, that extends far beyond just a yoga teacher training. It has given me the tools for living an authentic, beautiful and fulfilling life. I am very much looking forward to the journey ahead, and to see where it goes."

Zuna Yoga offers 200, 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher trainings year round in various locations in Bali. More information here

Facing change without fear

We recently caught up with Danielle Thornton, who completed Zuna Yoga's  200 hour Bali yoga teacher training in 2014 and 300 hour yoga teacher training in January 2016. 

Danielle lives in Dallas TX. She recently founded Starana, a healing practice incorporating yoga, meditation, breath work and reiki for clients with serious illness, end-of-life or other challenging transitions. 

ZY: What does "Starana" mean?

DT: It's a Sanskrit word defined as the act of spreading or scattering. It's my hope to spread and scatter the seeds of healing, strength, wisdom and compassion where they are needed most. I provide holistic support for clients undergoing medical treatment for a serious illness, facing end-of-life in palliative care, or experiencing a major life change such as job loss or divorce.

ZY: Please tell us a little about your professional background!

DT: My work background has been pretty diverse! I started my career in medical biologics sales, and worked in that field for almost 10 years. After that, I found my way to my first yoga teacher training in Bali. For a few years, I taught yoga and worked as a private health food chef. I had a few clients with serious illnesses who were facing their own mortality. In working with them, I saw a clear need that I could easily fill to help enrich their lives. It was at that point that the seed for Starana was planted, without me consciously knowing it. After walking these clients through their journey and volunteering my services at a local hospice, I decided to formalize the services I provide into a business. Looking back, all my work and life experiences have perfectly prepared me for my journey with Starana.  I've had the call to help people who are suffering or dying since childhood. It wasn't until recently that I was ready or clear enough to listen.

ZY: Tell us one little known Fun Fact about yourself

DT: I thrive when my environment is tidy. And I love to clean... #nerdalert  

ZY: How did you earn your first dollar?

DT: Wrapping holiday presents at a family friend's clothing store in Vicksburg, MS.  

ZY: What are you currently reading?

DT: Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I highly recommend it for men and women alike! 

ZY: What's the most rewarding part of your work?

DT: That I get to be intimately involved in one of the most sacred and powerful times of a person's life. Through my experience, I've learned that facing our own mortality can allow us space to access a profound openness and vulnerability.  It's when we find ourselves at a place where we don't actually know what's going to happen next that we can create the most fertile ground to dive deeper into the present moment. This allows us to access our inner ability to heal and grow. It's through being around those facing their own mortality that gives me a mirror to look into my own. This in turn amplifies my appreciation for life!

ZY: What's the most challenging part?

DT: Educating potential clients, healthcare workers, and hospice communities to see the value in a service that is outside of the typical model they are accustomed to. My goal is for holistic and integrated therapies for people with serious illness and/or facing death to be more widely accepted in the medical and hospice communities. 

ZY: How did your yoga teacher training prepare you for the work you're currently doing?

DT: It helped to lay the foundation for me to access embodied presence, evolution of consciousness, deeper self-awareness, and connection to myself and to our Creator. This in turn has allowed me to find a deeper connection to others and the world around me. Being in full presence with my clients is the cornerstone of my practice. From there, I work with the knowledge learned in my teacher training to help clients discover calm and presence among the unpredictability of their circumstance.

ZY: What do you do for self-care?

DT: Obviously, my yoga and meditation practice are a priority!  Spending time in nature, King Spa (an amazing Koren spa in Dallas), travel, swimming, reflexology, spending time with my loved ones and dogs (Milton and Stanley), Ecstatic Dance (I love this conscious dance movement!), cooking healthy food, cleaning, and gardening are among a few. 

ZY: What advice do you have for someone wanting to start their own yoga-related business? 

DT: Give yourself the time and space to integrate your experience from yoga teacher training. I found that both during and after my trainings so much internal change happened, that it took some time for the change to settle in my life. When creating a business, your business evolves as you evolve! So be sure that your own processes and practices are a priority. Also, be clear about what your personal boundaries are: what does or does not work for you. If you are clear, then people you work with will be clear, making the working relationship healthier and much smoother.

ZY: What important lessons have you learned since starting your own business?

DT: How much time do you have? Ha! To name a few, lessons in knowing my value, boundaries, and standing firm in my moral compass. Also I've learned lessons in free falling, faith, trust, and courage.

ZY: What did you wish people knew about dying?

DT: That there is no "right" or "wrong" way to die.  If you have a loved one who is dying, the greatest gift you can give them is full acceptance of who they are and where they are in their process.  There are things that can make the process much more supportive and peaceful if they are open to it. Also, it's never too late to learn, evolve, and heal-- even in the last hours or minutes on earth. I've seen many people have huge life lessons realized days and even hours before they passed. 

ZY: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

DT: To stay in your heart. 

Information about Danielle's services can be found at 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Best Places to Eat in Canggu

by Ting Ting Guan @ting.x.ting

Canggu is a surf town in West Bali with happening, hip beach vibes. You can’t turn a corner without running into a smoothie shop or carefree boho style store. Besides going to yoga and building sandcastles, there are 3 other important things to do while you are here: Surf, Shop, and most importantly, EAT! Here's a rundown of some of our current faves.

Favorite Brunch Spot: Cafe Vida 
Jl. Raya Batu Bolong No. 38A, 7am-10:30pm

Want to start your day off right? Come here for brekkie, brunch or lunch. The clean, lean and wonderfully flavored savory breakfast bowls feature all the power foods like kale, quinoa, and seasonal veggies. Feeling like something sweet? Their smoothie bowls are works of art. Packed with acai berries, fresh spirulina and an abundance of tropical fruits, you can't go wrong with whichever one you choose. For something heartier, the mahi fish tacos are the best in Bali: three healthy portions of fresh fish and lots of options for sauces. Don’t forget to ask for their homemade sambal matah! Just the right consistency and perfect spice. They also have 2 pages worth of coffee options. My favorite is the Mexican Spiced Coffee. The flavors are incredible, and you can even make it dessert by topping it with a scoop of vegan ice cream.

Underrated Lunch: Green Ginger Noodle House
Jl. Raya Pantai Berawa No. 46A, 8am-10:30pm

I must have driven by this veggie based Thai spot a million times before deciding to actually go in. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but inside is very quiet and cozy with a lush garden seating area as well as a cool air conditioned section. The prices here are great and the food is even better. They mastered the tofu laab, with an explosion of flavors and a generous portion, stuffing each cabbage leaf to the max. Their curries are out of this world, with perfect consistency and filled with fresh veggies, leaving even the hungriest yogi surfer satisfied. In addition, homemade dumplings, smoothies, and juices are also part of their menu. This place is low key, authentic, friendly and worth a stop! They also have a sister restaurant in Ubud called the Elephant, a Zuna Yoga staff fave. 

Quick Heat Relief: Mad Pops 
Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.48, 11am-10pm

If you've been traveling around Bali, you might have noticed some shops selling Mad Pops Popsicles, a vegan based pop with all kinds of fun flavors from coconut avocado to vegan chocolate fudge chunk. Their brick and mortar store in the heart of Canggu is tiny, so if you are driving too fast on a motorbike, you'll probably miss it. This place sells not just pops, but also vegan ice cream. All the flavors are enticing, and it will be hard not to ask for a sample of each! My favorite is the matcha, it has the perfect silky smooth creamy texture and just the right intensity of matcha flavor. They also offer Taco Tuesdays: IDR50,000 for 2 flavors and 2 toppings in a freshly made waffle taco. Besides Tukie’s ice cream in Ubud, this is my fave ice cream indulgence while chilling in Canggu.

Ravenous, on a Budget, and Health Conscious: Lupe Canggu
Jl. Tegal Sari No.37A, 8am-9pm closed Mondays

This is my go to spot for dinner in Canggu. It's a buffet, but they do not sacrifice quality for quantity. If you've spent all day in the surf or sun, and just want to chill and eat tons of great food without worrying about price, come here. Every night they have a different theme. Tuesdays is Seafood, Wednesdays Vegetarian, Thursdays Greek and so on. All buffets are IDR100,000 with the exception of Vegetarian Night which is only 75K.  It is well worth it if you want to fill up on wholesome food. Tons of options of diversely prepared veggies, spices, and they make incredible soups. I talked to the kind owner and he said if you come on a night that serves meat but you are vegetarian, he will only charge you IDR75,000. In addition if you are there for breakfast, no item is over IDR50,000.

Off the Beaten Path: Jib Fusion
Pererenan, Mengwi 2pm-10pm

I have to give a shout out to this tiny and loving restaurant. It has only five tables, one stove top, and two staff, but offers some of the most mouth watering and authentic Indian food I have ever had.
They prepare everything basically right in front of you. You can even go into the kitchen as it is right next to a table! They make and cook the roti fresh each time and the prices are ridiculously reasonable. You could order five dishes and pay less than IDR150,000. It’s simple, it’s fresh, and not pretentious. It might not be the spot to take to impress your visiting parents with ambience, but it is worth a stop if you want something that warms the heart and the belly.

Sample these great cafes and plenty more when you join the Zuna Yoga team for a 200,  300 or 500 hour YTT at Samadi Bali in Canggu! Upcoming dates:

~Is what you're doing today taking you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? @zunayoga

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Best Places to Eat in Ubud

Summer Edition
by Becca Klewstigh

Ubud has some of the best restaurants and cafes in Bali, and every month a new place is popping up with creative menus and cool interiors. As true foodies at heart, and with our summer Bali yoga teacher trainings just around the corner, we want to share with you a handful of new and old favorites in town that please our taste buds, fill our tummies and nourish our souls. Let's skip the small talk: Ready, set, EAT!

Jalan Raya Penestanan Kelod no 8
8am-10pm, closed Sundays
Though they only opened up a month ago, Zest has quickly become the new watering hole in Ubud, and it's easy to see why. With its cosy yet spacious interior, mixing Balinese architecture and modern vibes to perfection, it feels like a huge living room where you can both be a social butterfly and engage in a private conversation. Combined with an amazing view, the completely vegan and gluten-free menu, using fresh, local whole foods; and weekly sunrise dance parties, Zest is truly the Ubudian's dream come true. IG: @zestubud

Taksu Spa & Restaurant
Jalan Goutama Selatan
Lunch buffet 11am-3pm

Taksu is THE place in Ubud when you’re feeling ravenous but also want a healthy meal for lunch. It has the biggest salad bar we know of, with three kinds of greens; a wide range of steamed, baked and raw veggies; vegan and vegetarian protein options; crunchy toppings; normal and gluten free bread; and a good selection of dressings. Getting your daily five (and probably way more!) has never been easier than at this all you can eat buffet that remind us of salad bars back home. For only 65K it’s a bargain, and since Taksu is rarely overly crowded, you can enjoy your bowl of nutritious deliciousness in peace.IG: @taksuspa

Jalan Raya Penestanan Kerod
7:30am-3:30pm, closed Wednesdays

Great coffee, great tunes, great vibes: that’s Revive in a nutshell. This little gem is another newbie in town and offers some of the best coffee around. Sip on your favorite black (or yellow, if turmeric lattes are your groove) elixir and have a bite to eat while leaning into the fluffy cushions on the floor-level homemade couch, listening to the bomb playlist rolling in the background. If you’re lucky, and most likely you are, there’s a spontaneous jam session happening that you can either enjoy, join or start yourself with the always present guitars. Aaah. Soon you will feel… revived. IG: @revivebali
24 Jalan Nyuh Bulan, Nyuh Kuning
7am-5pm, 5:30pm-late, Mother closed Mondays

WAMM by day, Mother by night; this place hosts two restaurants to satisfy your tastebuds any time of the day. Both of the menus are mouth watering and clearly marked so that you can easily bring a group of friends no matter what diet regime they are following. Situated in a quiet neighborhood just outside of Monkey Forest, we love spending hours at the upstairs space taking in the breezy atmosphere, working, laughing and catching up until our tummies are ready for the next round of delightful goodness. Don’t miss out! IG: @wammbali/@motheratwamm

BLU Cafe
Jalan Karna, gang Narada - Ubud Market

If you love smoothie bowl art, look no further! BLU Cafe has the most beautiful smoothie bowls in town, all decorated with such great care to detail and colors you almost feel bad eating it. They also offer layered smoothie jars with chia pudding, great coffee and a variety of savory meals and refreshing drinks. Located on a side street just off Ubud Market, this quiet oasis is surprisingly unknown to the crowds and thus, the perfect place to take a rest from the souvenir shopping! IG: @blucafeubud