Bali Ashram Yoga Retreats

This is still work in progress.. gradually we will publish all available comments from previous retreats (from your perennially time poor ‘Editor’ – sabar, be patient!). We try to group the comments by timeline and by (our fabulous) teachers and sincere thanks to the participants who’ve gone into great troubles to share their Ashram/Retreat experience with us. Om Shantih, Rudi Oka
Angela Mary (Melbourne, Australia) - 'H2A' Hatha2Ashtanga Dec 2014

I came into the H2A workshop with the intention to start on the path towards a healthy body and a clear mind. The idyllic garden surrounds, ocean facing yoga bale and mountain backdrop certainly set the scene for 4 days of serene and effort-full learning and exploration with the small group of participants, led by Ahimsaka. 

With his intimate knowledge of the body, mind and beyond, Ahimsaka tailored the structure of the sessions to suit each of the participants ability level in a truly supportive and intuitive way, steadily drawing improvement and progress from his students. 

Over the course of the workshop I have garnered insights and techniques both physical and psychological to move me forward in this journey we call life. 

A wonderful few Bali days indeed. Thank you to Ahimsaka and all at the Gedong Ghandi Ashram for sharing their love, light and generosity.

I hope to see you all again soon!

From Aug/Sep 2014 Asthanga Workshop/Ahimsaka

Alison Worthington (Australia)

I felt truly blessed to have found the Gedong Gandhi Ashram and this retreat during my visit to Indonesia this year. The retreat and the peaceful location provided me with so much inspiration for my yoga practice. The Ashtanga practice was very challenging but was delivered so capably and with such generosity of spirit by Ahimsaka. I wish I could stay longer in his company to mine more of the riches of Ashtanga yoga with his guidance. Everything else in the retreat was just a bonus on top for me. The beautiful community meals, being invited to join in puja, and the afternoon Yin practice filled my days so wonderfully. I want to congratulate Ahimsaka, Rudi, Jackson and all of the Ashram crew and members for welcoming us retreat guests so warmly. Huge thanks also to my fellow yoga students Naomi, Lissette, Rudi, Olivia and Nico (and Elke!). We shared some very special times in our practice, the warmest and friendliest I have ever been part of. I felt very comfortable and encouraged by you all.. thank you for the smiles.. and thanks in advance for all the photos! 

Naomi Koster (Hatha) from the Netherlands

Let me start by saying that I had an amazing time in the ashram during the yoga retreat! First of all, the ashram itself was wonderful. Its location next to the ocean, the wide set-up, with several bungalows not too close to each other and the yoga place in the middle make this a very peaceful place to stay. Since my bungalow was near the sea,  I woke up every morning with the sound of the waves, which is a good way to wake up! Also the ashram members made me feel very welcome from the beginning. Everyone seems very relaxed and open to other people. I liked the ‘communal’ meals, with all the guests of the ashram together and besides that the food itself was delicious. I really liked to taste real Indonesian food. In total I stayed for three weeks in Indonesia, but the food at the ashram was the best food I had! The bungalow itself was also nice. I especially liked the hammock outside and the fact that we got tea or coffee at 3 each day to enjoy on our terrace. The only (minor) point of improvement (yes, I promised I would give a few!) is that the mattress was very thin, which made the bed not the most comfortable one I’ve been in { yes, the offending mattress and the single bed has been replaced in that Bale Tengah  -ed}. Related to that, one more thing to make it reaaaally comfortable would be to have hot water to shower. However, I hardly had that anywhere on Bali and the temperature outside is warm, so it is not a very important point.

Then of course, the yoga retreat. As a yoga beginner, beforehand I was a little bit scared the level would be too high for me. However, immediately during the first class I found out that level didn’t matter. Since Ahimsaka is such a good teacher and the yoga group was small, everyone could do the class at their own ‘capacity’. I really liked that we just did the whole sequence in once instead of taking one part each day, because this way, I could see improvements much better and I could get used to the sequence so I could practice it at home as well. Ahimsaka had adjustments to the sequences for every level, which means for me that I now know some variations to poses that I’m not flexible enough for. The programme of the ashtanga retreat was also very well balanced. I liked the fact that it was quite intensive, with three classes each day starting at 6.30, and I really liked the midmorning ‘workshops’ where we got into much more depth on specific elements.I think the small group size was a big advantage, because that makes it easier to connect with the other people in the group and also to help each other during the yoga classes I also appreciated the ‘question and answer’ hour a lot! I found it very useful (30 minutes practice to do at home) and inspirational (background and mindset of yoga). 

So overall judgement is a 9 out of 10 I would say! I really enjoyed my stay and if I want some time for myself, to do yoga and relax, I will definitely come back. Also, I’ve been continuing the yoga practice at home, alternating between the whole sequence and the 30 minute one, feels great!

Olivia and Nico (France)

“It was a great experience. The Gandhi Ashram is a wonderful place where you can feel spirituality and quietness. The members of the Ashram are lovely. Ahimsaka is a amazing teacher, living according his practice, enthusiastic, careful, generous, always guiding us to go further than our limits. He has an ideal balance between physical practice and interiority. A great teacher !!!

The Schedule was great, a lot of practice, that was perfect.

We really appreciated a lot than you finally find the arrangement with Kelapa Mas, letting us having this wonderful experience despite the fact we couldn’t stay at the ashram. {Due to Ashram’s strict married couples requirement. Many thanks for your understanding Olivia & Nico -Ed}

The class in the water palace was great, it was lovely to take us there. Thank you also for taking me to the healer who was helpful for my foot.

Just a few ideas to make this stay really perfect :

Maybe a week of practice or 5 full days could be better and a  vegetarian diet as it is written in the wall (Gandhi’s words) and according the yogic rules of non violence {Thank you! We continually review our retreats to suit the demand. Fish was ‘exempted’ by our founder to support the then struggling local fishing community. A difficult one for us to change at this point.  -Ed}

Thanks you to all of you, Take care and go on with this peaceful and compassion spirit of the Ashram, We hope meeting you again

Kinds regards, Olivia and Nico

Revisit from March/April 2014 Hatha Retreat

Josefin (Sweden) - Ashram's conducive environment on her journey

“..Just wanted to tell you that I have now started to teach my own yoga classes, in one of the green houses where I work. First time was this Wednesday and 12 people showed up! I really  understood that I wanted to teach when I was in Candidasa, it gave me both courage and insight in what I really want – what my heart was trying to tell me. That’s why I would love to donate what little I make from it to you, to Gedong Gandhi Ashram. Everyone I met there, and the atmosphere was so amazing and I want to support it so it may always be there for people – both the Balinese and people seeking a place to calm their minds. Is this possible? Do you accept gifts?..”

 Lots of sunshine and warmth from Sweden, om shanti,  Josefin  27 July 2014 {Congratulations and thank you Josefin! – read her and her mum’s original comments under March/April 2014 Retreat -Ed}

From July 2014 Retreats (Hatha/Yvonne and Ashtanga/Ahimsaka)

Annie (Hatha and Ashtanga Immersion) from Norwegia via Oslo

Thank you! Thank you to all of you – Rudi, Jackson, Yvonne, Ahimsaka, and all of the Ashram members. It has been a true pleasure staying here. It is an experience not only for the body, but as much for the mind. Truly unique, and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Both Yvonne and Ahimsaka were wonderful teachers. I really have nothing but superlatives for the way they set up the yoga practices and also for sharing so much of their thoughts & knowledge with us. And the Ashram members were so kind & helpful – I will miss them all! Thank you!  All the best, Annie

And again a lovely postcard of Oslo by Annie on her last day..

Dear Rudi, Thank you so much for a fantastic retreat experience – both the Hatha and Ashtanga were wonderful. I take so much with me from this week here, not only from the yoga sessions, but also from the warmth and sense of community that I have felt at the Ashram. Each and everyone of you has made every day so nice and pleasant. And you were the anchor of it all. I am so glad Yanti introduced me to you & that I have been able to get to know you. It has been a pleasure all the way. All the best, Annie

Jessika (Ashtanga Immersion) from Germany

Thank you so much for the beautiful time in the Ashram. I really enjoyed my stay and definitely want to come back! The atmosphere was so peaceful and all the members made me easily feel like a part of their/your community. The yoga retreat were the best yoga classes I’ve ever did! Thank you!


Cassie (Ashtanga Immersion) - expat Australian in Jakarta

A truly unique environment right on the water. Being able to watch the waves as you salute the sun makes your practice full of joy. Sharing all meals together builds a spirit of community and local vegetarian food had me looking forward to every meal. I feel very privileged to be able to share this. 

Marlene (Hatha) from France

This week was perfect from the beginning till the end.. . Even better than what I imagined. The yoga lessons, the chanting during the pujas, the meals – all together around the table the ashram members, the children (teenagers). Yvonne the yoga teacher, explained to us the positions, the philosophy & the history of yoga.  She knows so many things and likes sharing. Thank you so much for this fascinating through Ashram & Balinese Culture immersion. Thank you Rudi & Jackson! I hope to come back again. Marlene

Stephen + Suzanne (Hatha) from Perth

We attended one of the yoga retreats held at the Ashram. The yoga, held in an unforgettable sea front setting, while rigorous and focused, did cater for various levels. We would recommend this retreat to anyone wanting to combine yoga and its benefits with exposure to daily life on this unique Ashram. This combination made our stay an unforgettable experience.

Stephen + Suzanne, July 2014 

Kitty (Hatha) from the Netherlands

How corny this may sound, the complexity and diversity of feelings forthcoming from authentic experiences at the Ashram can not be described by words. The members of the Ashram, the incredible yoga teachers and Rudi and his son Jackson take great care of all your needs. A place where individuals are able to become one with nature and gain a few pounds on the way. Sleeping, eating and practicing yoga equal peace, love and happiness. 

– Kitty

Debbie (Hatha) from Sydney
  • Environment: Beautiful location on wide fronted coral beach and excellent swimming (once your feet used to the sharp coral on the seashores). The coral snorkeling experience and breakfast on the boat afterwards was definitely a highlight.
  • Yoga and Meditation: The experience was above and beyond my expectations. The morning “Salutes” (all 24) were taught well by Yvonne. Her instructions on the chants were excellent, very useful for developing meditation and concentration. The yoga bale is located in the centre and “heart” of the Ashram surrounded by the gentle rhythm of the ocean and the breaking waves – all very conducive to enhancing  a meditative state of mind.
  • Food: The agreement to abstain from all stimulants including alcohol and cigarettes has been inspiration to abstain long term, especially alcohol. The food was prepared and presented perfectly with each meal, including enough variety of ingredients and flavours to satisfy. The absence of meat has not been noticeable at all. The fruit applied after each each meal was alawyas delicious and I loved eating new fruits such as snake fruit.
  • Members of the Ashram and Guests: The best ever living with such a beautiful community of people.The lovely tinkle of the tea arriving early in the morning and the sound of their laughing voices, made for the best alarm clock to wake me for my early morning swim. The community of individuals, all with their own history creates such an incredible story for the whole of the Ashram. The management works very well and Jackson is going to become an outstanding individual, when he realizes his potential – whether it be here as an Ashram member or back in Australia. He seems to be a perfect fit for the role he has right now! Watching him interact with both the members and the guests shows very strong social skills on many levels. His good looks and charm  are going to take him a long way!
  • Temple visits and other activities: The opportunity to engage in other activities including visits to the temples with the members enhanced my experience of the depth of the spirituality of the Balinese. The gentle humility, lovely singings, and easy ways of sharing their culture has been really lovely. It was a very good place for Louise during this sad time, losing her mother.
  • Rudi: you have created such a beautiful place to experience renewal and rejuvenation. Your mother would be so proud of your commitment to maintain her dreams for the Ashram. Despite family politics and agendas you seem to be maintaining dignity and decorum! More importantly the ideals and values  laid out by Gandhi have a home here in Bali and I will pray that  it continues to live on. Thank you for a really special experience! 
Andrea (Hatha) from Australia

Leave your ego at the door and enter into a world of simplicity that nurtures a feeling of community and invites introspection. Be prepared for the Ashram members who will welcome you with broad smiles, and sincere hospitality. The digs are basic but comfortable perched on the ocean and some overlook the water lily filled lagoon. The food is delicious authentic Balinese prepared with fresh local ingredients and satisfyingly good. Yoga is conducted overlooking the waves by teachers who are expert practitioners and nurture the divine within. This is the third year at a yoga retreat here and it has been a great gift to return to a familiar place filled with laughter, joy and warmth and I hope to return next year for more of the same! Om Santih.

From March/April 2014 Retreat (Jennifer)

Petra from Germany

The best time to be happy is now, the best place to be happy is here….

I agree to 100% to what the other members of my Yoga-group already have written. 

To make a Yoga Retreat in the Gandhi Ashram in Candidasa was such a good idea because I learned a lot of the Balinese culture, daily rituals, Balinese cooking and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality and nice and helpful members of the Ashram. 

The Yoga Retreat was also great: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.

The both experienced teacher Ahimsaka and Jennifer gave everyone an individual treatment and so everyone has the possibility to grow and find his own yoga. I take a lot of new yoga spirit with me and also 6 weeks later I can say, that it affects my daily life.

Thanks so much to both teacher, the group and all Ashram members!

Petra, Berlin Germany, May 2014

Helina from Estonia {and nothing wrong with your spelling!}   

This was my first time in Bali and my first time in Ashram. And this was the best experience in my life. Everything falls here into the right place naturally. Apart from amazing surrounding, the Ashram members made my staying here like I was at home. Not to mention all the delicious food we had here, everything was so good and fresh. 

Everything was organized so smoothly, so it was such a pleasure and just going with the flow. I loved really the yoga – the place itself is a yogadream. Jennifer was so nice and did teach many useful tips and techniques. Many interesting combinations and sequences. And she was so supportive. Loved it.

Thank you so much Rudi for organizing everything and you made my yogadream in an Ashram. Thank you for sharing sharing us the life in Ashram and taking us as part of your family.

 Om SWASTYASTU (I don’t know if I spelled it correctly ).  HELINA

Delightful daughter and mother from Sweden(and awesome yogis!)

We didn’t really know what an Ashram was, but when Josefin found this place, with yoga, just during the time Ann-Cathrin was also in Bali, it looked like a very good opportunity to find it out. And now when we’ve been here for a week we really can’t wait until we can come back. You really took good care of us, in all ways  and you made us feel as if we were belonging/a part of the Ashram family.

We are also beyond words with Jennifer and Ahimsaka. They really worked together and saw us, and gave us what we didn’t know we were needing/able to do. The excursions were all fantastic! Also beyond words! Thank you for letting us learn so much about the Ashram, Bali, about ourselves, about the amazing and delicious food, and soaking in the Ashram Gandhi atmosphere. See you again. Don’t know when, but the universe will tell!! 🙂   

Namaste,  Josefin and Ann-Cathrin  

Maree from Australia

The beautiful  Ashram here in Candidasa has an amazing effect on you. This has been my second yoga retreat here and it has been just as nurturing, challenging and beneficial as the first .

I really resonated with Jennifer’s style of teaching and her incredible knowledge. She has a wonderful sense of connection and this flows through in her classes. I have gained some great insights from her and appreciated the warm, inclusive environment she created. And the astute, individualised attention!

I have really appreciated the constant support and openness of Ahimsaka and have enjoyed re-connecting with him. And of course Rudi, Jackson and the tireless Ashram members who have catered to our every need, often before we even recognise the need.

I would highly recommend for anyone considering looking into yoga retreat options in South East Asia to attend one here. Or even to stay at the Ashram while visiting  Candidasa. It is a unique experience and insight into community life in Bali, and one that will never truly leave you.

Maree, Melbourne, Australia April 2014 

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