Bali karma

Complete peace is Usually my general feeling when I’m in Bali. And I know that’s a feeling so many people have when in Bali, and what keeps us coming back.


Jay (retreat tour guide and friend) and I were talking about this yesterday. Jay has been to Australia a few times so has perspective on this. We were having lunch at the Alaya Hotel in Ubud overlooking their rice paddies, listening to the birds and I was remarking how calm and relaxed I was feeling. Jay said it’s to do with Bali’s karma.


He was explaining that us tourists say its because we are surrounded by nature. But there is that same nature in other parts of Indonesia, but tourists don’t describe it in the same way as we do about Bali.

Jay says it’s all to do with every square centimetre of the land in Bali is sacred. Every little bit of the land has been blessed and had ceremonies for it to protect the land from evil, to give the land good karma.


Sitting amongst it, I understand where he’s coming from. The land feels like it envelopes me in a soothing embrace and I’ve only been in Bali for 4 hours. By the end of a week I feel like a marshmallow.

This spirituality or karma is definitely what keeps me coming back to Bali.

Self care isn’t selfish

The research is in and it’s proven that teacher wellbeing improves students academic outcomes. 

It comes under the same banner as kids (and pets) feed off and project your energy, so if that energy is positive, then your students will be positive, but if it’s negative, then it’s pretty obvious they will be negative too. 


I want you to do a little experiment in the classroom, a pop quiz if you like. Be negative and see how your students react, another time be positive and see how they react then. Observe their behaviours, body language, their work.

That’s why we always have to be “on” even if we don’t feel like it. Even when we are so stressed with the sheer volume of tasks we have to do, we can hardly function.

Being “on” all the time depletes our emotional and mental resources. But we have to do it for our students. We keep giving until all we have left is burnout. 

That’s why you need to look after yourself at all times, not just breaks. You need to have the tools and strategies to get you through the whole year. You need to work on self care like it’s part of the curriculum. Because it is part of your curriculum to be the very best you, so your cup is always full and your students’ outcomes are the best they can be.


Our retreat gives you a much needed break from the stressors of the classroom, but more importantly, the tools to help you manage your stress levels in the classroom too. Because it’s great to feel relaxed and calm when you are on a tropical island, but it won’t help you when the demands of the job create stress. You then need to have a self care regime in place to help you avoid breaking point. We can help you keep your cool, stay happy and positive.


A teacher with a full cup, has much more to give her students.

Leanne xx

E-bikes are the best

Ultimate self care is an holistic approach that involves mind, body and spirit. Our e-bike morning tour from Ubud to Tegallang ticks all the boxes.

the tour begins when the stretch golf buggy arrives to push us up from the hotel. We are them deposited at the departure point to sign the waiver forms as per normal procedure. Our guides then March us with the right size bike, adjust our helmets and off we go



Our bikes  

Our bikes  

Our tour spins gets off the main roads and takes us through small villages where we get to see how the locals live, and then into the rice paddy paths. All rice paddies are linked by a series of paths so that the villages can get to their crops and back into the village. We stop often so our guide can explain the rice crop cycle. Fun fact, rice used for eating has 3 crops per year and ceremonial rice, only 2. 



We cycle (or use the electric motor) for the 6ish kilometres to Tegallalang. We stop at a beautiful temple and cemetery, watch ducks eating the bugs that can destroy rice crops, and stop to generally take in the view. 

Temple and cemetery  

Temple and cemetery  

I am glad that we have electric motors on our bikes, as we are in the hilly region of Bali and I don’t think I would’ve made it using pedal power only.

Our main stop is Tegallalang where we stop to take in the Instagram-worthy view of the working rice terraces. It is beautiful  


Our next stop is the coffee house where the object is to get you to buy teas and coffees. They have civets in cages who produce luwak coffee (google it). I don’t like seeing animals in cages so I felt sad they were there. Next is a tea and coffee flight. You get to try a lot of different flavoured tea and coffee. Some were really delicious, some not so. 



This is not the only option if things to do in Tegallalang in the tour, there is also a big swing, zip line and walk through the paddies. Everyone regroups from their various activities and we head beach to Ubud.  

The trip back to Ubud is all downhill and we are going almost as fast as the scooters. We almost get the speed wobbles. It is exhilarating, and for me, the best part of the tour. I think that’s because I’ve never ridden that fast on a bike before.  

The tour finished with lunch where we could all share our experience of the tour. It was a really great way to end. The same driver that picked us up, took us back to the hotel.  


Start and end point of the tour  

Start and end point of the tour  

I can’t wait to get on the bikes again as cycle (or not) through the countryside. It gives a wonderful insight into the lives of the local Balinese and their culture.

Leanne xx

Sacred sound healing

Ok, to say I was a little sceptical would be accurate. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of sound healing appealed to me, I was just not sure how it could help.  Let’s just say I’m convinced!


Jl Goutama  

Jl Goutama  

The walk from the hotel to Taksu Spa where the sound healing was the usual dodging and weaving until I turned onto Jl. Goutama. The road has been paved, cars and bikes are restricted and all was serene and calm. A good beginning. 

Then I arrived at what can only be described as an oasis in the middle of Ubud. Taksu Spa is full of trees and birds and just deliciously tranquil.  

I’m a little early but happy just to be there. It was raining so I didn’t get any photos of how pretty the gardens are, next time I promise

The sound healing session is in a round room with amazing acoustics. Kate is our instructor and her booth is in the centre of the room and is round also. 



We lay down, head facing the instruments as per eastern practice and we covered our eyes with a weighted bag so we couldn’t open our eyes

The music began. Slowly. The sounds and vibrations from the gongs washed over me, leaving me more deeply relaxed than I can ever remember being. Although falling asleep is encouraged, snoring isn’t, so I didn’t chance Anyhoo, there vibrations from the gongs kept me mesmerised. One of the gongs is calibrated to one of the planets and as unbelievable as it sounds, one of the million or so thoughts that washed through me was of the universe. To me the gong felt like the universe. And this was BEFORE I knew about it’s powers.




The performance that Kate conducted was like a concerto for the body. Sounds and vibrations began slowly, built up to a crescendo, then brought down again with expertise, leaving me feeling light and wonderful. 

I cant wait to go again. 

We are lucky enough have Kate take a sound healing session on our retreat, just so we can be as relaxed as we possibly can.

I’ll introduce you all to Kate next blog

Happy gonging  

Leanne xx

It’s all about the food part 2

Food is more than just fuel, the very act of sharing a meal fosters belonging and inclusion. As we are social animals, this is a very important activity to do together. So the quest for amazing restaurants to visit on our retreat was researched very carefully 

melting wok   #meltingwok

This small warung does wok fried food to perfection. The menu is small and you choose to accompany your wok dish with either rice or noodles. I don’t think I’ve had better stir fry ever. As spacenis at a premium in Ubud, the restaurant is perched up a flight of narrow stairs, giving a good view over the street it lives on. It’s worth a visit just for their creme caramel 



hujan locale   @hujan_locale

A colonial style setting a casual bar and bistro downstairs serving Indonesian tapas, while upstairs is the restaurant with a modern Indonesian farm to plate menu, with an emphasis on sustainable and organic. It’s a beautifully comfortable space where we could quite easily spend a few hours 



Beach House Sanur  @beachhousesanur

Directly on the beach, any closer and you are in the water, lunch comes with a view to die for. The menu is western/Italian with a good tapas selection designed for sharing, and a four cheese pumpkin ravioli that’s worth flying to Bali for. The chilled beach vibe is just the right amount of perfect for Bali. Did I mention their espresso martini’s are the best in Bali!



Enak sekali  


Leanne xx

It’s about the food pt1

Choosing which restaurants to eat in on our retreat has been tough. Not because the food is terrible, but because there are so many great places to eat and we only have 6 days to eat them in. I’ve agonised and written the pros and cons of all the restaurants to narrow down the list, and finally we have ‘the list’.

You can probably tell that food is important to me. And you’d be correct. But it’s more than just the food, where we eat is also about the ambience, the view, the vibe or the practices of the restaurants. It is also about you. I care that the restaurants have something for everyone, that there will be something on the menu that you will eat. I want our dining to be positive experiences.

This is part 1 of the restaurant guide  

milu by nook  @milubynook

Western and Indonesian cuisine and I don’t think the menu has changed in years. But that’s the beauty, you know what to expect. The food is delicious, especially the local dishes. And it’s all about the view here. They have a few restaurants in their stable and a Bali trip is not complete unless I eat at one of them



Batik  @batik_restaurant_bar

Amazing local and South East Asian cuisine in a beautiful space. Think colonial plantation house and you have the idea. A soothing place to escape from the madness outside. I could seriously eat here daily. Oh, and their cocktails are to die for 



Indus   @indusrestaurant

This is owned by the Australian expat chef Janet DeNeefe who moved to Ubud in 1984. She also owns Casa Luna restaurant and Honeymoon Guesthouse. And the creator of the Ubud Writers Festival. The food here is Asian fusion, but their authentic Indonesian dishes are a stand out. The architecture is old Bali and the restaurant commands breathtaking views over the Tjampuhan valley




As you can see, I’ve put the Instagram handle there so you can have a look at their accounts and get a bit more of a feel for them

I’ll have some more restaurants up in the next few days too

Happy day 1 of 2019


Leanne xx

About Leanne — your retreat host

I’m Leanne, owner and host of Teachers Retreats.

I know Bali like the back of my hand, since travelling to Bali every year for over 35 years. It feels like home to me.

With 6 years as a relief teacher and lower primary special education teacher, I understand the exhaustion and stress that comes with teaching, and I know that Bali is a beautiful place to recharge from work.

With 15 years of travel agent experience, I know the very best Bali secrets — where to eat, what to eat, where to surf, where to shop, where and how to chill out and how to fully experience the wonderful relaxation this island has to offer.

I’ve had the pleasure of running exclusive Bali shopping and homewares tours for many years.

Here are some nice things people have said about me:


“My daughter and I were fortunate enough to go on one of these girly trips with Leanne, and what a trip it was!! Leanne is organised, knowledgeable and just divine. Three months on, and she is still my ‘go to girl’ with all my Bali queries.”

Lauren, Perth

“Leanne's passion, knowledge & experience was second to none and she really went above and beyond to understand what we were most looking to see. Her assistance started from the moment we enquired until well after returning to Australia”

Danielle, Byron Bay


Here’s five little things about me:

Favourite way to spend 3 hours in Bali: riding a bike through the rural areas of Bali; exploring forests, rice terraces and villages

Favourite Indonesian food: Nasi Campur & Satay Ayam

My go-to relaxation activity: a 90 minute Balinese massage…it’s bliss!

Favourite beach novel: anything by Sophie Kinsella

My home town: Adelaide, Australia

It’s ok to be gentle with yourself

Blah blah blah is what most people hear when you say mindfulness. It’s all hippy, dippy, alternative shite, right?

Well I’ve been looking at mindfulness as it’s one of the buzzwords that sits alongside wellbeing and self care, and yes I’ve found the majority to be unsuitable, but there are also some good courses out there. 

Just in case you’ve been living in your classroom and never get out, I’ll briefly run down what it is. Mindfulness is training your brain to consciously be in the present to reduce stress levels and optimise wellbeing. It also allows you to fully engage with the task at hand for best performance.


The last mindfulness workshop I did began with rolling a sultana around in my hand, then my mouth to bring my brain into the task at hand. I didn’t find it engaging enough to remember much more of it or to practice it once the workshop was over.

But now that we know more about brain function, mindfulness has become more than sultanas, it’s evolved to include positive psychology bringing it much more into the what we need right now category of wellbeing.

Now into what I think is THE most important takeaway....YOU NEED TO BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.. Yes I had to tell it because we are too often into the whole ‘being very hard on ourselves if we are not perfect’. 

We can allow ourselves to make mistakes, to not be be able to do something, because it’s practice that enables you to be able to be good at something. 


Mindfulness is about stopping the negative self talk when what we want to do doesn’t come easily. It’s hard work bringing your thoughts back to the task at hand when there are so many other things all jostling each other for your attention. But don’t beat yourself up about it. It’ll happen.

Being  gentle with yourself is the highest form of self love and self care you can practice, and that’s powerful.

Leanne xx

It all starts in Seminyak

It makes sense for our retreat to start in Seminyak as this is one of the main tourist areas on the west coast beach strip. Everything, and then some, is there for the tourist. Luxury hotels proudly line the beachfront, with pockets in between the hotels for restaurants and beach clubs.


Restaurants and shops jostle for position (and your money) along the streets (jalan) that lead to the beach. And if you’re into shopping, then some of the island’s best can be found in Seminyak. And I know just the places to go to.  


On day 1 you’ll  be picked up from the airport and delivered to The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali. If you have decided to come to Bali earlier, then you’ll be collected from your hotel. Welcome drinks at the hotel so we can all meet and greet each other and hen a short walk along the beach will have us at our sunset viewing and dinner venue Chez Gado Gado. It began as a nightclub and then morphed into a fine dining restaurant with spectacular views over the beach from the deck. 

Photo courtesy of @ldempsey8

Photo courtesy of @ldempsey8

Seminyak is home to some world class (and world famous) beach clubs and we will be heading to one on day 2 to watch the sunset. Believe me, you never tire of the spectacle. Mano Beach Housemis a relatively new beach club, with chilled vibes and a soundtrack to match. It’s my favourite beach club. Oh and if you get too warm then you can always take a dip in the pool and watch the sunset from there


Because Seminyak has something for everyone, it’s the best place to start and I’m looking forward to seeing you there.






Offerings to the All-In-One-God

Canang Sari is the name of the daily offerings given to the god Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa ( all-in-one-god) thanking them for the peace each day.

These offerings are found almost everywhere, from temples and shrines, to the doorways or thresholds of shops, homes and hotels.


They are made from coconut leaf, betel nut and lime that represents the Brahma (creation), Vishnu (preservation) and Shiva (unity). 

The flowers that top the canang sari aren’t there just for their prettiness either. They each have a symbolic part to play; white petals to the east are for the god Iswara, red flowers to the south are for the god Brahma, yellow to the west for the god Mahadeva and blue or green to the north for the god Vishnu

Placed on top is kepeng (paper coins) and rice or candies. They are well known for feeding the stray dog and cats  



The symbolism of the canang sari is the selfless time that is given by the Balinese to make them. It represents self sacrifice to thank the gods.  I think it’s a beautiful sentiment. 

Knowing the story and symbolism of them makes them all the more special and just one of the customs that draws me back to Bali