Last March 2020, I became a certified yoga teacher with the Power of Now Oasis Yoga school. You can read my full experience here.
Since graduating, my friends have asked me how my yoga teacher training in Bali went. How were the teachers? How was the curriculum? Would I recommend it to other people who want to do a teacher training course?
So, I decided to write a detailed review covering the following criteria I find important: location, reputation, price, curriculum (yoga styles taught and subjects), teachers, schedule, and extras. Of course, this will reflect my personal preferences. If you don’t agree with them, feel free to just use the criteria above for finding a different school.
- Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
- 25 meters away from Mertasari Beach
- Quiet, peaceful, not much tourist attractions
- Near the airport
Since I’m not a fan of long-haul travel, I knew I only wanted to fly within Asia for my YTT. Indonesia and Thailand were my top choices since I’ve been to both countries before, and it just takes four hours to get there.
During my search, it seemed like most courses in Thailand required you to hop on another boat to a gorgeous, secluded island as your training location. While that looked tempting, I was all about short travel. So, I chose Bali, Indonesia.
Most people who are considering their YTT in Bali would probably look at the schools in Ubud first since it’s hailed as the island’s “yoga capital.” While Ubud is beautiful, there were a lot of people, tourist attractions, and shops. I’ve been there before, so sightseeing wasn’t a priority. I also didn’t think I’d have time or energy to go around anyway since I would be tired from the training. I decided to check out schools with a chill ambiance, as I’d probably want to relax at the end of each week.
So, you could imagine my joy when I found out that Power of Now Oasis was in Sanur, a quiet beach town in Bali. The studio is just a few steps away from the beach, which is fantastic. It’s also only 20 minutes from the airport. It ticked everything I was looking for.
- Operating for ten years
- Mostly high reviews
- Strong digital presence
At this point, I still had other schools in mind. So, I wanted to check out reviews that other graduates have written about the Power of Now Oasis. Do they approve of it? Did it meet their expectations?
Power of Now Oasis has a strong online presence, with a website, Facebook, Instagram, and Yoga Alliance profile. The majority of people gave positive reviews to the studio, which is a good sign. I also went through some bad reviews and checked for consistency. The negative comments seemed like isolated cases, and it didn’t bother me too much. After all, negative reviews are normal, and it made the school real to me. (Hey, you can’t please everyone.)
PONO has also been operating for ten years. It’s established and older than most schools in Bali, which gave it plus points in my book.
- Early bird discount
- Part of the tuition goes to beneficiaries
- Same price as local YTT courses
Okay, now before I get too invested with this school, how much am I going to shell out here? The tuition fee for training is not a small sum, so I had to evaluate carefully.
Some of the more popular schools in Ubud were charging $4,000 for their course—and that doesn’t even include accommodations. Others were offering budget-friendly options with rooms included at $2,500, but there wasn’t enough information about the school or its graduates.
Power of Now Oasis has an early bird rate of $2,600 for the first ten students that sign up. When I converted it to PHP, it costs about the same as some of the YTT courses in Manila. However, Power of Now Oasis starts to charge $3,100 for the 11th to 20th person who registers for the course. They only accept 20 participants maximum. (Since we were only nine in the class, everyone paid the early bird rate.)
Part of the tuition goes to their beneficiaries at the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage and Sari Hati School. That was good to know.
The tuition doesn’t cover accommodation, but they do offer it on the side: $750 for a shared room and $1,000 for a solo room at the Kolonial House. It comes with free breakfast and covers a month’s stay. I found this pricey, so I went ahead and looked for a B&B of my own, which you’re allowed to do. I booked Sekar Waru Homestay at $335/month. Not bad!
Plus, Sekar Waru is right beside Kolonial House. Most of my classmates stayed there, so walking to the studio and hanging out with my friends after class was easy.
- Balance of physical and mental
- I got more than I asked for
- Info dump (But what intensive training isn’t?)
What everyone’s waiting for! Each school would ideally publish their curriculum on their website, free for you to read and analyze. Power of Now Oasis isn’t any different. They claimed to teach:
- Yoga History & Philosophy
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Teaching Methodology
- Designing Classes
- Alignment and Adjustment
- The Yoga Sutras
- The Eight Limbs of Yoga
- Subtle Body Anatomy
- The Business of Yoga
I can attest that we covered each one, and much more. We learned to teach three styles of yoga: Traditional Hatha, Hatha Flow, and Vinyasa. Others like Yin, Pre-natal, Ashtanga Vinyasa, and Acroyoga were also practiced/taught as supplemental information, in case we want to pursue a certification in those styles in the future. We were also given a chance to lead a Yoga Nidra class using scripts we wrote.
I liked the balance of the mental and physical challenge this curriculum had. I learned more than what I was expecting, that’s for sure. Even if we focus on the asanas alone, you’d know what I mean—we learned 150 poses over three weeks. That’s a lot!
So, why did I dock it half a point? Personally, I expected more out of our anatomy classes. There were only seven lectures dedicated to it, and because I don’t have a medical background, I found it tough. There were some moments where I wished it was related more to the yoga practice vs. going into the nitty-gritty of each system (ex. which muscles should be engaged/working in a specific pose). But I did learn a lot, and the synthesis I was looking for happened during the quizzes.
- Four teachers
- Each brought a different style to the table
- Approachable, kind, knowledgeable
Part of my research process was learning about the background of the teachers in the course. PONO has that information published on its website as well. The credentials were important, but meeting them in real life was a different story.
That said, I could not imagine having a different set of teachers for my YTT. They were perfect.
- Sandeep Atri is the headteacher. He led the meditation or pranayama practice every morning, taught all the asana alignment classes, philosophy classes, and Traditional Hatha. You could tell that he poured a lot into the course and was passionate in sharing his knowledge. He shared that he worked as a chef for seven years, and he even cooked a vegetarian Indian dinner for us at the end of the first week.
- Krisna Meliala lit up the room with his energy. He led us into relaxing Yin sessions and challenging Hatha Flow classes. He shared knowledge in teaching methodology and finding your style as a teacher, and would sometimes co-lead the class with Sandeep.
- Ulfa Hagent is our warm and loving Vinyasa teacher. You could also tell how genuine she is in sharing her knowledge. While all of our teachers expressed willingness to assist with after-course work, Ulfa was the most eager. She even offered to check the future sequences we’d be making. I loved her yummy flows.
- Menik Suyani is our approachable and smart anatomy teacher. She’s also a doctor! She made a massive effort in squeezing all those anatomy classes in seven lectures, but she was always willing to sit with us during breaks and answer any questions we had. So sweet!
We also met other teachers during the course: Astri, Caspian, and Sheryl for Acroyoga, Dr. Joshi for Ayurveda, and Katharina during our alignment classes. Katharina kept us even during partner work since there were nine of us, and would also share her knowledge during the sessions.
- Eight hours a day, five days a week
- Half day on Saturdays
- Day off on Sundays
- Four weeks for the whole course
The time you can commit to training will influence your decision on which school to attend. I was lucky enough to be allowed to set aside a full month to pursue this, but others might not have the same luxury.
You can get certified in as short as 19 days or as long as 30 days, whichever you prefer. I liked that we only had eight-hour days in PONO compared to 12 hours (or more) in other schools. We had classes on Saturdays too, but we end at 1:00 PM. The total duration of the course is 27 days, which is a good pace for me.
The training will be an info dump as it is, so I wanted to choose a schedule with enough breathing room. Below is what our days looked like.
Monday to Friday:
08:00-09:30 Asana Class
11:30-01:30 Asana Alignment
02:15-02:45 Yoga Nidra
Saturday: 7:30 AM-1:00 PM
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, half of our third week had 12-hour days to accommodate finishing the course faster. I talk more about that in another post. However, I’m still giving this section a perfect score—the pandemic is an outside factor, and the school did an excellent job of rescheduling our classes to make it fit in the remaining days of the course.
- Sailing to sunset
- Bokashi Therapy
- Holi Festival
- Agni Hotra Ceremony
- Lunches and dinners
Apart from all the learning, we had tons of fun in the course, too! It was balanced out well with get-togethers and after-class activities that made the experience all the more worthwhile.
At the end of the first week, we had a traditional Balinese massage and got buried under a hot bed of fermented herbs in what is known as Bokashi therapy. It was warm, soothing, and sweaty—I’ll give you that. Goodbye, toxins.
In the second week, we participated in an Agni Hotra (Fire) Ceremony, wherein we wrote down things we wanted to let go of and burnt them in the fire. Not going to lie, things got a bit weird here as a priest chanted nonstop for about an hour, and we were sweating so much because the fire was burning in the middle of our circle, about one meter away. The intention behind it was good, but I probably wouldn’t do it again.
At the beginning of the third week, we sailed to see the sunset and swam in the middle of nowhere. It was probably my favorite after-school activity. Towards the end, we just sat there admiring the view and meditated while being rocked gently by the waves of the sea.
We did two acroyoga sessions and had so much fun in both. There were lots of laughing, inverting, and flying with my friends. We were fortunate enough that the Holi Festival happened during our training, so we participated and threw colored powder at each other to celebrate.
We had get-togethers sponsored by the studio, which was a nice gesture. Never say no to a free meal, am I right?
We did miss one extracurricular activity, which was the dinner and concert with the kids at the partner orphanage. It was canceled it due to the pandemic. Better safe than sorry!
We also missed Hari Raya Nyepi, or the Balinese New Year, since our course was adjusted to finish earlier. Only the March schedule will experience this, and it would’ve been interesting to see the Balinese culture in full swing during their local holiday. At this time, everything in Bali is shut down—businesses, hospitals, even the airport—and you’re not allowed to go out. Electricity usage is also limited. Think of it as Earth Hour, but for one day. What I was looking forward to was going stargazing. Krisna mentioned that you could faintly see the core of the Milky Way and some shooting stars if the night is clear.
Overall Score: 4.5/5
So, would I recommend this school to other people? If you found yourself agreeing with most of the points I made here, then YES. I had the best time, and even if it was cut five days short, I don’t regret the investment.
I’ve made lifelong friends around the globe, found teachers I genuinely look up to, and learned so much more than I thought I would. Namaste!