Retreat Highlight: 3 Reasons To Head To Bali This September With Susan Rae!

Retreat Highlight: 3 Reasons To Head To Bali This September With Susan Rae!

We were super excited to hear about Susan Rae’s magical retreat happening this September 21 - 28 in Bali! The top three things that intrigued SF Yoga:

Yin Yoga: An inward yoga practice, that will take you on a journey to find stillness, spaciousness and witness your intimate capacity to experience your true nature within. 

Soulshine Bali Retreat Center: This magical retreat space is nestled between ancient rice terraces, temples and a lush jungle landscape, peacefully located just ten minutes from Ubud center. AND…it is the home of soul rocker Michael Franti!

The Yoga Teacher Susan Rae: A seeker, a believer and supporter of all those on the path of wellness and in search of truth. In addition to teaching yin yoga, she is a holistic health coach as well as a reiki and aroma touch therapy healer. Susan launched ‘soul sessions’ a virtual platform to support individuals in fostering a daily spiritual practice (sadhana). She has been leading people on inward journey’s through yin yoga for five years. 

There is so much going on in our daily lives these days, that we were thrilled to see a retreat that was focused on going inwards. A retreat that was about connection not only with ourselves, but also with nature and with others. We were lucky enough to sit down with Susan and ask her a few questions about her path and the retreat.

How did you begin your yogic path?

My “yoga life” began over twenty years ago. I can still recall the sensation I felt after coming out of my first savasana. I was mesmerized by the hypnotic pull of that experience and yearned for it evermore. Fast-forward fifteen years, I was caught up in the daily grind of corporate life working at an insatiable pace--my nervous system was frazzled and my soul felt hollow. The only refuge I found was in those late evening yoga classes. A place, if not the only, I could escape the Blackberry and be alone with myself. I began to seek this time out on the daily. 

In 2013, I quite my job in finance and signed up for yoga school. Not necessarily intending to teach but knowing that this was a way towards peace. 

What inspired you to focus on yin yoga?

My love for yin is deep--I am so grateful this healing practice found me. It was in my first 200-hour training at Boston Yoga School where I was introduced to Josh Summers. Josh is an acupuncturist and yin yoga teacher who shared Paul Grilley’s study on the “Bare Bones of Yoga” with me. I went on to work with Josh, in the sense that he became my yin teacher and acupuncturist during the time I spent in Boston. He was also a mentor of sorts as I was exploring different meditation techniques and philosophies. Josh encouraged me to go on a silent retreat at Insight Meditation Society. It was during that period of time I chose to focus specifically on yin yoga. Essentially I came off of retreat and signed up for training with Paul Grilley. I have been studying with him and his wife Suzee ever since. 

I fell in love with the sense of freedom yin yoga provided. Yin dawned a significant departure from the rigid alignment rules I first encountered in yoga. It brought me a huge sense of liberation because I was able to feel into my body on a deeper, more subtle level as I concentrated less on where my hands and feet should be and more on my relationship with my energetic body and beyond. Yin became my practice that ushered in greater awareness, quieted my mind, allowed time and space to process and integrate, brought forth insights, and ultimately supported my meditation practice. 

What are some of the benefits of practicing Yin Yoga?

My teacher, Paul Grilley, likes to say that we practice for the rebound. The rebound is the pose in between poses. When the asana is released you experience a strong movement of fluid and chi, which we call the rebound. The rebound can be experienced on several levels:

            - Physical sensations such as warmth, pressure, or physical ease.

            - Astral emotions such as sadness, relief, grief, or contentment.

            - Causal thoughts such as memories, insight, calmness or acceptance. 

The benefits of a yin yoga practice are naturally relative to the practitioner and may include heightened states of awareness, the ability to distinguish and detach from your association with pain (stress & anxiety), a deeper sense of relaxing personal will and an acceptance and appreciation for the body, an increased range of motion, a sense of calm and equanimity, and an overall healthy and more balanced flow of chi. 

What was the inspiration behind this retreat?

I first experienced Bali ten years ago and was profoundly taken by the natural beauty of the island and devotion of the people. Literally from waking to sleeping everything the Balinese do is in devotion to something and someone. Witnessing this way of being positively impacted the way I think and go about my day. 

To lead a retreat in such a heart-centered environment provides a welcoming and nurturing space to relax into deeper states of consciousness and arrive home in your body. I made the decision to curate this retreat specifically influenced by the practice of yin yoga. It is my intention to provide an experience where you can enter into stillness and spaciousness through the body, into the more subtle realms, to access your witnessing state and examine how you identify with your true nature. The culmination of this week-long retreat is to ‘resource’ to the all-pervading source within and to experience the pure connection among you and all things while steeping in the natural beauty of the surrounding elements and culture.

What makes Soulshine such a special place?

In Bali there is a distinguishable vibration that permeates the land and Soulshine Bali is infused with an extra dose of sweetness that makes your cheeks hurt from smiling so much. It is an absolute honor to host with Soulshine—from the exceptional service, outstanding cuisine, to the luxurious suites and lush grounds—every cell in your body is wholly nourished.

What else besides Yin Yoga, will be offered on the retreat?

The retreat is designed to feel spacious and free, with just enough ‘structure’ for each person to choose his or her level of engagement.

I am very pleased to be accompanied by a dear artist friend of mine from the Bay Area, Diana Thomas to create another outlet for soul expression through art. 

Her creative offering is called “soul art”, a painting workshop facilitated through guided meditation, color theory, brushes, or fingers, and a blank canvas. Each person will have their own masterpiece to roll up and take home with them.

In addition, we will be graced with live acoustic guitar in our yin sessions and we will have a sacred shamanic drum sound healing. We will share a fine dose of intentional time together, starting with a grounding opening ceremony followed by an intimate dinner hosted by Soulshine. Our days will unfold with an exclusive Soul Sessions live DJ pool party, trips to the beach, a sacred water temple excursion and a cultural Balinese dinner experience. We will wrap up our time together with a white party closing ceremony and dinner. There will be lots of spaciousness and connection in between. 

To reserve your space visit

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