23 June 2023

Riverina Yoga Studio goes global with Bali retreat launch

| Oliver Jacques
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Three women at a dinner table in Bali

Janine Murphy, Sue Dal Broi and Carmela Naseby Pennisi enjoying themselves in Ubud. Photo: Supplied.

A yoga collective in Griffith that offers classes in the centre of town took a giant leap forward in May by launching its first overseas tour.

Certified teachers Janine Murphy, Sue Dal Broi and Carmela Naseby Pennisi of Riverina Yoga Studio have been running popular classes in yoga and meditation since 2012.

For the past few years, they’d been trying to organise something special for their elite students.

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“We’ve done quite a few in-house workshops and had visiting teachers, but we’d been wanting to take students to a venue for a while where you can remove yourself, ” Ms Murphy said.

people doing yoga near rice fields

The 11 students got to do yoga in a spectacular setting. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Dal Broi, who learned how to teach the discipline at age 60, had the connections to make it happen.

“My brother is married to a Balinese woman. I’ve been there often; when I was there one time I got my brother to take me to places we would like … I found this place called The Shala in the town of Ubud, in a beautiful setting in a rice paddy. [Shala means home in the Sanskrit language].

“We were set to go in May 2020, but COVID hit in March so we couldn’t go. This trip has been three years in the making.”

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This year, the trio gathered together with eleven experienced students from their studio and took them on an eight-day retreat.

“It was as much a cultural tour as a yoga retreat,” Ms Murphy said. “We did yoga twice a day, we did a bike ride through the rice paddies and ended up in a family compound. Sue’s sister-in-law took us to her family’s place and they cooked us a big feast.

“We went to temples, we immersed ourselves under 12 fountains of holy water. We went to a sound healing, it was a very new experience – there are these pyramid shaped buildings and in the centre a whole range of musical instruments like drums and gongs … you lie down, it’s dark and you hear the sound of beating drums. I loved it but some people were a bit spooked.”

Two women doing yoga in the airport

Some couldn’t wait to get to Bali so started doing yoga in the airport. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Pennisi said: “For me, the best thing was being in somebody’s home and seeing how they live. You can have a totally different experience over there … what strikes me is it’s so chaotic, especially the driving, but it works for them, they are all so kind to each other, that’s a reflection of the beautiful people.”

Some of the participants on the studio’s tour had never been outside Australia.

“A couple of people were nervous about going overseas, they came back different people because of the experience. They’d now have the confidence to do it by themselves,” Ms Dal Broi said.

“We’d like to think this will be an annual event, they’ve sent us some dates we can do next year.”

Six women in Balinese home

Sue Dal Broi took her colleagues to see her in-laws. Visiting Balinese homes was a highlight of the trip. Photo: Supplied.

Those who might be interested in going on a future Bali tour would need to get some practice in at the studio.

“It’s for people who have yoga experience and you have to be reasonably fit. We do a fair bit of riding and activities. You don’t want anyone to fall and get hurt,” Ms Dal Broi said.

More information on Riverina Yoga Studio classes can be found on their Facebook page.

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