Winding It Back - The Yoga Barn’s First Yoga Teacher Training

The Yoga Barn might have grown into one of the largest Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) Centre’s in South East Asia, if not the world, with its world-class tropical studio environment for yoga and healing art training courses, but as history holds it wasn’t always the case. With humble beginnings, ‘The Barn’ once stood as a simple studio in the rice paddies of Bali looking vastly different in what was a sleepier downtown Ubud.  And as we wind back the clock we have discovered that the School of Sacred Arts (SOSA) who have their final 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course in and April this year, ran the first ever Yoga Barn yoga teacher training course in April 2010. Find out about their final 200 YTT course and ‘soon to be announced’ specialized immersions as they to, along with The Yoga Barn co-founders, recall the humble beginnings of where the Ubud YTT trend began.

A snapshot history of The Yoga Barn

The Yoga Barn was launched in 2007, a joint vision of three inspiration individuals who all came to be in Ubud, Bali for very different reasons. Balinese born, I Made Gunarta (Pak Dek) was born and raised in Ubud village, his New York City born wife Meghan Pappenheim and dear friend, Charley Patton, a native Californian were (and continue to be) the co-founding visionaries behind this destination in the heart of the island of Bali. The concept at the core of their joint vision was ‘the spirit of Bali’ and how as a cultural centre of indigenous art Ubud could offer spiritual inspiration and transformation for everyone through yoga and the healing arts. Launching with just one open studio, in 2019 they now run a 7 day schedule of classes, workshops and special events across 7 separate tropical yoga spaces. Not to mention over 30+ yoga teacher training courses and specialised immersions every year

A brief snapshot of the Co-Founders and their stories

Meghan, the travelling New Yorker, was abroad internationally whilst completing a BA in Art History, Anthropology and Asian studies with a focus on ‘Language and the Arts & Culture of Bali’ when she met her soon to be betrothed while visiting and studying on the Island of the Gods. Following soon enough after her trip and marriage to her native Ubudian husband, Pak Dek she made a permanent move to Ubud as an Indonesian citizen. Loving and living in the thrum and ceremony of Balinese life, meeting ex pat travellers along the way they soon met Charley a supposed two week visiting cyclist and yoga fanatic discovering the island on holidays. Charley was on a 12 month cycling adventure and was devising how to escape the corporate world of the US, and Ubud won him over. With paths divinely crossing and soon becoming good friends, there was much they had in common. And as hearts who meet with joint passions often do, they soon shared ideas for building a community connected through the joy of yoga and wellbeing, inspired by the spiritual traditions of Bali and beyond. It was here in friendship that the romance (or the damn hard work) started and a much bigger story began to unfold.

‘The Barn’ and Yoga in 2009

In its early beginnings it might have been hard to imagine even for the most focused and inspired visionaries that the two studios that held from 3 to 15 attendees per class, a few classes a day, would one day be a destination within a destination for healers, spiritual junkies and wanna be yoga teachers to formalise their modern Yoga Teacher accreditations and take them back out into the world.  

But seeded in the memories as we walk down memory lane without the focus on the business growth of The Yoga Barn or the industry is the enjoyment of reflection for ‘what’ and ‘where’ Bali was at that time, in 2009. It was more simple, there were more comedic antics and going’s on, and a business in indigenous surrounds consumed by local law and policy was nothing short of challenging and exciting.  It was a time when yoga was in its infancy as an emerging industry and the interest from global travellers was on the rise.

So with a yoga studio a few years established and with a growing reputation, the idea of a proposed fully accredited Yoga Teacher Training course might have seemed a great leap for the co-founding team, but it was offered all the same by two young, passionate yogi’s with a ‘baptism of fire’ style experience of their own as new teachers of teachers. Simone MacKay and Troy McFadden, life partners and yoga teachers who had been teaching at The Yoga Barn on the class schedule, returned to Ubud, Bali after landing from 6 crazy months in Japan, where they had taught 5 x 20 day yoga teacher training courses in that same period. Returning they were burnt out and questioning what were they to do next?

But with a YTT frame work created on demand in another country, and with a curriculum they could carry forward, they too had their own vision. Having been put to the test on the job, living in yoga studios with enthusiastic, soon-to-be accredited yogi’s they thought maybe, just maybe The Yoga Barn might be the next Bali teacher training ground for them to work their magic and create their own employment.

Simone MacKay Quote: “With a considerable amount of what I would call excitement, belief in our approach, healthy fear, and knowing we were grounded in integrity, transparency, quality, and authenticity—together with a great group of other teachers and facilitators we knew and trusted—we jumped into the Great Unknown"

Now in context with the ‘learn on the job theme’, ‘figure it out as you go’ and put your ‘money where your mouth is’ kinda energy, there is a story that aligns with that of The Yoga Barn beginnings. It is one laced with a love of exploration and adventure and the passion of helping others, with a twist of good humour to boot. And this snippet of how Simone and Troy came to name their now 10 year strong, and world renowned reputable yoga training school the ‘School of Sacred Arts’ is a joy.

Troy recalls in a warm and funny way the drama of landing in Japan, having been flown in by a promoter last minute to ‘teach some classes’ only to be told that they would be running a yoga teacher training course on arrival. And from here the drama’s unfolded, having to contend with everything from wayward, rebellious translators, financial improprieties they had no idea about and all kinds of other challenges, including being badmouthed by the teachers who had dropped out. This was all the while as they spent 12 hours a day teaching and making it up as we went along, often furiously writing notes on napkins just before lectures were scheduled to begin. But through it all, on one-night mid-training, on a crazy speedy windy trip in the back of their car in the hills of Nagano, Japan, the decided they needed to name their current business venture and so it was born: (the) School of Sacred Arts (a.k.a SOSA). Soon thereafter, with much joking around, they realized an equally appropriate name could have been “The School of Sudden Starts”!

The Yoga Barn’s 1st Yoga Teacher Training Course

So with the School of Sacred Arts established, and also in its infancy, the proposal for a first Yoga Teacher Training course grew legs and launched with 16 people ready on the mat in April 2010. It was the start of a deeply fruitful, now well-established relationship that resulted in approximately 18 full 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings in 8 years in the ever-growing tropical garden studios of ‘The Barn’. With enormous amounts of learning not only by the students but also the teachers and studio operational teams alike, the training stories are heart-warming and many, involving volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, immigration raids dispersing the crowds, and ultimately an enormous amount of transformation, by way of love, laughter and tears, the end result delivering nothing short of absolute blessings.

Charley Patton – Co Founder Quotes:
Simone and Troy were among a small group of original Yoga Barn teachers, back in 2008/2009. Simone was our first Yin Yoga teacher. Troy taught Restorative. At the time, we had two studios on premise, and a large class was all of 15 people!

As teachers of ours and friends, I recall their proposal to seriously commit to their own Yoga School, and for Yoga Barn to be the venue for it’s very first 200 hour yoga teacher training. Both had years of teaching experience, with degrees in Counselling and in addition, Troy was a bodyworker; Simone a certified aromatherapist and reflexologist.

In April 2010, the very first of many to come 200-hour Teacher Training took place at The Yoga Barn, the ‘School of Sacred Arts’ was truly born. Ten years, and 18 trainings later, my most indelible of memories has been to witness the transformation of students from the opening day where everyone sat in a somewhat-awkward circle of shy introductions, not knowing each other, Bali, Yoga Barn, nor Troy and Simone ... then the contrast of the closing ceremony, where everyone is so joyful, happy, so emotionally and deeply connected to the profound experience they have been through.”

School of Sacred Arts & The Yoga Barn Yogis

For the school their connections to Ubud and the yoga community at large extend from the spiritual playground and venue that is the Yoga Barn has become. Deeply immersed in the culture they have shared intrinsic relationships with the yoga loving students growing organically like the rice of its tropical garden surrounds. When you reflect you learn that well-established international and Balinese teachers started their journeys from these early YTT’s, enjoying ongoing relationships through the love of sharing their passions, yogic philosophies, friendship and mat play time. One such example is Lindsey Wise, the very first applicant, and a teacher who has blossomed forth in Bali in many respects. Other early Yoga Barn teachers like Cat Kabira, Bex Tyrer  and Tina Nance also Yoga Barn teachers are some who began expanding their teaching beyond daily classes and workshops being mentored through working with Simone and Troy as guest trainers. These experiences have led them to founding their own schools and specialised immersive trainings. Some would say that SOSA is seeded in the inception of so many yogic developments that have grown out of the Yoga Barn studios and into beyond.

Bex Tyrer – Yoga Barn Teacher Quote:
About ten years ago I arrived in Bali and insisted that I 1. work at The Yoga Barn and 2. teach on SOSA. Simone and Troy welcomed me to assist and they gave me an opportunity to journey with them through their teacher training courses.

This gifted me the chance to meet such wonderful people and also to watch how as the nature of we the teachers changed, our interests and passions reflected the students that we appealed to. It really was true alchemy.

I began teaching posture clinics, acroyoga and then yoga activism, authentic teaching and finally the Deep Feminine. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to deepen my offerings through the trust Simone and Troy gave me.

In the last years Bali has exploded with TTCs, and perhaps because of the sincere and humble nature of SOSA it has become harder for them to appeal to the masses. This April will be the last SOSA TTC and I am honoured to be teaching on it. If you want a solid 200 hour foundation course - this is the one.

Thank you to the whole SOSA team and for the SOSA graduates who years later I am still in touch with. You know who you are! I also look forward to what beauty will continue to unfold as even though this will be the end of an era, it will also provide us with the incentive and space to create even more exciting and integral courses.

In particular Simone and Troy speak of the joy it brings seeing the success of their Balinese/Indonesian students. From the beginning, full and partial scholarships were offered to locals in support of community, and teachers such as Eka Kailash has been a major teacher on our faculty for yoga teacher trainings.  Murni Made has seen great success as well along with Wine Pramayanti and all remain loyal and cherished teachers on the Yoga Barn teaching faculty.

Share in the final 200 Hour YTT with SOSA March 31 to April 27

So, if you are in the Bali market for a well-established foundation 200 YTT course in 2019, you might have just found it. SOSA’s final 200 Yoga Teacher Training course commences on 31 March and runs until 27 April. A total month of dedication to the healing art of yoga with expertise in teaching yoga through study, intimate instruction and with accredited qualifications. The 200-hour Yoga Alliance training offers not only powerful, transformative and heart-based teachings in the art of yoga and science but it will give you the opportunity to join the ranks of SOSA YTT 200-hour teachers teaching around the world. Based on hatha/vinyasa flow there is a focus on yin yoga and yoga nidra, a specialist area soon to be enriched through more intimate and specialised courses beyond this training.

In compliment to the rich legacy of Hatha Yoga SOSA draws from wisdom traditions such as Ayurveda, Native American Medicine Wheel teachings, Shamanism, Buddhist mindfulness and modern neuroscience, giving students a rich, unique and authentic training exploring the universal values, inherent truths, and diverse approaches to growth and evolution, both ancient and modern, from India and beyond. See here for more information and on how to book.


Troy McFadden – Founder SOSA Quote:
“As we enter our 10thyear, we find ourselves seasoned teachers and practitioners, with more specific areas of focus, and as such will be offering our “final” 200hr YTT for the foreseeable future, shifting into 100-hour trainings and immersions (such as Yoga Nidra events) and personal, as well as Ethical Business coaching.

It has been a deep pleasure to have been of service in this way, to have grown, co-evolved and co-created with Yoga Barn all these years, and to now enjoy the kind of deep mutual trust, appreciation and respect with people like Meghan and Charley (and the entire Ubud community), that can only come with time and sustained integrity. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them, and without Yoga Barn being what it is, an incredible global lighthouse for yoga, health, healing, consciousness expansion-and fun!”

Bali Teacher Training & Healing Art 2019 Program

Winding the clock back offers so many wonderful points of recognition and highlights so many foundational friendships and adventures had. It also humbles the hearts who know how when you trust your intuition and align with being’s who share the same aspirations anything can achieved. Dreams do become realities and new communities are formed. It is the stories of these that make history.

So is this your chance to align with kindred spirits, commit to your needs and make your dreams happen? Become a part of a Bali teacher training at the Yoga Barn and align your life with your passion. Whether you want to immerse yourself in Yoga, Meditation, Philosophy, Breathwork, Sound, Reiki or Astrology, we have a training or immersion for you with courses for 100, 200 and 300 hour accreditations. To explore further see our 2019 Training calendar and tune into your heart, act on your intuition and then follow the link to book it now.

Charley Patton – Co-Founder Quote:
Thank you, School of Sacred Arts for growing with us, and sharing the magic of YOGA!