On a journey of self and worldly discovery. Exploring, delving into the abyss of life. I see stepping stones, although they only appear as I step onto them, floating above the earth, suspended by faith and trust. Allowing the journey to unfold as it needs to, let's go!
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than friendship. [Thomas Aquinas]
Well what a whirlwind few weeks it’s been – Bali, England, Greece, Germany, back to London and now the Cayman Islands.
Hopefully I have been able to capture some of the highlights in the slideshow below of Germany, and the Cayman Islands which is my last stop before heading home.
One of the highlights of my trip has been catching up with Julia in Germany. For those of you who attended my yoga classes, you will remember Julia who practiced with us while she was in New Zealand doing her student exchange. What a beautiful young lady and how magnificent is the city of Dresden!
I’m currently in the Cayman’s warming up after leaving the chilly weather in Germany and England. I love having friends all around the world. I read somewhere that ‘of all possessions a friend is the most precious’. How true is that?
Haven’t quite been able to settle into my own practice at the moment so tomorrow I am booked into a 3-hour Singing Crystal Bowl workshop. There I will learn techniques and hopefully immerse myself into the pure, healing sounds of the singing crystal bowl. Tibetan Singing Bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation purposes.
Back to NZ in 10-days – can’t wait to hear what you have all been up to. Looking forward to sharing all my knowledge with you. I leave you with the chimes of Dresden.
All done! Whew! Two training’s in two months. What was I thinking? The above picture tells my story far better than I can – hours of yoga training, fabulous friends, fabulous food and the reward at the end. Has it been worth it? Every low moment, each and every muscle ache (there were plenty of those), all the letting go of whatever needed to be released and the amazing self discoveries along the way, every damn minute was worth it. Yes, feeling proud of myself!
So I have completed and successfully gained two certifications – one in Pure Vinyasa Flow and the other in Hatha Yoga. The beauty of these practices is that it brings a balance, they compliment each other and for me that’s important – we are never the same on any given day and being mindful of this allows us to practice balance, listening to our bodies and needs for each day
I left NZ searching not only for knowledge and experience, but I was also on a journey to understand, and quell if need be, a longing and panic that threatened to swamp and crush my every waking moment. My experiences in the last two months have been a balancing act of strength ( mind & body ) stamina and rest. My biggest challenge was to not put so much physical energy into my practices, observing more rather than doing more – ‘being rather than doing’ . These last couple of months have gifted me more than I could have ever imagined and the self discoveries, aligning the person I am on the outside, with my soul on the inside, have indeed been precious. I must not forget this part will always be a life-long journey.
It did go fast. I’m sad to leave my Hatha friends, but I am ready to leave now, at least for the moment. The end of the second course was a great feeling. There were some great ‘time out’ moments on the course. A couple of my favourite moments was a beautiful sunset sail and spending time with the children/teens from the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage.
I’m in the U.K at the moment for a bit of sightseeing and rest and then I’m off to the Cayman Islands for a wee break in the sunshine. Isn’t life fabulous? After this I will head back to NZ, arriving on the 22nd November and at this stage, all things going to plan, will leave again on the 16th December. More on this soon. I am so looking forward to seeing friends and family for a catch-up.
WARNING – this article comes with a schnozzle warning! If you don’t want to be grossed out, I suggest you don’t read any further.
Never in my life did I think I would be talking about …. well ..er..umm … OK I’ll just say it – SNOT! If this exercise had been on the agenda during the first week of my first course, I would have been on the next plane home! I know the picture above looks like I am doing some sort of failed crab dance, but what I am actually doing is a nasal cleansing routine called Jala Neti, a Hatha yoga technique used to clean out your sinuses using salt and water.
Neti is one of the six purification methods in Hatha Yoga. The sinus cavities can get clogged with impurities which may cause infections, inflammations and headaches. The yogic text Hatha Yoga Pradeepika gives a simple method to keep your sinuses clean. It is great for overall health and well-being. It can cure sinusitis, asthma, dust and pollen allergies, tonsils, help relieve headaches, migraines, fever, feeling weak and tired and improves immunity. If any of you are feeling a little nosey, (no pun intended), and would like to know how to practice Jala Neti, let me know and I’ll get instructions to you. It’s a simple, but very effective, technique and is pretty easy to do.
The last 2 weeks have flown by. Had to take a couple of days off at the end of the first week as I came down with some sort of Bali bot, but now things are ticking along nicely. This course is not as intense as the 1st course and my body is certainly appreciating it! I’m still tossing up what to do once this course has finished. Possibly Cayman Islands – time will tell. I’m trying not to jump at the first opportunity – my heart is telling me opportunity will present itself in good time, further along the journey.
Not that I want to skite or anything, but here’s a pic of my my breakfast view this morning, well most mornings, to be perfectly honest – always a 2-hour practice beforehand though. How’s your practice going?
Namaste and Aum
An amazing final week at the Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio. Yes I graduated! The week started with a photo shoot in and around some amazing spots in Ubud. I can’t wait to share the photos with you and as soon as I get them, I will post them up on my blog.
Tuesday and Wednesday was all about, the practice of teaching, communicating alignment cues and adjustment for anything that was going to enhance our skills for own teaching and to prepare us for exam day. OMG! We got to see ourselves on video teaching the class … and I was shocking, Yes I am my worst critic but I certainly saw room for improvement.
Early to bed ‘exam-eve’ Wednesday – not sure why because the ‘dreaded exam’ nerves kept me awake most the night. And exam day was extremely tense – thankfully our fantastic teachers were able to settle our nerves and reassure us. They told us to have fun and to enjoy ourselves – easier said than done when you’re faced with a two-hour exam!
Friday was graduation day and we started the day with Sadhana (our own 2 hour personal practice). I have been getting some cranial work done on myself and my body is shifting and realigning and it feels a tad uncomfortable at the moment, I am so incredibly tired and my body is fatigued, Fortunately I can press the ‘record’ button on my phone because I keep falling asleep in discussions. Just before we headed off to graduation, the owners of Radiantly Alive, Jasmine and Rafael, spoke to us about the business of yoga. There’s definitely more to running a yoga business than just teaching yoga classes. This was a really fabulous and worthwhile discussion.
Then it was time for graduation. We dressed up in white and were taken to a gorgeous ancient temple. What an incredibly powerful place this was and my body was shaking internally the whole time – and no, not from coffee withdrawals – but because it was a time to let go of some ‘stuff’ again. We all had the opportunity to write a few thoughts, hurts, memories etc on paper – things we no longer wanted in our lives, and then placed these into the fire created just for the ceremony, We sang a mantra as each trainee walked up placed their bit of paper on the fire – it was at this moment we received out certificate of completion. It was a very emotional moment for me and, once again, I shed a few tears. Goodbye ‘Radiantly Alive’. I have loved every moment with you.
Before I go here’s a sneak peek at my new classmates at the ‘Power of Now’. Another fabulous bunch on the next stage of my adventure. More about that soon.
Well we started week three with being blindfolded for class. Wow! What an experience. Both liberating and challenging. In this exercise we had to allow the senses to kick in and just trust in what we were doing. When you practise blindfolded, your gaze is forced to go inwards. You have to be guided by how the posture feels and not what it looks like. With your blindfold on, you fully tune into the teacher’s instructions, and completely feel the placement of your body on the mat and in space. This enhanced concentration brings much greater presence and mindfulness to your practice.
We finished off day-one of week-three with a beautiful roll and release class with James, Roll and release practice is a pathway to healing and flexibility, letting go of tensions and pains. Oh my goodness! What a great way to end a day’s training and something I will definitely bring to my classes on my return.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the week has been ‘Sky Yoga’. We all enjoyed it immensely. It was my first time and I had been looking forward to it ever since I saw it featured on our course programme. if you ever have the opportunity to try Sky Yoga, do it! There are many other names for it, aerial yoga, anti-gravity yoga, flying yoga etc. It combines the traditional yoga poses, pilates and dance with the use of a hammock.
Here’s a pic of one of my fabulous instructors, Sanna. She is our dynamic yoga teacher, lives here in Bali, but is from Finland. Sanna is my age and she is an incredibly inspiring strong woman, She has also been taking us for our philosophy classes, What a character!
I can’t believe I’m heading into my final week of Course 1. What a mind blowing month it has been. I am finding my edge and feels good to be able to approach my yoga with so much more fitness and confidence. I hope you’re keeping up with your yoga practice – you will never regret it. Till next blog – Ooom and Namaste
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. [Unknown]
It’s been a big week – the end of the second week already! We are all feeling the pain mentally and physically. Thank goodness it’s a day off today. My body is aching from the inside out and my sympathetic nervous system is feeling hammered. Normally I can call on some extra strength, especially with all the physical stuff, but not at the moment. I go into a pose but there is no more strength my body can give. Find myself falling asleep everywhere! So, I am being gentle with myself today and am heading out for a massage which I am soooooooooo looking forward to.
It’s not just the physical stuff that’s taxing. It’s been a week of lots of theory – anatomy, philosophy and alignment, Just when the head space is chock-a-block, we are placed into groups to practice our teaching, and get this, part of teaching practice is instructing us to speak from our belly, not from our throats, and yes. there is a difference! To do this we had to repeat the words, ‘Hurry Helen hide the ham’ while pressing and pulsing the belly in and out as we spoke. Try it! Gosh it was hard. I struggled as it is at my Sacral chakra, where I have stored a lot of emotional baggage. Our teacher had me sound out ‘oooooo’ louder and louder and then yell from my belly. Oh boy – did that hit the spot – and yes, I cried again! Still peeling back those layers. Yay!
On Sunday we spent a few hours with a star of the yoga world – Meghan Currie – check her out at www.meghancurrieyoga.com – she is incredibly inspiring!
We also had a ‘Kiritan’ evening’ last night, this is a night of drums, guitars and one other instrument which is like a mini piano that requires air. There is lots of chanting which I love. The Kiritan lasts for approximately 1 – 1.5 hrs. So many new experiences this week – I’m in love with every one of them.
We had the privilege of different yoga teachers throughout the week. Each one is different with so much knowledge to share – my creative juices are ignited and flowing. Talking of creative juices reminds which me of a quote I have shared before in my classes. ‘My mat is my canvas and yoga is my art.’ So go and create, all of you! Until my next blog … Ooom and Namaste
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” [Unknown]
What a week! It feels like I have been here for ages. Mind, body, spirit – I am connecting again and it feels wonderful. I realise now, that the busyness I created in my life, was my way of running away from me, my ‘spiritual’ side – my inside-out. I’m ashamed to say, my spirit had been largely ignored. So much so, if I was an ornament I’d be dusty.
So it’s been a week of exploration, literally and physically. Meeting new friends and training, training, training! Oh my goodness, the aches and pains. When I first get out of bed in the morning, I lurch around the room like a malfunctioning robot until I warm up. But by far, the biggest thing for me, is that I have shed a fair bit of emotional baggage, and yesterday, was a biggie. I’ve been carrying my wounds with me for a long time. They weren’t visible on any part of my skin but they were there.
We did a group road trip to a temple in the hills, known as the water temple. We dressed in sarongs and we had to immerse ourselves into three different pools to be cleansed. In preparation, we had written what it was we wanted to be cleansed of. It could be one word or a few words, and then we had to place our heads under the fountain in each pool repeating Aum’s and voicing our thoughts. It was incredibly emotional for me. I can’t describe the overwhelming intensity of the place and I could not stop crying/sobbing uncontrollably! At the last pool, I cried like a wounded child. It felt like the feelings you have after giving birth and yet something had died also. At the same time I felt a liberating sense of relief … my layers of stuff peeling away.
Today is a day off, of sorts … we have an assignment to complete. The teaching is fantastic, our teachers are incredibly supportive, encouraging and deliver the content well. Love my class mates. So many different cultures – wonderful inspiring people.
In the featured photo at the top are my friends and I hanging out on our breaks. From left: Angel (Taiwan), me, Maree (Australia) and Diandra (USA). This exercise is a great heart opener. It works into your thoracic spine, between the shoulder blades
One common breakfast treat had here … nuts, fruit, quinoa porridge dragon fruit, banana. it’s is an incredibly organic, vegan, omnivore following, but other options are available. Soaked nuts options, chia and quinoa porridge, black bean pudding is one of my favs now, with a vanilla yogurt topping or compote, yum, yum!
They say Ubud is like a vortex. It sucks you in or it spits you out. You leave here with life changing experiences. You will keep coming back or you stay here permanently. I’m not sure how all this will end for me, but one thing I do know for sure, for so long I’ve been hiding behind the tags, mother, nana, wife, sister, aunty and teacher. But right at this very moment I want to say ‘Bye’ from ‘little ol’ ME!’
Thank you for life, and all the little ups and downs that make it worth living. [Travis Bark]
I’m tried to cram as much as I could into my two day visit into Singapore (Sentosa Island) and as you can see I was busy. There was the Butterfly Exhibit, Mega Zip, Aquarium, Cable car and Luge. I loved the Mega Zip; it was exhilarating. It’s similar to a flying fox and the view was exceptional. All I wanted to do was flying yoga! Yeeehaaa!
Talk about coming back down to earth with a thud. I arrived back in Bali to Ubud only to find the accommodation I had booked weeks ago, had been double-booked and was not available. This was really upsetting for me because I had chosen the accommodation because of its proximity to my course. I was taken to alternative accommodation but had no idea where I was and how to get to my course. So yesterday I took myself for a walk to find the yoga studio. It’s called ‘Radiantly Alive’. I had no trouble finding it but by this time I had blisters on my feet and a belly that is not happy, so I found a cafe, sat down and just felt the tears welling up.
To be honest, the old ‘tears thingy’ has been happening to me quite a bit lately. I guess some of this was because I was unwell and tired, but the other thing is, because I have had plenty of time to just sit and connect with my spiritual side, the tears have been flowing. Maybe this place has taken a hold of me already!
I also went to a Gentle Flow yoga class last night. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘gentle’! The teacher took us through a combination of poses with Qi Gong movements and breathing/meditation. He asked if anyone in the class was in Bali for the Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and of course I put my hand up, and because he had already noticed me helping someone else to set up, he called me the ‘helpful one’. The music was playing a song I play in my classes and in my car. It was very inspiring. At that moment I felt my soul stirring, and I knew without a doubt, it was confirmation I was meant to be here, I am in the right place. And what do you know? The tears started again? As the class progressed the teacher adjusted, corrected and talked his way through the movements and crikey, was he a task master. I was certainly not above correction, and, oh my goodness, my body had its fair share of troublesome spots. My leg I injured last week was not happy, I had bad alignment, and I was collapsing through the thoracic spine. Yikes, I certainly have some work to do!
So it’s now Day 2 and I’m still feeling a bit flat. The place I am staying at is not quiet. Roosters crow, dogs bark and children cry – a cacophony of sound. I’m just heading out to a sky yoga therapeutic class. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? Providing I haven’t launched my self into ‘the never never land’ I’ll tell you all about it soon.
Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are. Jason Crandell
Just when I am getting this ‘relaxation thingy’ under my belt, it is time to leave for my next adventure. Goodbye Mahagiri Resort – I will miss you – the food, the people, my trusty scooby scooter and I will treasure the quietness and peace that has enabled me to think – it’s been fantastic. By the time you read this I will have landed in Singapore where I will be staying for a couple of nights before heading back to beautiful Bali to start my first yoga course. Why Singapore? Well …. because I will be in Bali longer than the sixty days my visa allows, I need to leave Bali and re-enter again. Once I do this I can extend my visa. What the heck – Singapore is a fab city to visit – shopping, shopping and more shopping.
Losing all sense of time has its benefits. At the resort time is irrelevant – things will simply get done when they get done. It took a few days to settle into ‘doing nothing’. I felt quite fearful about not having a schedule and had to force myself to take these feelings to my mat. As I meditated, I began to notice another island – a place I had not visited for quite sometime – my soul, the real me. I have a hunch it is only in this place that I will discover who I am without my busyness.
I enjoyed a fabulous yoga class called ‘Serenity Yoga ‘ which was just a hop, skip and a jump away from the resort. With lots of time for ‘thinking’ I have given lots of mindful thought into ideas I would like to bring back to NZ. Yoga dance, sky yoga (in hammocks) also known as ‘Aerial yoga’ – I have an opportunity to experience all of these in both my courses and I would love to add these to my classes. Until then it’s head down and bum up, both literally and physically, as I continue to practice my yoga and wade my way through copious course notes. Talk soon.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.
I am finding it quite difficult to decide what to do first, especially when I wake up in the morning, I have not altogether let go of ‘the schedule’ to just be in the moment. I find myself huffing, puffing, harrumphing and finger tapping while I try to settle. My mind goes into over-drive with endless nonsensical thinking. Doing nothing. I read somewhere that doing nothing is the most productive activity you will ever undertake. It sounds both simple and fabulous, with thoughts of lazy days at the beach, maybe a deserted island in Bali somewhere! But doing nothing is a lot harder than it sounds. Who am I without my busyness? It’s a good question to start with. Something for me to work on I think!
Have felt a bit like the walking wounded over the last couple of days. A visit to the doctors with an ear infection and a pulled thigh muscle from an overly ambitious yoga practice, sees me confined into the realm of ‘gentle activity’ for a few days. So with this in mind I took a motorbike for a spin today over the hill to another island and hung out at a place called ‘The Palms’. Lovely day with amazing views. Ahem…… a little pic of me doing nothing.
Have got my GoPro with me and have been taking a few videos which I will publish shortly. I’m having a few difficulties downloading but will get my head round this and hopefully you will get to see just how beautiful Bali is. I’m staying at a lovely resort called Mahagiri Resort. The gorgeous, white-sanded beach around the resort is called Light House Beach and I highly recommend the place. The people, the service … everyone going out of their way to help. I wish you were with me.