Asanas, Asanas, but also Adventure!
by guest blogger Kristara Kehl
July 4: Happy 4th of July!! Of course it isn’t quite the holiday in the states yet, but we are on Bali time! I woke up early to finish homework, enjoying some fresh fruit (rich papaya, pineapple, crispy yellow watermelon) and ginger jasmine tea in the process. Our morning practice began with breathing meditation techniques, which I found interesting and calming. Breakfast consisted of an egg and some mung beans–who knew they could be a breakfast food? They had the consistency of steel cut oats, and were slightly sweet. A quick change into swimsuits, then practice by the pool! The sun proved to be a mighty force as we sweated out our sequences, energy draining and skin reddening in the process. I became dehydrated and my body did not want to work: I hit a wall. Thankfully I had a chance to jump in the infinity pool when finished–the cool water on my skin was delicious! Lunch was a scrumptious mix of tofu and tempeh kabobs, spicy veggies, herb potatoes, and a refreshing fruit dessert. Up next: Alignment of Surya Namaskar A & B postures by the pool. Unfortunately my energy hadn’t quite rebounded by this point, but the information was very useful. I can’t wait to start practicing hands-on adjustments!
We followed the class with a Yin session down in the peaceful shala…aaahhhh, exactly what my body needed! My muscles cried in happiness.
Dinner time (yes, we eat a LOT) included a creamy potato cake, huge fresh salad, and fried plantains with caramel sauce, mmm…then time to get my homework done: I need two static straddles/triangles and two dynamic sequences by the morning, I better get on it!
July 5: Luckily my energy rebounded today! This morning’s practice was very different. We began with 27 prostrations in place of sun salutations, and it felt like a cardio workout! Our flow consisted of core and backbends, as well as stretches that utilized the strap–for me, anyway. We closed with a mantra chanted 108 times, as well as two circled Om chants, closing with one final unified Om. I love how beautiful our voices sound together! A hard-earned breakfast was next: Yummy rice porridge with coconut milk–comfort food. We had a brief lecture on yoga teacher etiquette while allowing our stomachs to settle, then paired up and taught our entire sequence–this time without doing the sequence while teaching it! It was a different experience, and proved to be a bit challenging. Whenever I couldn’t think of a way to describe a posture, I felt the need to go down into it myself. It definitely helped me use my words and figure out which little kinks and quirks I still need to work out.
Lunch was tofu and tempeh, an amazing bean sprout slaw with peanut sauce, and mango for dessert. Definitely not going hungry here! We then got ready and headed out for our next excursion: Goa Gajah, the elephant cave! Oh my goodness, what a beautiful outdoor temple. We hired a very informative tour guide, Wayan, who showed us around and helped explain a little of the history.
Climbing down waterfalls, walking through ride paddies, standing on giant tree roots–not to mention hugging a gigantic tree–gazing at statues and exploring caves that were 1,000 years old (including the enormous Buddha that had fallen into the waterfall pools)…it was incredible!
We even meditated for a bit on the grass before a lecture on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. My meditation was wonderful! I was in so deep that when Ali called us out and had us open our eyes, it was jarring and slightly painful. Our fun afternoon/evening was not over yet! We headed to Sanur next to practice Sanskrit on the beach. Not only was it fun, but we got to wade in the ocean and watch the sunset on our soaking towels while the warm, salty air blew around us. Common theme: MOST of us need to practice our Sanskrit. Oops. We stopped at a MiniMart on the way home and it was like heaven: junk food galore! I personally picked out a dark chocolate bar with cashews, not too shabby. Great conversation on the van ride home with Ali, Cascade, and Kelly. Dinner was ready when we got back: corn cakes, potatoes, veggies, fish, and a cool watermelon/chocolate/strawberry concoction. Then a quick shower and more homework: two abs and two backbends–let the fun continue!!