Holy guacamole, I can’t believe it’s been 6 months already! My mind has been well and truly cracked open. In the last 6 months, I’ve given myself full license to explore, giving fair trial to the different sects of yoga. Being Dora the explorer has kept it fresh and exciting. It’s also allowed me to paint a picture of this rather complex yoga ecosystem. Below is a quick recap of where I’ve spent 1 month exclusively practicing each form:
1. Hatha Yoga in Mysore
2. Iyengar in Dharamshala
3. Vinyasa in Ubud
4. Tantric Yoga & Yin in Canggu
It just so happened that my practice has oscillated from high energy to low energy each month if you were to simply consider the physical effort required. With this, the size of my belly curvature has also oscillated too. Right now, it’s peak. I blame all the delicious food in Canggu. But seriously, this place is a foodies dream.
Here in Canggu, I’ve continued to practice both Tantric Hatha & Yin. I have to say the teachers at The Practice are amazing. I would actually liken them to scientific professors who introduce the class with a clearly defined theme and then confidently execute their yoga recipe for each of the students to feel the affects of their concoction. The teaching methodology certainly appeals to the logically minded people like myself who don’t like practicing blind and want to know why a particular blend or sequence of poses is used. All of which is explained clearly.
In some classes, we will chant as we transition from one pose to another. I’ve only really done this with sun salutations back in Mysore but here, we’re asked to chant “Aum” getting down from bridge pose or going from child’s pose to downward dog. Not only does it have a particular vibration to silence the mind but it also gives you a vocal indicator for the quality of your exhale. When I’m struggling, my Aum is shallow, broken and quite mentally discomforting actually. When I’m loving life, it’s powerful, fluid, loud and I don’t want it to end. The addition of mantras during asana practice is definitely a useful tool and one that I’ll be adding to my inventory.
Yin Yoga is also something that I’d like to takeway. I’m a big advocate of Yin, not because I enjoy it but because I honestly see it as medicine for the western mind. It has a profound affect on grounding a racing, erratic mind. The classes can vary wildly from restorative relaxation to strong prolonged discomfort. In the latter you’ll come face to face with the monkey mind. You know, the inner monkey that repeatedly hits the snooze button, the one that assumes the worst with no factual basis and the one who says you can’t do something when really you can. Using a still body as a medium for sensations, Yin shows the qualities of your inner chimp and provides a way of taming through observation and simply being still. It’s actually more closer to meditation than traditional yoga asana practice. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to it! In any case, I’d recommended it highly.
A new class of Yoga Nidra has also been introduced over the last 2 weeks and it involves lying down in deep relaxation whilst being guided in a semi-sleep state of being. As the 5 senses are partially withdrawn, distractions are minimised, creating a constant string of attention. This attention is usually channeled to different parts of the body making the participant more aware of oneself. It’s considered a very powerful tool to access the later stages of super consciousness or Samadhi. For me, it didn’t quite work and samadhi had to wake me up. The path is a long!
Outside of yoga, I’ve been going to a spa for some TLC. A local expat told me about it whilst bouldering and so I decided to visit. The spa is equipped with a sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, epsom salt bath and Jacuzzi. This has been my go-to place when I want some well needed me time. It’s been a really nice relaxing activity to do outside of yoga. I’ve absolutely loved it, especially the cold plunge pool!
Canggu, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Until next time, you beautiful Balinese gem.