Farewell India, Hello Vinyasa.
What accompanies an Indian monsoon? Hungry mosquitoes, over flooded sewers and closed yoga schools is the answer.
It’s been emotional India. You’ve served me well, over the last 3 months but with monsoon sweeping in, I must leave you. Don’t worry, this isn’t a goodbye, it’s a see you later.
Next stop then, Ubud, Bali! Here is where I have been mooching for the last 2 weeks. I came to Bali 7 years ago where me and a friend gave the surfer lifestyle a go. Things didn’t really go to plan. We some how got stripped of our clothes in an elaborate beach con, were nearly swept out by the tides and spent of our time not actually surfing but in the wave washing machine. This time, I’ve gone inland, away from the beach warzone and into the yoga haven of Ubud. As soon as I arrived here, the most noticeable difference from having been in India was how the local Balinese people greet others. In India, and on the whole, moustached locals greet you with a death stare, you know the one. Here in Bali however, you will always get greeted with a warming smile and some will even bring their hands in prayer by their chests too. It say’s a lot about the respectful and kind nature of the Balinese people.
Ubud is a whirlpool of creative talent. Arts, music and food are the core themes. There are no big name franchise restaurants. If you walk into a restaurant, they will have sourced all the furniture from local artisans. The food will likely be immaculately presented with the taste to match it’s looks.
I didn’t choose Ubud for it’s artistic talents, however. That just came as a pleasant added bonus. 51% of my decision was driven by the strong yoga scene. The other 49% was because there is a climbing gym here. In the last 3 years, 3 months has been the longest I’ve gone without climbing and it makes my inner monkey cry every day. I’m not going to lie, I was more excited about resuming climbing than sampling a new spice of yoga. I was eager to climb with what feels like a more nimble and flexible body. Unfortunately, I’ve lost much of that specific climbing strength which cannot be practiced through Yoga. This came as a shock and did make me a little upset. Though my mental game feels on point however. I had a traumatic fall 9 months ago and dislocated my elbow, it brought a whole load of background fear when I was climbing back in London. Now, most of the fear seems to have dissipated and my mind is more calm when my body experiences those strong physical exertions on a route.
My Yoga routine has been switched up nicely. Back in India, I stayed at the Yoga institution and practiced their specific yoga for the month. Here, I’m staying in an Airbnb and practicing at a shala called Radiantly Alive as recommended by a friend back in Dharamshala. Classes run 12 hours a day from 7:30am to 7:30pm and you can choose from 15+ different types. It’s been nice to have a choice, some of the classes I’ve attended include; gentle flow, meditation & pranayama, yin, restorative, vinyasa, ashtanga vinyasa, handstands, flexibility & mobility, Qigong and even sky yoga which is basically gourmet Iyengar. A real mashup then! What’s also been nice is to not being responsible for implementing my own self-practise to make up the hours. Looking back, I put a lot of pressure on my self to carry out my self practice. Here, I simply show up and follow. The instructor delivery is excellent and for me the standout has been the fast flowing vinyasa classes. I turn into a sweaty betty but leave as if I’ve done a solid cardio session, something I haven’t really felt from Yoga thus far. On the yogic spiritual scale, the shala sits halfway between the India and the West. My routine changes widely from day to day. This spontaneity is a refreshing change from a rather regimented last couple of months. In fact, my entire lifestyle has shifted more towards life back in London. No doubt, a cosey Airbnb with an equipped kitchen has played a part in cooking homely dishes.
Having a kitchen has been a game changer. I’ve been able to control when I eat, how much I eat and what I eat! My staple choice has been kichdi, a real delight and takes me right back home when I make it. Something else I’ve missed is starting my day with a bespoke smoothie. My blend recently has included dates, papaya, banana, spinach, berries, kale, pea protein isolate, spirulina, moringa and nuts for a bit of crunch. POW, Amit wins.
As if my life wasn’t sweet enough, the icing on the cake has definitely been the Balinese massages. They are the perfect balance between relaxing and discomforting meaning that you leave feeling peaceful but with less muscular knots. Like paying tax, I believe law should inscribe getting a weekly massage. If you’re too lazy to go Yoga then just go and get a massage, the outcome is the same (well kind of).