The Island of the Gods

Bali.  How do I even begin…

My trip to the “Island of the Gods” profoundly shifted my life.  My time there, with 18 incredible souls, stirred from within MY soul things I didn't even know existed, let alone could shift. I cannot express enough gratitude to the universe, the people, my fellow yogis and yoginis, and to mySELF, for making the amazing journey across the planet to this high vibrational zone of PURE ENERGY.

I’ll be honest--all the hype and talk--I didn’t buy it at first.  I’m a skeptic in many ways--I’m afterall, a scientist by academic training.  During the first yoga class in the Shala on Day 2, I felt it--I understood on a profound level what my friends leading the retreat told me--that the island of Bali resonates with such pure prana, from deep within the earth, that you live, breathe, and exist in a different way than before you set foot there. It was palpable.  It was powerful. It was the most beautiful feeling.

After experiencing this energy firsthand, it's abundantly clear to me how the land affects the culture. The Balinese live with intention.  They practice their daily rituals of life with intention. It’s ALL beautiful intention. From making offerings to the gods and goddesses of Balinese Hindu tradition, to bowing to one another in a grocery checkout line, to referring to their colleagues and patrons as “friend.” Statues, shrines, and altars, whether at a temple or in between two storefronts, are adorned with intention: black and white fabric representing light and shadow, with offerings of flowers and incense (and the occasional cracker or cookie), and sprinkled with holy water.  Every day. Offerings on street corners, and in every crevice around the towns… FRESH. EVERY DAY. Because the gods deserve intention.

My visit to Titra Empul, a water temple near Ubud, was sublime.  It was an experience I am so happy I was able to have. The temple dates from around 952 A.D. and people STILL journey to cleanse, purify, and make offerings to the gods. Water fed from a spring is routed into a cobble-lined pool through fountains, where a line of people move through, visiting numerous water spouts while making offerings and asking for what they need, before moving on to the next.  It was a profound experience of connection. To the island, to nature, to the universe. I’m not even exaggerating. I was utterly humbled and fully nourished.

With each morning practice in the yoga shala, I felt more grounded, more connected, and more expanded than I have in a while, maybe even, ever (!).   Us yoga teachers talk a LOT about moving prana, and I’ll tell you, that prana was MOVING; clearing out stagnation, funneling light and radiance into every corner of my existence.  I expressed poses in ways I never have before, and since I’ve returned, I have pushed my edge beyond what it once was, and all of a sudden found myself reaching poses that once eluded me, with ease.  Bali. Is. Magic. It encourages unbelievable transformation.

I miss the smell of frangipani wafting among the palms and bougainvillea, the sun high and hot in the sky, and the warmth radiating from deep within the earth, but I will return before too much time has passed.  My mind, body, and soul need that recharge on a regular basis. THANK YOU, BALI.

 Reaching for the sky in the Shala. 

Reaching for the sky in the Shala. 

 Home sweet home. 

Home sweet home. 

 Om Nama Shivaya (yes, I'm wearing a pizza shirt). 

Om Nama Shivaya (yes, I'm wearing a pizza shirt). 

 Titra Empul offerings. 

Titra Empul offerings. 

 CLEANSE. 

CLEANSE. 

 Find new perspectives. 

Find new perspectives. 

 and REST. 

and REST.