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SOSA (151.5/200): exploring

28 April 2012 2,737 views 2 Comments

the journey

I’ve said before that the SOSA team have this whole thing mapped out really well, and that becomes more & more evident with each day, and now week, that passes. It’s as if they’ve got, somewhere in their office, the most reliable mood and energy predictor ever made. We’ve started to work with all the different teachers now, this week we had more sessions with Uma, Cat and Tina, but we also had our last posture clinics, so, you see, they’ve started to ween us off the pattern too, clever eh.
The atmosphere in the group continues to be really good. There are some really clear mini-groups (emphatically not cliques) which is great because it’s another level of support that we need at this stage – being able to confide, troubleshoot, encourage.
This week I felt that I started to use some of what we’ve learned to make my own shape and feel my own way a bit more, just a little bit.


We’re going deeper into topics and also touching on topics that are perhaps more sensitive, so Troy’s lectures this week were around nutrition, fasting, and lifestyle, everyone had a lot to contribute…
With Uma we learned the basic concepts of Ayurveda, I just thought ‘wow, there’s so much to learn in the world isn’t there’. What’s becoming really apparent is the overlap in many of the theories, although they don’t match exactly, and it truly is (as Troy said it would be) a case of getting tools in our belt to see what resonates, what works, what we want to study more.
Cat introduced us to the idea of energetics in yoga, meaning energetic fields, again, a different perspective from someone very passionate and very skilled in their specialisation.
The classes with Tina are great, she’s so generous with her expertise, opinions & humour. We’ve been going through the different elements associated with Yin Yoga, they also correspond to Traditional Chinese Medicine: metal, earth, wind, water, fire. Each element has various attributes (colour, sound, food, personality) and, depending on where it’s related in the body, there are specific asanas and Yin practices. It’s very interesting understanding how all of that relates, comes together, and to experience the impact on the body & mind.
Oh yeah, and we watched a movie on the history of yoga which was surprisingly engaging and unsurprisingly based mostly in India.


This week has been rock n roll. We did a lot of arm balances and I was very happy to get in to a few that I’ve either never got far with or have never heard of before, the beginnings of scorpion anyone..? We also did more headstand preparation, practice and partnering so there was more progress and smiles there. In general the thing that has struck me has been the way that asana can really transform your day. Y’know, you turn up sleepy, squeaky, introvert and a bit of well guided pretzel-ing later you’re doing the can can and spreading love around the whole island.
On Thursday Bex had her co-teacher come along to the class and we did partner yoga which was different and boisterous (not sure it was meant to be). We did some balances and stretches with all different partners and finished up with flying yoga. Best way to describe that is the ‘superman’ you might have done as a little kid: picking someone else up with your feet in their belly when you’re lying on the floor. I was flying on Sarah and spent the first few attempts being a complete loser not engaging in the right places, then I got it together (Sarah was proper patient) and flew, hands up n all! It was awesome, ego moment – I wish we had a photo :)
Simone surprised us Friday morning by just announcing, you’re doing your own practice today. Course it’s better that way so you don’t over-thunk the whole thing. It was fun and a real indication of how far my asana practice has come in these three weeks; I’ve practiced a lot on my own but this time, I had a real look inside to figure out what I needed, flicked my head through the sequence wave to structure something, reminded myself of some specific asanas to include and with that all covered in about seven seconds got on with it. I was surprised by just how well I’d tailored a practice for my specific physical & psychological needs, like, I really nailed it, plus I got the pace & timing right, and actually pushed myself quite a lot. As we were practicing it was good to see what everyone else was up to, get drops of ideas for things to do, have a check on the general pace of the room, and of course Simone was at the front being graceful, strong & inspirational.
Ah yeah, and on Tuesday I had to lead a little bit of our meditation (we all have to do it). Proper meditation (not sitting under a tree/ on a beach day dreaming) is new to me so this was quite a challenge. Other people have chosen to use music but I decided to keep it simple and just talk which I felt more comfortable with. It seemed to go ok.


When I was out on my scooter on Sunday I passed the Bali Orphan Centre. It’s just outside the main Ubud centre, and isn’t just for orphans but those with one parent or tricky living circumstances, the children come here after school to learn dance, computer skills, English & art. I got in touch with them and they said I could visit on the day they were learning dance. It was cool – these cute children had little costumes on and had to practice their routines. The music all sounded very similar and I have no idea how they remembered such long routines, but it was lovely to watch, they were really good.

My family are awesome. Some nights this week I’ve tried to get back quickly because I want to make sure I see them! Tuesday I especially wanted to get back because Ayu had made gado gado for my dinner, adorable of her and amazing for me because she’s a great cook. I dunno, how do these beautiful women through together a handful of this, a sprinkle of that, all in one ancient pan on an open flame and out comes food heaven. Not just the food though, they’re a lovely family – one night Ayu insisted I use some of the facepack she’d made! – and Chang is funny, proper funny.

Not everything in Ubud is wonderful, I mean, it’s tropical gorgeousness here, and so the bugs are, well, everywhere. I am looking forward (although not wishing away..) to not having that crawling feeling, to not having permanent itchiness and to not having a sweaty neck!

treats/ treatments

Mishaal is a soft, gorgeous, very exotic looking, once-American (she left 20 years ago) who agreed to teach us a bit of belly dancing one lunchtime. She’s learned and taught for many years and has a naturally graceful way of moving, when she started to dance it was stunning. Mishaal was telling us about the history of belly dancing, how it’s about celebrating the female body and it was for women to dance for other women, normally in private. The way she described the moves and the intention was just beautiful. A lot more beautiful than how we looked writhing around and tying our hands in knots.!
When we arrived here we were given a voucher for Ayurvedic massage at the centre here, I went for mine this week. I think I’ve mentioned before that the treatment rooms at Yoga Barn are lovely, so it was nice to go back. Ayurveda is a lot about understanding and regulating your digestion so the massage is tailored towards that – I had to answer a few questions so the right herbs & oils could be used, and there’s a fair amount of massage on the belly. It was a really nice treatment, very relaxing, a different result to other, harder, more physical massage.
I also took myself for a head, back, shoulder massage (I was still creaking from some of the arm balances). The place I went to wasn’t amazing – there are SO many to choose from here – but it did the job, and I mean for a fiver who cares.


Been back to a few favourites and ‘discovered’ a few newees again this week. The roasted veg wrap at Little K continues to tick the box most lunchtimes, that and a cacao maca shake. I don’t really know what maca is but everyone says it’s a superfood so bring that on.
There’s a cafe off one of the main roads, Natural Food Store, that I want everyone to know about because it’s so good, and so quiet at the moment. It’s typically swayed towards organic, gluten free, vegan, raw blah blah but it’s cheaper and there are a number of delicious (and better priced) things to be had: chickpea burger with red pepper reduction – tchya.
Some of the girls have been going to a little warung, Dayu’s, for a while, I joined them this week, it’s super cheap and proper home made dishes. Really wholesome veg curry one night and a big, mixed, fresh salad another night. So many of the dishes here have coconut in them – the curry with coconut milk, the salad with grated coconut, it’s delicious.
Had my first nasi goreng which is surprising given it’s Indonesia’s national dish (or close to). Rice fried with vegetables and egg, served with a big cracker and sambal. I’ll be honest it was greasy and well received :)


Ah, this was a magical day. Don’t read on if you’re not keen to be over gushed with love!
I arrived feeling stiff and cranky this morning on account of putting a lot into the arm balance session we’d had the day before but Simone led a beautiful practice and I was shaking it off. While we were in shivasana (lying down flat) music started, and someone started to sing. It was Eka, one of the course co-ordinators, with a guitarist from his band. They played for us while we lay there, first a Balinese song then some covers. It was the sweetest gift ever and by the end we were all singing along too. Meanwhile it had started to rain, really come down, which is something quite spectacular here: these massive hurling drops smashing amongst the jungle foliage. Between the singing and the rain we all felt incredibly refreshed.
That afternoon I had asked permission to skip class to go to the orphan centre which was a charming addition to my week (feel terrible writing that actually, it’s not a town attraction or whatever, hope you get what I mean). I made it back to class for the end of posture clinic. Bex had just demonstrated some Thai massage techniques to use on students and, lucky me, Sarah was keen to try them out. Another gift!
Our closing session today was with Daphne Tse, a beautiful singer/ musician who is a yoga teacher and plays mostly kirtan. I don’t know the official definition of kirtan but I think it’s Sanskrit/ spiritual verse or chanting to music. Certainly what we did was sit in a circle, learn some brief verses – Daphne explained the meaning behind everything – and sing them altogether, mostly with our eyes closed. Now, it really isn’t in my nature to do this sort of thing, certainly not comfortably, but it was an incredibly warm, supportive atmosphere, there was a lot of love in the room and everyone had a wonderful experience. It will be a very long time before I forget that feeling, it touched me.


beautiful shade of green, hangy, parasitical looking plant

little dudes outside someone’s house

food made with love anyone.?

sunset at my place

tea after Ayurveda massage and Ellen (Miss Estonia) at Yoga Barn

Previous posts about this trip

SOSA (17/200): awakening
SOSA (51/200): absorbing
run through the rice fields
SOSA (day off): enjoying
SOSA (102/200): deepening
SOSA (day off #2): indulging


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