Archive for February, 2016

What Bali gave me

February 28, 2016

Bali is a yoga place.

It was nice while it lasted, but back to reality, in the space of 13 hours I went from nearly a 100 degrees t-shirt and shorts in Bali to minus 1 and pulling warm clothes out of my case before leaving the Airport in London.

As usual after suffering aircraft Aircon I’ve got a chesty cough. I’m still getting my body back round the time and season change, waking up for hours in the middle of the night and getting back to sleep as the alarm goes off telling me it’s time to get up.

Storms and humidity

The last practises in Seminyak were unbelievably hot, the storms weather increasing the humidity , my mat seemed to be permanently sodden and by the time I came to do Urdva Dhanurasana it was a skid pan as my left hand slid out from under me as I pushed up without my chalk ball, one morning it got to the point where assistant Irena was using her foot to arrest the slide. Having dropback assistance 8 days on the bounce was great, Irena and Sara were on a mission to try and correct my tendency to twist to the right going back as I still subconsciously try and protect my left shoulder.

Krounchasana in Bali (Photo Sara S)

Back here I notice that my UD’s actually feel stronger, all that effort trying not to slide means where I’ve got some traction it’s all more stable, even at AYL, which though not quite Bali warm is pretty warm. Bhekasana I’ve suddenly started to find the strength to not just hang on to the left foot, but start to put meaningful downward pressure on it as I try to lift the chest.

I loved Seminyak Yoga Shala, Sara was a super teacher,but it was nice to take my spot at AYL this morning between S and J with a yellow wall both behind and in front and Louise and Emma assisting. It’s easy to focus and practice, with the odd smile as we occasionally catch each other’s eyes. E said my dropbacks were much better, certainly more control today especially coming up, E said she didn’t do anything.

Bali gave me consistent help, a more flowing practice and added some strength as I fought against the skid pan mat. Onward and upward hopefully.


Traditional Friday

February 19, 2016


On a Friday Sara teaches a traditional led primary with the Sanskrit count, I haven’t done one of those since this time last year with Saraswathi. Sara counts faster than Saraswathi I’m glad to say, though in some postures, like Mari D, I need the extra time still to get my left arm in to position, so she’s already on 3 by the time I’m bound and that’s without the added hazard of my big toes sharp nail taking a lump out of my finger!

Led primary (photo by Susi)

Despite the speedy count I love how easy it is in these conditions to squirm in to Supta K on my own and if only Sharath could see my Garbha Pindasana these days. Urdva Dhanurasana is where I need more time, in a Mysore class it’s relatively easy, gradually getting my hand to go a little bit further under the shoulder, but the speed of led pisses my lower back off as I try to get there in one go.

I much prefer the Mysore class style of practice, I need to conserve energy and practice more slowly in this heat.


Despite yoga allowing me to bite my own toe nails, after the blood letting during practice, I was passing one of the thousands of Spa’s as one of the staff, who sit outside touting for custom made a comment about my toes! For the princely sum of 25,000 (£1=19000) she said she could “fix” my toes, so I thought I may as well let a professional do it.

The heat in the day is crazy, so I don’t venture out until almost sunset for my paddle in the sea. Yesterday I got a lucky shot of a surfer just as the sun was setting.


Bali Seminyak yoga

February 17, 2016

I’m blogging from the pool.

Bali is hot, after a delay in Kuala Lumpur I walked out of the air conditioned airport in to 90 degrees of hot sunshine, still dressed for the 3 degrees i left Heathrow in.
Bali is as nice as I remember it and the added bonus of being in Seminyak by the sea is the Seminyak yoga Shala owned by my Byron Bay friend Susi. The Shala is actually above her yoga clothes shop.


Mysore class is every day at 7:30am taught by authorised ex AYL assistant Sara. A mixture of locals, expats and visitors usually make up the class. It seems to be mostly people with a regular practice.


After climbing the stairs you come to a wooden door that at first looks as if it should be a mirror, maybe it was once.


I thought AYL could get quite warm, but this Shala is a true sauna, much hotter than Mysore was this time last year, I was dripping after one Surya A, so glad I’ve come across a cheap laundry to handle the yoga washing!

Practice in these conditions is about spreading the energy, not being whacked out by the heat and humidity. Some postures are so much easier here, sliding in to Supta K, no need for spray bottles in Garbha and twisting in to Pasasana. Sara asked me if the Aircon was too drafty, I didn’t even realise it was on!

The Shala sauna

Day one Sara mostly observed, but now she’s on me, PPC, UHP, Tiriang Mukha, today I got a tap to say wait in Bhekasana , despite the torrents of sweat I’m managing to keep hold of my left foot, she uses Louise’s tactic of somehow holding the feet while encouraging the chest to lift, must be an AYL thing. I seem to do seated mostly with my eyes closed, blinded by the rivers of sweat. Another tap in Urdva Dhanurasana , telling me to wait for her in dropbacks. No finishing room, just do closing and Savasana where you are, before heading back downstairs to peel off the yoga togs.

Post practice despite no Pret’s here, there’s no problem finding my croissant or two and a pot of tea for breakfast. Seminyak literally also has hundreds of small Spa’s all competing for business, so my shoulder can get regular massage at a fraction of what it costs back home.

No running around sightseeing this trip, it’s descended in to a daily schedule of yoga, brekkie, massage, lunch, snooze by the pool, paddle in the sea, watch the sunset.

Time to escape

February 13, 2016

Seminyak Beach.

After a year of my passport gathering dust, it’s time to get some sunshine and a break from work and life in general. Last year it was Mysore, but they have put up the “Full” sign, even with Saraswathi. Instead I’m off to Bali, where I haven’t been for a few years, but these days the nearer winter sun destinations are out of bounds, Egypt, Tunisia etc , not that it’s any safer anywhere in a world of terrorist threats.

Not Ubud this time, where I’ve been to practice with Dena, I wanted sun, beach, sea and yoga, so Seminyak it will be. Practice will be at Seminyak Yoga Shala, the morning mysore program led by Sara who used to assist at AYL. The Shala is above my Byron Bay friend Susi’s yoga clothes boutique and just (according to google) a 10 minute walk from my hotel.

I hope Bali is as peaceful and beautiful as I remember it.