Archive for the ‘Bali 2008’ Category

And the wind did blow!

August 24, 2008

The view from my mat in Bali.

Typhoon Nuri

Typhoon Nuri bending trees.

From one extreme to the other in 3 days, from the peace and calm of practice in Bali to a force 9 typhoon Nuri in Hong Kong.

I managed to upload a video of the lovely walk we had each morning to the shala in Bali here.

After my last post I holed up in my hotel, as the lull from the eye of the storm had passed over and the wind and rain returned, getting stronger and stronger, I saw awnings ripped from shops, neon signs crashing and banging, debris flying down desserted streets, I knew I had to lie low. About 4am on Saturday morning I was woken by the most deafening screaming wind force I have ever heard, it sounded like a train hitting the side of the hotel, there followed all kinds of noise as stuff crashed and banged outside. My hotel room did not have curtains, it had wooden shutters you pulled across, I was glad of them as I was on the 2nd floor, level with many of the signs and awnings that could easily have smashed through my windows. I read later that falling glass and debris had injured someone a street away. It was a noisy, interesting night.

I gave up at 7.30am and got up to see what was happening, the wind had died down, we were now at Force 4, down to a tropical storm, but the rain was coming down in stair rods. My mood didn’t improve when I slipped in the shower and re-hurt the foot/ankle I injured falling out of Handstand the week before. I didnt want to waste my last day, so borrowed an umbrella and ventured out, getting the MTR to Lantau to see the Big Buddha, unsurprisingly the cable car was closed, but there was a bus, the Buddha sporadically became visible through the low clouds and rain. Had an hour taking photos then thought I must be nuts, the only other tourists were a pair of aussies, headed back to Hong Kong for a lovely jacket potato lunch and a couple of rides on the now running Star Ferry. The sun came out, so wandered and shopped before it was time to collect my bag and head for the airport.

The airport was very busy with all the passengers who had got stuck the day before, I thought things were going well as we boarded the Cathay flight on time, THEN we sat on the tarmac for 2 hours in over 100 degrees as the airline decided we must wait for transfer passengers whose flights were late, they arrived in dribs and drabs until we finally took off at 1.30am. At least we got out, the departure board was a mass of red, you could follow Nuri’s path by which flights were being cancelled heading into mainland China.

Finally landed at 7.30 this morning, Susan had kindly texted to say no practice today or tomorrow, the centre is closed for the holiday weekend, so managed to get a bus most of the way home. I am now desperately tired, but trying to stay awake until I can reasonably go to bed and hope to sleep through. I am also in 2 minds as to whether I should spend tomorrows bank holiday waiting in line for an x-ray on my foot.


In Legian

August 20, 2008

It feels like I have returned to civilisation, I watched TV for the first time in 3 weeks last night, catching up with what’s going on via the BBC. Dinner on my own in an Indoenesian/Austrailian Restaurant, full of aussie families having their holiday, most of them with stomachs that would prevent them seeing their feet much less grabbing their toes!

I woke way past yoga time this morning, my body knows when it can switch off and rest. My foot injury, which seems most likely to be a stress fracture also appreciated having a break. I had breakfast, which wasnt great, then walked along the beach, that’s my beach threshold reached, I would be bored shitless if I had to laze on a beach for 2 weeks. I need my practice, but not today.

Its Galungan festival here, most things are closed, apart from the shops selling tourist crap, I have bought nothing here, no souvenirs, all I will take away at 4pm as my plane heads for Hong Kong will be good memories of practice, the other yogis and a wonderful retreat. I think Hong Kong will be a shock to the system, a busy,brash in your face city, though I hope to make the mysore class on Friday morning.

Bali Day 10 – Out of the cocoon

August 19, 2008

Last practice this morning, led primary with modifications for those who havnt completed  Primary. Though full vinyasa between poses, which is always a challenge. Not a great practice, the usual problem of not having enough time to get into some and my foot still restricting me, though I know it could have been so much worse. After practice we sat in a circle thanking Dena for a wonderful retreat and her beautiful teaching, it brought tears to many an eye. Group photos and hugs followed A few of us then had a leisurely breakfast to say our goodbyes. My thanks to all those who it has been a pleasure to practice with for 10 days, Heather, Gabrielle, Christian, Ruth, Justin, Graham, Margaret, Torna, Sarah,Kelly, Tomio, Tsetsushi,Sam, Susi and of course Dena. This is the second time I have met some of you, may we meet again on a mat sometime.

2 Years ago on the last day I felt happy that I had managed to complete the workshop, that much intense practice at that level was new to me, then it felt like the last day of school and escaping. This time its different, the practice has been even more intense, but I am far better able to deal with it mentally and physically, my practice has grown significantly in those 2 years and it satisfies me and leaves me with a smile on my face, but this time I feel cocooned and safe in the environment of practice with Dena and it feels hard to leave the safe nurturing place that practice with Dena has become, the outside world is a scary place.

But I had to leave, so after a massage it was a taxi to Legian, on the beach, I just paddled in the sea, something I have not done for a long time, though the water is cold, though alas the sun is still not shining, though it did on my practice.

Bali Day 9 – Truths

August 18, 2008

Practice began this morning with Dena talking in a round about way as to why we are here. She said that if we were all totally happy and content in life we probably wouldnt be here, yoga fills a space mentally or spiritually, I know in my case she is right. She said that when we leave this special place we need to nurture our practice, find a place and space in time for it, if necessary not doing something else, again she is right, it has become an incredibly important part of my existence.

Practice today was nice and opening, mysore style after most of the Surya’s, apparently my arse sticks up in the air during Chaturanga. We have been adding Trivikrmasana after UHP, I havnt done it since we did it with her in Stockholm last year, though I find it easier being adjusted in it than UHP, she gets my leg higher each day. I had done my 5 breaths in Prasarita C, then felt the pressure on my back as she took me deeper for another 5 breaths, despite my foot problem I am getting far deeper into some asanas than I have ever been. Supta Kurmasana was yet again the best one I have ever done, I am getting further into it each day before the adjustment arrives. Also for the first time in a long time I got adjusted in Upavistha Konasana today, am not sure what Dena was doing, but she gave me the stability to release further forward.

My attention in the practice has been far better since she let us loose into mysore style from the start, its what I am now used to. She lets me do Ustrasana and Laghu Vajrasana before Urdva Dhanurasana, which again were satisfying, before she took me into 4 dropbacks. I havnt been dizzy coming up the last few days, I think its a combination of not doing Chakorasana and having massage on my neck every day, I am more confident as I go back.

Handstand again, I am well and truly back on the horse after my accident last week, 10 breaths vertical with Dena tugging and pushing to keep me there, telling me to take out the banana in my back. Then afterwards giving me instructions on how to take it forward when I am at home. However the first rule is YOU CANNOT USE A WALL OR DOOR, she said if we hadnt started with a wall then the tendency would be to naturally not go too far, ie you would drop back onto the feet rather than flying over the top and would learn the control earlier. She has me bunny hopping to a point of balance, well she did it, though I dont think it will be that long until I can do that part, only then when you can bunny hop legs bent and stay up for 5 breaths regularly, then and only then can you attempt to straighten the legs.

She has left me with so much to work on, she has shown me openings and over the coming months I hope my usual teachers can take me further. What she said at the beginning today was totally true, yoga fills a void and makes me happy. Though my Mother spotted this in the Sunday paper, which made me laugh

Quotes of the Week ‘We’ve got enough crime round here…without some idiot who fancied trying out the lotus position in the middle of the night’

Margate Police Officer
when discarded clothes on the beach sparked a huge ‘suicide’ search.  Later a man admitted mislaying them after a naked yoga session.

Bali Day 8- My favourite place

August 17, 2008
I love this place

I love this place


This is the Bali Buddha cafe, its my favourite place in Ubud, they serve wonderful organic food in the cafe upstairs, below is a lovely shop which sells my bags of granola, beautiful cakes and some of the scrummiest scones I have ever had. I had a lovely dinner there this evening after practice, sitting upstairs by the balcony watching the world go by below. At least doing 5 hours of yoga each day I can eat what I like, though I tend to eat less when I travel anyway, especially in hot places, though I probably havn’t drunk enough. I have begun to notice that my shorts are baggier around my waist, and that Marichyasana is easier with less for the arm to go around and I can almost touch my foot in Ardha Baddha, that’s progress. Maybe being lighter is helping my Urdva Dhanurasana, less weight to push up. Time to sleep.

Bali Day 8 – Humidity helps

August 17, 2008

Back to full Primary this morning, not led at all this morning, just let loose with a general comment to the room not to rush through standing, though I know it was aimed at me! Nice to be able to find my own way though, she got me to take a wider stance in Parivrita Trikonasana so that the back is lengthened. Nice to spend longer in Prasarita’s, able to let my hamstrings stretch out on their own. Seated were nice today, it felt more natural doing practice as I normally would.

My injured foot/ankle is progressing, no swelling and its no longer black and blue, though it doesnt kinda look right. Some poses are coming back, I can do updog again in the vinyasas, but every so often I forget and it bites back, like when I just automatically went into Triang Mukha and came out pretty sharpish, though I have found a way of doing Janusirsasana B by taking the weight into my left hand and grabbing the toes with the right, not correct I know but I can get the feeling of the stretch at least. Jumping forward is a pain, as soon as I lift up onto the toes to jump my instep objects, so it has become a “hop through” as opposed to a jump. At least I am working through it. Its not just the temperature here, but the humidity that helps, especially in poses like Supta Kurmasana, its much easier to wriggle in much further than I can in an atmosphere that is just hot, as opposed to hot and humid, my arms are way back and my feet are damn near crossed by the time Dena comes to pretzel me up, todays was a great one, today instead of being passive she got me to actively engage the foot bind, then took them behind my head and lifted me, then the usual exit, though I know I forgot to breathe, must get the hang of that.

Backbends are fun, I actually look forward to them rather than having 3 crap attempts and abadoning them until next time. Practice is settling so that some people are finished by the time I get to backbends, some dont/cant do them and then there are a few of us all waiting for assistance, as Dena is here on her own, we sometimes get a backlog. For me this helps, I dont mind waiting, today I sneaked in Ustrasana and Laghu Vajrasana, fully expecting to be told off for doing stuff beyond what I have been formally given, then did 5 Urdva Dhanurasana and some cross arm hang backs before I found her waiting at the front of my mat for dropbacks, I got to do 4 today, she said going down is good, but coming up is jerky, but my backbends have come an awful long way since March.

A really nice satisfying practice, despite the restrictions my foot is having on it. Brekky followed by a lovely strong massage, this is the life, practice having a proper place in my schedule, without the worry of “fitting it in”. Time for lunch

Bali Day 7 – The Afternoon

August 16, 2008

Got back from lunch, had a rest then did an hour of my own practice before the scheduled 4pm session. Thought I would do the poses I enjoy and the 2nd series backbends I find helpful, but dare not try and insert into my morning Primary series practice in this company. My foot is better again today, still can’t bare to jump in a jump through or back, but it stood up to a few Ustrasanas and Laghu Vajrasanas, followed by UD and Cary’s wall walking. Also got into bunny hopping practice ready for the mornings handstands.

By the time 4pm came round I was nicely warmed up. Straight into it with Surys A & B’s, then more Surya’s but with all kinds of (uncomfortable) variations including Pasvakonasana twists with binds, which I quite like, Virabadrasanas, balances, more Ustrasanas, if I had known I wouldnt have done so many in my own practice, lots of backbends culminating in 10 up and down Urdva Dhanurasanas, not that I managed all 10. It was a pretty full 100 minutes of asana practice, I enjoyed it, though she keeps you guessing. Only 20 minutes or so of chanting, the chanting she does has changed in the last year, its now quite deep, quiet and inward looking as opposed to previous years outward looking, joyful, happy clappy style.

Decided not to venture out this evening, I am quite tired, a picnic tea, an jour blogging and e-mailing then to I hope an 8 hour Savasana until its time to once again get on the mat at 7am

Bali Day 7-Tutmak

August 16, 2008

Is the name of the Ubud cafe where I’m having lunch, I just realised they have free wifi. Its moonday, no practice this morning, I slept until 8.30am, my first whole night uninterupted sleep since I got here, I needed it. It helped knowing that I had not set the alarm and could let go. I went geocaching this morning,had a massage and now enjoying another pot of tea watching kids flying bird kites in the park opposite.We have a class at 4pm, looking forward to it. tme for dessert.

Bali Day 6 – Counted

August 15, 2008

A very traditional counted practice this morning, first one I have done the whole way through since Easter stopped teaching us this back in March, I have got so used to self practice now that it seems weird to have to work to someones elses count.

Standing were good, but Dena counts quite quickly so a couple of times I was only just getting into a posture when she was already on 2 or 3, and as for poses like Marichyasana B & D I need more time and have got used to having it, also with backbends I only got 2 in, I need the time to set my hands and mentally go through engaging udiyana etc before raising. Rest of closing felt quite easy, I like Halasana and could stay in that for quite a while.

Had a foot massage after practice and a little wander round town, before a picnic back at base. 4pm practice began with a question and answer session, Dena is wonderful at explaining yoga beyond asana, I could listen to her for hours. We didnt doing any asana this afternoon, think some people are struggling, its been pretty full on practice, which is what I wanted. My foot is less colourful today, though still very restricting.

Moon day tomorrow, no morning practice, just something in the afternoon, Dena told us to rest and not rush around wearing ourselves out doing stuff. I plan to stretch a little, massage, walk and not much else, it would be nice if the sun would appear, its not cold by any means, but its humid and the washing doesnt dry, I have run out of yoga singlets, they are definitley good for 1 practice only, they are saturated.

Bali Day 5- Movement

August 14, 2008

Woke after an actual nights sleep to find foot has a little more movement. Again had to make some modifications, Triang Mukha and Janu B are just too painful, also noticed pain in base of foot when jumping through, which got worse as the vinyasas in seated went on. The longer I practised the more black and blue my foot went, but I am doing my practice and that’s what counts. Was in Supta Kurmasana, I heard Dena say “I’ll be there in a minute”, so kept on wriggling and managed to get my shoulders well under and my feet so nearly crossed by the time she arrived to adjust me.

Backbends are coming along, I am doing a lot of them so I suppose they should, the surprise is that the more I do the better they seem to get, it used to be that they got worse as I got tired, but now each one I do seems to be better structured and the weight more evenly distributed between hands and feet. Will have to start doing 5 or 6 when I get back to London, dont suppose Cary or Susan will mind 🙂   Dropbacks again today and not dizzy on the way up, things are happening, instead of aiming at the first bit of floor that comes into view, she makes me bend that bit more towards my feet, lifting my heart, but still following one line with my eyes, it makes quite a difference.

My friend A. in London e-mailed to say I was in good hands, after I told her about Dena getting me straight back on the “Handstand horse” didi it again today, starting with about 15 bunny hops to get the control, then her helping me up, she said I took some of the “banana” out today once I was up there, I don’t think she held me, I think once I was straight, she was just prodding me as I went back and forth. She certainly gives her students confidence, if you follow her instructions it happens, she just says “Believe”, and I do.