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The Women of Bali

Their sacred melody drifts across the Island of the Gods, over endless rice terraces, past rumbling volcanos, and crashing seas. Balinese women’s lives play out as a moving meditation. They spend their days crafting offerings from bamboo leaves, stomping rhythmically in dance, and toiling in the rice fields under the bright Bali sun.

Local women of Bali often greet you with their infectious smiles, however, behind many of those smiles, are years of struggle and pain. After experiencing many hardships herself, Ibu Sari wanted to bring women together and empower women in difficult situations. PKP Women’s Centre is dedicated to providing education and meaningful activities to guide Balinese women into leading happy, fulfilling lives.

In support of these women, Yoga Trade has collaborated with Yoga Design Lab and The Nomadic Filmmaker to create this video to raise money for PKP Women’s Centre. Any donations are greatly appreciated! Let’s help these women grow, prosper, and receive the support that all women deserve.

Donate HERE

5 Amazing Places to Practice Yoga in Bali

Living in Bali for 18 months has allowed me to expand my yoga practice and get a variety of teachings you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Attracting some of the best teachers from around the globe as well as a variety of new and upcoming teachers who come here to learn and put their teacher training into practice. The island has an abundance of positive energy flowing and some say Bali will allow you to leave any negativity and unwanted energy with her.

She definitely has something wonderful in the earth, air and water, which is why so many are attracted to holiday, spend short periods of time or move here full time. As a qualified yoga teacher I love to expand my practice and attend classes held by other yoga teachers from around the world. Below are some (new and old) of the best places in Bali to attend yoga classes, teacher trainings or just visit to soak up their beautiful energy and what they have to offer.

1. Desa Seni

desa
An Eco Village Resort based between Seminyak and Canggu surrounded by tranquil gardens and original Bali style joglos. They offer a range of classes and workshops, offering up to seven classes per day so you’re sure not to miss out. Anything from hatha, kundalini, vinyasa, yin and meditation as well as acro-yoga to meet all your yogic needs. Desa Seni’s yoga program caters to all levels so it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first class or you’re a teacher wanting to expand your practice, everyone feels welcomed and at home in this Balinese oasis. Expect 60 – 90 minute classes with numbers ranging anywhere from 5 up to 20 people.
http://www.desaseni.com/

 

2. The Practice

thepractice
The newest yoga centre on the block in Canggu, this brand new facility boasts the most amazing bamboo shala. With views over the rice paddy fields yet close enough to be just 30 seconds off the main street of this hip and happening hub, you will find a variety of classes available for all levels. Expect classes to be approximately 90 minutes long with on average 12 – 20 people. The practice also offers teacher training for those wanting to deepen their practice or kick-start a career of their own as a yoga teacher.
http://www.thepracticebali.com/

 

3. Yoga Barn

yogabarn
Based in the yoga mecca of Bali, Ubud this is one of the most famous places to practice in Bali, offering the largest variety and hosting classes of up to 50 people it is a popular attraction for both beginners to the advanced and attracts well known yoga teachers from around the world. Everything from hatha, tantra, kundalini, tai chi, meditation, yin, vinyasa, pranayama, the Yoga Barn has a selection of classes to meet any need.
http://www.theyogabarn.com/

 

4. Samadi

samadhi
Nestled away in North Canggu is a quiet, tranquil yoga centre with a beautiful organic vegetarian café. This is where you will find all the locals on a Sunday buying their groceries and organic produce. It’s a bustling community of both expats and travellers and offers a selection of yoga classes, workshops and teacher trainings throughout the year. They also have onsite accommodation and grow their own produce.
http://www.samadibali.com/

 

5. On Retreat

in2urlife.com-bali-retreat-adventure-in2u-health-wellness-1
Bali is famous for its amazing island energy and healing powers, that’s why there are so many amazing retreat offerings throughout the island. If your looking for a more intensive practice where you can learn, grow and expand with like-minded people and consistent teachers then a retreat is for you. Bali offers all types of retreats from yoga, detox, adventure, active and healing to cater to your individual style and needs. Research the best retreats in Bali and find one that suits your style but of course please check out IN2U Health & Wellness retreats.
http://www.in2urlife.com/

Bali will welcome you with open arms, and her yoga community will deepen your practice and open your heart to new approaches, teachings and energy that you won’t experience anywhere else in the world. Practice yoga in Bali!

 

 

Profile-Pic-Bec-Weeden

 

Bec Weeden is a qualified Health, Lifestyle, Integrative Nutrition Coach and Yoga Teacher. After working a high-end corporate career in sales and marketing for over 10 years Bec took the leap and changed her life by launching IN2U Health and Wellness.

Connect:

http://in2urlife.com

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Yoga is Within You

Thank you to our inspirational April Travel Rep, Sacha Bryce for sharing this story.

 

I am in Ubud, Bali & I am a yoga teacher.

 

That might not be the first time you’ve heard those two go together…

 

Bali & Yoga starting to sound like peanut butter & jelly!

sacha3

 

I have to share that I felt an unexpected feeling of inadequacy drape over me after about 24 hours of being in Ubud – in the heart of the yoga scene.

 

The endless selection of mala beads, yoga pants and glowing faces left me with a feeling that I wasn’t quite enough the way I am.

 

It can be easy to forget who we really are and get caught in listening to thoughts, judgments and comparisons – isolating ourselves from the world around us.

 

Yoga is not about looking peaceful or having thin legs in tight fancy pants.

 

None of this being bad or negative but entirely neutral forms– not to be mistaken with the meaning of what yoga offers.

 

Yoga is the practice of coming back into connection with what we all ALWAYS have within us.

 

            “Peace comes from within- do not seek it without” – Buddha

 

Everyone’s path is different and will look different – but it is important to remember that we’re all going towards the same thing.

 

I listened to the founder of the Yoga Barn speak this week amongst a large group of yoga students. He shared that people commonly ask him if he “does yoga”- he said he responds with a smile, a laugh and then walks away.

 

No he does not attend the asana classes but he said he feels he is always doing “his yoga”- it is just not in the form of downward dog.

sacha4

 

As I was listening to him speak I couldn’t help but think how I had the desire to start something as wonderful as him and how I should be making these larger steps towards change. The ego has this quick tendency to want to compare with others. I realized how problematic it would be if everyone in that room, including myself had opened a Yoga Barn!

 

We’re not all meant to be doing the same things and that is very simple and obvious- but easy to forget.

 

The seeking for the external forms – whether it is money, beauty or things will inevitably lead to an internal feeling of lacking that can never be filled.

 

Practice yoga by remembering who you are. Yoga is within.

 

Enough. You are more than enough exactly as you are (wherever you are) in each moment.

 

 

sacha1

 

Sacha is a Yoga Trade Travel Representative – living nomadically all over the globe as a student and teacher of yoga. She is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga as a way of living in connection with oneself and the living world around us.

Snow. Surf. Yoga. Art.

We connected with Taylor Godber in the summer of 2014 when she won our #natureinspiredyogi photo contest on Instagram. She truly inspires us with her passion for the mountains & the sea, her creative expression, her commitment to wellness and yoga, and her devotion to make the world a better place. Get Inspired! 

Photo Credit: Ashley Barker and Jessika Hunter

Tell us a little bit about your story…

My Story! Not quite sure what chapter I’m in here or where it really starts and most definitely no idea where it will end. I have called Whistler home for the past 10 years, taylor3moved here for a year and have yet to leave. With the exception of trips to Tofino on Vancouver Island to dip into the water and play in the waves. I’m a sponsored snowboard athlete for a few brands such as; Billabong, k2 Snowboards, Electric, Skullcandy, etc. My discipline or better yet, my passion as a snow enthusiast is in the mountains. Deep in the backcountry, off the beaten path and usually accessed via snowmobile. When I’m not freezing in the snow my heart yearns for the ocean. I’ve made 3 solid trips to the island of the Gods, Bali and a few of the surrounding islands. Part of me most definitely belongs there. The energy of that part of the world will shift your perspective at plain sight and on a deeper level that can only be experienced from being there. Outside of the adrenaline addiction of snowboarding and surfing my other hobbies & passions reside in creative endeavors and wellness. The yin to my yang is painting canvases and creating healthy high octane fuel for my body and others, in the form of food! I find value in eating organic, local, fresh, nutrient rich foods and see it as a gift and priority to be able to nourish ourselves with healing beautiful foods. Which leads me to an item on the bucket list, a cookbook. A wellness cookbook, of course! I write, not as often as I should- on my blog, freelance articles for a few websites, and magazines. Passions into “jobs”, a tool belt that brings in some cash here and there, to keep the dream alive-living! Travel and adventure always on the mind-open to experience life in the front row. A burning desire to see the world, meet new people, and live life to the fullest.

How did you find yoga and how do you “live” it?

Yoga found me. Classes were being offered amongst other fitness classes at my gym. I thought that I would try it out to increase my flexibility. My first class was a power class,taylor7 that kicked my ass. Less stretch more shake and sweat. I started integrating the power classes as my rest days between workouts. Then another yoga studio opened up a stone throw away from my apartment and I figured I would give the 2 week deal a chance. The first class opened up with some pranayama and mantra, I was like “what the heck is this?” It was my first experience of stepping away from the poses and cliche or not, this teacher was magical. She was an older woman and had 20+ years of teaching all over the world. Totally drawn to her “presence” for a lack of a better word, I started rocking out to a couple power classes a week and then some more spiritual classes here and there. Fast forward a couple of years and I was looking to add to my resume to become a lifestyle coach. Yoga seemed like a great skill to tack on to the standing credentials: certified weight trainer and nutritionist. I had a month between moving to the Island to surf and work for the summer. I logged on to the web to find a teacher training and with less than 2 weeks till start date, my first ever yoga teacher and favorite power guru was holding a training in Mexico. I signed up last minute, tried to cram the stack of books, one of which was the bible brick- the Yoga Sutras. I read it all & taylor5didn’t understand much. Committed to 2-3 classes a day for a week to “prepare” for what I thought would be a serious physical journey, since my teacher was known and I had experienced- a teacher that will make you sweat! My teacher training…changed my life. It was an introductory to so much more than the asana (poses) and it pretty much took me for a roller coster ride of emotions and experiences both physically and mentally. It was a shift that changed my perspective to how I live my life. I think that it was the opening comment, you need to do the work in order to help other people make the transformation. Kinda like, you can’t help others if you aren’t helping yourself. Like everything in life, I dove in head first and straight to the bottom to clean up all the sh!t that I had tucked to the side. What a trip that was, ha! With the dark comes the light and a journey with a dozen more wicked people. What I learned & was reminded of, and am continuing to work to apply on the daily:

-be yourself

-be kind to others

-forgive

-find the light in every situation

-set goals

-find balance, create balance

-practice

-love love love

-laugh more

-shanti / peace -carpe diem / seize the day

-contentment

-see the beauty in all

-eat healthy 

-go after what your soul churns for ……….the list goes on.

But collectively it shifted me into a space where I really truly started loving and accepting myself and listening to that voice in my head, my intuition.

Have you ever participated in any kind of yoga trade? What are the positive impacts you notice that evolve from volunteering and travel?

I have yet to participate in any kind of yoga trade. I have had the pleasure of teaching in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on the beach in Tofino, British Columbia Canada, a taylor2couple of sub classes in Whistler British Columbia Canada, and at a surf resort in Bali Indonesia. I love teaching, I often forget that I love it. Something to be re-ignited in the near future, I do believe. If I can help or inspire someone be it through healing a previous injury, finding space in a locked off zone through movement, find clarity in slowing down or through moving meditation, or stoke what needs to be burned away- then I’m down! The whole idea of what you do on your mat can be translated into your daily life, I dig that. We as human beings are instinctually caring. It is in our innate nature to give back and be compassionate. Volunteering not only has an impact on whom we are giving to, but also gives back to us. Spreading the love and helping anyone or anything is necessary to reconnect and break barriers that have been created. Love love love. To travel is to live. To experience and shift our perspectives be it: positive or negative. Through culture shock, food touring, new sunsets, blurry nights, near death experiences, or new personalities. All the while to come to the simple conclusion that we are all connected at some level and all the same and should be loved and supported all the same. We need to give a fu#k about the planet and one another and desperately need to stop sweating the small stuff. Wow, is this world ever incredible!

Any tips for how we can all help improve our local and global communities?

taylor6We all matter. We all have the power to create change. Be it through smiling at a stranger, picking up a chip bag at the beach, putting a coin in an overdue parking meter, working at an orphanage, turning the tap off while we brush our teeth… Everyone has a huge voice and every positive action has a massive affect on the movement towards peace, acceptance, and love.

What inspires you most?

Standing on top of a mountain in the middle of Alaska at the mercy of mother nature herself or feeling the power of a wave hurl on to your legs as you just manage to ducktaylor8 dive. It humbles me and consistently reminds me that life is to be experienced and the planet is to be respected and cared for. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces where all ego slips away and they are completely vulnerable and content, lost in the moment and as present as possible. Traveling and seeing kids play in the dirt and sand with the biggest smiles. Anyone living a simple life, who has understood the difference between needs and wants. People that exercise living life to its fullest and follow their dreams.

Anything else you would like to share…

Create.Travel.Inspire.

 

taylor4CONNECT with Taylor here:

www.taylorgodber.com

IG: @tayeg

Silence Speaks Volumes in Bali

After four months of traveling including the last three days at Bali Spirit Festival with thousands of yogis, I was in real need of some rest and rejuvenation. So when I heard about Bali Silent Retreat, it was a no brainer, I packed my things and booked to leave that same day.

What instantly impressed me was how organized everything was; they have thought of IMG_9419everything! There are fresh herbs in the tea station waiting for you to brew your own concoction, each guest has their own pigeon hole for dishes, you receive a welcome pack full of useful items like a kimono, sarong, notebook and natural insect repellent (this would come in handy since I was basically living in the jungle). They are also completely off the grid, have a very thorough recycling system and there is even a Chinese Medicine herb garden for you to help yourself to.

I left my things and headed straight to the lodge because I couldn’t wait to eat. The food looked amazing and it sure didn’t disappoint. All I could think of when I started eating was that I wanted to message my best friend to tell her what great food she was missing out on… I was still getting used to the fact that I had locked my phone away in a locker.

I found an information book in the dining area written by the chef Simon which outlined his philosophy on food including reasons why eating locally produced fruit and vegetables and being more aware of your food choices are essential for the health of the planet. You can tell he is super passionate about food and makes everything with love and awareness.

Being vegan, I am already well aware of how our food choices affect animals and the environment but what really stuck with me about what Simon said is the fact of how our food choices affect other people. He gave the example of quinoa, a South American seed that until recently was relatively unknown until it was hailed as a ‘superfood’ and is now widely available all over the world. The problem is however that quinoa is a staple in a South American diet and now that it has become so popular in the West, the price has skyrocketed and local people can no longer afford it. Definitely food for thought…

Getting back to the retreat, the grounds are absolutely stunning!! The centre is surrounded by lush green rice fields and lots of wildlife. During the day I had to watchIMG_9408 where I was walking because I kept seeing grasshoppers jumping around on the pathways and I was scared of killing one. At night I sat and enjoyed watching the fireflies going by, which was made all the more beautiful by the fact that in the background was a lunar eclipse.

The rooms are really comfortable, yet simple, which I really look for when I am traveling. I would classify it as a five star ashram. The yoga and meditation classes were exactly what I needed. Both are offered twice daily and most nights there is something special offered like Chakra Balancing and an amazing Om Circle – I swear the locals in the next village could feel the vibrations.

Probably one of my favourite moments at the retreat was when I was laying on a day bed upstairs in the lodge and I was really engrossed in my book so I wasn’t paying too much attention to what was going on around me. I looked up and laying on bean bags and cushions all over the floor were about eight other people, just all silently in their own world reading their books. It felt so nice that we were all there together (we could’ve chose to just read in our room alone) yet all in our own peaceful bubble.

In our ever connected world it was so satisfying for me to be completely disconnected from the outside world. I found myself meditating much more than usual. I read five books and wrote four blog articles. I was unstoppable! It sounds like I did a lot, but really everything was just so much faster because I was completely absorbed in each thing, rather than sitting with my phone in my hand, laptop in front of me with 30 tabs open (I have an obsession with tabs – I am the ultimate multitasker) and having a conversation with my Mum at the same time.

It was like the time slowed down for five days and I left feeling energised, renewed, Kirsty-Bioconnected to myself (rather than to the world) and ready to take on whatever life had in store for me next. Next challenge, Vipassana…

 

Kirsty is a passionate vegan, gyspy, summer chasing anatomy nerd who loves kirtan, AcroYoga, dancing, random acts of kindness, nature and being upside down. ‘Home’ is in Wollongong, Australia where she runs Anjana Yoga, www.anjanayoga.com.au.

Why Go on a Yoga Retreat?

Here is some reposted wisdom and inspiration for the modern yogi from our friend Insiya at YOGUE. You can find the original posting here: http://www.yogue.ca/why-go-on-a-yoga-retreat/

I recently read Toronto based yoga teacher Matthew Remski’s essay on how modern yoga needs to offer “real” support and connection to its community at the yoga studio level – he calls it the “soup kitchen”-ing of yoga studios.  It’s a brilliant, thought provoking essay and you can find it in the book 21st Century Yoga Politics and Practice;  I admire Remski as he brings a critical lens to our yoga bubble world and his writing and his work is concerned with  growing the yoga practice far beyond just doing asanas to tone your tush.   It is about creating a space much like the churches and mosques and synagogues have done for centuries, that offers community, a space to share the sorrows and joys of life that make us humans on a spiritual search, yet not disengaged with daily living.

Yet, in the essay, he critiques yoga retreats as one of the offerings at yoga studios that have just become a marketing ploy to take people to beautiful places and earn revenue.

That may be.

Yet, I write this post from Bali, where I have just arrived from the wet Canadian winter of Vancouver.  My mornings here begin with a surreptitious escape from our “family bed” so as not to awaken our toddler, who climbs in every night. I spend my first few moments walking barefoot onto dewy grass and looking up at the night sky – blushing toward first dawn.  It is warm and my body feels none of the sting of the winter winds I have left behind.  Instead, I am here taking in a simple connection to soil, to earth and to the ocean air scented with plumeria.

Sounds magical?  It is.  This time in Bali where we arrive each winter after the many airplane flights, the incessant travails of travel – especially with a child – is my manna.  After my first dip into the ocean, I feel reborn and a flowering of my yoga practice – with a little bit of help.  I’m no longer as concerned with the daily tasks of being a “householder” – we eat simple, delicious food that the retreat centre cooks, or at a local restaurant or warung, or I cook breakfast.  I am not folding laundry, one of the many local laundries is happy to have our business and  I have a little bit of help with my son.

As a mom, my yoga practice at home is all about squeezing in a few moments here and there within my day – always flowing with the rhythm of my child, the demands of work and family  – and justifying the compression of my daily practice with the statement: “this is my yoga right now.”

Here, all of a sudden, I don’t need to justify anything.  With just a little bit of space and time I can go a little deeper.  I used to think this was a luxury, something that I shouldn’t celebrate as it seemed so elitist, but especially if you are a woman and a mother and on a spiritual path – if you can manage it – a few moments of time stretched offer everything. It makes me think about a famous female poet who said, “I write poetry as it is the only thing i can do in between the demands of my children.  Writing fiction would take so much longer.”

Ultimately, what I am looking for is quiet.  The yogis write that the yoga practice is about training our mind to be quiet so that we can feel that “quietness” in the midst of chaos, yet to get there, there’s nothing quite like experiencing external quiet: the pause from the daily-ness of space/time.  Sometimes you need to check out, to check in.

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The recent “trend” in the yoga world is that “retreats” are not as popular as teacher trainings and immersions in exotic locations.  That maybe so, but the truth is, that going on retreat can be a deep ride that offers as much as you are ready to take.  It can help to create new habits – like a daily yoga practice; it can offer a respite with time to journal, to think, to even lay in a hammock especially if that is not your natural inclination. Mostly, it can be a sure-fire way to take your awareness to another plane, a transfusion of spirit and a re-building of the “you.”

I often end my yoga classes with the statement that taking this “time” is not a selfish thing, because the time we spend on renewing ourself helps us to be kinder, more compassionate and present in all our relationships.  I know that I am a better partner, a mother and a friend when I do.

Traveling to Bali may not be in your cards this year, or in this lifetime, but you can go on retreat, for an hour, a day, a weekend or longer to a place not so far from the immediate recesses of your life.

So tell me, have you been on a yoga retreat or aspire to going on one?  Do you see it as something frivolous or wuwu? I’d love to know.

MW5A0273-6Insiya Rasiwala-Finn is a writer, yoga teacher, and mama exploring creativity and the eco lifestyle. Follow Insiya at YOGUE as she continues to seek out the greenest, healthiest ways to live, cook, inspire, travel and play: in the ocean, with words on paper and on the yoga mat.

www.yogue.ca

 

My Sweet Spot

Bali is breathtaking. The bustle of the small city of Ubud is abundant with cozy cafes offering organic food, juices, and sweets. Colorful sarongs line the streets as smiling locals appear from their shops, and ancient temples garnished with Ganesha nestled into lush gardens, seduce the Western eye.

The island is unique with roughly 90% of the population Hindu followers. The familiar (good) scents of India – the burning of sandalwood and nag champa mixed with the sultry breezes of fresh flowers follow you down the streets. As you weave around heaps of motorbikes, taxis (and unfortunately tourists) you flow throughDSC00084 the narrow sidewalks as if a video game character, avoiding the hundreds of small poojas, banana leaves with offerings for the gods. The poojas are such small, yet profound reminders of why I love the Eastern world and it’s traditions. These rituals are deeply embedded in the culture and give meaning and intention to even the simplest actions.

When you began to practice mindfulness, whether it is with a prayer, an asana practice, a meal you cook or enjoying a cappuccino with a friend – you are fully engaged and offer yourself completely to that present moment. I understand the importance of this the more I dive deeper into the path of yoga. I also realize this the more time I spend away from fast paced society in America.

During my time spent in Bali I learned philosophy behind the practices…the main objective is to find truth: how to live a life of contentment and happiness amidst reality. It is a path to liberation and freedom from suffering.

One of my mentors, Rose, often says “live your life passionately present and awake to reality, with non-attachment”. She explains the incredible sensations you experience when you can accept reality (because we will never win against it) with grace, by practicing non-attachment (because nothing is ever permanent) we allow ourselves to stay grounded internally, no matter what is happening in our external worlds, joy or pain. When we cultivate a sense of pure pleasure for people, places or an experience, without trying to hold on to them, we then enjoy them so much more, leaving us content and fulfilled.

Despite the chaos in the heart of Ubud, I noticed an elderly woman with a map of beautifully drawn wrinkles, smiling on the sidewalk, as she sells her exotic fruits, and offers samples to any curious takers. She sat in that same exact spot week after week, and that is enough for me to see her pure happiness and contentment.DSC00058 Although she was amongst many shops adorned with expensive malas, mats (and every other yoga paraphernalia under the Balinese sun) she was surrounded by Westerners with costly cameras, still she sat peacefully, completing her dharma (purpose in life) with enjoyment and sincerity. To me, that is the definition of Santosha (contentment) and is something most take a lifetime, or many, to accomplish.

As I traversed back through the rice paddies on small paths, I saw villages dispersed throughout the endless amounts of greenery. I heard chants from a not so distant temple and became consumed with the laughter of a family nearby. I saw men and women bent over in straw hats with machetes, who spend their entire lives cultivating these fields and harvesting the crops. I stopped to admire one of the many artists who create carvings from coconuts shells.

It is hard for most to imagine a life like this. It seems simple, for some – maybe too simple. Personally, I could do with more simplicity in my life. What really captured my attention is the honorable relationship between humans and nature, and humans and the divine – which is our ultimate happiness and inner peace. I felt a sense of Santosha and realize how healing a bit of purity, nature and truth can be.

Lauren-Sta-Tere_54I completely fell for this island and all it’s inspiring characters from all corners of the world. Bali’s lush terrain and stable mountains hold incredible spirituality, with a gentle sweetness exuding from its people. It is a sacred place to expand your awareness of these ancient practices, another culture and yourself.

Let go of all your expectations, growth begins with new experiences.

Lauren is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Follow her teachings, travels and journey through www.raiseyourbeat.com

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