One girl One mat One heart One love. OM

It’s beginning to look a lot like…. December 15, 2012

Filed under: bali,gratitude,holidays,travel,yoga — britpressley @ 5:48 am

I never wanted to leave. But the time finally came. As I sat in the lobby of my last hotel I suddenly noticed that Christmas music was playing. I hadnt really thought about christmas, since beach and 80 degree weather don’t really illicit the holiday mood. However as silent night played through the speakers I actually got a little sentimental. I didn’t want to the leave the beauty and warmth, but I was ready to go home. To see my family and my friends and to hug my kittens and snuggle up by the fire place.
I have learned so much these last few weeks and I hope I can maintain the peace and comfort I’ve found here. I know it will be difficult but I want to really try. Mediation comes easy when you’re on a beach in the sunset. Perhaps not so easy when you live In a bustling metropolis. But I’m committed to trying.
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. I want to especially thank my father for his support and love and his help In making this trip a reality for me. It was the best Christmas,birthday and everything present a daughter could ever have. Thank you to my whole family for their patience and encouragement. I love you all so much.
Since I’m no longer “Brit In Bali” I’m not sure if I’ll continue to blog. But perhaps I can maintain the spirit of Brit in Bali and share some stories from time to time.
Gratitude is the greatest lesson I’ve learned. I read a study that showed people who take the time to write down 3 things they are grateful for everyday live exceptionally more happy lives than those who don’t.
So take a minute or 2 today, tomorrow and forever to remember what you’re grateful for. You do t have to think too hard to realize there are so many things to be grateful for. Give it a try. You may find yourself smiling just a little bit more.
Namaste, Om Swastiastu and Merry Christmas,


Sunrise/sunset December 12, 2012

Filed under: bali,gratitude,travel,yoga — britpressley @ 4:16 am

The mosquito bites woke me at 1:45 am. Which was good because my alarm was set for 2am. At 2:30 I quietly tiptoed out of the Ashram to meet Merritt and my driver,Yande as we headed out to hike to the top if Batur volcano. I must admit, it’s a good thing I had no idea what I was in for because had I known I might not have been on board;).
The hike took about 3 hours to the top. It was pitch black and mostly straight up. I was wearing Birkenstocks! ( my sneakers which I schlepped all the way here and never wore, had been accidentally thrown into the donation pile so sandals were my only option.)
My outfit by the way….epic.
Sandals with socks? Check. Oddly out of place NC state baseball cap? Check. Heinous oversize jacket tied around my waist? Check. Headlamp flashlight? Check. I only wish I had a fanny pack to complete the look.

I slid and lost my balance a lot. Our guide finally made me hold his hand because I think I was scaring him to death bc I kept losing my balance on the rocks!)
Once we finally made it to the peak it was absolutely breathtaking! Out guide prepared us some eggs and a banana sandwich as we watched the most epic sunrise I’ve ever witnessed.
The climb down wasn’t much easier than the way up….for me maybe even harder actually. Ging downhill is actually more challenging for someone with knee issues. But I made it safely to the bottom and enjoyed a monkey parade en route as well.

On our way in Yande took us to a coffee plantation for a cup of brew and then it was back to the ashram to collect my things.
We headed out of town and settled on spending the last day and night in Sanur. I needed one last day at the water.
Yande made an arrangement for me to see a Balinese healer named Cokorda Rai of Singapadu village. He is in his 80’s and very well regarded. Yande told me he was of the “highest caste” which meant he was a noble high priest even higher than a king.
The experience was another highlight. I spoke to him briefly and then he did a physical check looking for pain. I won’t go in to the details (I’m happy to share in person if you’re interested). But basically he found the source if my pain….and I swear on my life…he did some sort of “energy clearing” and the pain was gone! He advised I take a special herbal concoction which he would prepare for me I order to keep the pain away. I believe it will work.

The day ended on the beach watching yet another magnificent Bali sunset. Colors that would make crayola envious.
Gratitude. I am blessed.














The most amazing day December 9, 2012

Filed under: bali,elephants,gratitude,travel,yoga — britpressley @ 3:23 am

The first day post yoga training was pure heaven.

Late Friday night I checked into the Anand Ashram. It describes itself as a place for spiritual travelers and I was really drawn to it. Every morning there is mediation at 6am followed by a fire blessing ceremony at 630 and then yoga at 7. There are breaks throughout the day for those who want to venture into town. So it’s not like a traditional strict ashram. There is midday mediation and chanting and also an evening one. (nothing is mandatory)
I really like it here. The accommodations are simple but very clean and just what I need. There’s even a small, but refreshing “Healing pool” as they call it.

After mediation yesterday the women who is kinda like the receptionist asked if I would be joining for yoga. I said yes of course and she said, “good you will teach it”. I thought she was kidding but she was not. She is the usual teacher but I suppose she thought this would be my contribution to the community. I was a little flustered but i went for it. It was amazing! I knew I wanted to teach right away but did not think it would be the next day after my course ended! Nor when I imagined my first class did I think it would be at a beautiful outdoor temple in Bali! So blessed.
I taught again this morning only this time with a plan and sequence prepared. It was awesome for me. And i think the students liked it as well:)

After class I was picked up to head out to the elephant safari park. This was the moment I had waited for for months. Yes I came to Bali for yoga…blah blah blah….bring on to the elephants.

Words can’t really describe so that’s why I took about a million pictures! I was there for over 5 overs and never wanted to go! Luckily it started to pour or i might have had to move in.
It was definitely one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I love these animals. Each one has it’s own mahoun which means trainer or rider. And the bind they have is amazing as you can see from one of the photos below. You can really see and feel the love I this place.

After returning to town I walked around for hours, became exhausted and treated myself to a massage;) 1 hour for $7. Sure ill splurge.
After which I met a new driver who is so sweet. I promised him I would “make him some work”. He drove me to an awesome raw food and vegan cafe (they have non veg stuff too but thats their speciality). He then picked me up and brought me to the ashram. I’ve hired him again today to pick me up and take me back to town. He’s so sweet and it’s super fun to drive through the hills on the motorbike! (he has a car but the bike is preferred around here and it’s fun)

Without further ado….











The last day December 7, 2012

Filed under: bali,gratitude,yoga, philosophy — britpressley @ 3:44 pm

December 7th. The day marked in my calendar as “last day of Bali yoga training”. I can’t believe it is here. Everyone said the time would fly, and although I guess I knew it would I didn’t think it would happen quite like this. I figured at the end of the five weeks I would be sad to go but i also assumed there would be moments along the way where I would be longing for the finish line. But not once. Sure there were moments of frustration and wishing I could be a part of something back home, but I never once thought I can’t wait until this is over. Quite the opposite. I wished it never had to end. Which is not to say I’m not missing folks…so no hurt feelings out there. (especially you Bowerson….I know what an active blog reader you are…and I of course can’t wait to have some couch time and a nice arm bath).
I just wish I could ship you all here and we could relish In the sun and smiles together.

Of courses no trip to Bali would be complete without a bout of the Bali belly. Not to be outdone, I went full throttle with it. I’ll spare you the details because well….who wants to read about dysentery with their morning cup of joe. Let’s just say it was a doozy. But I lived to tell the tale.
The most noteworthy aspect of the experience was the fact that I received such great care from my fellow yogi, Yoshie. She’s Japanese and used to be a big top finance person who worked on the trade floor. You would never know it to meet her because she is so sweet and calm. However in my sickness i got a tiny glimpse of her business side. Homegirl got it done. She arranged for a Dr to come see me, got me my medicine ordered and delivered and also got me all the fluids and supplements I needed. I could not have made it without her by my side. And to think this women was a stranger to me just 5 weeks ago and was caring for me like a mother. It was amazing. I’m forever grateful. She was the exact person I needed at that moment. But in truth I can say that anyone of my fellow students would have been there for me had I called. I was blessed to be a part of such an extraordinary group of individuals.

As we went around and had our closing circle a lot of collective tears were shed. (including from a woman who had not cried in 7 years). I am so honored to have been chosen somehow to be apart of this group. Our backgrounds ranged from everything from lawyers, analyst and hedge fund managers to more bohemians such as writers, dancers, and even a clown college grad. There was a women who lives and works as a chef on a sailboat year round and even an Olympic athlete! (The ever inspiring, 3 time Olympian and bronze medalist high Diver, Ditte who i got to share a house with!)
Yet for these 5 weeks we were all the same. Folks on a journey. Some looking for answers. Some looking for peace. Some just looking to get away and maybe put life on pause for a bit. But we were all equal. A group of people who’s lifestyles and backgrounds would have otherwise prevented any sort of friendship from forming, came together and created an incredible bond.
It’s amazing what you can discover about yourself and the kinds of relationships you can form when you are no longer tethered to your “story”. When context and history no longer binds you. You can be free.
It’s an interesting concept when you really think about it.
At the beginning of the training Alicia said something to the effect of ” no one knows you. No one knows your past or your story so this is your chance to be anyone you want to be”. Some might take this and think…sure now I can become someone new.
For me though it was an opportunity (maybe the first time ever) to really find out who I am. Completely authentic without the past weighing me down. Without any expectations to live up to. I have ideas about myself that are so deeply ingrained yet they don’t come from me. They come from external influences. I wrestle with these concepts and they often make me insecure, anxious and doubtful of myself and my character. “Am I that girl”. I don’t feel like her but who knows?
Although I have certainly grown and evolved on this trip, The greatest lesson I learned was that I actually already knew who I was. Im letting go of being weighed down by outdated concepts and perceptions of who i am and what I’m like.
The person I want to be is me. Im not without flaws. But I know who I am. I know what I want. I know the kind of person I am, and I think I’m finally starting to like her.



A visual recap if you don’t feel like reading:)

Filed under: bali,gratitude,travel,yoga, philosophy — britpressley @ 7:39 am

The training is coming to a close and I have a long entry written but I thought I would just give a quick photo oriented recap:

The time in ubud is awesome. A great change of pace from Balian river, but a welcome shift. I’m looking forward to doing some more exploring now that the work is over.
These are some shots of where I’m staying as well as some photos of our karma yoga endeavor where i got to teach yoga to about 75 Balinese senior citizens. Amazing!
I also got to tour a prenatal and birthing clinic ( no pictures obviously but I did see a baby who’d been born just hours before). This clinic does incredible work to provide care to the Balinese women. Unfortunately the government here is still quite strict with health and women’s care so prenatal care is scarce and desperately needed. If anyone is interested in donating to this cause let me know and I can provide information. They are always in need of vitamins and other supplies which are heavily controlled by the govt and are thus in short supply.

The rest of the shots are of the rice walk I took as well as some of the room where we take morning class ( and one old one from balian beach). And also a picture of me with the best little girl I the world, Olivia:)
















Farewell pondok pitaya November 29, 2012

Filed under: bali,gratitude,travel,yoga, philosophy — britpressley @ 12:19 am

Today is my last morning at Balian beach. It is quite a sad farewell as the beauty here is beyond words. Each sunset seems more inspiring than the last. Last night was no exception. As I watched this perfect circle of fire orange and red slowly descend into the sea I thought to myself, ” THIS is heaven on earth”.
I have so many pictures but unfortunately cant upload those right now, but I will soon.

If you have a chance to travel to this side of the world, visit Pondok Pitaya. It is a place like no other. The staff who greets you everyday with such kindness and generosity….and who memorizes everyone’s name so they can properly greet you….make this place even more special. I’m so fortunate to have had this opportunity to spend time here and to grow and learn and witness true kindness and beauty.
Off to Ubud.

Om swastyastu.










Happy thanksgiving November 22, 2012

Filed under: bali,food,gratitude — britpressley @ 10:33 am

Here in bali today is the third Thursday so it is “technically” thanksgiving. However since it is an American holiday I don’t suppose it really counts until tomorrow.
Tonight we will be doing meditation on gratitude in lieu of having a feast.
I have so much to be thankful for this year. It has been a tough one for me, but the support and love I have felt has been my life source. I’m so grateful to have friends and family who support me without condition or expectation. I’m a lucky girl in so many ways. Thank you thank you and thank you!

Here’s a quick wrap of of the goings-on of the past few days: I met with an osteopath who also specializes in subtle body energy and healing. It was an interesting experience (incidentally he told me I should probably not be doing yoga but that’s a whole other thing!)
Although I don’t plan to stop my yoga practice any time soon, it did help to solidify my intent for this training as well as for when I return. Which is that my “goal” needs to be oriented towards doing less not more. I’m a “pusher”. I like challenge and I have a high threshold for pain. I often ignore what my body is telling me and opt instead to push through the pains or limitations. I know this is a foolish and ego driven practice. But I struggle with the idea of being lazy or too quick to give up. But I need to trust that I can let got sometimes and do less. I think I have proven myself to be a dedicated yoga practitioner but from now on I need focus on what is right for me and acknowledge and embrace that what feels right today may not tomorrow. And that’s ok. Be present and stay humble.

On my day off I traveled to Ubud with Mckall for a Balinese cooking class. It was amazing. We met at the city center at 8am and headed off for a tour of the market. We then stopped by a rice field before heading to the family compound of our teachers and hosts. This family was so amazing and generous. They had such a great sense of humor and spirit. W were met with fresh lemonade and given a brief overview of their family life and insight into balinese culture and tradition. Family is very important here and they stick together. In some compounds there are as many as 50 people all living together! Family harmony is very carefully maintained. To ensure this these families have a practice where by they have regular meetings to discuss any discord or disagreements. They do not go to bed angry or unresolved. The idea is that when one member of the family is unhappy it leads to unhappiness in the entire family. So they nip it in the bud right away.

The food we made was amazing and we got recipes for everything so I look forward to attempting to replicate this meal when I return home.

The sun is about to set and I make a point never to miss it. So that’s all.

Sending lots of love and gratitude out to you all!