One girl One mat One heart One love. OM

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!







Fate November 18, 2012

Filed under: bali,yoga, philosophy — britpressley @ 1:18 pm

Do you believe in fate? Destiny? Do you suppose we’re all just pawns in a great game where by the road is all laid out for us in advance? We often hear people say “everything happens for a reason” but does that mean it happens by design? I for one hold a belief and moral system that is firmly rooted in the notion of personal responsibility. I think we choose the lives we live. Each day we wake up is an opportunity to change, to start over, and to reform. Each day we get a clean slate to try to work on becoming and being our best self. The notion of fate would seem In opposition to this idea. But I think the two can go hand in hand. Perhaps every act of randomness IS our fate. It’s our destiny to have both success and failures. It’s our density to be faced with obstacles yet we can choose each day and in each moment how we are going to react to the fate we are given. We can handle it gracefully and with gratitude or we can resist. In my experience resistance leads to the greatest amount of suffering. Embrace what you’re given. Good and bad. If you choose to, you can grow learn and benefit from everything you experience even those things that are the most unpleasant and painful.
Some cynics may see this as a lofty idea. Maybe it is. However I choose to believe, I NEED to believe this. Sometimes you need a lofty idea just to give you the courage to move on and keep going. Life doesn’t happen TO us. it’s given to us as a gift and it is what we make of it.
There is great power and strength that comes from believing in this I think.

I love this poem and how it so simply expresses the growth and learning curve that we all have a chance to experience when it comes to our emotional well-being and finding happiness.
Self-responsibility is not about blame or guilt. Rather it is an opportunity to take control over your life and your outcome.

Autobiography in 5 chapters by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1
I walk down the street, there is a deep hole in the side walk
I fall in
I am lost….I am helpless
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street there is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place, but it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street there is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in….it’s a habit.
My eyes are open, I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street there is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.


Adventures in Balinesia: snorkeling and country road November 13, 2012

Filed under: bali,travel — britpressley @ 7:05 am

The last 2 days have been adventurous. Sunday found me sitting in an 8 hour anatomy lecture. Luckily have studied anatomy so although it was exhausting at least I wasn’t confused. I feel so bad for the (many) students who have never studied anatomy bc we basically covered 6 months of material in one day. I think my head would be exploding if I wasn’t already familiar.

After that i was super restless. Mckall and i decided we needed to get OUT! Although I have been abstaining from any alcohol while here we decided today we would break out a little bit and try a Balinese cocktail. We had the next 2 days off so figured “why not”. There isn’t much alcohol here so it’s not easy to find. I went to my favorite beach shack and asked if he had some so he said yes and brings out a soda bottle that he tells us has arak with sprite. Arak is the Bali booze I guess. Dear lord I see why they don’t drink. I could only take about 3 sips bc this stuff tasted like gasoline! We now refer to it as fire juice! Oh well. Prob best to stay alcohol free anyway.

We walked up the road past the market and into the mountain area. It was a great walk and we saw a couple of really cool temples. The people still continue to amaze me with their friendliness. Everyone who passed us on their scooters either waves or says “hello friends”. It’s so adorable.
The sunsets are beautiful but when it gets dark it gets really dark! So we had a bite to eat at the market and then headed home.

The next day I was up at 6 to head out for a snorkeling adventure. The drive to the other side of the island was about 2 hours but went quickly bc of all then beautiful scenery.
On the drive up we all got excited to see one monkey on the roadside. Little did we know that our destination would be home to 100’s of monkeys! It was awesome.

We got our snorkel gear and headed off in the boat to another island. I had some difficulty at first adjusting to breathing only through my mouth but once I found my rhythm it was amazing. I’ve been snorkeling before but I’ve never see so much under water beauty. In The Caribbean the fish are scarce and/or trained to look for the tourists for food. We had no food but there were hundreds and hundreds of fish. Some of the most vivid colors and patterns I’ve ever seen. I wish I had an underwater camera but you’ll have to settle for some above sea shots and using your imagination.
I’m admittedly somewhat afraid of the ocean but this was so calm and tranquil I could have stayed there all day!
On the drive home we stopped through another small town but the pickings were pretty slim. To be honest the market was a little unsavory. It’s awesome to see more of the culture, people and the ways of life but the smell was a bit much for me, and my westerner self could only take it for a few minutes. Between the fish and the durian it was much. ( if your are unfamiliar Durian is a fruit which supposedly tastes good, but it smells like sour feet!

All in all though it was a great 2 days but still exhausting. Today feels like my first real day off since I’ve been here so im more than pleased to enjoy la dolce far niente “the sweetness of doing nothing.”










Night Market November 10, 2012

Filed under: bali,food,travel — britpressley @ 6:43 am

At the very top of the long road leading to Balian beach there is a market with a few small shops. These are very simple shops with meager offerings. At nightfall the market square turns into a bustle of local activity as several food vendors set up shop to prepare incredible food. The energy is fantastic. These are family businesses and there are many children playing. Many of the older kids speak perfect English and will help collect the money and communicate with the tourists if their parents are too busy cooking or simply not as comfortable with English. The food is simply amazing! I’ve had a wonderful chicken soup called Sato Ayem which comes with fresh vegetables and lime and a side of rice ( everything comes with rice!). There are a Few vendors selling some of ( if not the) best fried chicken I’ve ever had. There is also a woman quite popular for her fresh avocado milkshakes—a surprisingly refreshing and not at all heavy or rich treat. I’ve had a bit of the black rice and coconut pancakes (awesome) and I look forward to returning to try the fried bananas with cane juice. (good thing I’m doing lots of yoga to balance out this food intake!)
When in Rome….or Bali:)
Oh by the way..this awesome food cost about oh….80 cents!
My soup and rice with a drink cost me 15000 rupiahs which is about $1.50 usd

I’m so struck by how joyous these people are. Even as you walk up the road everyone says hello and smiles even if they are sitting inside their house. If they see you they call out hello!

I was thrilled when they agreed to let me take their photos but I quickly realized they were more thrilled to have their photos taken. I think for many of these families, photo ops are not that common. I’ve decided I want to try to take more photos and if I can, I will have them printed out and give them as a gift to the people before I go.

Here are a few of my favorites









Watch your thoughts November 9, 2012

Filed under: yoga, philosophy — britpressley @ 9:25 am

Usually before and/or after a class there is some sort of reading or philosophical idea presented. Im sure there are many reasons why a teacher does this but for me it serves to remind us that this practice is about far more than just the physical body. Yoga is meant to be applied to your whole life. The way you interact with others, the way you think about yourself and the world around you. No one is perfect. We will all be guilty at some times of making the usual human errors….judging our neighbors, ourselves, being too impatient with the world around us. I don’t think the goal is to live perfectly and without error. But to be mindful and conscious of these “errors” or habits. Notice when we do them and try to them a little bit less each day.

The quote I want to share is something we say a lot here. It’s from the Upanishads, which is a classical text of yogic philosophy:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.

It all begins with our thoughts. Our thoughts become our destiny.

I leave you with some lovely sunset shots:)





A child’s kindness and wisdom-presents from Olivia November 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — britpressley @ 6:41 am

My teachers, Oliver and Alicia have the sweetest and most amazing little girl I’ve ever met.
Truly. She is 4 years old and is so articulate and mature yet still so pure and childlike.
The other day was rough bc my knee was hurting during yin yoga practice. This is supposed to be a more restorative practice of deep stretching with “less work”. But working less is a challenge for me.
At some point my knee made a loud pop and although it didn’t really hurt that much it surprised me and I started to cry. ( apparently crying in these types of classes is quite common bc deep stretching can bring up emotions and memories that frustrate, anger or sadden us)
I was frustrated. And angry. So the tears flowed.
I wanted to leave but I chose to stay and just lay down. Olivia came in to the room to sit with mom and saw me crying. She came over to my side and gave me this little book with a sticker on top and said, “Here this means friend” I said thank you ( more tears, but now of the happy kind) and she politely said, “ok im gonna go now” off she went.
A little bit later I heard her return but I was lying down eyes closed.
When I sat up at the end of class I noticed she placed a small bag of trinkets and little toys down beside me.
She asked if I liked my present. “Of course” I said. But she’s a child after all and I hated to take her toys…and I figured she ( like most kids) wouldn’t really want to let them go. So I said,” thank you so much. But I hate to take your toys. Why don’t you keep it and we can play with them together.”. She simply smiled and said ” No you keep it. It’s your present” and then as she walked away she said “I don’t need all that stuff,”. Ha. Such wisdom and kindness in such a small package.
We should all be so generous and compassionate. And we could also all probably remind our selves from time to time, that we too “don’t need all that stuff”.