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….











A visual recap if you don’t feel like reading:) December 7, 2012

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.










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