One girl One mat One heart One love. OM

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.










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.


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:)