One girl One mat One heart One love. OM

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”.




Day 3 November 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — britpressley @ 7:18 am

After class and breakfast this morning I wanted to do some exploring. The place I’m staying is beautiful but it also has a more “western” vibe bc the entire villa was rented out by the yoga program so with the exception of visiting day trippers it’s just us. And we’re all pretty much from north America, Europe or Australia.
When I arrived it was dark so I didn’t get to see the surrounding area.
As I walked up the steep and winding road I started to really feel it: I’m in Bali:)
Here are some of my favorite sights of the walk.







Finally I have arrived! November 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — britpressley @ 4:38 am

The flight to Denpassar was easy. I’m a super duper corny cheese ball so I watched eat pray love on the plane. Thought it would get me pumped or something like that:)

I was greeted by yande a balinese man born and raised in Ubud. He held a sign for me at the entrance and that was kinda fun. He was so kind and warm. I sat in the front at his suggestion, I’ve learned that’s the standard here. There is no back seat/class division here.

It was nice too bc it made it easier to see the sights.
I had prepared for the worst as the hotel website describes the drive to Balian beach as “the most treacherous drive you will ever experience in your life”. I’ve now learned that this place used to be really off the map and secluded. More and more tourists are discovering it so I think they actually want to deter those less grateful or gutsy visitors so as to keep the place hip and secluded.

Driving here is rather insane bc there are hundreds of scooters bobbing and weaving at rapid speeds in and out of the lanes. I marveled as the scooters often carried a very poised Balinese woman sitting side saddle on the back acting completely unfazed by the speed or bumps in the road.

The streets are lined with small markets and food stands almost the entire way. The drive was about 2 hours and I took the time to get a quick lesson in Balinese phrases and cuisine. Regretfully I have forgotten them at this moment! But I did write them down so I’ll have to review my notes.

Upon arrival i was directed back to Alicia’s house (she’s the head teacher here). I was overwhelmed to walk up to see all of my classmates seated in a large circle having an info session. I was greeted with so much enthusiasm but it was somewhat difficult to process. It’s a bit disarming to walk in to a room full,of people who all know your name but you don’t know theirs. As someone who is rather shy/reserved upon first introduction this was kind of like my worst nightmare. It was almost like walking in to a surprise party. You are touched and happy for the gesture but overwhelmed with how to react. What face do I make? Who do I make eye contact with first? Do I look surprised/happy/appreciative enough?

All in all though it was a wonderful welcome. Afterwards Jolie, the teacher assistant who I like to refer to as camp counselor, invited me back to the house for some food that Alicia and her husband had cooked for their dinner. The restaurants were closed and I hadn’t eaten anything but airplane food, so this was perfect. It also gave me a chance to just sit and absorb where I was. Jolie is incredibly nice and helpful and down to earth. It was much appreciated to have a moment just to talk to her and get caught up on what I missed at the meeting before diving head first into the name game with everyone else here.

Finally it was social time. Put on my happy face and start meeting my new classmates.

I’m still processing and trying to get to meet everyone. It will take a few days but so far so good.

I got to sleep around 11:30 and was up at sunrise. It was amazing. I was out by the beach by 5:15am. I even beat the surfers. Having that moment to myself was such a blessing.

The next 2 days are “rest” and the real work begins on Tuesday. I can’t wait

So that’s that. I’ll try to keep my posts brief from now on. I don’t need to be the girl who comes to Bali and plays with her iPad all the time:)