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November 18, 2017: From Zurich, with a stopover in Dubai, and there I was, in Denpasar, Bali. When I landed, I’ll be honest, I was a complete wreck. I had done my best to stay hydrated and get some rest, but I’m not a good sleeper on planes, and I completely underestimated the travel time. I did however check the visa requirements, and glad I did, because I had to show proof of a next destination. I had booked a one way because naturally I wanted to leave things open, but in the end I decided to make it back to Switzerland for Christmas – I could only stay in Indonesia for 30 days. They definitely checked as I checked my luggage in Zurich (phew!).

You may get a kick out of this, I know I’m laughing as I look back. Zurich to Dubai was about 7 hours, which I knew, but Dubai to Denpasar I thought was about 4 hours…. well, it was more like 9.5 hahaha. I remember thinking on the plane: ‘are we there yet? what’s taking so long?’. Then I checked the flight radar… oh boy. When we landed, I got myself to immigration, and was so glad to have beaten the crowd, because when I looked back, 3 massive lines had formed. So many people flying into this island, it was incredible.

I got my luggage, which wasn’t much, and then went to meet my airport pick up – orange shirt. Well, there were a few orange shirts, and none with the sign I was looking for. I circled the arrivals area over and over, and never wanted to see a sign so badly. I checked my email just to double check, and then miraculously, there he was. We waited for another 3 people, and then we were off. I got to the hotel – Harris Hotel – and felt welcomed immediately. I checked in, and was escorted to my room where I had a shower, it was a pretty cold shower, but at that time I didn’t care. It was so nice and hot outside anyway, and I was barely awake at this point, so it really didn’t matter. I got into some pjs, and passed out for hours. I couldn’t bring myself to even go for dinner, I just had water, and slept.

IMG_5287 The next morning, I woke up certainly feeling better, but not quite 100%. I was going to catch a ride to a boat to Lembongan, where my Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Bliss awaited. I make sure that when I travel, I have some oil of oregano on hand to help keep my immune system strong – lack of sleep, not the best food, and new germs and bacteria can do a number on you if you’re not careful. Note: Do not use if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and definitely read up on it or ask your doctor before taking just in case.

IMG_5296I checked into Kawans Inn, which had all been arranged by Gwen from Yoga Bliss Lemongan. The accommodations were amazing, clean room, comfortable bed, private bathroom, AC… couldn’t have asked for more. I will say this though: the showers on the island and tap water are typically from the sea and filtered, so the water isn’t as salty, but it is mildly salty. My skin and hair felt amazing, but it took a few days to get used to, especially when it came to brushing my teeth – first world problems ;). If you want, you can use this link to book, and after your stay you and I will each get 15 euro!

I did my own laundry as well, but I think the salt water didn’t really make it smell that great, and being rainy season it was pretty humid so it did take some time to dry (1-2 days)… Laundry from what I heard was a bit pricey, about 40K Rp for 1 kilo. Oh, and I would change money in Bali, because you will lose a bit if you change cash in Lembongan (about 20K Rp), and be aware of the ATMs – apparently most are rigged to copy your number (on Bali and Lembongan). I didn’t see it first hand, but heard from a local.

IMG_5333The people on the island are just lovely. Apart from the course, which I’ll chat about in a moment, included was a snorkeling trip and a Balinese massage at Kayana Spa. The Balinese massage was amazing. So much so, that I had to go back two more times. Massage is such a great way to release toxins in your body, and keep you relaxed. Of course, it’s nice when you don’t have to pay so much for them, but even when I was working and didn’t have the luxury of it being covered by my health benefits, I made time at least once a quarter to make the investments and get a deep tissue massage. The snorkeling trip was out of this world. I didn’t know this, but apparently Indonesia is known for being one of the best diving spots in the world. Mowgli was our captain, and we went out bright and early. We went to about 4 different areas, and I saw Manta Rays! These majestic creatures are just so big and are so beautiful. I was a little intimidated at first, but slowly began to see their beauty in the way they move. I saw about 3 of them!

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The sad reality was that although I saw amazing fish, and the water was clear, there was so much plastic floating everywhere – plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, chip bags… it was a sad reality check about how we’re treating our planet and how polluted our oceans are. A few of us grabbed what we could and collected it here, but we need to do more. I came across 4Ocean, an organization formed by 2 men to help clean up our oceans. When you buy a bracelet, you pull one pound of garbage from our oceans, which they then recycle or dispose of properly. I bought mine, and I’m not putting this here to gain anything – just sharing information and ways you can help fight the fight 🙂 Here are some other tips you can use to reduce waste – Click HERE – I for one won’t be using straws anymore, and will use reusable bags and bottles instead of plastic ones. Three little things that can go a long way.

IMG_5496People on the island also make an effort to reduce waste, including Green Garden, the restaurant that served us food everyday as part of our Yoga Teacher Training Certification (YTTC) Program. They donate 25% of their profits go towards funding sports activities, cleaning the environment and greening. They don’t use plastic straws, and their food is so tasty and always made with love 🙂 IMG_5379Please go visit if you make it there, you won’t be disappointed! Breakfast was my favourite 🙂 Those smoothie bowls!

 

 

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Yoga Bliss Lembongan – if I could sum things up here, it would be: What a life changing experience! I would highly recommend this to anyone. The content and the teaching was incredible. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I know that it far exceeded my expectations. It was tough and intense, don’t get me wrong, but what I walked away with was a deeper understanding of Ashtanga and Yin Yoga, the philosophy of Yoga, meditation and breathing, the body (anatomy and how it works on a molecular level), the importance of eating well (the role that nutrients and nutritious foods play in our health and well being), and life in general.

Gwen would write daily on our board in the shala, and this was one of my favourites:

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I grew and developed on a personal level, and walked away with a daily practice. You see, I, like most of you I’m sure, was first introduced to Yoga by my gym, as a means of physical activity some relaxation at the end. Yoga is so much more than that, and I can’t begin to write what it is here, but in a nutshell:  Yoga means union, everything working together in harmony, in balance (body and mind). You will find so many definitions of Yoga, and I’m not saying mine is right or complete, I’m just sharing a glimpse of what I understood Yoga to be in a philosophical sense. Yoga is a lifestyle, a way to be free from disappointment and frustration, to live life in peace and harmony. It is a daily practice, and practice makes progress.

The four paths of Yoga:

  1. Karma Yoga: selfless action – acting without expecting anything in return
  2. Bhakti Yoga: love – loving unconditionally
  3. Raja Yoga: contemplation – meditation as a practice
  4. Jnana Yoga: be curious – seek knowledge

I’ll leave it on that note, as this course piqued my curiosity to learn more, to be curious and to practice (Ashtanga) Yoga daily.

Lessons learned:

  • We all need to step up our non-use of plastics for the sake of the planet, because without the ocean, we’re not going to make it (Check out Blue Planet and Blue Planet II)
  • People are people, all the same, living together. Love and respect everyone for who they are, no matter how small they can be because love conquers all.
  • Check your flight details BEFORE your trip, because you may just need a little extra sleep or food prep 😉

 

 


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Natalia Edelmann

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