Wow… It's been a long time since I've written and so much has happened since my last post. I just returned from an epic trek to Annapurna in Nepal, but I'll get to that later as I want to catch up chronologically.
The Radiantly Alive yoga teacher training course in Bali that I participated in was life-changing. We dove right in as we unburyed the layers of ourselves by sharing deep secrets and personal struggles with total strangers who would become family as the monthlong residential program progressed. I'm having trouble putting this experience in words, as trying to encapulsate such an intense experience is beyond me. Perhaps this brilliant slideshow put together by Heather Bonker, amazing photographer and Radiantly Alive teacher/director, will help paint a better picture.
I will say a bit about the delicious raw food that was so amazingly prepared for us three times a day by a stellar team of chefs, interns and Balinese assistants. I came into this knowing nothing about superfoods, alkalinity or enzymes but I truly felt something magical occurring in my body for that month. I thought giving up coffee, dairy and processed sugar would be awful; however my body responded so well to all the fruits, vegetables and amazing raw cacao chocolates. Once a week we all did a juice cleanse, drinking only energy-rich juices was actually easy and gave me a bit of perspective on eating. Also I did a weeklong digestive cleanse, which involved taking 40 large pills twice a day for five days- again, this sounds terrible but my body responded really well. One thing I noticed wth this new diet regime was how much more balanced my energy profile thoughout the day, along with a need to eat two huge plates of this amazing food at each meal…and I lost some weight. While each meal was lovingly prepared, in general raw food is relatively easy to prepare, I'm excited to put my Vitamix blender to work when I get home.
My yoga practice evolved, though not quite as much as I expected and I realize that nothing happens overnight. The teachers were incredibly inspiring and came from diverse styles,backgrounds and lineages. More than simply stretching and putting your body in postures or asanas, I now fully realize that yoga is a wholesome way of life that allows me to connect with my higher power and see the beautiful truth in the world through conscious breath awareness. We had days of 'noble silence' and morning pranayama and meditation, all this seems so normal to me now.
The main component of the program was learning to reach for your highest self, and we were given 'homeplay' assignments to help us actualize this process. I was told to become Samurai, to live with ultimate discipline, focus and inner resolve while others had to sing in front of everyone at dinner, shout at the river and dress like Superman. These assignments were a bit tedious at the time, along with some of the other 'self help' activities we did in groups but I see the rationale behind them. I was brought to tears several times as I peeled back the layers and came away as a stronger, more confident and more disciplined yogi.
My classmates became my friends and family…and I miss them dearly right now. I know I will see many of them again…in the far corners of the world. Actually, one amazing woman passed through San Francisco and stayed at my dad's house for several days. I could go on and on, but the images on the slideshow convey the beauty of this program better than my words.
Towards end of the month we were taken to an old Hindu temple, carved into the mountainside near a waterfall. As night descended, we cast our dragons, the things in life which are holding us back from becoming our highest self, into the fire in a deeply moving ritual. Then there were tests and demonstrations of our competency as yoga teachers.
After the program, about 15 of the 48 students went to the beach to release all that pent up energy and boy did we…
Next, I returned to southern Thailand to visit my beautiful friend Alisa. I rented a motorcycle and explored Koh Samui, ate a lot of Tom Yum, and even played volleyball with a bunch of hard hitting ladyboys.