I’ve been in Bali for just over 6 weeks now.  Feeling a little bit guilty for not blogging nearly as much as I’d initially intended.  I have tried.  Just wasn’t happening…much like my attempts to bind into Marichyasana D on the left side without assistance.  DAMMIT!  Truth is…I’m not sure where to start.

It’s incredible to wake up here on a Saturday (rest day), sun already shining down on the Paddi fields, make a cup of green tea on our 70’s style stove and come out here onto the balcony to listen to the village gently stirring.  The chorus of birds and geckos would have started many hours ago, but for the first time since I’ve been here…I slept right through it.

In this moment, I feel very peaceful.  Like there’s something warm and steady anchored at the base of my belly.  Of course – that might just be the relief from an 8 hour (and counting) break from Bali Belly….(MAN alive – what a way to practice…), but I reckon it’s much more than that.

In terms of practice I’m clawing my way into the Intermediate Series, which is something I didn’t think I’d ever do.  As much as yoga isn’t meant to be about achievements and goals, of course it feels good!  It’s comparative to starting out on those sweaty, spluttering, clumsy 20 minute runs on the treadmill at the local gym, and a few years later finding yourself at the starting line of a marathon.  Although, having done both – my experience of yoga has been much harder.

I was introduced to Laghu Vajrasana yesterday – the pose just before Kapotasana.  Kapotasana is the pose that brings many ashtanga journeys to a close, and I’ve been sitting with that for a while and wondering how I feel about it.  Do I mind if my practice ends there, or has the Ashtanga series become something I’m deeply attached to?  For now, I feel great with what I’m doing.  With all the additional postures and drop-backs – I’m excited again.  Yeah, I’m exhausted by the end of the week, and spend at least half the time feeling like I’ve stuck my fingers into an electrical socket, but I’m being truly and deeply challenged by this mammoth sequence in an environment that is just so nurturing and kind.  I can cry to myself on the mat when a baddha konasana adjustment goes too deep; scream “BALLS” and laugh out loud when my arms get stuck, I lose momentum and roll onto my side in garbha pindasana, and have to wait for an assistant to put me up right and push me back into motion again; share knowing glances of despair and humility to my “Team Intermediate” comrades as our bodies shake, redden and clench trying to lever ourselves back up from Laghu Vajrasana to kneeling….an explosion of emotions expressed in a single glance.  Matthew always watching over us….even if you can’t see him, and you’re trying to get a difficult posture in discreetly, he’s always watching – with compassion, encouragement, and most importantly – humour.  Perhaps it isn’t the Ashtanga Series itself that I have an attachment to, but the mysore (self-practice) element of it.

It’s why practicing here with Matthew is such an inspiration.  In traditional ashtanga practice I couldn’t practice everyday.  I can’t run a marathon everyday.  Here, with the moon sequence as a part of it all, being allowed to meditate the whole time if I so choose, or put my legs up the wall for an hour if I’m not feeling so well, having alternative sequences to play with and explore.  It is my choice, and something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.  So when I think about Kapotasana potentially being the end of my ashtanga journey – it doesn’t feel so daunting, or challenging.  If it is, it is.  I have plenty to work with for now, and I feel in my body, my heart, everything else – that my yoga is the self-practice, not the sequence or series I so happen to be doing at the time.