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Yogi Days in Indonesia!

I've been getting the hang of staying in one place for a little longer now. It's been a month in Indonesia, a month in Bali, and now I'm in Lombok. Much less known, Lombok is the island that people imagine when they think of "untouched Bali," just over to the east of Bali, either a 2-hour ferry ride away or a 25-minute plane ride away.

In the past month, I've been doing more yoga, and although it's not as consistent as I'd like, I'm definitely feeling a difference and engaging with it on a deeper level than just the physical. I was always into sports and fitness (former CrossFit junkie here), but I actually HATED yoga until living in India.

Yes, it felt good, but only usually in shavasana at the end, and what was this weird chanting? What gods were the yoga teachers trying to get us to pray to? And what? I just stay in one place on my may? I don't even get to run around and chase a ball? NoOoOo THANK YOU.

It was only until training with Iftekhar from the Yoga Institute in Mumbai, what is considered the world's oldest yoga center at 100 years old, that I began to feel the benefits. My posture improved, the feeling across my chest was amazing and open. I felt my body more and grew to know more of my limits, providing a pathway for my old injuries to heal. I began to feel more relaxed at work and zero in on what my goals were. The change practicing 3 to 5 times a week after a few weeks was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.

In the U.S., I used to approach yoga teachers as almost sort of ethereal beings. They were always so rhythmic in their teaching. They had knowledge of how to make my body feel PAIN. I didn't know 3 years later that I would be studying to become a yoga teacher in India!

In India, form, breath, gaze, feeling, chanting, peace, attitude, and gratitude, were all concepts that were reintroduced into my system as something a part of my physical self, but also my spiritual life. I never experienced yoga that way before, yoga as a balance and yoga as a more balanced person. Whether or not you want to become a yoga teacher, I'd highly recommend an opportunity to complete a teacher training course to learn more about your body, engage your mind in dialogue, and yogic philosophy.

Don't get me wrong though. I don't think yoga is everything (I'd love to study Tai Chi and have heard great things about it), and when I refer to “yoga” here, I mean, the physical part of it. Ubud has been an interesting experience, to say the least, because I see many, many walking, waking contradictions there. Ah, dare I say it? Commercialized spiritualism? On almost a daily basis, I saw things that were more sad, painful, or frustrating than what I saw in India. More on that later...

Oh yes, back to the point. I participated in a yoga challenge this week for Sky Yoga. The challenge asked us to do a different pose each day. Although I'm not super into taking photos of myself and self-promotion (I'm actually quite shy about this sort of thing), I really enjoyed thinking creatively about ways to complete the challenge and show you more of what's here. I especially like Thursday's pose. You'll see why.

Here they are:

May all beings be happy.


Warrior II. Energize the body. Develop concentration, balance, and groundedness. I can still hear Iftekhar, my yoga teacher in India, shouting by the side of my face, as I breathed deep to stay in the pose (tight shoulders, ack), "You are a warrior, Olivia! You are a WARRIOR!" Ahahaha, reflecting again on my two years in India today.


Low lunge. I love Anajaneyasana because it works the hips in the front and the psoas muscle on the back. It's the pose that first taught me about my body's tendency for the hips to be tight, to hold. With the back knee down, you can feel more confidence, letting your arms flow up and down, place one hand down and open up the chest and heart, twist, back bend, you can lift up and move into pigeon, and there's so much more you can do from here.


Wacky Wednesday, Scorpion Handstand, and a little fun under the water. Do you remember when we were kids and we just did all this kind of stuff without thinking while playing? There wasn't a need to name it. We wanted to test our limits without feeling a need to battle something, someone else, or ourselves. We were just having fun, beginning to shape the truest parts of who we were meant to be. My favorite part of travel and of movement is play. Making a silly face unexpectedly catching someone's eye on motorbike or animal noises just to express yourself. In the center of laughter, there's no confusion, only layers and layers of connection that can spin and spiral out if you let it. Play. Be a yogi. Be a scorpion. Be a community. Be yourself. Be a kid. Be love.


Lateral side bend variation. Open up the side body. Breathe into the sides. We will make space for something new and expand from what we have to work with. The windows are broken, but the sunset is beautiful in this abandoned space. When I saw it along the road, I just knew I had to stop to run across the rice fields, thorns, scrapes, and all to check out the view, to breathe, see, experience something new this day. It turned out to be a cow shed. Teenage boys arrived on motorbike as well, giggling at this adventure girl smelling of cow shit.

(I loved this one because I have a strong desire to show people the less glamorous, more adventurous parts of travel that make me feel alive.)


Headstand variation. Reverse the flow! Trust at your core and let go for so many health benefits. Who knows? You may find yourself in a place to land on a soft top. Going to continue working on this one...

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