Five Weeks in the Rice Fields of Bali
The moment I stumbled across the “YogaWorks Teacher Training Intensive: Destination Bali” section on the YogaWorks’ website, I knew this was for me! I debated for a good hour or so over saving the money and spending 5 months driving into San Francisco every weekend, versus flying to Bali and spending 5 weeks in the rice fields, and I have to admit I’ve been faced with tougher decisions. That being said, I certainly had some doubts in the back of my mind. Mainly, Am I ready for this? And what kind of people actually sign up for this? Weirdos like me, surely. My imagination ran wild. I feared showing up at the “resort” to find half a dozen fit and overly tanned New Zealanders standing on their heads and eating kale by the fistful.
Luckily, that was not the case, and my fears and doubts were immediately crushed upon arrival. As soon as I met my two roommates, Rakel from Norway, and Marisa from Switzerland, and took a peak at our pimped-out high-roller bungalow, I was elated. The girls and I clicked immediately, and our room was amazing. It was basically a big wooden house with floor to ceiling windows, surrounded by rice fields. The best part was that we had an outdoor shower in the garden! After spending five weeks showering amongst wildlife, it is very restricting to go back to an indoor shower. When I finally settle down (don’t laugh), one of my new requirements is for my future husband to be manly enough to remove spiders, and build me an outdoor shower. Some girls want diamonds and jewelry, I want an outdoor shower.
Deciding to come to this teacher training was hands-down one of the best decisions of my life. It was a LOT of hard work, and we were kept very busy, waking up at 6:00 every morning, meditating for 30 minutes, and then alternating between lectures, discussions, and asana (physical yoga) practice until somewhere between 4:00 and 5:30 in the evening. Sometimes we would also have evening discussions, and we always had assignments and projects. We would take short meal breaks, which were healthy and beautifully cooked by the gracious staff at Prana Dewi. Everything was locally grown, and so delicious. I never knew rice and tofu could taste so good! I did not miss meat at all. (Although, I do have to admit that the minute I was out I did order a juicy steak).
Spending every waking moment with the same 23 people for five weeks could get a little dicey, but I was completely blown away by the good energy that circulated amongst our group. There was relatively very little bullshit. Everyone was different and unique in their own way, and everyone had their own struggles, but everyone was real, open-minded, and compassionate. I have to give a lot of credit to Alicia and Oliver, the beautiful teachers who led this course, for doing such a great job at fostering a positive and supportive group dynamic.
The place we stayed was at the base of Mt. Batukaru, and had incredible natural beauty. We had no wi-fi, which meant no contact or distractions from the outside world. We were hours from any main town. Essentially we had all checked ourselves into a 5-star prison. It was just us, in our Bubble, in the rice fields, for five weeks. We learned all about the philosophy and psychology behind yoga, which was one of my favorite parts. We fell asleep each night to the sound of geckos, and were rudely awakened each morning to gecko poo droppings at the foot of our beds, the sound of roosters, and the intoxicating morning chant. We took small breaks when we could, going for a swim in the fresh spring water pool that flowed directly from the rainforest of Mt. Batukaru, or walks through the rice fields. I spent hours on my porch, drinking copious amounts of tea, while I alternated between studying the sutras and staring at a tree. And I liked it! Most of the evenings we practiced silence, but there was an unspoken agreement between my roommates and I that this was to be broken in the event that a team-effort was needed to gang up on a cockroach or spider.
Through this whole course, I had a strong intuitive feeling that this was exactly where I was supposed to be, and everything was unfolding exactly as it should. It felt so good to be learning something that I’m so passionate about with a group of like-minded beautiful people from all over the world. And there is something so rejuvenating about being immersed in the rainforest like we were. It was a soul-cleansing, eye-opening experience, which I definitely would not have gotten if I were driving to San Francisco every weekend for the next 5 months.
I could write a book about everything that happened, but in the sake of a short and sweet blog, I will leave it as is. I am so extremely grateful for the time I had at the Teacher Training in Bali, and know that I have made friends for life in the form of the “Bubble”. I’m also armed with the tools I need to be an awesome Yoga Teacher! So let me know if you want a session- I give discounts to people who follow my blog. 😉