Firstly let’s get it out of the way for those wondering. The Ashram Yoga Retreats program for 2013: 9-16 March, 29 June – 6 July and 21-28 September. Details in our baliashramyoga.com or via the Ashram’s ashramgandhi.com websites.
Apologies for the late posting and rest assured, not for lack of want but toward the end of 2012 it was another hectic period for the family, followed by the silly Xmas season. Happy New Year 2013 to all our friends!
The retreat in one word was fan-tas-tic as there is simply no other way to describe it. Everything just ‘fell’ into place. A freshly and exquisitely rebuilt Bale Yoga/Yoga Hut using recycled iron wood power poles that would outlast concrete poles. Though not as big as the very well attended July retreat, this great group of participants from Oz, the Netherlands and USA turned out to be somewhat a blessing in disguise. Like most previous retreats the crew got on well as the joint activities helped the bonding and trust as we swapped from stories to book-list and this goodwill and lack of tension and being a smaller group gave us the confidence to be a little more adventurous which all, thankfully, worked like a dream.
Went on a delightful offsite yoga among the waters and temples with views of distant mountains and the not so distant sea, closed off with a savasana accompanied by an impromptu native bamboo flute performance played by yogini Claire. Truly magic, thank you Claire! Scaled the steep fog-covered mountain to pray with the members at the top temple, and shared in devouring our blessed – and very yummy – food offerings. Renewed family ties with the local temple priests, and other contacts which augur well for future trips. Went on an off shore snorkeling with an ex Ashram fisherman member’s boat near the nearby gili ‘islands’ which fortuitously coincided with the temple anniversary there! We had an inkling that may be the case so was ready with the Balinese formal attire and was able to land and join the prayers which we felt very privileged, with views of Candidasa and the ‘mainland’ from the sea, then proceeded with the swim/snorkel where a few of us saw a curious turtle shadowing us (a couple of guests after our retreat, one German and one Belgian, went on the same boat trip and saw five dolphins – may be the Gods deemed that too much of a good thing would make us less appreciative of these special gifts that we already had during this retreat. Hopefully saving it for the coming retreats to reinforce our view that each retreat is equally special and unique!).
Then, of course, the highly popular and creative Farewell Dinner was as ever a great event, as all were urged to contribute a performance of any sort. Members and guests joined the singing and dancing, with some solo singing by our group – Yvonne, Charlotte, Claire, Aafke, Jackson and, under duress!, yours truly! Kawi started a few solos which led to sing-a-long with the members and all of us, and traditional dances for all. Emilia did an impromptu Kazakhstan dance which perfectly harmonized to the members kirtan, proving the ancient links between the subcontinent and Persia/central Asia. The jolly night somehow masked the sadness that our great week was about to end, and not long after that our yoga teacher and sadhu like volunteer, Edme, was also due to end his six odd month of seva or service to continue his journey to India (with more yoga pursuits! but with plans to return for the 2013 July retreat? Insya Allah as they say in the rest of the archipelago). In fact what with the popular Ashram’s clinic acupuncture treatments and a number of Ashram visiting and salon masseuse’ treats that almost all in the group were trying to fit everything in, as well as the early morning swims many brave souls Margrit, Glenys, Aafke &co were squeezing prior to the 7 am yoga start. Which made the week very short indeed (note to to include in our brochures that participants should seriously consider a few days stay at the Ashram post retreat – one needs to chill!). Alas, those inviting Ashram Library’s books would have to wait for another retreat or stay!
The downer, if there was such thing with this retreat, was my flat camera battery during the temple climb, hence lack of photos of the simply breathtaking views we saw. Oops! Also must work out on how to waterproof the camera to allow us to take the camera, hence, more photos for the next snorkeling trip. Apart from that, words were not enough to describe the great week we all had, but perhaps the 2012Oct Yoga retreat picture gallery will make up some of the shortcomings! We will add more pictures (I remember seeing them but must be hiding in my HDD somewhwere) of Oct 2012 retreat to the gallery as they come to hand.
Never the less, we think all the participants left the retreat feeling fulfilled and the richer with having seen glimpses of the Ashram and community experience.
Thank you all: participants who came with the right mind to soak up the new experiences – you were fantastic!; all ashram members and local providers who worked hard and committed as ever to make it all possible – matur suksma!, yoga teachers – Yvonne, Kawi, Edme; and friends in general who’ve been following our Ashram and our retreats with interest and good wishes. You all made the October 2012 Retreat such a joy and a pleasure to be part of.
Best wishes and look forward to seeing you in 2013.
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih Om