We had a wonderful week at Bali Sandat Guesthouse for the first Radical Self Love retreat in Bali.
We meditated, we yoga-ed, and we shared our hearts in the Workshop sessions each day. Tears were shed, epiphanies were had, and much fun had by all.
As it was an intimate retreat, we all got to know each other well, and I feel like I have made four new friends. There is something about living and sharing introspective practices together in an intentional setting that supports the development of deep relationships faster that is normally experienced in a non-retreat setting.
On Friday, after three pretty intense days of inner work, we headed out to the stunning Sekumpul waterfall to have some fun.
Water is the element that governs emotions and feeling. Given a lot of our work was around working with our emotions, it seemed very appropriate that we got to let loose and play in some of the most spectacular waterfalls of Bali.
On the way back from the waterfall we visited a Balinese temple where we were greeted by a sprightly 90 year old Balinese priest.
Almost straight away he started talking about yoga and what it meant to him. He explained that forty years ago, when he was fifty, he gave up meat, and had been a vegetarian ever since. He said yoga was finding the quiet inside –
‘You must have no thoughts…’
he said while beaming his few tooth missing smile.
We told him we had come for a yoga retreat, and he promptly set up a full lotus challenge, quickly getting into the pose himself before looking over at me with a cheeky grin.
I was ashamed that I failed the challenge!
I can do half lotus but my hips are still a little tight for the full monty. Even after 15 years of practice. Hmm I thought, maybe when I am 90… there is still time…
Our sprightly nonaganerian priest gave us a tour of the temple (which was the Temple of Death – a place where cremations are held), and explained a bit about Balinese Hinduism.
The core philosophy of the Balinese Hindus is encapsulated by the idea of Tri Hari Kitana, which is essentially about balance. It refers to Harmony and balance in all things: between humans and humans, between humans and nature and between humans and God or spirit.
Probably the most valuable lesson was the one he gave at the end.
‘Yoga and medita-sion… it is meaning we work with our mental body. We work with emotion body’
He continued, and I watched our group listening intently to his every word. After all, this is what they were all here at the retreat for.
‘Whenever you feel a negative emotion coming, do this. Take three deep breaths’ (he put his hand on his belly, closed his eyes and demonstrated his deepest breath) and – pointing upwards at the corners of his mouth – ‘Smile!’.
If only it were that easy!
But, perhaps it is. Next time you are feeling the arising of negativity, take three breaths, remember that you are alive, and Smile!
Here are some of the many beautiful moments in this retreat :).
Check out the Inner Alchemy Instagram page for more pics from the retreat.