I was scared. I would go from living fully on less than USD $150 a month to 6 times that in a week’s time. From an ephemeral Ubud yoga retreat at Blooming Lotus Yoga, I would move back to the Expensive States of America. Reverse culture shock was already affecting me psychologically.
“This trip has taken almost 2 hours. Are we there yet?!”
My impatience, while riding in a comfortable air-conditioned van, was a perfect reflection of that. Travel fatigue, in addition to fibromyalgia, were the physical ingredients that completed the recipe for disaster.
I could see, smell, taste, hear, feel pain like never before.
Before I could reanalyze why the heck I was even moving back to the USA, we arrived to our destination. My door opened as the staff of Ubud Corner 88 welcomed me in warm Balinese fashion.
The pleasing sound of Bahasa Indonesia slipped out of my lips to greet them in return. Quickly after, the lively scent of lemongrass penetrated my nose and the sweet taste of shredded coconut and honey filled my mouth. The soothing sound of the river and birds chirping serenaded my ears.
It’s amazing how simple sensations are augmented in distress.
Just a few minutes after my arrival, I knew the land that hosted Blooming Lotus Yoga had been blessed.
It was special.
The aura, energy that increasingly enveloped me with every step into the property made me want to jump of joy. I don’t know how I switched from worry to euphoria in such a short period of time.
Such is the ambiance of a proper yoga retreat, I’ve come to learn.
For the next 4 days, I was nourished with vegetarian meals, grew with meditation lessons, and strengthened with yoga sessions. While the asanas and flows I followed there seemed elementary, the mindfulness I learned to apply while doing each move is what completely transformed my practice.
Slowly, my body’s energy flow shifted. I felt so light, like a leaf in the wind.
Some practices were challenging: my mind shaken as a collapsing Jenga tower, piece by piece. I was diminished to tears as little knives rapidly stabbed my weak wrists and fingers. The pain was almost unbearable.
Yet, other hours I would reach such depth meditating that I would burst out into tears. JOY — joy so powerful I had to make the supernatural effort to not jump off the roof. Literally.
Shockingly, I almost forgot I suffered from chronic disease by the end of the yoga retreat. The pain was so sporadic, so fleeting.
I felt so strong! Healthy, for once…
I didn’t want to leave. I was so scared of my previous mental and physical state. I was clinging to my experience in Bali. Then, I was reminded of one profound lesson from Buddha that we were constantly reminded of throughout our Blooming Lotus Yoga experience:
You only lose what you cling to.
So I simply let go. Like the wind, I let it gentle caress me–and enjoy it while it lasts. Yet, just as its lovely touch came, I let it go as it brushes away.
Everyday’s a struggle, but being grateful and rejoicing in what I have instead of what I don’t is slowly, but surely, relieving my pain. It’s not only a physical, but also a mental metamorphosis.
And of course: yoga every damn day.
Letting go gives us freedom – and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety or possessions – we cannot be free.
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Have you been to a yoga retreat? Would you try Blooming Lotus Yoga?
Namaste to Ramananda, Lily, Ashley, and the entire staff at Villa Ubud Corner 88 for offering me a Blooming Lotus Yoga experience on a complimentary basis. I did not receive any payment for this article or the views presented therein, however.
Thus, the following has been an authentic account of my metamorphosis during my short stay in their blessed land. By taking part of this yoga retreat, I truly experienced physical and mental pain relief and euphoria. It’s the most effective rehab ‘program’ I’ve been part of. I’ll be forever indebted to you for your kindness, my dear Blooming Lotus yogis.