Saturday, Dec 06 (Day 1 of my 6 days of yoga in Ubud)
PM (5-6:30) - Yin Yoga w/ Cat - Nyoman Studio
Reached by a winding alley off Jl Pengosekan (before it splits into Jalans Wenara Wana & Hanoman) The Yoga Barn compound is narrow, long and downhill.
Starting with the "front" reception, stairs on either side lead past a small studio, followed by the [delectable] organic 'Kafe' and ending at a large deck in front of the "rear" reception desk, above which sits Studio Nyoman.
This space is out of this world... set in a traditional (two storey) Balinese hut, huge & round with a thatched roof, it can fit up to 42 students comfortably (according to a sign outside). The room is located upstairs via wide, spiral staircases that wind up either side. You check-in at the reception desk downstairs where you also leave your shoes (and in tonight's case, umbrellas/ponchos) and ascend the stairs, admiring the beauty of the surrounding greenery & neighbouring bungalows (which are rented out by YB).
I was absolutely knocked out when I reached the top...
Dozens of beautiful yogis and yoginis glistened in the humidity and chatted away while rolling out their mats and gathering props. The air was thick & carried the faint smell of citronella and incense as the breeze rolled through from all sides. My eyes were immediately drawn to the cavernous ceiling above, where a giant [and i mean GIANT] off-white lantern resembling a split pea pod (or, on second thought, perhaps a cocoon) is hung, filled with beautiful warm light.
Cupboards lined with bolsters, mats, straps, blocks and blankets line the left side of the room - leaving the remaining circumference of the rear and right of the room exposed to nature. Tearing my eyes away from the view, I admire at the front a sandstone statue of Ganesha, who acts as an altar adorned with bright orange garlands, candles and mala.
The rain outside was absolutely mesmerising, rolling off the steep roof and cascading around us as if we were taking refuge in a cave behind a waterfall... I grabbed two bolsters and a blanket (there were more than enough for the whole class to take 2, even three of each prop) and laid down to meditate. In this moment I immediately felt a sense of total comfort - I was safe here. In the arms of this space I knew I could fully surrender, which is exactly what you want in a Yin yoga, where tension in your deepest muscles & fascia are released through total relaxation in poses held for around 5 minutes each.
The latter was not to be for me that night (my body indignantly rejects any pose held for over 1 min... or even 30 seconds... ) but this doesn't mean that the class wasn't well taught. Cat is obviously a very experienced practitioner & has a wonderful, calming presence as she practically floated around the room.
She described the channels, or paths, that carry energy through the body and explained that we would be focusing on the whole body (as opposed to working on, say, just the intestines or the back).
I'm kicking myself for writing this two days later - I've completely lost the sequence from my memory... We were brought into Yin backbends, hip, chest and shoulder openers and nourished our digestive tract.
Predictably, I spent the better part of most of these postures wanting them to end. I also moved around - a lot - constantly adjusting in futile efforts to find even the tiniest ounce of happiness. This is a hallmark of Yin - many students find it supremely difficult to "sink in" to the poses and walk out of class feeling frustrated and sore. This is humbling. I enjoy being humbled.
I trudged out of that class determined to "figure out" the mysterious so-called bliss that's said to be found through this practice. If persistence is key, I've got 4 more days to figure this sh*t out (hint: I do - and sooner than you'd think!)
Stay tuned for more on The Yoga Barn! I'll be sharing accounts of my classes, the studios and the teachers through journal entries I wrote during my trip.
I'll wrap the whole thing up with a whole bunch of links and other goodies! Stay tuned for Day 2 of my six blissful days in Ubud, coming soon!