The island of Gods
When I first stepped foot on the island, I knew it would change me forever. And it did. 2 years ago, during my gap year while traveling the world. After having designed my own little yoga retreat for a week, I left somewhat brokenhearted. Never had I felt this sort of grief for leaving a place – except in Aruba, but nothing can top that feeling. I knew I had to return. “When?” was the big question mark!
two years later
2 years, a yoga teacher training, 2 years of yoga teaching experience and 3 yoga retreats later, I decided it was time to plan my comeback. As I started organizing yoga retreats, I could pick my destinations at free will.
I partnered up with Eva Daeleman, owner and yoga teacher at Studio Stil Mechelen, and we headed to Bali with a group of 6 yoginis for a memorable yoga retreat!
between laughter & tears
As I keep saying, a yoga retreat is not just a holiday where you practice yoga. No. It’s much more than that and very intense!
First of all, your yoga practice is more intense. You practice twice daily, whereas at home you probably practice once or twice a week. Physically it’s more challenging, but also mentally and emotionally.
You are being pulled from one end to the other. One minute you are laughing of joy, the other minute you are letting go of old grief and find yourself weeping. This process is necessary. It is what we’re here for. We treat ourselves to a yoga retreat – usually traveling solo – to connect with other like-minded souls, who can relate to our stories and feelings. We undertake this adventure to spoil ourselves, because we deserve it! We’ve worked hard, maybe put ourselves second or third and now it’s our time. Putting ourselves first and taking care of our needs is a form of self-love and mandatory for a good balance.
Even as a yoga teacher you are being confronted and challenged, on a personal level. But we have the wonderful gift of compassion and love for our yogis, supporting, holding hands, holding space for whatever there is. By showing our human side, we open up opportunity for everyone to do the same. We create a safe environment where our participants can be themselves, where they can feel whatever there is to feel, without any judgement, but with love and acceptance. We are the glue that brings them together and the fertilizer that makes them open up and grow.
I wasn’t teaching myself during this retreat, but I was there to take care of everything and everyone, practically speaking. To also hold space. To relieve our beloved yoga teacher from all practical issues so she can focus on the teaching, no other worries. I took the free time as an opportunity to explore different forms of healing to be found in Ubud/Bali. One took me to my past, in the sense that I was taken back to my childhood by a kinesiologist. Not only way back to mini-me, but also to just a few years ago. Things I never thought were an issue, seemed to have impacted me on a more subtle level. The session brought clarity and healing.
As did a session with a Balian, a traditional Balinese healer. He balanced my energy, confirmed certain things, re-assured me of others but he also frustrated me in a way. When the “love” topic was tackled, he basically told me I need to choose between my own spiritual growth and development and having love in my life, in the sense of having a life partner. I am still fighting this. I just can’t accept this being true, I can’t and I won’t. There are so many yoga and non-yoga couples around the world. If it works for them, it should work for me right? This was more than a week ago. I was able to forget about this and send it to a far away corner of my brain. But clearly it’s still a thing.
Meanwhile I will keep living my awesome life, doing my own thing, creating beautiful things, bringing beautiful souls together, trying to make the world a lighter and brighter place. I am in love with life and do everything with lots of love. Let love flow and rule the world! … having life as a life partner. ♡
Have a look at our self-made video, to get an impression of the Bali retreat: