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Miracles Happen When You Go With the Flow

What can happen when you stop worrying and go with the flow? One of our frequently traveling travel yogis answers the question for us from her experience at Jen Pastiloff’s Manifestation Retreat in Bali

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I received a text, smiled, responded and held my breath. My husband said “What did you do?” I said “I just agreed to go to Bali.” And that’s how I ended up at a Manifestation Yoga Retreat in Bali.

I am a married, working mother, (personal trainer) with 2 children and a household to run. The very idea of me flying off to Bali, was insane. Who would take care of my children? Who would get them to their activities, who would food shop, make sure dinner was ready and get the homework done. Who would train my clients and cover my classes? Who would walk the dog? To make it a bit more interesting, the trip fell on Thanksgiving week, perfect. But, I had silently committed to myself that I would go with the flow. So I went with the flow.

When I responded to that text I was in a place in my life where I needed something. At the time I wasn’t sure what it was that I needed, but I knew something was missing, so did my husband. I wasn’t unhappy, I just felt like I was not in touch with me anymore. My life was about my family and my job, not that I didn’t love both, I just had no idea who I was anymore. I felt like everything was moving so fast I didn’t have a moment to breathe. I was losing me. I knew when I responded to that text that I would go to Bali. And I knew that I would make sure it would be ok with everyone in my life, they would be taken care of, we would all benefit from this trip.

The process of getting ready to go in and of itself was a transformative experience. In preparing to leave my family and go to the other side of the planet, I was doing what any guilt-ridden, control freak mom would do; I was trying to plan for and create plans and contingency plans for every possible, albeit unlikely, scenario that might occur in my absence.

I always knew I was a control freak and that mommy-guilt was my achilles heel. But isn’t “knowing” our stuff really the “booby prize”? It’s when we can actually observe our stuff holding us back and in the moment and consciously choose to make the change – that’s when we get the real prize. Having this experience in front of me allowed the space for me to observe where guilt and control stop me, make the change and go with the flow.

We were booked for the Manifestation Retreat with Jennifer Pastiloff. We would be staying at the Soulshine Retreat in Ubud, Bali.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, where we had a 19 hour layover, I realized, for first time in my life, I am in a country where I know exactly one person; my friend who is sitting across the table from me. That’s it. One person. I’ve never felt so isolated and empowered at the same time. I knew anything that would happen would be left for us to handle. I decided then that I would flow like water throughout this trip. I wasn’t going to try to be in control, nor would I feel guilty if I did or didn’t want to do something. I didn’t want either my friend or me to feel obligated to have to do (or not do) something just because the other one wanted it.

We met some of our fellow retreat-goers upon arriving at the Bali airport. We got to know each other along the drive to the Soulshine Villa, where we would be spending the next week together. I don’t want to sound all woo woo, but from the moment I met the people I would living with for the next week, I felt a connection to them. Each of the 19 people attending this retreat had their reasons for being there some shared with the group and some were private. But all 19 of these people touched my life in such a way that I think about them every day.

1170706_676305489064763_365743121_nUpon arriving at the Soulshine, you walk up a long walk way to an open air reception area. It’s a peaceful, serene inviting area with large comfy couches. We met the staff, introduced ourselves to each other, took photos and enjoyed fresh juice.

From the very first day we were a cohesive group. Due to the time change, we all woke up very early (between 4 and 5am), we would gather in the reception area for tea, some would watch the sun rise, some would be catching up with relatives at home, some would be chatting. We got to know each other in these early morning hours.

Jen would lead us in morning yoga at 7am. I should point out that yoga with Jen is not your average yoga. There are the traditional asanas (poses), meditation and music (I can’t listen to Elton John or the Notorious B.I.G. without thinking of Jen). What Jen brings to the table is unique in that she creates a theme for her class, forgiveness, gratitude, love… she reads relevant poetry, then invites class participants to journal about their thoughts on the theme for the class – in between the poses. Somehow the mix of the outdoor yoga studio overlooking rice patties, the monks chanting in the distance, the thought that I was doing yoga in the same place that Michael Franti does yoga (he owns Soulshine and I am, by far, his BIGGEST fan), she creates a space of safe, self-reflective discovery.

It quickly became very easy to flow.

Throughout the retreat we practiced yoga twice a day, we ate breakfast and dinner together and explored the artist’s town of Ubud during the day. The space at the Soulshine seemed to become part of our group as well. (In full disclosure I have to admit that I loved the Soulshine before I arrived simply because of who owns it.) But, in truth, I believe that space provided the opportunity to transform 19 strangers in to a family. The staff is a living example of the culture of Bali. This culture is one of gratitude, community, spirituality and genuine love. This culture and the space we lived in infused itself with our family of 19. Throughout our time in Bali we shared, expressed gratitude and loved one another. We celebrated Thanksgiving, we rode elephants, we saw monkeys and we spoke with Michael Franti on the phone, (I am truly not sure which of these is my favorite.)

I am grateful for every moment I spent in Bali, at the Soulshine, with my family of 19. I am grateful for what it took for me to get there and for everything I’ve learned since my return. I continue to go with the flow and am excited to learn where yoga will take me next.


Lockey MFrom her own experiences of processing the pain and anguish of childhood sexual abuse and breast cancer, Lockey Maisonneuve learned the importance of finding balance and peace. Lockey believes balance and peace are the cornerstones of healing.  She has used yoga, breathing techniques and journaling to advance her own healing.  Lockey gives herself permission to balance the good and the bad and the peace to make mistakes and try again. She is certified as a personal trainer, cancer exercise specialist and yoga instructor. Monthly contributor to Positively Positive.

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The Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training Abroad

There’s something deeply entrenched in human nature that gnaws at us to learn, experience something new, submerge ourselves in something vastly different than our everyday lives. If your gnawing has led you to consider a teacher training, I can tell you personally that we get all that and more, much more, when we study yoga abroad.

IMG_9903Travel ignites a fire; the more we see, the more we want to see, the more we learn, the more we want to learn. Education and exploration are contagious, a happy hunger that builds the more you feed it.  And like travel, yoga is a beautiful quest: The joy is in the learning, the trial and error, the contemplation, the movement and the moment.

Often while traveling we’re in a hurry to take it all in. When you’re studying, immersed in another culture, you absorb the environment with an awareness that the casual tourist misses. You see, hear, taste and feel more and you’re able to get wrapped up in the experience, locally, in a way only yoga can inspire.

Immersing in a practice and a location gives us the advantage of truly slowing down to smell the roses…  and more importantly, the time to enjoy it. Below are just a few of many benefits experienced while studying yoga abroad with The Travel Yogi:

  • Stellar teachers

    Each individually selected yoga retreat/training leader has years of experience and a wealth of knowledge. But far beyond what they know is what they give: their fullest, whole-hearted attention, joyful personalities and infectious enthusiasm, creative practices and a lifetime of insight. They each have deep love and appreciation for what they do and everyone benefits from the positive energy they set.

  • Connection

    There’s the special relationship that is built in an immersion between student and teacher, student and student, the unique group dynamic, the connection to the local culture and people and then there’s the bond with yourself. All forms of connection are expanded and uplifted through learning yoga abroad. The small details are taken care of by The Travel Yogi so all the amazing details of the big picture experience can be fully absorbed; so that you can be fully immersed.

  • The Full Education

    Picking a teacher training is a big decision!  I cannot say enough about my Mukti teacher training and can tell you that you need to be able to walk away from these weeks with a lot more than a piece of paper.  A teacher training should prepare you to speak authoritatively about the anatomy and alignment of asanas, how to structure a class, how to build a flow, how to properly (properly!) adjust students and how to give modifications.  You should be able to teach to all levels and understand how to lead pranayama and meditation.  There should be Sanskrit pronunciation time as well as an understanding of yogic philosophy and history.

    In an immersive training, all of this is an intense learning experience.  It’s like learning a language, to really ‘get it’ you need to live it, breathe it, immerse in it.  Having done a Mukti immersion, I can tell you that sitting with these amazing teacher’s hearts and minds day in and out is a gift beyond the curriculum and the books.  Of course you need the academic and physical foundation, but these ladies offered heart and soul along with academia and asana.

  • Beauty, Fun & Food

    The Travel Yogi knows yogis love to eat, love to laugh and who doesn’t appreciate beauty?  You’re going to want to choose an immersion that feasts your eyes, heart and belly as well as your brain.  Locally sourced and freshly prepared food is a must.  The sounds and clean smells of nature, guaranteed.  And we know our Mukti teachers well enough to know that laughter is a built in part of the curriculum.

IMG_0349I can personally speak to having life-altering, loving and deeply transformative experience on a training abroad with The Travel Yogi. I cannot speak highly enough about my amazing teachers, the beautiful spaces we practiced and slept in, the warmth of the locals and the beauty that surrounded us. I was able to learn more about myself than I ever had, both as a teacher and woman. I climbed rock cliffs at the beach, rode bikes down the base of a volcano, through villages, tropical forests and rice fields, played, fed and rode with elephants, white water rafted, and ate my face off with the most delicious food and remarkable people.

My experiences now feel surreal, dream like. There isn’t enough time to express the gratitude in my heart, I am fueled by such inspiration and excitement over it I just have to share, and to encourage others to give themselves the gift. Needs are more than met and hopes are far exceeded. It is a dream meant to be lived in reality, awake. Thank the universe for The Travel Yogi.


All About Danielle: Danielle Robinson is Never Not Hungry. A Yoga, travel, food, laughter and life enthusiast, Danielle lived, studied and traveled in Italy for 3 years, and then embarked on her teacher training in New York City with Sonic Yoga and with the Mukti Yoga School in Bali (with The Travel Yogi). Since, she’s lived and taught in Chicago, stretched, folded and chewed throughout the U.S., and now is thrilled to lend her passion as a writer and teacher to The Travel Yogi. She is stupefied to be alive and grateful to share the gift of Yoga to the world.

You can find Danielle at You, Me and Yoga Makes 3 on Facebook, on Twitter, and at danieatslife.com!

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Find Stillness Within

Our travel yogi, Kim Sin, is excited to share the intention behind her ‘Travel Away, Find Stillness Within‘ retreat next October 13 – 20th (2014!) at Soulshine Bali. This San Francisco-based instructor is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city and is looking forward to this international travel that will ultimately lead you to a place of deeper stillness, heart opening and peace at Soulshine next fall. Read on for more…

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The yoga practice is a convenient way to step out of the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and to step into the stillness and beauty of the present.

Sometimes, especially as a yoga instructor, I feel like I have to slow down in order to speed up my life. Last week I was running late to a class I was teaching.  I struggled through traffic across town, felt like I had left my mind at my last destination, then essentially ran through the studio doors to meet my students patiently awaiting.

I was visibly flustered so instead of going directly into teaching I stopped for a moment and asked “Do you guys ever feel like you’ve completed a marathon just to get to a yoga class to relax?”

Heads nodded and one person spoke up “I just went through that.” It’s sad that today we live in an age that rarely allows us to take time to spend with ourselves.

Fortunately some people are willing to go to great lengths in order to get more in touch with themselves. This is the theme for my upcoming retreat in Bali, October 13-20, 2014.

Traveling to new destinations is very similar to my yoga practice in the sense that you are taking yourself away from your normal hustle and bustle so you can step into the present and find a refreshing and awaking stillness.

The retreat is located in Ubud, Bali which is known for it’s local Zeitgest: artful, creative and serene. We’ll be spending mornings and afternoons practicing in an open air studio, with delicious and healthy meals and eco-luxury accommodations.

I invite you to join me at Soulshine retreat center in Ubud where we’ll use Vinyasa yoga and Bali as the backdrop to tap into the present and rejuvenate.

You deserve it.

Join Kim on retreat in October 2014.

How A Thanksgiving Yoga Retreat in Bali Changed My Life

Katie Devine traveled from LA on her own for Jen Pastiloff’s Thanksgiving retreat in Bali last November and came back connected, inspired and with a new group of life long friends. We asked her to share her adventure so that you can have a sneak peek of what happens on and after a yoga retreat (and so that you can know that there is such a thing as a bacon-filled Bloody Mary…).

I just got home from brunch with seven of my favorite girlfriends. We caught up, shared stories and mimosas, marveled at a bacon-filled Bloody Mary (bacon! In a drink!). It was one of those easy afternoons you have with the people who really “get” you. The ones who know you best, and often have known you the longest.

Except I have known these girls less than six months. We didn’t grow up together, our parents were not friends. We didn’t meet at school or go through sorority rush together. We didn’t even slave together at our first jobs, bonding over the long hours and cheap pay.

 

We Met In Bali, At Thanksgiving, On A Yoga Retreat

I made the decision to go to Bali on a whim. An LA-based yoga teacher, Jen Pastiloff, whose class I had taken once or twice, mentioned she would be leading a weeklong trip there in November. I knew virtually nothing about Bali, except for the magical feeling evoked whenever I heard the word. She had probably announced it in those previous two classes as well, but this time I heard it. I took a flyer, exchanged a few “what can I expect” emails with The Travel Yogi, and was booked on my first yoga retreat one week later.

How do you prepare for a life-changing experience? You can’t, I guess. You can simply take the leap, open your heart, and allow it all in.

I flew the 10,000+ miles alone, from Los Angeles to Denpassar by way of Tokyo and Bangkok. I had met a few of the girls coming from LA; we had all become Facebook friends, and shared Coronas and margaritas at a Mexican restaurant prior to the trip. They were still nearly strangers, and I gulped back one last pang of anxiety, one last “am I really doing this by myself?” as we pulled into the driveway of the gorgeous and serene Soulshine.

It was the last time I would feel alone in Bali.

From the first introductions, to the opening circle, to the first dinner…these women felt like family. Yes, ALL women, from all over the country, who came together to become a tribe.

We explored Ubud together, buying the same yoga shirts and feeding (or in some cases running from) the monkeys. We told inside jokes about men washing their roosters in the river, and whether the “chicken” we were eating was really cat. We laughed about throwing our iPhones into the rice paddies to get them to work (doesn’t rice absorb water?!). We bonded over warm bottles of Bintang and danced and swam in the rain. We shared our stories and our tears and our awe, our hopes and fears and everything in between.

 

It was seven days but it felt like an eternity, a dream that you never want to end, until it was time to say goodbye. Instead we said “see you later” and as we had heard in Bali, “thank you very big”.

Months later I can still hear the chorus of roosters and ducks waking in the morning.

Months later I can still smell the tuberose that lightly scented the warm, muggy air.

Months later I can still taste the fresh mango slices, the sweetest I’ve ever savored.

Months later I can still picture the sunrise over the rice paddies, a spectrum of colors unlike any I had ever imagined.

Months later I can still FEEL what it felt like to be in Bali.

And with my 19 new lifelong friends, I can continue to reminisce about our time in Bali, to keep it alive. Barely a day has gone by that I haven’t been in direct contact with at least one person from our little Soulshine family. We’ve done reunions in LA and San Fran, in New York and New Jersey. Some of us are traveling together this summer, and next Thanksgiving to a yoga retreat in Galapagos as well. We truly are family now.

Retreats now mean to me: falling in love with the world, discovering beauty and magic, releasing fear, and connecting with strangers who became soulmates.

Jen Pastiloff, The Travel Yogi, Soulshine tribe, Bali…thank you very big.


 

Katie Devine has worked in the publishing industry, both in New York and Los Angeles, for over 10 years. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Miami and is a diehard Canes fan! Katie is an aspiring yogi, avid traveler, musical theater geek, beauty junkie and enthusiastic beach-goer.

Katie is passionately working towards living a more authentic life, and journals her experiences on her popular new blog “Confessions of An Imperfect Life”. She is based in Santa Monica, CA but you can connect with her via her blog or Twitter.

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