Awakening and Rebirth on the Island of the Gods

Thank you to Gabriella, one of our amazing Santosha Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training graduates, for today’s guest post. We know you’ll enjoy reading about her personal journey and the wisdom she shares. Take it away Gabriella…

It happened again! Another trip that provided a quantum leap towards personal evolution and spiritual revolution. This time, in Bali, Indonesia – commonly called the Island of the Gods.

I honestly would have never expected to find myself here and as a preface, this is not your average travel blog piece. This is for anyone interested in a personal and raw explanation of a travel experience. The adventure came about after an interesting turn of events. I had just returned to the states from spending 3 months in Costa Rica, flying through my savings account, taking on a new car loan, and quitting a job that although paid well, did not resonate with the quintessence of my being.

I found myself without a place to live and even got caught up in a month’s work for employers that disappeared without paying their office rent, or employees. I began to feel hopeless and lost. How had I gotten myself in this situation?

Feeling that I had nowhere left to turn, I reached out to an aunt who welcomed me into her home and showed me some of the most meaningful examples of family. During this time, she also encouraged me to re-examine my life and how I wanted to move forward. Reminding me that a job should not simply be something we do for money without emotional fulfillment.

I needed to get in touch with my heart.

Although damaged at the time, I realized that our hearts still have the power to show us the way.

To reignite the connection, I would need to quiet the chaos of my exterior life, and really take a deep look within.
~ WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY?
~ HOW CAN I SERVE OTHERS?
~ WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?
These are amongst some of the questions I reflected upon.

Moments in silence led me to my life saving passion… Yoga.

I love Yoga with every ounce of my existence, why not share this gift with others?! That was it, the answer became clear. I would study to become a Registered Yoga Teacher!

I researched Yoga Teacher Training programs that would allow me to truly immerse myself into the experience. Signs began appearing nearly immediately. I came across Santosha Yoga in which there was an upcoming training and possibility for scholarship. I applied and was miraculously granted part sponsorship! The next miracle, a kind soul who sponsored the rest of the Yoga Teacher Training investment. It was clear, destiny was unfolding before my eyes in ways I would have never imagined.

3 flights and 42 hours of traveling to the other side of the world allowed me to time hop my way around the globe. Along the way, I began reading Eckhart Tolle’s – The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. And that it was. Through this book, I began to realize that I allowed myself to be a victim in life. A victim of my thoughts, circumstances, and too often a victim to memories of the past and worries of the future. This truly is one of the most life-changing texts you can bless yourself with. Everyone’s reflections differ I’m sure, but the significance of it’s impact is the same.

I arrived in Bali 3 days early so that I could travel freely before the Yoga Teacher Training. I stayed at hotels for unbelievable prices ($25/night for a nice bungalow), and enjoyed the city of Ubud – visiting the Monkey Forest, rice terraces, historical temples, and cultural explorations. The Balinese culture is so beautiful. Colorful, vivid, and full of gratitude. Every morning, they dedicate offerings of thanks for life which may include flowers, food, and other items.

Coming from a place that is all about the hustle and status of your finances, it was beyond refreshing to see a culture give freely, more than they may even receive. The food is fresh, delicious, and inexpensive. $3 meals?! I was in Heaven!

It came time to travel to Canggu where the Yoga Teacher Training was being held at Villa Serenity. A beautiful environment which I would consider more of a hotel with a home-y feel.  The night of my arrival I ate a light soup at a nearby restaurant and went to sleep early. Until something bizarre occurred. I came down with Bali Belly. Never have I felt so sick in my life. I awoke in the middle of the night in excruciating pain, crawling to the bathroom, feeling alone and scared.

I stayed awake feeling unwell for the next few hours until I saw the sun begin to rise. In hopes that there would be someone, anyone, that could help me.. I crawled my way to the Villa’s kitchen. Shaky and tired, I tried to explain that I was sick. Luckily, despite the language barrier, it was easy for them to understand that I needed help. Shortly after, the owner of the Villa came to my rescue. He gave me charcoal water to help detoxify whatever bacteria had infected my body and even was nice enough to give me a therapeutic stomach massage.
After so many days of traveling and being in a foreign setting, getting sick was ironically the comfort that I needed.

In retrospect, Bali Belly was a spiritual analogy for the cleansing of bacteria that had infected my life, because from that day, my entire perspective changed. Yoga Teacher Training provided me and many others with more than a certificate to teach a practice we love. It gifted us an opportunity to heal, to learn to live in the moment, and to dedicate time and energy to spiritual counseling with an amazing and caring soul. It was my awakening and rebirth!

Bali was home for this spiritual experience that nearly exceeds the description of words ~ and travels farther into depth than words can truly express so I will leave off with this:

If you are looking to travel not only in destination, but in soul – Bali is an excellent space to do so.  Its nature and essence attracts like-minded people seeking the truest meanings of life and love. If you hear a similar calling in your heart… Follow it.

The benefits of traveling for a Yoga Teacher Training are various and unique to each individual, however here are some general ones for you to consider:

  1. You get outside of your comfort zone
  2. You’ll make new friends from all around the globe
  3. Traveling to a new place offers you fresh perspective
  4. A vacation (although somewhat intensive) and certification all – in – one
  5. Experiencing a different culture

If you gained interest in Bali as a travel destination, here are some standard tips for traveling to Bali:
•    You do need a travel Visa depending upon where you’re traveling from. I purchased mine at the airport upon arrival.
•    Ubud is a must.
•    Rice terraces are abundant so please save some time to stop at one, if not several.
•    The temples are sacred and worth exploring with a group or guide whom you can find locally.
•    Mount Batur offers hikes and although it is challenging, it is worth every bit of effort! Please wear comfortable athletic shoes. You will learn a lot about yourself on the way up and it’s an incredible feeling to travel to such heights with others.
•    Canggu has beautiful beaches and an eclectic community.
•    Tanah Lot, one of Bali’s beautiful beach temples (pictured above) is a great place to visit for the sunset. There are many restaurants and shopping in the area as well. Feel free to bargain with the shops but also keep in mind that this is how they make their living and feed their families. Most of your purchases will go towards their overall well-being.
•    And lastly, my consistent recommendation – travel with an open mind and a loving heart. They are our ultimate compasses.

I’d love to hear about your Bali / Yoga Teacher Training experience or what you thought of mine!

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Thanks Gabriella for sharing. You can read the original post… and read more about Gabriella’s travels here.

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