Thursday, 29 May 2014

Bali yoga searching for inner peace!

I am a Yoga teachers worst nightmare...
Whilst I've booked the BALI holiday with a yoga retreat,
others have booked a YOGA retreat in Bali.

I'm drawn to yoga 
because I have a dodgy knee, and can no longer run,
Others are drawn to yoga 
after life has thrown them some very curved balls.

Whilst I'm a 
'Come on Inner Peace, I don't have all day' 
sort of yogic... 
others have bounced straight here from a week long pranayama and meditation journey to personal self discovery in Queensland.
And little old Wren? Well,
she has just wandered in, for the holiday!

At the end of the day none of this mattered.
Our yoga teachers were skilled in making the week the best for each of us 
I had a great time and a few giggles along the way...

One of our yoga studios at Ananada Cottages, Ubud
Whilst others turn up with professional yoga mats and all the gismos.
I arrive with an old aerobic mat chosen specially 
because it is light, and fits in my suitcase.

A good move, so I thought as my Melbourne mat is 
a 3.9kg Lululemon heavyweight beauty 
and without it, well 
let's just say I have more space and weight allowance for 
the important things of life ... like shopping!

However because it actually says "aerobics mat' on one side,
and I don't want to look like I'm stuck in a Jane Fonda 1980's time warp,
I turn my mat face down. 

I was pretty unaware what a catastrophe this would cause
as I have now turned my yoga mat into a yogic snowboard.
I can just about keep grounded in Happy Baby pose,
 or at a push in a Sun Salutation,
but any mention of adopting the Warrior poses
and I've taken off 
sliding across the floor, to join up with my rather surprised teacher 
like an un co-ordinated gazelle!

I feel like yelling out "Ta-ra" as I arrive 
but it may not impress my group,
even if I'm secretly rather proud of remaining upright on my mat... Ta-ra!!

Of course I'm the only one in the Group who has succumbed to Bali Belly.
Not that I'm competitive (much) 
but I'm also the only participant in the entire week,
who takes the given option for a restorative pose
... for a whole lesson.
Well at least I stay flat on my back in mountain pose, 
for most of the lesson, before I leave quickly... 
afraid I might disgrace myself.

There is absolutely no way to leave in a hurry from a yoga class quietly, 
as I run out scattering blocks, straps, 
my special lavender and lemongrass eye mask 
which seemed like a good idea on purchase, 
but now it's strong scent makes me want to vomit...
My room key, water and all the other paraphernalia needed to 
achieve a perfect relaxation...
I feel bad!

Luckily my Bali belly passes and I return to my old energy levels.
Keen to redeem myself
I vouch to turn myself into a model student
and to make a super human effort to be present in the moment.

I few days later we are invited to leave our mats and ground ourselves in the 
beauty of our Bali setting.
I'm up, keen.
Engrossed in the 'here and now' I set off
focussing on the ducks on the horizon.
I walk watching their every movement.
The ducks form a perfect line and waddle along the edge of the paddy field
They are white, one stops stretches and flaps it's wings,
The sun is setting and it's magical.
My hand rests on the frame of the building looking out.
Oh yeah, baby I have this yogic 'in the moment' under control...

I sneak a proud look back at my teacher, and to my horror
see the rest of the class has yet to leave their mats.
They are moving with such slow deliberate, precision
They won't be anywhere near half way to the edge of the room by Christmas
'Oh come on', I want to yell
'Get over here and enjoy the ducks!'

The moment is lost, I look down at the shoes
all neatly paired in the doorway
except mine...

If you have enjoyed this post you might like to read my earlier Bali posts having my bio dynamic energy analysis or on getting my knickers in a twist at a Bali Spa

Linking with Alphabe Thursday
B is for Bali!

Linking with Make My Saturday Sweet thanks to Tina

Amanda’s Books and More

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Spa Queen of Asia: 'This is the life'

I do like a fabulous spa,
they don't call me the Spa Queen of Asia for nothing!

So when this Crazy Soccer Mum is Bali bound,
 it is exciting to discover that my 'Zen Mum' yoga retreat 
includes several spa treatments.

Just look at the view from my hot spice bath:

View from my bath for Our Beautiful World
A day at a gorgeous spa has been a long, long time coming...

Stunning: our Maya, Ubud spa day
No longer living in affordable Asia, 
such occasions are nowadays reserved either for special treats, 
or a bargain Groupon deal!

Karsa Spa, Ubud
To our delight we find in Bali
 the average cost of a local massage is $10 USD.
In Australia we're talking $70-$100, and that's way out of my budget...

TIP: take your own 
aromatherapy massage oil which will turn an average Balinese baby oil massage into a way better experience. 

Bliss Spa pedicures in the garden
A perfect spa experience starts with a lovely setting.

At Karsa Spa, we enjoy our treatments in the lovely
Balinese bale style rooms amidst the paddy fields.

Reception and Spa rooms at Karsa Spa, Ubud
At Maya, Ubud we walk through the jaw-dropping spectacular resort 
to find an elevator taking us to river level.
Our treatments are to the music of the swirling petanu water.

Maya, Ubud in the lush rainforest setting
There is however one thing I need to work on,
all treatments start the same way...

The clock is ticking, 
your beauty therapist has indicated she'll wait outside 
You have approximately two minutes to undress, hang up your clothes AND wiggle your way into the navy blue paper knickers.

It's the spa version of TV show 'Ready, Steady, Cook!'
The clock counts down.
All three holes in your undies look the same size. 
You have no idea which two holes are for your legs.
Too fast and you rip the paper, 
you end up looking like a half wrapped chicken, 
your therapist looks slightly startled,
 but is a professional and says nothing...

Take too long, and the door springs open
You're caught completely stark naked and you look like a right floozie.
You're like a naked rabbit caught in the headlights.
Your therapist again looks slightly startled,
 but is a professional and says nothing...

Question: Why are all spa undies made for small Asian bottoms?

You leap onto the bed to admire the view on the floor!
Pretty flowers are a must!

View from my massage table
After all the spa treatments
you will be offered some refreshments:

I could so get used to this!

Maya, Ubud refreshments

Linking with Our Beautiful World - Bath

Happy Birthday to Beverley and friends at Pink Saturday
Congratulations & Happy 6th Birthday this week

Alphabe Thursday: A is for Asian Spa Queen!
Thank you to Jenny Matlock

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Out of Africa? A Liberian puppy "Ebola"

'Mum, I bought a dog
We sacked the Security Guard and I spent $5 on a puppy
He's covered in fleas but he's very cute'...

Daughter Number One is in Africa. 
She is living with no running water, infrequent electricity, sporadic internet and this mutt.

Saturday Critters: New Guard dog!

Her e-mail arrives whilst we are in New York on holiday.
The next day we find ourselves wandering round the American Museum of National History
I am drawn to the African Mammals 
and wonder how many of these exotic animals she will get to see during her time in Africa?

'Suppose it could be worse - she could have a pet monkey or pigmy hippo?!

Black and White Colobus Monkeys 
American Natural History Museum, New York

So unable to forget about this poor flea infested dog,
I'm in the pet shop a few weeks later...

'I need some worming and flea treatment for a puppy'.
'No worries - How old is the dog?'.... 'Ermm not sure'
'Weight?'.... 'Dunno'
'What bred?' ....  'ummm hard to say, but mixed'

I get out my phone and show off the puppy photo like a proud Grandma!
'He's this big, this heavy and this type!'
I tell the rather surprised sales assistant.

I'm feeling sorry for the puppy 
who by this stage has been washed in salt water, 
but all that did was make all the little critters run to his head.
They tried Dettol, but that just made everyone wet, cross and 
... covered in fleas.

AND whilst you and I may take for granted the simple act of washing our dogs, 
my daughter is living with out any running water
there is no posh doggie wash down the street to bath the grubby mongrel.

The Crazy Poodle enjoys a blow dry at our local dog wash!
More importantly I am keen to ensure the dog is tick and worm free
to avoid passing on these nasties to my daughter!

Although this may be the least of our worries...
'Mum - they want to call him "Ebola, but I've banned this name'

They, being the others on the Project, with their quirky sense of humour,
 and Ebola, being the deadly Ebola virus disease which so far has claimed over 140 lives
The World Health Organisation has called this latest outbreak
"one of the most challenging... that we have ever faced"

The outbreak is limited to two West African nations Guinea and Liberia,
where my daughter is working.

The Kok-Pak entertainment mask from Val & Gola tribes, Liberia
American Museum of National History, New York
'Don't worry Mum, he's been vomiting up all night
if he survives we'll take him to the Vet...'

'He better survive', I e-mail back,
'He's your guard dog and he cost you a quarter of your months wages!'

African Oryx: American Museum of Natural History
You'll be pleased to know he has survived and the next e-mail arrives:

'Mum, he's doing really well
We've been giving him sausages and he's getting fatter...
He's starting to bark...'

That's good news, always handy to have a guard dog that can bark...

I couldn't resist putting the same photo in again, so...
Saturday Critters: New guard dog!
Here he is, the cute little mongrel
Would anyone have any idea was sort of African dog he can be?

I've sent my parcel off to Liberia, which cost an absolute fortune. 
My DH suggests it would have been cheaper to buy an airline ticket and drop it off!
It did include flea treatment, worming tablets, heart worm and tick prevention... after another e-mail

'Mum, we found more ticks on him'

Alphabe Thursday Z is for Zebras -
America Museum of Natural History, New York
Hurry up Mr DHL Postman...
Although even that's not that easy,
The parcel will arrive in Monrovia, a three hour drive to collect...

I'm waiting for the next e-mail
'Mum he hasn't got fleas or ticks any more
can I bring him back to Australia?!'

Hope you are having a lovely week!

Linking with Our World Tuesday Thanks to all the hosts.

Linking with Saturday's Critters - thanks to Eileen

And Alphabe Thursday Z is for Zebra

Monday, 12 May 2014

Happy Blue Bali Monday

Dearest Sally
Sorry I’ve not visited for a while...

I'm in Bali on a yoga retreat;
a lovely Christmas and birthday present from my family.

There's plenty to photograph and blog about
as I'm in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

But I’ve been going through a bit of a blue void...

My life spent searching for a massive blue car wash, 
blue monkey, or indeed something, anything blue, 
to give me some credibility amongst the regular Blue Monday’ites. 

Our Beautiful World: Paddy rice terraces in the mountains around Ubud
Imagine my excitement when I’m riding on the back of a scooter, 
on my crazy 'Eat, Pray, Love' adventure, 
to visit a lady who hands me a photo of myself with not a stitch on...
Yes Sally, I hope you're not about to censor me
but you'll see I'm completely buff, naked!
Which ultimately leads to me needing to purchase a blue necklace! 

The only thought in my mind was: 

“Woo Hoo, Blue Monday here I come!" 

Hand painted Buddha from Ubud - thanks to Serina!
Bali is Australia's playground destination, 
it’s our second most popular overseas holiday choice, after New Zealand.
It's close (three hours 3O mins from Perth, five hours 35 mins from Melbourne)
It’s cheap
and it’s a lot of fun…

Well it was, before 2002
 when everything changed in Bali,
202 people, including 88 Australians, 
were killed in the first of two terrorist attacks. 
Tourist numbers plummeted. 

Clouds: Our Beautiful World

Our Australian Government travel advice continues to this day, to remind us to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, due to the continued high threat of a terrorist attack. 

I’ve got to be honest, this is the reason that I’ve opted for other destinations in Asia, rather than Bali for our family holidays up till now.

However a change in my fitness timetable back last October, meant I attended a new Yoga class where the teacher offered a weeks yoga retreat in Bali, and here I am… 
Living on the wild side!

‘Now whatever you do, never ever, ever ride a scooter in Bali’
 I warn my teenage kids, 
‘Oh, and don’t go anywhere near the Monkey Forest’, I add.
So that’s me, 
Miss Worrywart for my kids, 
but that’s rabies and road traffic accidents covered. 

I’m the sort of painful, over protective Mum, 
my family hate to travel with me, 
they get impatient as I wave on endless taxis 
searching for a safe car with seats belts 
(well I did in New York a few weeks ago... 
How can taxi's can be licensed without seat belts for everyone???
That would never happen in Australia!)

Ok time for some zen yoga deep breaths...
Perhaps two blue Buddhas can help?!

So totally out of character, 
I have booked an appointment for a
Bio Dynamic Energy Analysis.

We are meeting at the popular vegan Cafe, Alchemy in Ubud 
and before I know it I'm on the back of a scooter, 
riding off into the sunset with a stranger.
Well, in my dreams.

In reality, I'm sitting on the back of a scooter, 
wearing a brown flowery dress, not the best for scooter riding
clutching the purple leather handbag my Mum and Dad gave me 
as a 50th Birthday present. 
I should know better at my age...

AND as I'm not sure where's appropriate to put my hands
possibly not round the lady I've only just met,
 I'm not hanging onto anything, 
but I'm gripping on for dear life with just my knees
hoping and praying that we're not going to pass anyone from my yoga class
as this will take some explaining...

When we reach our destination, 
I open my eyes again and wobble off the scooter.
I'm alive!

I place my shaking hand on a sophisticated hand sensor, linked to a computer and a printer, which measures the energy in my body.
the screen lights up with a mass of rainbow of colours
I seem to have a lot of flashing colours.

I am handed a print out and we begin to talk about what this means...

the photo
of me
in the 

Tee Hee, thought that might shock you but as I look at it again, 
there is a man that seems to have muscled in on my picture!
But just look at all my pretty blues.

Anyway the complete long and the short of it, is that my energy levels are good but my throat chakra needs a bit of work
 but in every woman's dream,
My yoga teacher said that if I  wore a blue necklace that would help. 
Big Time!

So the next day I'm out braving the humidity,
 for a bit of jewellery shopping
and here is a picture of me wearing my new blue sapphire 
and lapis lazuli necklace!
Which I have strategically placed to cover up that erm man's bits...
I obviously wear it higher up.

Well that's my blue story for the week
I hope you have enjoyed!

I am linking up with Smiling Sally at Blue Monday

I love receiving all your comments, 
There appears to be a technical glitch at the mo and not all comments made are appearing on the blog, which I am trying to resolve...
If you are not on Google+ you can always leave me an e-mail should you wish,
 If I can find your return address I will always try to return the visit.
Have a great week!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Zen Yoga Mum in Blissful Bali

I'm in Bali, Indonesia on a yoga retreat.
I know no-one, apart from my room mate, and have barely met the yoga teacher.

It seemed like a good idea back in October when I managed to convince my family this would be a really lovely Christmas & birthday present...

There I was sitting cross legged in a new yoga class, 
the words Namaste barely having left everyone's lips...

When the teacher says
 'if I anyone would like to join us, we are organising 
Yoga Retreat in Ubud, Bali. Flyers are here, up the front'

 The words 'like a rat up a drainpipe' spring to mind... 

The form was completed the very next day, leaving the teacher to comment
"you are obviously a women of action and in need of a yoga retreat'
Spot on!

Zen Yoga Mum is a work in progress.

Our pad in Ubud
That was before both daughters left home for opposing continents,
or before DH came home everyday with the option of moving to a different country, all testing my inner Zen! 

 This was however before I realised that I would miss my son playing his inaugural game of soccer for the school Firsts soccer team, 
or I would miss seeing him in his new suit for the School Formal...

And way before the Crazy Poodle looks at me with his 
"You're not leaving again are you' expression?

It was also way, way before we are queueing up in the arrivals hall for a zillion years at the new Dempasar International Airport...

Paddy fields around Ubud

Boy, it might only be six days after getting back from the last trip,
but it feels real good to be getting away!

But now we are here, today we joined a cycle tour we went all the way up a mountain and then rode downhill for 25km's - my sort of cycling. It was beautiful with children calling out 'hello', admist lovely rice fields and interesting villages. We saw people washing in rivers and even chanced upon a some village festival celebrations.

I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings.
It is 23 years since I was last in Bali.
So far I have not been disappointed, it is great to be back here! 
Linking with Alphabe Thursday - Thank you to Jenny

Linking with Our World Tuesday. Thanks to all the lovely hosts