I’ve always enjoyed yoga as a casual hobby. My “practice” consisted of going to a class at the gym a few times per month. My motivation was completely physical and I rolled my eyes whenever I was in a class where the instructor started chanting. Needless to say, I was far from a yogi.
This all changed when I started going through some major life transitions. I had plans to quit my job and move across the country. Despite wanting to make this change for over a year, as the day came closer I began to question myself. I was beyond stressed. I decided it was time to get away. Maybe a weekend yoga retreat outside the city?
As I began to research my options, I realized that this city break was going to cost me a lot more than I would have expected. The average retreat cost about $500, not including transportation. I was discouraged until I found something even more surprising. For the same $500 I could spend a month doing unlimited yoga in Bali! Of course, flights were a bit more expensive than Amtrak but screw it. I booked the retreat and after quitting my job I was off!
Upon arriving at my retreat in Canggu, Bali, I definitely started to feel at peace. With ocean winds, open-air yoga studios, and a large pool to drink healthy smoothies by, how could I not? But I also started to realize that the yoga itself was not what I expected. I had assumed that the yoga would be fun and mostly for beginners. I also assumed that most of the other people at the retreat would be like me, casual exercisers who just wanted to escape life for a while. Boy, was I wrong. Nearly everyone was a pro!
My first day of yoga was exhausting. I just took one, 90-minute class (out of the 12 classes available each day) and I nearly passed out. The movements were challenging, the heat was intense, and the instructor really pushed me. In fact, he physically pushed me into positions that my body couldn’t handle. He told me that he could tell I was very flexible and I just wasn’t trying hard enough. I was not a fan of this guy.
I expected to be too sore to do any yoga the next day. I was surprised to wake up refreshed and eager to take more classes! Over the next coming weeks, I still found the classes difficult, but I was excited to push myself further and further. The instructor I hated my first day became one of my favorite people. I was starting to see physical and mental changes within me. My body could do things it never could before. I even became confident enough to try aerial yoga! More importantly, I was able to sit still and be calm, something that’s quite foreign for an anxious person like me.
Over the course of 30 days, I met inspiring yogis from around the world and kick started my own journey into spiritual wellbeing. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this in a weekend in New York.