Getting Down to Business
by guest blogger Cascade Lineback
This morning most of us woke up early to run through our Surya A and B sequences, either with a partner or individually. We have taught some pieces of sequences and individual poses to each other already, but six Sun Salutations is a lot to remember! We started our morning practice with Ali leading and then we all took turns running through our sequences. Our mats form a circle in our practice space and so we went around the circle, each taking a turn to lead the class. It was a lot of fun to take turns teaching and everyone did so well. It has been amazing to see the progress that each student is making – we are getting better everyday. By the end of the last person’s sequence we did a time check and we had been practicing for three hours and ten minutes. For most of us, this beat the record for our longest yoga class.
Breakfast was well-deserved and our cheerful hosts fed us with traditional Balinese fare and re-hydrated us with lots of coconut water. Abing Terrace is lovely and our meals feature some very creative dishes, some breakfast examples are rice porridge with savory green veggies or black rice pudding with coconut milk and mango. We discussed our sequences, specifically how to continue to refine and build on them. The next steps are to add standing poses and arm balances. We all continue to work on our Sanskrit memorization and pronunciation of the postures.
Then, Chastity led us in a lesson about muscles. For many of us, the anatomy is one of the most challenging aspects of this training, but Chastity is a patient and thorough teacher.
Tonight is a full moon, which is a special time in Bali. Our field trip this evening took us to Pura Tirta Empul – our first temple visit! There are tens of thousands of temples in Bali (according to my handy Eyewitness Travel Guide), but this is one of the most important because the spring at this temple is the source for all holy water in Bali. To enter a temple here one must observe proper temple etiquette and dress. We got ready with our sarongs, sashes, long sleeve shirts and in the van our driver showed us the offerings (small palm baskets of flowers and incense) that we would bring in with us. On the way to Pura Tirta Empul we observed lots of people in temple gear heading that way.
We have done a lot of work at the shala and we all commented on how the “we’re really in Bali” feeling rushed over us as we peered out the windows.
We recognized the statue of Indra at the front of the temple complex and we had lots of photo opps before getting to the pool which is fed with water coming out of different pipes, all of which have a different significance. Even though you enter the water and can wash in each spout of running water, you still have to wear your long sarong and clothes into the water. The water was not as chilly as we expected and we were surprised that there were koi swimming along side. We waited in line and took turns to cleanse in each spring, except for a few. Some of the water is used only at cremations so no one bathes in this one and another spring is only for children. It took a while to get through the line and experience each spring. Afterwards we had to change and rent dry sarongs so that we could go into the other parts of the temple. We saw more statues of deities and made our offering at the main altar. As we knelt down, a little chick cuddled between Kristara’s knees and stayed next to her for the whole blessing. At the end you are sprinkled with holy water and a few grains of rice are placed in the middle of your forehead and at the base between your clavicle. We wandered around the rest of the temple, hoping that the full moon would come out from behind the clouds, but we didn’t get that view until we were back at the compound. It was a really cool and new experience and we can’t wait to see what else the training and Bali have in store for us.