Desa Seni Review & 5 things I learned about yoga
Whether you’re a full blown yogi, or just started on your journey into the wonderful world of yoga, there are worse places to be than Desa Seni (http://www.desaseni.com/yoga.htm) yoga retreat in Canggu, Bali.
This idyllic location is a far cry from your local yoga studio, with dedicated landscapers and gardeners creating the perfect setting for achieving mindfulness and inner peace. The public studio is open to the elements, which is allows the breeze to sweep onto sweating practitioners, and sounds of birds and insects provide a natural soundtrack to each session. The instructors are carefully selected for their experience, amazing demeanor and encouraging nature.
The resort itself is has a lovely pool and healthy restaurant, I didn’t stay there myself but spoke to a few happy and content guests.
In terms of the classes I sampled – Ashtanga Creative Flow, Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Tantra, Meditation and Pranayama. If you don’t know what these words mean, never fear, I didn’t either! Our instructors were Angela and Bernd, both amazing, patient, graceful and gracious. They were able to physically and mentally guide us through the 90 minute sessions, and I came out more relaxed and centred each time.
Which brings me to what I’ve learned about yoga in the short time I have practiced. I have attended a few yoga workshops run by the lovely Dani Schmutz of Fityoga (http://www.fityoga.com.au/workshops-events/), and I told her while she started my crush on yoga, whilst Desa Seni turned it into a full blown love affair.
- Yoga is a very personal thing. Whilst you are encouraged to feel and connect with your surroundings and people around you, ultimately it is about finding your centre and being aware of what’s happening in your mind and with your body. You only push yourself as far as you feel comfortable, with no high expectations of strength or flexibility.
- As you fall deeper into your mental and physical state, it’s an amazing form of meditation. You are so focused on the here and now that all external cares and worries fade away. Contrast this with “regular” exercise where you are working hard for a set number of reps or amount of time, your rest periods become opportunities for your mind to wander, browse the smartphone, or have a chat with your training partner.
- It’s a great workout! I love bodyweight training and am fascinated by what the body is able to perform. Yoga takes it to the next level, with poses that challenge your balance, core strength, flexibility, coordination, and body awareness. Static holds are an often overlooked component of strength training. Most people are familiar with concentric and eccentric (shortening and lengthening) muscle contractions and yoga certainly has those, but it is the isometric or static holds of positions and poses that work the muscles differently and in beneficial ways.
- It’s a great community. Exercise and activity is what you make of it, but I found the yoga crowd very open and friendly and welcoming of newcomers. Certainly no ego or competition involved. Again, contrast to such environments as exercising with headphones in, sterile gym floors, or competitive fight gyms or crossfit boxes. This all fits in line with the love and openness that yoga encourages.
- It leaves you wanting more! You work hard, and then you meditate hard! Each session gets the blood pumping, muscles and mind focussed, and then finish with some quiet meditation time. This is an opportunity for your body to relax, while the mind refreshes and contemplates what it needs to. This balance of physical and mental exertion, and then relaxation makes each yoga session very self-contained. No delayed onset muscle soreness to incapacitate you for a couple of days, or mental exhaustion that comes from pushing your body and mind to the edge.
My only regret is having visited Desa Seni so early in my yoga experience, I am worried that the studios I intend to regularly attend will not be up to those same lofty 5-star standards!
If you have ever wanted to start yoga or never even contemplated it before, I would highly encourage you to start! Ask around in your social circle and see if they have any recommendations for good studios, or perhaps start here http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/aroundtown/features/12003/yoga-in-sydney