Saturday, August 1, 2009

Workshops and the power of community

I had the opportunity to attend an amazing weekend of Yoga in Jakarta. 20 hours and four enlivening classes later, the sweet soreness of my body being opened and deepened by a series of deep stretches and deeper breathing stayed with me for a days. One Series Bryan did called, "long, slow, and deep" was especially revealing. I felt more grounded after.

Check out his site poweryoga to find out if he is in a city or country near you.

I attended this weekend workshop at Jakartadoyoga, owned by Yusni. Her studio was well lit and tranquil despite it's location in the central city. I stayed in Central Jakarta with two new friends, Albert and William that I met through couchsurfing. The whole concept behind couchsurfing is to unite travelers with locals and give travellers insights into local life. It was a great experience and I've both hosted and surfed. Couchsurfing is a online community dedicated to connecting travellers and opening up your world through connecting with new people on there turf whether it be through a coffee and drink, a guided tour, or a day of seeing what life is like for them. It's something I enjoy doing when I have visitors in my home town, whether in California or the Philippines.

It was my first couchsurfing guest experience and a wonderful one at that. I've often heard people express safety concerns but the great thing about couchsurfing is that you can check their references and one always has the choice to accept or reject requests.

I was drawn to Indonesia not only because I've been interested in the country from it's variety of people and religion, eco-diversity, "Wallace" line (Wallace nearly discovered natural selection around the time that Darwin did), great food and that weekend in particular, it offered me a slice of home.

Bryan Kest, owner of Power Yoga and the yogi I practiced with in Santa Monica, made a round through Asia and held a training session and workshop that weekend. It was great reminiscing about being in Santa Monica taking his LA classes. This time there wasn't a line of 100 +people rounding the corner of the goodwill store adjacent to his studio. He can fill a dance studio that comfortable can fit around 100 with at least 200 or more. Sometimes there is literally an inch border between you and the yogi next to you. It was awesome getting to know him as a person as well. He's a splendid, down-to-earth and incredibly humble guy.

I flew into Jakarta the night of the bombing. After speaking to a few Jakartans, there was a sentiment of surprised they all shared. People were not as fearful as was my experience with 9/11 in states. They continued to live their daily lives. How we react to situations are as important if not more than the situation itself.

Also, a weekend spent with yogis reminded we of the power of community. It is powerful to surround oneself with like-minded people. It's a big challenge, not impossible, but difficult to remain as authentically yourself in the big world. Having a community of support, whether it be your family, friends or in this case a group of yogis for the weekend, is valuable. There are thousands of other things to do so it's vital to do what's important to us.

Life is a series of choices and at any moment we can choose what we need at that moment. A weekend of yoga in Jakarta is definitely what I needed. I've come back with new ideas for classes, inspired to continue my practice and share what I have experienced with others.

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