Finding Bliss in Bali, Kundalini Style

wanderlustmalaI just recently was lucky enough to travel to Bali with my boyfriend for three weeks. In answer to your question, yes it was as dreamy as it sounds. Prior to jetting off, my mind was filled with the thoughts of beaches, pristine rice fields and breezy afternoons spent meditating (think, Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love). Bali most certainly did not disappoint and I know with certainty that it is a place I will have to visit again in my life.

In my research leading up to the trip, it became clear that checking out a yoga class while in Bali was a must. Bali is the home to many renowned yoga teachers, schools and retreats. My boyfriend and I splurged and spent two nights at the gorgeous, Desa Seni Eco Village. Desa Seni is a popular spot for tourists and locals to enjoy organic meals, relax in authentic Balinese cottages and of course, practice yoga.

I carefully studied the yoga schedule, and decided to try a class I was not as familiar with. While home in Vancouver, I love a sweaty Vinyasa Flow or Hot class. I have only practiced Kundalini once, so decided Bali would be the place I would learn more about this form of yoga. Despite being intimidated by a sea of experienced yogis, I joined them for Kundalini on a beautiful Bali morning.

desaseni1Before entering into practice, our instructor gave us a brief introduction to Kundalini. This tiny, tanned, glowing yogi explained that Kundalini practice involves repeated movements and chants with the intention of awakening and strengthening the spiritual and physical body. She said that “if you aren’t feeling some sort of discomfort during your practice, you are probably doing something wrong.”

This discomfort kicked in almost immediately as I bumbled through chants (note to self: learn Sanskrit) and felt my arms nearly light on fire as we moved them up and down, in circles and every other which way for minutes on end. In addition to warning us of the potential for pain, our instructor explained that some people claim to experience a unique sense of euphoria during and after Kundalini practice.

As we moved towards the end of class, something funny happened. While chanting (I learned to fake it) and pushing my body through repetitive, taxing motions, I felt an energy buzzing through myself and the yogis around me. The more I leaned into the discomfort, the more exhilarated I felt after the posture was over. I left that class feeling amazing and alive.

desaseni4The post-Kundalini bliss lasted a few days and over that time I began to think about the parallels between this practice of yoga and travel itself. Like Kundalini, travel involves discomfort, uncertainty and sometimes pain. I experienced mind-numbing jet lag, was pummelled by a wave while relaxing on the beach and learned the hard way that my stomach and Indonesian pizza are not friends.

But, as I worked through these travel woes I also felt near perfect moments like watching the sunset on Lombok (an island off Bali), swimming in a pool, in our private pool with my lovely man and seeing countless Balinese people greet me with some of the most genuine smiles I’ve ever seen. These moments and my post-Kundalini endorphins would not have felt the same without enduring some discomfort beforehand.

These feelings of bliss may not always require some prior struggle, but in my experience they often do. Whether it is in travel, your yoga practice, or life in general, the good can sometimes come with some struggle. I wore my Wanderlust Mala, throughout my trip in Bali. Whenever I look at it, I am reminded of this beautiful contradiction. You don’t need to travel to Bali to experience this. Embrace the discomfort of a new job, yoga class (I highly recommend Kundalini!), or whatever feels foreign or scary to you. I guarantee you will get a least a little bliss out of it.

Liz works in Digital Engagement at lululemon athletica.  Books are her one true love, with Pinterest as a close second. Expressing her thoughts and wisdom through writing is what lights her up. Her goal is to one day work as a freelance writer. See what she is up to on Instagram, @lady__lizz. ?

The Supermoon Mala

Supermoon-Mala

5 Tips to a Joyous 2014

5 Tips to a Joyous 20142012_09_15_103

Joy McCarthy www.joyoushealth.ca

The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time for renewal and the perfect opportunity to establish some new habits for a joyous 2014. Here are my top habits that don’t require any dieting, deprivation or denying yourself of any goodness whatsoever! All of these habits will set you on a permanent path joyous health.

Cook your own food.

One of the first questions I ask when consulting a new client is “do you like to cook?” and if they say no, then my next question is “are you willing to cook if this is going to ensure you reach your goals” and the answer is always “yes”. I ask this question because it often determines success or failure. Most of us do not have the financial freedom to hire someone to do all the cooking for us, but we can carve out time in our schedule to make our own food.

Cooking your own food is a fantastic way to improve your eating habits. When you cook your own food you are more likely to make healthy choices because you have more awareness of what you are putting in your body. If you are concerned that “healthy” means flavourless, then you just need some yummy inspiration, which leads joyously well into my next point.

Try one new recipe per week.

A simple way to get some motivation in the kitchen is to try out a new way to cook your favorite veggies, or find a vegetable or spice in the supermarket you’ve never eaten before and look up recipes that appeal to you. This is a great way to increase your vegetable intake, and it’s a fun way to introduce new foods! Try a recipe from my book JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting, the “Clean Beauty Smoothie” is the perfect start to your day.

Give 20 second hugs.

The average hug lasts a measly 3 seconds! Hugging promotes the release of the love hormone, oxytocin. This lovely hormone eases anxiety, lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It also bonds people. Hugging is a great way to feel more connected with your loved ones. To ensure you have release of this love hormone make your hugs last, at least 20 seconds. You’ll be glad you did!

Dry skin brush.

The perfect way to feel rejuvenated and invigorated is to dry skin brush every single morning before you shower or take a bath. Dry skin brushing stimulates your lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels that exchange nutrients and pick up waste products from your circulatory system. When you dry skin brush, you enhance the removal of toxic waste products as well because your skin is your largest organ of detoxification. Plus it makes your skin GLOW!

Listen to Music

Just as minerals are essential to brain health, so is music. In fact, scientists have found that listening to music releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain linked to pleasure.

Music is great for kids too. Listening to music regularly before the age of 7 has a significant effect on the development of the brain a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggested.

You know how you feel when a great tune comes on the radio – joyous! You can listen to music anywhere – in the car, at the office or at home. It’s also a great way to enhance your workout! I highly recommend a daily dose of the music mineral.

 

Author of: JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting

Looking for a detox program, we also love the Joyous 10 Day Detox