I allowed myself to be open to a possibility.
Never in my wanderlust mind did I think I would visit Indonesia, but here I am on the other side of the globe. It’s Day 12 of my 200 hours of yoga teacher training in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. It’s a small city in the center of the island of Bali.
My goal with becoming a yoga teacher is to teach in my community. Yoga is a beautiful practice which has helped me in many ways and I’ve learned to love myself fully during moments of deep emotional healing. I would love others to be open to receiving the many benefits that yoga has to offer.
Unfortunately, yoga in Los Angeles is not accessible to everyone due to how much it cost and it has become an almost exclusively white space. I am usually one of two women of color practicing in a room of 30. I hope to be able to work with others to expand yoga to everyone that is interested in learning more about the practice and its many great benefits for the mind, body, and soul.
My journey to get here began when I started researching yoga teacher training scholarships. A teacher training can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 depending on the program and location. I came across Routes of Yoga in Bali,Indonesia and loved the course syllabus, instructor’s biographies, and that they offered a scholarship focused on serving the community. I was hesitant to apply due to timing and finances, but I got that needed push to continue forward. Once I was selected I felt very blessed to receive so much love and support, and I would not be here without your help. Thank you.
The trip here was very long and exhausting. I flew on a Tuesday morning from Los Angeles to San Jose to meet up with my best friend & travel partner, Bryant. We flew 14 hours across the Pacific Ocean to Hong Kong, flew another four to Bali, and we drove two hours from the airport to Ubud. Total travel time? 27 hours!
The next few days were about adjusting and making friends, we were extremely exhausted but the adrenaline and excitement to begin this journey pushed us through! I had a bit of social anxiety at the start, (Those of you that know me must be thinking, “What?! Cindy had social anxiety?”), but I was eager to make new friends and was well aware that this space was different.
We would all be going through a life changing experience together, exposing our most vulnerable and true selves. Slowly though, after overcoming jet lag and catching up on sleep, my nerves settled down and I have made new friends. Everyone has been so helpful, open, and kind. It is nice to know that I now have a worldwide yoga community to count on!
The training has been very intense from the start, and this program is challenging me physically, mentally, and emotionally. We learn about asanas (the physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), the history of yoga, meditation, chakras, Hindu mantras and chants (like Pathangeli’s Yoga Sutra, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita) and many more subjects. I am externally learning about myself through the physical body, and internally by the growth of my spirituality and healing.
I am conscious that yoga is not a part of my culture or religion. Yoga comes from India and was born in what is now modern day Pakistan. I would have loved to learn deeper about yoga in India but I did not find scholarships for programs there. I opened up my mind to the possibility of coming to Bali and doing training here when I read that 84% of the population in Bali practice Hinduism, where yoga stems its roots from. When researching programs it was very important for me to find one that would cover both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga, as practiced in its traditional form, and this program covers most of those aspects for me.
I share with you all one of my favorite mantras.
Mantra: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Translation: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.