Thank you to Asuka, one of our treasured Kula Cruisers that joined us on our yoga adventure sailing from Bali to Lombok and the Gili Islands June 8 – 14. Namaste for this beautiful account of the journey…
– The Wonders of the Sailing World –
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
~ Andre Gide
Saturday 8th – Release
Fast-forward a 13-hour flight, a motorbike accident, a strange yoghurt body wrap, some ducks, dirty feet and open hearts. As the dusky sky settled in I contentedly surveyed the deck of our floating home; a charming treasure-trove of stories from yesteryear, the little ship. Here gathered my newly formed sea-tribe of Kula cruisers. An eclectic gaggle of superb humans. I sensed paths trodden and paths being pioneered, stories of which I looked forward to hearing. Possibility sparked in the space between us. United by our desire for a daily yoga practice, love for the now & need for strong dosages of sun and sand tonic. I exhaled, long and deep. With the roar of the diesel motor propelling us over the open sea crossing and the bigger-than-enormous star spangled sky lullaby-ing my city dwelling limbs, I settled in for the night. But this was all a trick! The heavens blackened & surged forth a tempest that Shakespeare himself would’ve been proud of! Sideways rain slashed into the boat, fat swell pushed it nauseatingly side-to-side. Adventure you shall get Cruisers! With laughter & wide-eyed storm excitement, mattresses were strewn in hallways, nooks and any other sheltered crannies we could find as we bunkered down for a night of Mother Nature’s wrath. I believe fully this night was not only our initiation but also, a very necessary collective catharsis.
Sunday 9th – Paradise
Gentle morning sounds. The watery-world waking from her slumber. The call to prayer floating through the air from a nearby Mosque. The soft sway of the ship, motor cut, floating atop Mentigi Bay. I awoke to this with a sense of deep peace in my heart. How true that you don’t appreciate the beauty of quiet and still until you’ve really lived their adversaries: the noise and fury. Splash! I followed Jimmy’s lead, launching myself off the side of the ship. Like an immediate homecoming, my eternal love affair with the deep blue ignited once more, seizing my body and flooding my soul. Immersion, cleansing, renewal. Our wake-up ritual had been determined. What a way to say g’day to Paradise. Add to that rooftop dynamic Vinyasa Flow, reef snorkeling and exploration of Gili Trawangan = a boat of merry sailors.
Monday 10th – Exploration
Equipped with flippers and mask, I dropped in backwards off the side of the speedboat. The snorkels of Kula Cruisers dotted the surface of the water, a stone’s throw from the white beaches of Gili Air. Each aquatic adventurer surfacing occasionally to share their findings, gleefully like children inviting others to behold what underwater treasures they’d discovered. Consciously I slowed my breathing, taking in just enough air to glide down and meet the world of the reef. Ancient, undulating landscapes of coral, as if straight from the pages of a fantasy story, stretched far and wide. Jet-blue starfish nestled in rock crevasses. Flamboyantly striped fish darted all around as if looking for something lost. A turtle, streamlined gracefully below us. Uncomplicatedly on the move. The sun broke the ocean surface, streaming down luminescent throws of light. And so we played and searched and drifted until our hands were wrinkled and imaginations filled.
Tuesday 11th – Contemplation
Time to be. The hard-edged need to achieve, get ahead and do more gradually softening. A sense of space, both in and around. How precious an experience to feel like this! I read somewhere before this trip that ‘there is more to life than going faster’. Amen to that. We lay our mats on the sand. The whitewash gently laps before us. The dusky sky blankets us with her pink hues. This evening’s yoga practice is centred on heart opening. Kacey masterfully guides us to angle our chests towards the sky. To open ourselves. To expand, release and receive. I allow myself to be guided by my breath. Slowing down. Perceiving the subtle. Shedding that which no longer serves. When back on board, I take myself quietly to the ship’s roof, finding my seat for mediation. This is my medicine. On land or sea, in good health or bad, love or despair, the medicine of ever-present, infinite peace is there. And I choose to drink it.
Thursday 13th – Adventure
A trip to a local market? Yes please! Speed-boating to the Lombok mainland, we then piled in vans not unlike tinned sardines and ventured the winding road to the village hub. Motorbikes and people-piled vehicles honked and sped past. Vendors lined the streets proudly displaying their wares. My senses intoxicated, I tentatively followed the twisting and turning makeshift market aisles. Spices, loose tobacco, root vegetables, woven baskets, freshly caught fish, dried herbs, all arranged on mats on the floor like offerings to the gods. Where you from? Cheap price for you! Laughter and comedic hand signals as I paused my wanderings to connect with the stallholders. Curious wrinkled faces! Attentive stares. A young woman gesturing for to me to place my hands on her newly pregnant belly. Do I have children? Kaleidoscopic colours. A cacophony of brimming-full bazaar sounds. Two purchases later (both pitiful attempts at bartering!) I emerged from the market enclosure, contentedly spice-smelling and sufficiently nourished by the universal language of the smile.
Friday 14th – Gratitude
We arranged our mats in a circle formation for our last practice together as a kula. Guided through a gentle Yin practice, we held our poses, nurturing our limbs and the experiences of the week gone by. I harness the power of the stories I’ve heard. Each moment spent with my Kula kin, listening, absorbing and growing through our exchange. Pasts being let go of, futures blazing on the horizon and the present moment welcomed. As we picture white light entering us from above, we then sent it out to one another. With gratitude and love, acknowledging each person for their individuality as well as importance to the whole. Heartfelt goodbyes over a scrumptious pancake breakfast and a speedboat back to Bali mainland. And what from this have I learnt? More to the point, what truths have been reinforced? That a life well spent is one of simple pleasures, playfulness and joy, natural beauty and appreciation of those around. Our Kula cruising week at sea, like an indelible ink spot on my heart forever more.
In the midst of winter, I finally learnt there lay within me, an invincible summer
~ Albert Camus
Would you like to join us for the next Kula Cruise in June 2014? Register your interest by emailing [email protected]