Hello and greetings from beautiful Bali. I am happy to report that the week-long yoga/painting workshop that took place here last week was amazing—almost dream-like actually. I'll admit, we went in a little bit blind on this one. The website for the resort looked great, but you never really know what you will find in real life. I was literally crossing my fingers the first time I walked down the winding sidewalk leading to the spot we would be spending the whole next week.
With no small amount of relief, what we found at Swasti Eco Cottages was a very special oasis, with a very gracious staff, perfectly nestled away from the bustling center of Ubud. Our little sanctuary was complete with an organic restaurant, goats, bunnies, a beautiful spa, a lovely pool, statues and a meticulously manicured lawn (cut by hand with a scissors…as ya do in Bali!). Our daily trips to town for shopping and eating excursions actually involved walking through an ancient forest full of monkeys and temples—a surreal and magical experience in and of itself. Our whole group stayed in sweet bungalows where fresh flowers "magically" appeared all over our rooms everyday, and our yoga and painting sessions took place betwen the organic garden and a wall of tropical lushness. Like I said, d.d.d.d.dreamy.
The location of our workshop was not the only bit of uncharted territory we were navigating. This workshop was a also a first-time collaborative effort between my yoga teacher and dear friend, Lisa Mae Osborn (owner of the Bhaktishop Yoga Studio in Portland, OR) and myself. Not to my surprise, the blending of Lisa Mae's yoga teaching with my painting process created a sweet combo-experience ripe with metaphor and plenty of opportunities for personal growth. Offering this workshop in Bali, a place that holds art, ceremony and life in such a sacred way, no doubt added to magic. And, let's not forget about the precious ingredients of TIME and SPACE—time and space away from routines, jobs, responsibilites and all things familar have a powerful way of providing an instantaneous and fresh perspective on how we see ourselves and our lives away from the things which define us. Who am I now? Who am I here? Who do I want to become? These are questions I often find myself pondering while traveling.
I'm definitely feeling a little bit awestruck and a whole lot grateful for the opportunity to return to this magical place three years in a row, this time sharing the experience with 20 other people. I mean really?! Is this actually my life? Looks like it. My mantra these days is: thank you thank you thank you thank you, thank you…
I'm also feeling a whole lot of love for the women I get to meet through my workshops. This particular group hailed from the U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Malaysia. Although half of them came as Lisa Mae's yoga students and half of them came primarily to paint, the group embraced both aspects of the workshop and friendships between the "yoga people" and the "painting people" formed quickly and naturally. We were all a big happy family by the end of the week.
And a little shout out to my dear friend and hilarious friend, Tara Morris—this trip would definitely NOT have been the same without her. Tara joined us to photograph the workshop, because every workshop needs a professional photographer, right? Well, not exactly, but when your favorite photographer is also one of your best friends, and you really want her as your travel buddy, anything is possible. Stay tuned for a entire yummy post with her gorgeous shots…
I now have ten glorious days to relax. Well, not exactly. I will be relaxing a bit, but I will also be spending loads of time re-vamping the next version my online course—a labor of LOVE for sure. I am excited to announce the next course will have even more demo videos (close ups, people, clooooooose ups), new studio exercises and other fresh tidbits of awesome inspiration. Over the next two weeks, I will be posting a series of paintings created by the students in my first online course. I gotta say, the work produced in the first course was really amazing, so I hope you enjoy checking it out. There is still room to sign up for the course beginning on June 11tth. You can do that right here. I would love to have you join me!
For now, I'm going to soak up a little bit of the paradise that surrounds me. I'm still making the most of a trade I did two years ago here in Bali. Paintings for Villa = Yes please.