Finally, a new update! I was a bit offline, or basically, doing other things and had a few retreats in a row which costed me more energy than I expected. But yeah, back on track! Just 1 more day left teaching here. Checking out on March 13, taking a few days off, preparing for my next adventure: Indonesia. ’Again Indonesia?’, I hear you thinking. Yes, again, by accident. I applied for a yoga job on Gili Meno, a few weeks ago already. Completely forgot about it and suddenly I got a reply, including the terms & conditions in my mailbox. Teaching at Gili Meno, my favourite Gili Island, for 1 month. It wasn’t planned, I was about to go to Kalpitiya (beach side Sri Lanka), for another opportunity and after that to Jaffna (in the north). But with my life, you know never know what’s gonna be😬😅☺. I hear you thinking again: ‘So maybe she comes to The Netherlands🙏🏻😇’. I can’t tell now… you will see me when I get there 😉.
⚠Warning⚠: Really long update🙈😇
This update will be longer than the previous ones 😅🙈, maybe you have to break it down into smaller pieces 😉. I put some subtitles, so it may be easier for you to break it down in smaller parts 😊. And, I shortened the story, so I am not stealing all your time (that’s one of the yoga principles: Ahimsa, no stealing😇). For more details, let me know, I am happy to share it with you on What’s app or in a (video) call 😊.
11 February: Dutch, English, Dunglish… 🤔😅
On the 11th of February I had a Dutch man checking in for yoga, but he didn’t book a retreat. He was the only one for a few days, so I tried to teach in Dutch. That’s really hard, after talking English daily. Sometimes it was hard to find the Dutch words🙈. It reminds me of my family living in Canada, trying to speak Dutch 😉. Again, we had a few days of rain (11-12 Feb), luckily not too bad and not for a long period per day 😊. And else, I know what to do then😊.
12 – 15 February: An unexpected yoga retreat🧘🏻♀🙏🏻🧘🏻♂
On the 12th I received a What’s app of the manager: a new retreat starts today. That’s the way it goes in here sometimes. It was a couple. The retreat was still running with Valentine’s day, I tried the heart shape Vrkasana (treepose), but it failed, because of the difference in length😅. He was 2,05m, she around 1,70m… Anyway, always nice to do something special on Valentine’s Day💜😊.
On the day the retreat ended we had 2 big groups coming, Dutch and British people. That meant buffet style for dinner (and I discovered there was barely nothing for me to eat, all with garlic and raw onion🙄…). The Dutch group were young ladies, and they told me they would love to have a Yin class (11 peeps!), but they cancelled last minute. Like they also did with the dinner… completely unexpected they informed that they wouldn’t have dinner… all the work for nothing! The staff got quite angry, they worked their asses off for what? So much food left, the only ones which were happy with this food were the wild boars😅.
16 – 18 February 2020: A little lazy😊
On Sunday I had a really Lazy Sunday. No classes after 13 days non-stop teaching. It was good to have no class, although teaching a Yin class is also calming down for me. The day after started with a Monkey Monday🐒🐒. I had to stop my self-practice, tried to chase some monkeys away… but they were with the whole family…30 of them and still making more monkeys, right in front of me🙈. First there were 3 monkeys in a row, fleeing each other. Then a big (apparently male) pushed the one in the middle away, grabbed the female monkey in front of him… Doggie style practiced by monkeys 🐶🐒🤪🤣. After like 10 seconds she got bored and went away. And then, this was really disgusting🤮, he had something white slimy on his hand and put that in his mouth…😳. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures (or maybe luckily I didn’t 😉), I was too flabbergasted. The rest of the day was a Lazy Monday. Nell and I went to a local factory where some ladies were sewing some clothes. My gosh… that’s a lot of manual work and for what? A few rupees a day… and we pay a lot of money. Definitely not fair trade!!!
The day after was also a day without yoga classes, which was ok, because after that day I would have 2 yoga retreats in a row, 8 days non-stop teaching and be present/hosting the guests. We had a big group Dutch people coming in on this day, just for 1 night. For one night, the management suggest to take just a daily backpack, so the guys don’t have to carry heavy suitcases all the way up to the cabanas and the next day back down again. But of course… some people can’t read or are too attached to their stuff, that they bring everything… The one who had to give the example, the tour guide, had the heaviest suitcase and he needed to go to lodge 15, the one the furthest away! Some groups and tour guides are really unbelievable. Probably too much luxury hotels they have been to, I guess. Not used to be in the jungle. The guide would have changed his mind if he had to carry his own suitcase for 15 minutes😉. Dinner was again in buffet style, again garlic and raw onion. Slowly I am managing a bit of garlic (I eat 2 spoons max of something with garlic), but raw onion… no thank you.
The next day (February 18) I did some self-practice, accompanied by 2 playing giant squirrels 🐿🐿, way better than love making monkeys 🙈😜. Later that day, I went out for a walk and I found a perfect spot in the jungle where I could enjoy the sunshine! How blessed I was😇🙏🏻, for 30 minutes full in the sun, yeah👊👏. The walk was good, I needed a different work out. I was even sweating! Hadn’t happened for a long time actually… it’s not warm here 😉. Last night was super cold; I woke up to grab an extra blanket, tried to sleep again, unfortunately, the monks started to chant already… That means… time to wake up… 5.15am 😴.
19 – 25 February 2020: 2 yoga retreats in a row 🧘🏻♀🙏🏻🧘🏻♂💪🏻 & Re-united with Heike 😊.
The first group started on 19 February, 5 people. A very interesting group, 1 of them arrived at 5am in the morning, started to talk about changing his life during this retreat, since he found out I was the teacher. Instead of my own practice, I showed him the yoga shala and the big cabana with the view. Wow, he wanted to stay in that room (he was already painting after 5 minutes walking, that cabana is 15 minutes away from the restaurant, uphill…a good start to change your lifestyle😉). It was available, so the housekeeping ladies made up the room. After his nap (and I finally had time to have breakfast and self-practice) I woke him up to get ready for the Yin class. He decided to stay in the room they had initially prepared for him… annoying for the ladies. He told me he did some self-study, wrote a lot about his good and bad habits and was willing to change it, telling me this while smoking his 3rd Iqos-cigarette (an E-cigarette) 🤨🤔. When I mentioned this, he felt busted…. Yeah, breaking with bad habits means: stepping out of your comfort zone, and that’s not easy. I offered him to do a guided chakra meditation, he was in for it. The 2nd day, he didn’t want to join the morning yoga (no, it’s too intense, I can’t do that, I feel weak, blahblahblah, fucking excuses😤). And he didn’t want to do the trekking with the group…. Ok, you don’t have to follow the program, but to set up a healthier lifestyle, some movement is good. The worst thing is, is that his behavior was irritating me. It is the same as many people in my previous surrounding. Always complaining, but never changing. As a yoga teacher (and a yogi) I shouldn’t judge people, but as a human being I do sometimes. And now I have to release my emotions as a human being and I think: Fuck off with your lousy excuses! Why should I offer you that meditation if you aren’t able to open up your eyes, take that first step to make that change? Meditation is one of the last steps. If you aren’t grounded, if you can’t look in the mirror and be honest to yourself, then you won’t reach that stage of samadhi (which he is looking for). It starts with awareness, to be completely honest to yourself, and damn, the truth hurts (I am also struggling with that!). But to achieve your goal, you need to struggle; the same as Buddha did to reach that final stage: Samadhi, enlightenment. Maybe it is a typically Western mindset: we want to change but in the easy way, not too much effort, even thinking: if I earn enough money, I can buy everything. Well, you can afford a bigger funeral, with even more fluffy cake and a coffin made of tropical wood or so, but still you can’t buy happiness (ok, you can buy the magazine Happinez, but that’s not what I meant 😉). So, off my chest, time to continue my story 😊.
Luckily, the other 4 people were more likeminded and in for yoga, which gave me energy to go on and do my best throughout the yoga classes and give them a good time (well, basically, I don’t do much, they do the hard work 😉). At the third day, this guy showed changes: he wanted to do a trekking and cooking class, but private. And he wanted to plant the tree. We gave him the hardest task: digging the hole 😉, so he had some extra physical exercises 😜. At the end, he was really happy he went to this retreat, he is even planning to come back! I didn’t expect that… the mind of a human being is really unpredictable 😜😅 (including mine 😉).
The second retreat group came on the day the others left; 4 people. A nice group, a nice energy 😊. Also, my friend Heike came to Polwaththa. I met her 4 years ago, we did the same yoga teacher training in Thailand. She attended a few classes; we went for a small trekking to Pettigala rock, lovely to do this hike with her. We talked and laughed a lot 😃😃. We took a Pick me to drop us off and saved the driver’s number so we could call him for a pick up again. After the lovely and sometimes challenging climb (this one looked a bit like the ones I did in Laos, I loved it, I missed these intense hikes) we called the driver but he didn’t want to pick us up. And there was no Pick-me or Uber available. Ok, let’s start to walk, we will find a tuktuk. We didn’t have to walk far, there was a minivan leaving the temple, with a monk. We waved, the driver pulled over and we got a ride to the temple close to Polwaththa. I tried to give the monk a donation for the temple but he refused. We felt so lucky, the hike was lovely, the weather was amazing (after a cloudy morning) and we got a free ride! Heike left on the same day as the retreat people, she went to Pepper Cottage, a lovely bed & breakfast, 10 minutes walking away from Polwaththa. I went with her, I also love that place. The energy is so uplifting, I can really charge myself.
Heike was leaving on the 28th, to Indonesia (we probably catch up there 😊), on the 26th we had our goodbye dinner at Pepper Cottage, because I was going to Anuradhapura on the 27th and 28th. Marga, the owner, cooked a lovely non-Sri Lankan meal! After 1,5 years I drank a little bit of alcohol, red wine. This was a good one, but I know now that I don’t have to have alcohol anymore (I am really looking forward for having a nice vegan Chai Latte 🙏🏻☺). My trip to Anuradhapura was short, I spent about 10 hours in buses to go up and down. I went there to visit the new yoga teacher, Tharaka, who’s replacing me on March 12. He visited Polwaththa to talk with the owners about meditation a few days before, so we met here. He told me he wants to set up yoga & meditation retreats at his house, and maybe I could help him, so that’s why I went, just before the next yoga retreat was about to start. I almost had to cancel this 2-day trip, because we had guests and probably they wanted to do yoga… We had 1 couple coming in, that was all… so Remon agreed on my days off.
27 – 28 February: Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura is an amazing place, Tharaka is a special man (really spiritual). Like I mentioned, it took me about 10 hours in buses, to go back and forth, but is was worth it. Out of the jungle, a warm and open city, not too crowded. When I arrived we had lunch and we talked about many things. He had to teach, I asked if I could join, that was ok. There was no one, so I got a private yoga/meditation class with chanting (he is a singer and plays guitar). After class we had some typical Sri Lankan food (string hoppers and curry, then to bed early, because the next day we had to leave early. We went to a big white stupa (temple) and a temple underneath the Bodi tree (the tree where Buddha got his Samadhi aka enlightenment). The first place didn’t touch me, people were worshipping Buddha, and that’s the opposite of what Buddha wanted. The second place was lovely, a real good energy. After that I went back to Digana, because I needed to teach again… I got there at 5pm, and apparently I had people who would love to do yoga, but they went up to the shala already, and no one informed me about that. So I took my evening off 😉.
29 February – 7 March: My last retreats…
On the 29th, 8 people came for the yoga retreat. 3 couples and 2 single ladies. A good mix, the yoga level was mainly beginner, which is challenging to teach for a Vinyasa class. It can slow down the flow, but I managed to create an easier flow, so everyone was happy. There was one lady, she told me a lot about what she had been going through in her private life. It was like I was listening to my future story; I have the same issues where she was dealing with before she began here spiritual journey. This lady is for me an omen that I am ready to start my spiritual journey, to face my demons, to clean myself, to heal myself, to break with patterns😊. What that will be exactly….I don’t know yet, but I will update you once I know it😊.
The last group, 9 people, was amazing. That energy was soo uplifting. 8 of them were young people and 1 was a 72-year old lady, a traveler and a strong independent woman, amazing! I felt so blessed they were my last group, because they gave me so much energy and I learnt so much from them (even though they don’t know they did 🙏🏻😇🙏🏻).
On the day they left, I went with them to Digana, to the vet with Sumitra, Nell and 2 puppies. Sumitra found these 2 dogs, they were basically left alone, in a box. One has serious issues with his legs (his bones and muscles aren’t strong enough to stand up properly, because he hadn’t walked for 5 months). The other one is doing a bit better. The vet told us that with some Vitamin C, D/sunlight and Calcium everything would be ok. And now, after 3 days, they are already walking better. They are adorable, if I shouldn’t travel, I would have taken them to my place. But now that is impossible, I can’t and I won’t take them with me, in and out planes and resorts… Hopefully someone else will take those adorable puppies into their house 🙏🏻. They deserve someone who can give them love and attention, they are soo cute!! Whehehehe, one of the puppies vomited in the jeep on the way back from the vet, it just missed my shoes and pants. He was carsick 🤮, that poor dog 🐕.
8 – 10 March: Quieting down, unwinding, mentally saying goodbye😌🤗
Until now not much people for yoga; we had some groups but they were bird spotters and just drop ins for 1 night. There was one couple, and you know what? I met them at the Forest Monastery in Thailand in 2018, 2 years ago! She came in for dinner, we greeted and then, suddenly at the same time, we said: hey, I know you! We had to dig deep to figure out how, what and where, but we managed it. They have a well-known holistic center on Vanuatu, a small island close to Australia (I had to look it up on the map, never heard of it before). Now, they are looking for a new spot, probably Sri Lanka, to open up a new center and leave the other one behind. Isn’t that amazing! Hopefully we can meet again and who knows, we can work together (yoga, energetic healing, meditation, chakra) 🙏🏻. Today, 10 March, Tharaka, the new teacher comes and a few new people. My last teaching day will be tomorrow (11 March) and to be honest I am happy with that. After 2 months it’s time for a new adventure, Indonesia here I come😊🙏🏻.
I hope you liked this very long update, you can leave your comments/feedback or whatever you want to share behind. Next time I will try to post shorter updates and more regularly 😊. And new pictures will follow soon!
💜💚 With love 💜💚
P.s.: I suddenly realise that I am ending my job here around Full Moon. Full moon means ending of cycles, letting go of things which are not longer serving you 😊. Everything happens for a reason 🙏🏻😊.
P.p.s. If you would love to support The Forest Healing Foundation, you can click on the link below and leave a donation 🙏🏻😊 . Every little bit helps!
Save 7 acres of beautiful forest in Sri Lanka