My first week@Polwaththa Eco-Lodges, Sri Lanka

I got here on January 3, by train from Colombo to Kandy, with the bus from Kandy to Digana and then with a tuktuk to Polwaththa. The sign says ‘steep climb’ when you got to the road and definitely, it is a steep climb! The tuktuk had a hard time to concur the steep climb, but he managed it! A few days later I walked that path, man, it was a hard climb. I think it is just 1 kilometer, it took me 15 minutes! I was even sweating, and I just walked, didn’t even run! A good workout, let’s say that.

I got a bit upset when I heard that I was finally about to teach at the 11th. But now, writing this, I am quite happy with this. I got some more days off, practiced yoga, explored the environment a bit, prepared a bit for the retreat, joined Silvia’s classes, relaxed a bit as well 😉. We first had to share a room, but that didn’t work out. I am an early bird, she slept until late (well… until 6.25am, then she had to hurry up to be in time for the class, 6.45am 😉). The first night in that room was strange, I woke up (actually I had a lucid dream); someone sat on me and was trying to choke me (sleep paralyses, black entities, had it before). It is always a struggle to wake up from that ‘dream’ cause you can’t move, that entity is taking over your body. I finally managed to wake up, fell back asleep after half an hour. Silvia hadn’t noticed a thing, luckily, but I had to tell her. She cleansed the room the next day; I slept like a baby, but she couldn’t sleep anymore. Also the next night. We asked for separate rooms, luckily they had rooms left. She slept better, I slept worse the first night in the new room. But now, everything is ok. I got used to all the sounds and dropping twigs, leaves ore jumping squirrels on the roof 😊.

07/01/2020 Trekking: Dotalugala – 1407meters – leeches!
This day I went on a trekking with Shylo, a lady from the US, she was here with her close friend, who was sick unfortunately, so she couldn’t join us. We left at 9am, lunch box (noodles and veggies) in our rucksack. Namal was our guide, he is a good guide and knows so much about birds, he is more or less a bird spotter! If I had do the tour it would be something like: ‘this is a big tree and this a small tree. This tree has bi leaves, that one has no leaves. And this is a plant with pink flowers, that plant smells good. And there is a big bird, and over there… sat a bird, but now it had flown away…. A terrible guide I would be 😉. Next to birds, plants, trees and mosquitos we saw salamanders, lizards and a big iguana crossing the road on our way back. The tuktuk drive towards this spot took about 45 minutes, good moment to talk. The walk itself was 12 km’s, 4,5km to the top of the mountain and 4,5 back, 3km to see another viewpoint (all over the Knuckels area, a group of mountains more or less in central Sri Lanka). The trekking was a medium one, Shylo and I (and Namal as well) found it very easy. Namal was just wearing flipflops, we had our hiking boots and sexy socks, to prevent us from the leeches (for the Dutchies: bloedzuigertjes). And also a spray with a mixture of water and Dettol to scare these little creepy worms away (it really worked). The funniest thing is the way these little creatures are moving themselves. Like a guenon (stokstaartje), looking up to this victim, then throws himself on your shoe (or herself, I couldn’t see any difference between the sexes 😉) and then it tries to make its way to your leg or feet, to suck your blood. Luckily for us, no leeches had reached our feet or legs, thanks to the sexy socks. The lunch we had was noodles and vegetables and some fresh water from above…it started to rain quite hard just at the moment we were starting our lunch. Another nice experience 😊. The rain lasted for 15 minutes, the sun started to shine afterwards, we dried quickly and continued our trip. On the last part there was a whole crew to shoot some kind of movie, we asked them to join them but they were not amused… so, no 15 minutes of fame for me 😉. On the way back I did some shoppings (local snacks and incense sticks), I took a shower and sat back and relaxed.

08/01/2020: Another day off
A good day to walk around and explore the area. Well, yeah, I got lost. I walked a long way up, not to steep and after almost 1 hour I discovered that there was no T-junction or intersection where I could go left or right to create a loop. I checked Google maps, and it says: 7.3 kms… 1 hour and 45 minutes… that means: uphill and downhill roads. Ok… well, challenge accepted! It was a nice walk! I saw a lot of the beautiful environment.  Walking in the jungle is nice as well, but you see only trees,  plants and spiderwebs (do you know that feeling that you got them in your face all the time? Welcome to the jungle😉). The view of the rice paddies, hills and some small villages was therefore extra nice. Sometimes Google is not really reliable… I almost got to my ‘home’ and suddenly it says: 3 kms, go back. Go back? No way, I was almost there, just another 1 km… but I didn’t know wether I had to left or right at that T-junction. And suddenly I heard: Hi hi, you need tuktuk? Oh no, another tuktuk driver… the man repeated: you need tuktuk? You yogateacher Polwaththa. What?? Yes, that’s me! It was VJ, one of the employees who was on his way to Polwaththa! My life saver! Also because that last part is so steep to climb up! Man, I felt so happy! I was also lucky that I wore my hiking boots, if I had to do this all on flipflops… I would have taken a tuktuk from the moment Google said: 7.3kms 😉

09/01/2020: A short trip to civilisation!?
Today, after my self-practice Nella asked us to join her to walk to Digana, the small city close by. Silvia, Nella and I, we walked down through the jungle (short cut) to the bus station. We had plans to walk all the way, but time was ticking, so we decided to take the bus. I asked to buy some candles and also some muesli, to put over the fruits. Even though the breakfast is great, it is a bit boring already. The pancakes and milk rice are too sweet (which I like sometimes, but not all the time), the typical Sri Lankan breakfast is not my type of breakfast (it is a curry with stringhoppers (a kind of noodles), quite savory, I prefer a bit sweet in the morning), I don’t want to eat eggs (but I think I have to, because I feel less energized, because there are barely vegan replacements here such as legumes, tofu, nuts), so I thought: muesli on top of my fruit gives me some fibres and stuffing. I didn’t expect that muesli and rolled oats were that expensive and it is not even the real muesli, it looks more like cornflakes. Anyway, it is a bit more bite in the morning 😊. Silvia and I didn’t want to go in the first place, but there was no electricity, so no Wifi. We both needed Wifi to work on our laptops… then shopping is a good alternative. Normally, the powercut is just a few hours, this one lasted the whole day. It was because they were cutting the branches of the trees and it is a policy to switch off the electricity so no one gets electrocuted. The power was back around 6pm, the time that it becomes dark here.

Before we jumped on the bus to Digana, we went to the weaving ladies. They are making sarongs and saris, completely handwoven. 3,300 rupees for a sari (circa €16,50) and 1,600 rupees for a sarong (almost € 8). Really cheap it you think about how many hours it takes to makes these clothes. If someone is interested, I can take some pictues of the sarongs and saris and send it to you (my backpack is too full to take it with me all the time).

The shopping in Digana was just for 1 hour, it was enough, this trip to civilisation (I don’t know if it is more civilised than the life in the jungle 😉). We found what we needed, and we were just waiting in the bus back home, when Nella called her son; he was in Digana by car, he picked us up and we drove back altogether. Yeah, no uphill climb for us (woohoo!!).

Oopsie… again quite a long blog. That’s my problem, once I start writing, I keep on going. Maybe I can start writing a book 😉. Or creating an E-book, you just have to listen while you continue your other things 😉. The next blog will be posted soon 😊. And feel free to comment on the blog, I really appreciate that 😊😊!

💜💚 With love 💜💚   



Yoga butt?!

Yeah, it looks like I have a yoga butt! A what?? Is that a well-trained butt? Yes and no… over-trained, over-stretched, over-done and now it hurts. How is that possible? I was asking the same question. I trained a lot before, High Intensity Classes, Yoga, Body Balance. Nothing wrong with that. Now I am training every day, and teaching 7 classes a week. Still nothing wrong with that, I think. But I have probably done too much, too intense and not enough recovery and I already had a hamstring injury… What does it mean for now? Less forward folds, more glute-strengthening exercises instead of stretching and lengthening. It will take time, but it will be ok. I have to back off, because I will start teaching in Sri Lanka after I am finished in Laos, 3 days break only.

What asanas can I do? Inversions 😉, arm balances and even postures in which I use my glutes and hamstrings, but with modifications (this is also good for me, a different point of view of teaching the asanas). And more abs-training, but that’s for the students whehehe. And, a massage, which I had Monday, 90 minutes Lao-massage with some Lao Tigerbalm. A Lao-massage looks like a Thai massage, but less strong. I like it (well, when she is squeezing and bending me maybe a little less 😉).

Besides of my yoga butt, I still enjoy my stay in Vang Vieng. I discovered that I don’t want to go out to a restaurant for having (the same) dinner (mostly white rice and something, noodles, padthai), so I have a new addiction: sandwiches (take away or eat now is the standard question). The baguettes here are lovely and we have found our ‘Sandwich Street’. And they have avocado! Something we don’t get in the hotel, so that’s why it’s lovely to eat it now and then. A very warm welcome to the common things. Mango-sticky rice and sometimes a piece of the vegan hazelnut-chocolate pie are very good substitutes for dinner as well!

I am here for about 6 weeks and everyday I explore something new. You know, toddlers or very young kids always see each day as a new one, everything for the first time. It looks like I am doing that as wel.l.. not always though. I realise how special everything is. That we should be grateful for every little thing. For all what Mother Nature gives to us, without any expectations to get something in return (except for destroying her…). Every day we have a beautiful sunrise, after a freaking cold night. 9 degrees, no heater, sometimes windows can’t be closed properly… but hey, I can feel the sensation of the cold wind, I become aware of it, I just put on extra clothes to protect myself from the cold. It brings people literarily closer to each other 😊.

People in Laos are amazing and they keep on surprising me. Sometimes they are so friendly, sometimes so lazy, and I think they are the worst salesmen I have ever seen. Every evening at 5pm the Night Market starts, clothes, gadgets, food, bags and so on. In my first week I looked into some shops and the men or mainly women didn’t pay any attention to me… watching something on their phone was more important. Once, I even got the look: don’t bother me, I am watching the last episode of my favourite series, you can come back tomorrow. Sounds crazy tho? They don’t want to sell things! And it’s their job, to make money, to feed their kids (who are always there, bunches of babies and toddlers, so cute btw 😊 ). Now, because it is more crowded, they are more pro-active in trying to sell their stuff, especially to Korean and Chinese people. I will buy a Laos-shirt later on, because it has my favourite flower on it (Frangipangi/Cempaka). And being a little bit of a tourist is good for the economy, isn’t it 😉.

We have a X-mas tree in our hotel! I think I will set up a X-mas class, X-mas Vrkasana (tree-pose), Reindeer pose in Virabadrasana 2 (Warrior 2). Deer pose in Yin becomes Reindeer pose, table top will be a side table which is needed for all the presents, and with Kapalabathi (breating exercise) we imagine the big belly of Santa Claus, expanding on the inhale and flatten on the exhale. Maybe we can even imitate the sounds of reindeers in some other breathing exercises 😉. Mmm.. all mentioned poses are good for strengthening the glutes as well 😊.

Ok… enough about yoga. What have I done so far, when I was not teaching? I hiked with Raul to Tham Poukham Cave and Viewpoint Nam Xay, we did kayaking and I visited him in Vientiane (capital of Laos) before he went off to Thailand. I hiked to the 2 viewpoints of Pha Ngern. My gosh, my legs ached a lot after each hike!! I did something for the website, created a new monthly schedule and together with the other teachers spread them out though Vang Vieng. I lay at the pool, had a little swim, read a book, listened to my listening books on my phone, went to the temples, just walked around in the nature, did a small hike with Fara (a volunteer from Spain, really good company), had 2 Lao-massages, prepared new classes and practiced them, I had some chit-chat with the staff here (most of them are really nice). I am always a bit crazy, the cleaning ladies work their ass off, they are always smiling! I once took over the mob and started to sing: I want to break free, I want to break free (for the youngsters: this is a famous song of Queen). They were all laughing at me. And another time, when they lay the tables for breakfast I grabbed a white table cloth, put it over my head and pretended I was a ghost. It resulted in a blue and a white ghost in the breakfast hall 😉. And two completely ruined table clothes, wrinkled all over 😉. But we had fun. And who cares, in the morning, all the guests are sleepy anyway. Oh, and the lady who is making the eggs and pancakes always looks so… serious, almost grumpy. But now, after 6 weeks, she is smiling when I come in. Once, I was the only one having breakfast (9.30am); I was in a singing mood, so I started to sing: you are the dancing queen (Abba 😉) including a dance. The staff thought one split second: she is really nuts, but then, suddenly, everyone smiled and looked happier (I know I can’t sing, but anyway, when I feel like it, I sing, no glass to break in here anyway 😉). Maybe I can start to set up a flash mob 😉! Sometimes I just do nothing, just sit and stare to the mountains, the hot air balloons, listen to the noise of the longtail boats and the karaoke-singing Koreans in their kayak. And I smile. Because it is lovely to see all of this.

Watching sunset during the outdoor class, sometimes watching sunrise during my outdoor practice. Watching people working hard for a bit money and thinking: my life is really good! Of course, I have struggles and some issues, but ain’t that just the way we learn? Really, if you have never been to Laos, I can highly recommend it (as a vegan it is harder to travel, but you will find your way, however also the bottom of your purse will appear quicker 😉). Ok, 2 months in Vang Vieng will be boring if you’re not working, but Laos is a large country, with beautiful nature everywhere and not yet many tourists. The visa on arrival costs $35 (European passports), available at all international airports. I thought Indonesia was my #1 country but Laos has beaten it! What I also noticed: Lao men are quite handsome and Lao kids and babies are really adorable. I am already thinking of adopting a baby 😉. For the party poopers: Free whiskey is available in many places, you can start your whisky tour at 5pm up to 10pm, in different hostels and bars. Alcohol is normal, abuse of the boose as well (people drown doing tubing…). And mushroom pizzas, weed, hash, all available. And for the Voices of Laos – Karaoke bars!

I think this post is long enough to get you through the long winter nights in Europe 😊. If you have any comments, you can post them. Or send me an email, What’s app message. I can’t promise I will reply soon, but I will read it anyway.  For the ones who are really curious, check (and you will find me there in some pictures 😊).

With love,