JOURNAL OF A TEACHER TRAINING: BALI

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To my dearest readers: Here is a very modified recap of my profound and life changing experience spent over the course of four training weeks in the remote mountain village of Ubud, Bali. In no way could I ever relay the depth of the impact that was lived through this magical time, but wish to share with you a select few memories that will always stand out in my mind and peacefully reside in my heart.

Enjoy xo 
- Kristina Antal

* I arrived in Bali to be greeted by a driver and two of the girls that I will be doing my training with. We drove from the airport in Denpasar through the humid and lush streets filled with cars and motorbikes, chaotically weaving in and out of traffic. Broken streets lined with homes and businesses draped in terracotta tiles. Stone statues of deities, Buddhas and Goddesses stood in rows upon rows for sale. Balinese art and food carts were scattered about accompanied by the locals and their dogs. The thick greenery was a constant, vibrant companion. Later this evening I opened the hand carved, wooden double doors to my balcony looking over the hotel gardens. I heard some beautiful local music emanating from a venue nearby. I sat down in half lotus falling into meditation, my palms upward allowing myself to receive from the universe, with my eyes closed and senses hyper-aware. If any time to repeat a mantra it would be a heartfelt thank you, thank you, thank you. I felt completely and utterly at peace. I understand I am exactly where I m supposed to be, doing exactly as I m meant. 

* Today I had my initial meet and greet with the other students and our teachers. What lovely people. So genuine, open, and warm. We experienced an earthquake off the south coast today registering a 6.8. The room started to shake gently at first, gradually building up to the point where we were standing under the crossbeams and/or moving outside. A perfect opportunity to practice conscious deep inhales and exhalations. It really puts you in your place to realise the power Mother Nature possesses. This divine, feminine, all consuming energy which has been constantly brought to our attention over the past week (and would continue to be, each and every day ). I attended a Tibetan Bowl Meditation this evening, laying down, under the stars, the hour was filled with various therapeutic waves of sounds in beautiful patterns and frequencies. I recall seeing flashes of light and a kaleidoscope of shades, merging behind my closed eyes.

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*Our afternoon was spent familiarising ourselves with the Sanskrit language and Vedic chanting. Very moving. We came to understand the reality of how each letter or symbol in the Sanskrit alphabet invokes an energetic quality pertaining to a particular Chakra in the body when properly chanted. I allowed myself to feel the vibrations of the words, dancing up and down my spine, affecting these centres during the final solo mantra delivered by my teacher.

*Attended my first of many Ecstatic dance classes today. There were probably 50 of us, free spirits of all different ages, and the only rule was no talking . We moved our bodies to a diverse mix of music, everyone just flowing to the rhythm, jacked up on this collective energy of living, expressing themselves however they possibly wanted. It was so amazing to just let my guard down, be creative and play.

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*I received an Ayurvedic consultation which nicely ties into our lessons which are spent learning about this ancient and extremely formidable science and art. I was given insight on the issues I am having with my body and my emotions and suggested ways to remedy these things physically, mentally, spiritually and symbolically. Later I attended an interesting talk on Vedic Astrology and gained some knowledge on the different planets and what they represent. Also about how according to the way that the planets were aligned at exactly the moment of our birth, affects our Karma, our personal paths and the options that are presented to us during our lifetimes and the pull that these people have on you is outstanding. They make you wake up and feel, to step away from your numb, internal environments. They challenge you, inspire you and energetically consume you to the point where you fall into a blissfully safe state of trust. Their gaze, straight through all your made up stories, right into your core, your authentic self, your soul. Daring you to just break enough to take off your mask and face yourself, maybe for the first time. 

*Weeeee . Flying (Acro) yoga, full of laughter! Also my second mini lesson on Thai Massage and bodywork.

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* Today was my turn to lead everyone through meditation. A mindfulness meditation practiced during Savasana. I focused on each one of the five senses in all their totality, giving everyone an invitation to experience enough of each, to only observe without attachment.

* Because of the New Moon yesterday, another ceremony was held, this time focusing on the intentions we wish to manifest into our lives. We all sat in a circle and carved a symbol representing each, into our individual candles and then consecutively lit them, one by one off of each another, with the instruction to continue doing this on our own each day, until the candles were completely burned down. Our intentions melting, melding into creation.

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* Monkey Forest, Wow!! This place is incredible. Thick green jungle with old, tall trees and giant intertwining root systems reaching through the earth and up the trunks, cascading into hundreds of vines hanging down to the forest underneath. Huge stone steps with carved mystical creatures lining the handrails, disappearing into the ravine below, opening up to pools of blessed water at the bottom of waterfalls and gathering spaces for where traditional ceremonies take place. The masses of people, all in uniform, with baskets upon baskets of offerings to the Gods, unifying in these sacred spaces to celebrate Shiva in particular during this residual time of the new moon. 
(This took place at night, although I did come back later, during the daytime to marvel at the hundreds of wild monkeys, that had no shame in climbing all over me, and to feed the greedy little buggers lol) 

* I met up with most of the group this evening to attend a Kirtan session led by Dave Stringer! Absolutely amazing, the space was completely packed. With him were a group of other musicians with an array of instruments, each possessing a unique talent. This was beautiful, everyone so involved, an amazing quality shared by all the people in the room. I sang my little heart out, clapping my hands and swaying to the gorgeous music and mantras. 

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*The teachings of Tantra have been a fundamental part of this course. The knowledge, experience, power and authenticity of my teachers (and also, another healer, with whom I ve spent a lot of time with ) and this ancient, sacred understanding have had a fascinating impact on my perception of what Truth really is.

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 * Graduation Day brought us all together in one final ceremony. We sat again, in a large circle, just like on the first day of meeting each other, but this time with less of a curiosity and more of a solidarity of our relationships with ourselves and with one another. We were blessed with holy water and shared some memories and thoughtful goodbyes before receiving our certificates, opening up the doors of possibility and closing this chapter of our Bliss found in Bali and celebrate Shiva in particular during this residual time of the new moon.

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Since having completed her teacher training, Kristina has spread her beauty and energy teaching in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, and her hometown of Calgary, Alberta.

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