Monthly Archives: April 2013

Integrating Bali’s Beauty


Bali was amazing beyond all words. I will never be able to describe the sense of peace and connection I felt there, and I’m so happy I decided to go. I am however, also very happy to be home!

I know that a big part of the reason Bali called me to her was so that I could soak up her energy and take it back to my side of the world. I had friends asking me to spew some Bali all over them when I returned, and I had the chance to do that when I facilitated two workshops at Spin Milk the day after I landed.

At the Sacred Circularities workshops, we had a lot of opportunities to let go of whatever was no longer serving us to create room for whatever new energy we wanted to call in. My intention was to let go of any fears or negative beliefs holding me back when I’m teaching dance or movement classes, and just allow myself to be as creative and powerful in that aspect of my life as I’m able to be.  Well, the magic definitely worked!

When I was at Spin Milk, I felt myself stay confident and grounded throughout my workshops, even though thanks to jet lag, I hadn’t slept a wink the night before. I was able to be silly and have fun while I created a safe container for people to relax and explore movement, with and without a prop. After the workshops, people said they felt open, relaxed, peaceful yet energized and that their mind and body felt united. Hearing that made my heart sing and dance, cause that was exactly what I was going for! That was the kind of energy I felt when I took workshops there and I know that I held it for people here. Totally winning!

I’m so grateful for all the inspiration I received from all the teachers, space-holders, participants and even from the land itself. I feel that I’m able to connect more deeply with people I interact now, thanks to the depth of the interactions I had when I was there. I also feel I’m more aware of the impact of those heartfelt connections. In Bali, I felt incredibly present the whole time I was there. That’s something I’m also trying to bring home with me. Staying fully engaged and present when interacting with people has lead to so many meaningful exchanges. It’s been enriching my daily life in countless ways already!

The theme at the retreat this year was integration and I feel that’s exactly what I got out of the experience. I was able to  more fully integrate my body, heart and soul  and to integrate my talents and knowledge  more deeply into my being, letting them shine as brightly as they can. Thank you so much Sacred Circularities, Jaguar Mary, everyone who was there and everyone who was here supporting my journey. It was definitely worth it. So much love to you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Five Elements Ecstatic Dance in Bali

We started our journey outside the wantilan, standing on the roots of a giant tree as Malaika smudged us with sage one by one, blessing us and clearing away any energy we no longer needed. As the fragrant smoke wafted over me, I released all the energy holding me back from being completely present in the moment and invited in all my personal power.

I entered the wantilan and took a moment at the altar, bowing to Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles. Then I walked to the back and stared out at the rice fields, stretching and grounding into my body, working out all the kinks from hooping my heart out at Hoop Kirtan the night before.

Once everyone had been smudged and cleared, we gathered in a circle while Malaika explained the path we would take as we journeyed through the five elements together. This shamanic journey came to her through spirit and is focused on breath. We had a different breathing pattern for every element, which we familiarized ourselves with before we began.

We started on the floor, laying down and exploring the feeling of the earth underneath us. It felt comfortable and safe on the beautiful dark wood. As we rose up, we grew roots into the earth to connect us deeply to Her spirit.

Dancing with Air has a beautiful expansive quality and the music was dreamy and ethereal, but drove us forward. We found partners and gently put our third eyes together, inhaling in unison, exhaling Aloha to each other, switching partners many times, connecting deeply with everyone we met.

Moving into Earth we started a powerful Sufi breath pattern where we inhaled twice with a long exhale as we stamped our feet in a primal rhythm to the drums. The energy became primal as we danced with our sister, and brought in the spirits of our mothers and grandmothers. It was intoxicating and liberating as we sent energy down into the Earth and received it in turn.

Awakening the Fire element, we stood in a circle and shook ourselves. We shook and shook and shook for ages. It was intoxicating to completely surrender to the flames by shaking every inch of my body, shimmying and shaking my entire being. There were primal yells, grunts guttural cries and moans in an orgasmic release of everything no longer serving us into the Flame. My entire body is still tingling. Once we stopped shaking, we spun out of the circle and into our goddess power, embodying Shakti, Lakshmi, Svaraswati and all the goddesses in all the realms. Some of us picked up our hoops and danced into our power with their spiraling universal energy.

Finally slowing down, moving into water, we explored our bodies with the reverence reserved for the most sacred of things. Touching each part in turn with sincere gratitude and love, with promises to treat our temples with the utmost respect and love. We then found partners and turned our movements into a contact dance, slowly moving together, feeling each others flesh, blood and breath as our own. We split off into groups and merged into new ones, finding support and safety in each other.

We ended up together in a puddle on the floor, utterly spent, limbs tangled, perfectly content and at peace in meditation. I didn`t want to get up, I just wanted to stay and bliss out in that pile of loving cuddles, but after a few minutes we sat up and closed our journey by passing around the seed of a cacao plant. We spoke two words as we held it. One was how we felt at that moment and the other was our gift to the world. Themes emerged. We all felt peace, clarity, love, bliss and gratitude in the moment, and many of our gifts were similar as well. Light, love, inspiration, passion, sincerity, sensitivity…..

It was such an honor to share this space with such beautiful, powerful and radiant women. The journey was transformative. Our states of consciousness were altered into higher dimensions through movement, breathwork and the loving guidance of Malaika, who is the embodiment of inspiration and joyful earth magic. We re-emerged lighter, stronger and more powerful beings. This was one of the most intensely immersive dance experiences I’ve had. It truly as a shamanic journey and I feel such a strong connection to everyone and everything, and intense gratitude that I am here right now, in Bali at

Rolling Around on the Floor

I’ve had a hoop crush on Brecken for years. The way she moves is absolutely incomparable to anything else on the planet. Watching her makes makes me feel like anything is possible. I also have a teacher crush on her, ever since she came to took her waves  and barrel rolls class last year. She is one the greatest, most eloquent teachers I have had in any subject, and her passion really helps you take the subject material in to yourself in a visceral, rather than purely cerebral way.

Brecken has been breaking ground with floor hooping for a few years and has been teaching us how to move with the same safety and fluidity in her floor workshop, which I talk more about here:


I had a feeling this trip would be transformational, but I had no idea how or in what direction, but I’ve been setting the intention to become more grounded in my body and delve more deeply into my movement and meditation practices. I also set the intention to be inspired by the teachers here, to bring some of their energy into my own classes and workshops. So far, so good! All the women here are so inspiring. The teachers and space holders have the most amazing open energy that I definitely aspire to hold for people as well. It really creates this wonderfully safe container for the exploration of self we’re doing here.

I wrote more about it here:




Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

There was a lot of fun action today at the retreat, but my favorite part was definitely Gail O’Brian’s Rolls and Catches class. If you’ve ever seen me hoop, you’ve gotten a glimpse of my love affair with body rolls. I wax on about them and the class here:

In other news, I’ve made some fantastic friends already, and eaten delicious Indonesian food, and just generally had a lot of fun. It’s hard to describe everything, so I’ll just leave you with this baddass stone carving.


Opening The Retreat

Yesterday I woke up about 6am, took my mat out to my front deck and practiced yoga for about an hour.

Here, you can kind of see the view I have, although my face is in the way.


I felt so healthy getting up so early naturally. All it took was a 10 hour time difference to make me a morning person!

When I headed to breakfast, the restaurant was full of hoopers and I had finally met  a few people I only knew through our online community. I was invited to go to the beach with a group, but I felt like heading into Ubud to check it out and do some shopping. A lovely girl from Victoria came with me and we explored and tried to haggle our way across the main strip. I discovered I finally had a knack for it, after embarrassing myself in Greece so many years ago. Managed to get a few things, including an epic painting of Ganesh.

We spontaneously stopped for massages (10 bucks for an hour and a half, with ginger tea and fruit salad.) It was a pretty successful outing, although we didn`t manage to find everything we needed (I always wind up shopping for myself instead). But the company was fantastic!

The reception was around dinner time and was basically a meet and greet with a lovely fresh buffet. The juices and fruits here are to die for. I`m not usually a juice person, but there`s something about fresh squeezed juice in the tropics.

After we finished eating and mingling, we wandered to the main wantalon, a big beautiful covered, yet open air pavillion where most of the classes take place. There was a beautiful opening ceremony which I write more about here  in my official blog post for Sacred Circularities:







Well, it took 29 hours to get here, but it was definitely worth it. Bali is a very special place. I’ve been here for just over a day and I can feel something in me softening… Not only is it a tropical paradise, but the Balinese people have a connection to spirit that’s very tangible. There are shrines and offerings everywhere!
Today was my only full day to myself with the retreat starting tomorrow, but I had no real plans. Fortunately, the staff here at Ananda are incredibly helpful and friendly. I wound up hiring an awesome driver/Guide, Nyoman Sada  at the suggestion of my housekeeper Wayan. He speaks wonderful English and used to be a teacher, so he was a fascinating companion for the day. First  we went to stop by a family woodcarving shop. I had a quick introduction to the process and to the woods they use, then browsed through their shop. My guide there was incredibly warm and lovely. He was a wood-carver as well, and showed me some of his epic crazy pieces. I wish I had taken some photos. Due to suitcase space, I only bought 2 small pieces, for my dad and father in law, but I wanted to bring back all of them. The detail is just insane, and all the pieces are carved from imagination, rather than an image or photo. I especially loved the ones of Shakti and Shiva.
After that, Nyoman  took me to the Elephant Cave temple, Goa Gajah Bedulu, which was built into a jungle ravine. It was breathtaking… He had no idea how old it was, since they only started keeping records like that recently. I could feel the sacred energy pulsating through the jungle there.
Next my guide brought me to a coffee plantation, where a lovely young Balinese lady brought me a sample plate of about 9 different kinds of tea and coffee they make on site, including  Luack, the one where the little animal eats the beans, ferments them in their belly and poops them out. They’re then collected and turned into some of the most delectable and expensive coffee in the world. I haven’t been drinking coffee since about December, but I definitely had sampled these grown on-site blends. This is as local as you could possibly get and everything is hand-picked, and hand roasted. No machines! The sampling site was also overlooking this amazing jungle vista which was their plantation. They also grow herbs, spices and cocoa and some fruits which they turn into teas. It was so idealic and relaxing to sit and sample these drinks, having a lovely conversation and nibbling on dried bananas. It really kicked in that I’m on vacation and some residual travel stress just melted away.
We then went to the Tirta Empul Tampaksiring Water temple, which I am going to see again with the group. I didn’t go in the water since it was actually a cool, overcast and drizzly day, but I want to go and splash about, blessing and purifying myself in the water.
After the temple, we drove to one of their teeny mountains. By the way, I should mention, the roads here take some getting used to. They drive on the left side, like in Europe, and I’m not gonna lie, it seems a little sketchy at times.  Anyway, back up the mountain  where I went in to the Sari restaurant for lunch while Nyoman relaxed with his driver /guide buddies. It was a buffet which was only so-so. Lots of fried food, which was out for me (no gluten), but it was completely worth it for the view! I sat at a bar that overlooked a jungle, a volcano, a mountain and a lake. EPIC!!! For about 3 minutes, then it started pouring, which was almost even more epic! It was so foggy at times I could only see a few meters into the mist, which made it look kind of like a mysterious end of the world scene.


I didn’t eat tons but I savored my ginger tea for at least 45 minutes, staring out into paradise.
I could feel myself relaxing more deeply. It was so interesting to just sit, and drink it all in. So often when I eat alone, I read or watch a show or something. This was just me and the world, with my day-to-day life just melting away.
We checked out a rice terrace on the way home and chatted about life, and religion… Very smart, well read man. He spoke at length about the morality he wants to teach his children, and how important it is to make other happy. We talked a lot about the importance of balance for happiness. I couldn’t agree with him more.
I capped off the day by attending a traditional Balinese dance performance… It was absolutely unreal. The costumes, the music (which was really intense at times, almost a cacophony!), the themes… Very epic tales  of love , death and demons!
My favorite was a trance dance, done  by two women after they had been blessed by a priest representing how the gods and goddesses bring art spirit to earth in their benevolence. Their  movements were the most incredible things I have ever seen. The hands were very Bollywood, but then they were popping and locking moving their heads in this amazing indescribable bird like manner… They looked like they were possessed by the gods. I couldn’t look away.
As much fun as I had touring around, I can’t wait for the retreat to get started. I’ve run into a few participants from week one and they were glowing. I’m ready to get started and make some new friends!