Yoga in Bali
Sarah Matthews has just returned from several weeks as a guest yoga teacher at the Spa Village Resort, Tembok. We sat down with her to find out how she shares her love of yoga and why this tranquil 5* resort makes the perfect yoga space.
ECT: How did your interest in yoga begin?
SM: I found yoga about 20 years ago and just fell in love with it. I was in my teens and the sole carer of a terminally ill parent. Yoga helped to give me the strength I needed at the time - and long afterwards! Today I like to share that gift.
ECT: How would you sum up your yoga style?
SM: I have tried every type of yoga there is along my path, but I like to keep it as traditional as possible. Yoga means union of the mind, body and spirit so, although you will be getting a wonderful workout and stretch, it’s really about giving yourself an hour to properly connect with your body and your breath. It's about how you feel in the posture, not what the posture looks like. Of course alignment is important, but I really promote listening to your own body - learning to listen to the signals and taking appropriate action. That means coming out of posture early if doesn’t feel good, not expecting your body to contort into some ridiculous position if you haven't used those muscle before, challenging but never being aggressive. It’s about being kind to yourself and leaving your ego at the door – that’s when the magic happens.
ECT: You were a guest teacher at the Spa Village Resort Tembok, what did that involve?
SM: I was very fortunate to be a guest teacher at the Spa Village, it’s such a wonderful, beautiful and peaceful place. I taught yoga every day at sunset with the waves crashing in the background and the temperature of the hot day beginning to drop. As the session went on and we wound down to relaxation, the sun would set and we finished as the stars started to emerge in the night sky. It was such wonderful transition on many levels, especially with the small bats flying gracefully overhead as we made our way on to our backs in preparation for relaxation. The connection with the guests was also very special - we saw each other every day and sometimes ate together so that guidance could continue.
ECT: Can you give us a picture of the group lessons?
SM: Group classes at the Spa Village ranged in size from four to 26 and covered all ranges of ability. It was wonderful to see such progression with the beginners who came to class every day of their stay. Many of them still text me now saying how wonderful it is to have found yoga and how much they are loving it. I also did a Sunday session with local Balinese ladies, which I loved – it was full of giggles and laughter.
I work intuitively with each class and adapt depending on who comes (I remember planning a very feminine, light flowing class and five big strapping young men showed up!), but each follows a similar format. We begin with a meditation to connect with breath, followed by warm up, then the asanas (you can expect a little sweat!), and finally relaxation. The end result, is a stretched, relaxed, calm and happy body and mind.
ECT: Did you teach one-to-one sessions too?
SM: Yes, I did some private yoga with guests if they requested it. A private lesson is obviously very different to a group lesson because you can gauge more precisely what the person needs. Ideally, I will know about the person's body type and whether they have any injuries etc before the lesson so I can design a class tailored to their specific needs.
ECT: What do you love about Bali and why is it so well suited to yoga and wellness?
SM: I have been to Bali a few times and it’s just a magical place. It’s beautiful, the Balinese are beautiful, the temperature is wonderful and the food is fantastic and fresh.
Why not indulge yourself? We have two programmes to the Spa Village Resort – find out more here.