The Night Before, By Kristy Alpert
I met my driver outside the baggage claim and embarked on our three hour excursion to the Gajah Mina Resort where the Yandara teacher training would be held over the next 16 days. The sun was just setting and the sky was freckled with paper kites flying in a pink backdrop above the crashing waves.
“Layangan,” my driver smirked at me when he caught me gazing up. “Layangan. Mean kite in Balinese.”
“It’s beautiful,” was all I could muster back.
“Suskma,” was his gracious reply, “thank you.”
We chatted the rest of the way about local foods and traditions, and I was truly sad to see him go when he dropped me off at the resort. Even at night the resort was stunning. The soothing chirps of crickets and tree frogs blended into the sound of water crashing against the cliffs.
I was one of the last to arrive, since most people pre-gamed the trip by coming in a few days before training to spend some time exploring Ubud and the neighboring villages. I checked in to my villa and entered what would be my new home for the next few weeks. Two beds sat as the focal point to the generously sized room, and an elaborate wood carved entryway led to an equally large bathroom with a rain shower and double sink.
“Pretty comfy accommodations for a yoga retreat,” I remember thinking. But I didn’t spend long in the room before heading down the paved steps to the yoga hut on the cliffs to take part in my first evening satsung. We played drums, shook shakers, and sang the rest of the night before heading back to our rooms to get ready for the first day.
I walked back to the villa with my roommate and suitemates, and I quickly found out I wasn’t the only one who was a bit nervous about what the next day would bring. Would we need to bring all the books down to the hut? Did we pack enough yoga pants? How intense would the morning Vinyasa flow session be at 7:30AM? After far too many hours finding out how much in common we all had, we finally called it a day and tried to get a full night’s rest for Day 1. It was all feeling real now!