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We are in the jungle! Our villa in is a village on the outskirts of Ubud. The family that rents it lives on the property and has 3 other villas. The entire property is filled with lush vegetation, tons of fruit trees and flowers, and different kinds of plants so it makes the property very shaded and much cooler than at the beach. The family cooks all three meals for all of the guests and we have family meals everyday. The food is so good, and they’re even cooking vegetarian for me! We’ve met some really lovely people from all over the world, and because it’s such a communal place, we’ve gotten to know them pretty quickly and done some fun activities together.

We’ve also been able to submerge ourselves in their culture. The host family is generous with their knowledge and help. They offered to let us join in making their offerings (Canang Sari) and prepare for their family ceremony. They’ve invited us to weddings, cremations, and other ceremonies within their village.
There are rice fields everywhere in Bali, and here is no exception. It’s really struck me how everything they do here is by hand, whether it’s farming in the rice fields or building houses. No machines. Factor in the amount of detail there is, too and it’ll blow you away. It’s been a really good experience to see how another culture lives, especially one that is so different from ours.
As I mentioned last week, this week holds a lot of anniversaries and is a really tough time of year for me. Everyone here was as supportive as they could be in giving me space when needed. Even so, being here has added some challenges I didn’t foresee. Which is something I’ve learned this trip, expect the unexpected. There’s only wifi in the main house, and it’s really hit or miss, plus there is no privacy. So that kind of forced me to lean only on myself. I spent as much time in solitude in nature as I could, especially during the super difficult times. Many walks through the jungle, journaling, yoga, and I visited a beautiful waterfall near by. It was much larger than the previous one and much more open. Wayan, my driver, said that is is about 58 meters high (190 feet). There are 506 steps down to get to the waterfall. Which means 506 steps back up… Totally worth it! When I got there, there was a couple just behind me but they only stayed for a few minutes, and I didn’t see anyone else until I was leaving. Almost the whole time I was there I had the space to myself. It was amazing. I sat there on a stone and in the water for a long while. While sitting there I realized that I have been letting this pain and grief define me. But the love from souls is infinite and eternal, and experiences don’t change the soul. They only change the ego, if you allow them. You can though, learn from experiences, like tools, to quiet thoughts and sit deeper in the Self. Live more from the heart. That’s the practice. It’s not a light switch you can switch on and off, it’s a constant practice. But, I believe it’s attainable.
The yoga here in Ubud is much more like I expected. I went to the Yoga Barn which is quite large and they pack the house. It’s a beautiful upstairs space with wood floors, high ceilings, and open half walls. They teach with more messaging and cueing. I did hear some different names than we use of poses. Overall I enjoyed it and am going back before I start traveling home so I can move my body before the long flight ahead. I am ready to come home and be with my cat Reesee and be in my comfort zone again. This trip has been amazing and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity. I’ve learned so much that I can’t wait to share and put into my practice back home.
See you soon!
With love,
Ashley returns to teaching Monday 4/9, look for her on the schedule, and check out her upcoming Arm Balancing Workshop!