It’s been a very surreal time lately…
Larissa Israel a friend, healer and my neighbour came over to give me a sound healing session using tuning forks. She told me that aside from basically doing sound acupuncture on me with the tuning forks in our session she also “spread my wings” so that I could fly…what a beautiful and timely idea seeing as I was about to lift off from the island that has become my home over the last few months. I feel blessed that my Bali home has also become something of a centre for sound healing thanks to all the beautiful musicians who have been coming to visit me, play for me and let me film them doing their thing there.
I then made the pilgrimage over to Jungle Yoga via one night in Bangkok to a magical place that is literally in the middle of nowhere, floating on a lake in the National Park of Surat Thani Thailand. It’s the sort of place that I might visualise in my meditations and in my imagination when I am seeking inner peace. I arrived to find a group of what I would describe as “superhuman yogis” doing the most advanced form of yoga I have had the privledge to practise amongst. World famous yogi, shaman, musician and super cool dude Danny Paradise was leading a retreat and he had gathered a group together of very interesting international beautiful people, creatives and yogis.
Time stood still for me out there with no internet or phone signal I was forced into presence- such a present to become more in tune with the sounds of nature from gibbons to hornbills and spending hours swimming in the deep fresh water and attempting some balancing postures or floating on a massive log in the middle of the lake.
Every afternoon involved several hours of intensive ashtanga practise as well as pranayama breathing techniques and satsang- open dialogue about anything and everything with Danny.
It was a massive learning curve and I immediately started to feel physically stronger, which I put down to engaging the mulabandha- contracting the entire core muscles whilst practising yoga and also the pranayama exercises of holding breath and contracting core muscles at the same time muscles. I’ve always loved the truth in the concept that building physical strength also increases mental strength and the same goes with both physical and mental flexibility- changes that take place on a yoga mat affect the mind, body and spirit.
It was a humbling experience too, accepting how far I still have to go to really become my own master, physically and mentally my strongest, most flexible and wisest self.
It felt awkward at first to surrender to just being and suddenly switch off from my routine of filming and editing all day that has been my routine for years in London and had also made time fly for me in Bali. I also really appreciated the time to quietly contemplate my life and future and to invest some focused energy into the law of attraction, planting seeds for what I would like to magnetise, manifest and create over the next few years and beyond.
I met so many wonderful people out there too and it re-iterated my belief in destiny and kismet- that there are no coincidences in life. At least, when I think that way it seems I create a space for more magic and serendipity and synchronicity to happen… or maybe I just start to notice it around me more?
That place in particular held a sort of magic with the people who were there and who arrived there, also the stillness and the constant gentle floating lull even when doing yoga. This was super challenging at first to try and find balance on a structure that was constantly moving! Now back on land on an island and my yoga practise feels different, my body feels slightly heavier wheras I felt very airy and light when floating on water. I kept pushing myself into presence, into really listening to what people were telling me- it made me more aware of how even when I listen to people, I am also somehow mostly at the same time running several other thoughts or even building ideas sub-consciously whilst listening to people. So I was giving myself the extra challenge of pushing all my thoughts aside to really listen and be fully present in every interaction, conversation and encounter- this opened me up to even more learning. The only thing it stirred up for me was a desire to become both a fantastic listener/constant learner and also to allow myself to show up and contribute too. I just sort of noticed that it’s easier to be a listener and possibly even hiding behind that and not revealing much of myself…but perhaps that’s just the ego going “What about me?”. Anyway it was a good practise that just started happening out there for me- mindfulness for sure and self-awareness.
A fellow yogi out there called Michael gave me a book to read by a Zen Master called Tich Nhat Hanh it was a beautiful book full of insights and I would just ick it up and open it to a random page or chapter and try to absorb whatever wisdom came to me that way too. One thing that really stuck was a saying that goes “Wherever we are, we are our true person” that gave me some food for thought around being authentic and also around personal responsibility or “accountability” in life coach speak. Danny likes to emphasise this too- not handing personal power over to a Guru but rather developing ones own inner wisdom, intuition and compassion for self and others. I also found some real soul sisters and brothers floating on that lake, all yoga teachers from around the world- big lovebeams going out to Simon Low who is the best Yin Yoga Teacher on earth and a kindred spirit with a background as a music industry bigwig who transitioned into the world of wellbeing and is now living the yogi dream travelling and training future teachers worldwide.
Kevin Naidoo a superyogi from Canada
Jimbo a superyogi from Nashville and my yogi sister hut neighbour Bettina Heinze from Germany- here they are doing some acro yoga.
And beloved Bibi who styled me up on arrival with some beautiful, comfortable tie-dyed pieces from her Bishaka Tie Dyes collection. All the women snapped up pairs of tie-dyed leggings and I also accuired a two piece bluet tie died suit with harem trousers and a low back top- perfect jungle lake style!
I presented gifts to both Danny and Bibi of beautiful crystal Chakra Balancing Yoga Chords made by Jelila and I was delighted to see Bibi wearing as both a necklace and a crown and looking so chique in the jungle, as always.
There were many other beautiful and interesting people there, the list is long…but a few more worth mentioning were Shelly Poplak who is known as a cosmic travel guide and is now producing a music video I’m shooting out here and inspirational author Dorian Israel. Two very inspiring women who will be hosting some empowerment retreats for women at jungle yoga later this year. And there was Bruce, a ery handsome expert on Indonesian arts and culture and Saba a hat designer who sold me a funny floppy sunhat made from old green denim jeans and bold African textiles, otherwise known as Fashion For Happy People
With Danny also being such a talented musician, having released several albums and collaborated with many worldwide great musical talents either in a jamming context or as a personal yoga teacher on tour, it was no surprise that there were some really talented singers, songwriters and musicians floating along in the jungle and I definitely want to drop some links for their talents in here…
Firstly, the beauteous Wende (pronounced Venda) from Holland who writes deep soulful PJ Harveyish tunes with a bit of goth, emo rapping flavour thrown in and all delivered with the power of an ashtanga yogi 😉 I filmed some impromptu late night jams with her and she blew me away with her talent- hopefully we will collab on some visuals or a video in the future.
And there was music producer Bobby Parrs jaming every night with Danny and friends too.
I basically became the maracas percussion girl and occassional backing singer, which I absolutely loved, the freestyle jams with all the talent being shared every night after dinner. I also learnt that percussion in a jam is really a meditation because maybe at times KIK wanted to give up but heard an inner voice saying “committ to it, don’t drop out of the tune” that was funny and kind of odd but it kept me very involved in the nightly jamming.
My main re-occuring thought whilst out there in the middle of nowhere was that I must definitely be in the middle of one long, beautiful and very surreal dream conducted magically by Danny Paradise. I would also like to mention the hosts and owners of Jungle Yoga Kun Dick and Beth-two shiny lovely souls with a great vision. I had fun paddling out on a kayak with Kun Dick identifying all the animal sounds and some great closeup sightings of gibbons, red dragonflies and even huge wild boars.
And then a friend of a very dear old friend showed up with a beautiful group of new faces in tow, including one very dashing and inspiring man who is quite the adventurer and definitely a conscious hipster. Sadly his visit was a real whirlwind- I would have loved to spend more time getting to know him…he was so…interesting.
So, as Valentine’s day approaches and I wonder where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing for it…two magazines have reached out and asked if I would write anything I feel like on the theme of LOVE. I have sat down a few times to just let my pen flow on this theme and some really interesting stuff comes out prompted by that one short but massive word. It’s just not anything I feel like sharing in a magazine, so I’m working on overcoming that because after all it’s great to have writing published in mass media, in particular on the them of love in it’s many forms…somehow an anonymous blog feels safer 😉
I’ve had two great invitations so far, neither romantic but both happening on Valentine’s day. One is to go up to the north of Thailand and visit orphanages with some musicians who will be performing at them and the other is to join hundreds of women in a flashmob performance for the One Billion Rising Campaign. I accidentally took part in that campaign last year on Valentine’s day as I was exiting the Centre Pompidou in Paris at precisely the time of the flashmob kicking off, so I joined in with hundreds of women dancing in a celebratory protest- the steps were easy to pickup and I felt very moved by the girl power in that movement.
Valentine’s day is so cheesy really, although I love big romantic gestures ❤ ❤ ❤ It’s really a day for couples to inject some romance into their everyday existence so really it’s not a special day for single people….maybe I will go on a date with myself.
Love is…. the most wonderful fuel for creativity and connection as well as being the most universally understood, appreciated and pure feeling…. and well… it’s just everything really isn’t it? Loving the self, loving others, loving life.
I’ll be posting more frequently keeping up the weekly blogs now that I am reconnected to the virtual world.
Bye for now.