Finding Balance in Imbalance: A thank you note

One of the many “see you later”s I’ve had recently - this week marks my last classes at Intuitive Flow, where a girl who can’t touch her toes has felt at home amongst the pretzel twist yogis of Ubud. One of the first things I did upon moving here was decide on a regular yoga studio, a piece of the puzzle to help me feel more settled in my temporary home. 

I didn’t get very far, as my second stop at Intuitive brought me into a class I still think about today. An instructor also from the states, Robyn, began with an intention of balance. She asked us to consider two conflicting sides of ourselves, if we had them - two aspirations or desires that pulled us in opposite directions. For me this was immediately clear, as I was still a bit unsettled in my decision to leave home.  Pulled between the need for comfort, security, and the physical vicinity of those I was missing most - and the parts of me that drove me to take this leap: cultural curiosity, spontaneity, and a drive for challenging experiences.

Robyn asked us to keep these energies in mind throughout the rest of class - when the flow would pull us in opposite directions, focusing on our centers would bring stability and balance. It was one of the first times in my mediocre yoga experience where real life translated to the mat.

Safe to say I didn’t bother trying out other studios, and for the next three months, I woke up for sunrise class with Robyn once a week. A small and humble studio in the treetops of Penestanan, I usually arrived early to have Mt. Agung all to myself for a few minutes.

It wasn’t until last week however, did Robyn once again choose balance as a class focus. As I was beginning to sort my things, book a few flights, and prepare to hit the road again, she discussed finding balance in imbalance, and the importance of staying grounded through periods of transience. This was no coincidence, as I later discovered that she too, was leaving Ubud for a bit to travel through the summer.

I couldn’t help but notice that this was a clear sign of how life has a way of coming full circle - to help us reflect on the past and realize growth when we need it most. Early weeks here were filled with anxiety and nerves, living on my own without the social culture of backpacker hostels,  dangling my legs above water wondering where to plant my feet.  Today, being alone has become comfortable. Learning to balance by cultivating happiness without constant companionship, doing things for myself simply because they just make my day better. Taking 4am scooter rides up north alone, because I had a feeling the sunrises would be worth it. They were.  

Looking forward, I’m less anxious about my lack of plans. The legs of this year where I go off the beaten path, where I may not be travelling with others, don’t seem as daunting - because now I know I can find ground on my own. In new environments and challenging cultures, balance may not come as easy as Ubud, but can’t know until I try, right? With the lessons from places like Intuitive, people like Robyn, groups like VP Bali, and the community I’ve grown to love, I can more easily find stability in the places that challenge me the most.

Again, I am NO yogi. I sit in the front of the room so I won’t compare myself and be reminded of my unusual lack of flexibility. Living here has actually made me sort of cynical about yogis (when you overhear one too many conversations about how “enlightened” people are). But for the community here - I will always be grateful.  For giving me time to reflect, focus, and realize growth; now more confident for the unpaved road ahead and excited to turn the page of this chapter. I’ll bookmark it though, as I’ll probably come back to it at times where I’m feeling most lost.

If you’re reading this as someone in my life here in Ubud: through my job, my coworking space, or anywhere else I have had the pleasure of calling “regular” - I hope you simply take this as my way of saying thank you.

Juliette Behringer