Every morning, fresh flower arrangements are placed on the street along with some rice and burning incense. So walking to the Yoga studio becomes even more of a pleasure. There are different flowers, different arrangements in front of every door, generally on the sidewalk closer to the street. I asked Rai and she told me that these offerings are called "canang sari". The rice is to thank to the nature, because the food contains all elements of the nature like sun, rain, animals... if one of these would be missing, there wouldn't be any food. So before eating early in the day, some rice is offered to remember this and to share with all other beings. And the flowers are to greet the nature with mindfulness. The flowers represent the heart.
I am really grateful that every morning I wake up to the colorful sight of the flowers and the sweet smell of the incense coming from the most unexpected corners of the streets in Bali. It does put a smile on my face and warms my heart. We discussed a little more about the offerings. Nyoman said that for Balinese people religion was like a boat, after you cross the river you don't carry the boat on your back. He said if continue to carry the boat, it turns into "whose boat is bigger or better" which leads to fanaticism. There is no room for fanaticism in Balinese spirituality.
The first 4 days in Bali, I stayed in Nirvanaku. It was a pension I found over the internet. It wasn't my first choice because according to the maps it was quite far from the Yoga Barn and all that were close were fully booked already. So I booked a room for 4 days and thought this would give me enough time to look around and find a new place for the rest of my stay. However Nirvanaku turned out to be a great choice with its great garden, calm and welcoming atmosphere and the continuous artistic activity going on. The father Nyoman and the son Putu are batik artists and as well as doing batik themselves, they teach students in their garden-studio. Any given afternoon, you could see random students walking in to get their hands dirty. (I would highly recommend Nirvanaku to anyone who will visit Bali and would like to stay in a very down-to-earth, artistic and soothing environment. It beats fancy hotels any given day.)
So yesterday was my 3rd day in Nirvanaku and I decided to shop around a bit for cheaper accommodation. I enter the next pension and they quoted me a price of 10$ / night including breakfast! In Nirvanaku I was paying 25$ and considered myself lucky because there was nothing cheaper than 30$ over the internet. Finding this difficult to believe, I walked into the next pension and they quoted me 10$ too. Both these places were more run-down than Nirvanaku but I couldn't care less. The difference of 15$ / day means 2 super-large meals or 2 hours of massage in a good spa. (An average neighborhood massage salon here charges 5$/hour for massage and in good spas the price gradually goes up to 12$ / hour, I haven't yet checked the very luxurious spas) Both pensions said they were fully booked that day but would have a free room tomorrow. I somehow liked the second one better and decided to go with them if our check out times can somehow be synchronized. Today everything went smooth and I moved to my new home for the following 3-4 weeks. This place seems to have some interesting, long-term neighbors, hope to meet them when the time comes. I will however definitely keep visiting my hosts in Nirvanaku; Rai and Nyoman and have Batik lessons there in the coming weeks.
My yoga learning of the day: Ankles and hips are closely related, if you open one, the other would open too. A good exercise to open and to increase your body awareness can be this:
Sit with a straight back on your sit-bones, first point your toes as far as you can and feel the sensations on the front part of your leg. Then flex your toes and feel the sensations on the back of your leg. Are there differences between legs, what are the similar points of tension as you do hip openers?
The ankles are also said to represent commitment. No wonder then many people who are in wrong relationships consider themselves “shackled”...