For 2016 I wanted to start the year off with a personal challenge. Not only is it the new year, but this Janurary 18, I turn 30.  It’s one of those milestone birthdays, or so they say. I didn’t want to spend another birthday at Karaoke, drinking, or doing the same old things I have been doing for the past 30 years. I was ready to expand my horizon, experience life in a completely different light. I was ready to explore my spirituality, my wellness.

With that in mind, I scavenged the internet for retreats, ashrams, monasteries, workshops etc. At first, I was looking at yoga vacations where I would spend a week somewhere, do yoga and just really relax my soul. But after days of research I ended up signing up to do a Yoga teacher training course in the Bahamas, on Paradise island. If you know me at all, I always prefer to go big, something drastic was exactly what I needed. If I was going to evolve spiritually, there is no other way. A full immersive yogic lifestyle at the Sivananda Bahamas, was calling my name, and now, here I am. To be completely honest, I was quite nervous. I knew it was immersive, which included 4 hours of yoga, 4 hours of mediation/ gathering, 2 vegetarian meals (wash your own dishes), 1 hour of Karma yoga (where you perform an act of service; mine is to clean, sweep, and mop the main temple.) Wake up bell at 5:30 every am, but you want to wake up 15- 30 minutes earlier to skip the bathroom queue (yes, shared bathrooms only.) I had no idea how I was going to respond to this experience, physically, emotionally. But you have to trust your gut when you are excited about something so unconventionally you.

Week One.

My first couple days was filled with fear, doubt, and overall just skeptical of the unknown. What will my room be like? The food? The people? Will I get enough sleep? Will I be able to wake up at 5:30 am? and shared bathrooms… will I survive?
For me, it was almost like fight or flight. But the thing is, I’m here, and I’m doing it, I’m just going to make it as enjoyable as possible.  I was ready to take on the challenge. I spent the rest of the week working out my schedule, when to shower, when to do laundry, when to change in and out of uniforms/ yoga clothes. As you can see from the schedule (below) we really don’t have much time for anything. The course might be taking place on this beautiful island in the Bahamas, but they made sure we had almost no free time. (Surely it’s for our own good) No time to be on my phone, no time to socialize with other people. It felt as if we spent all our free time rushing from place to place, doing homework, and making sure I had time to do personal things like shower, bathroom. It sounds intense, because it is, haha. In Hong Kong 15 minutes is gone in a blink of an eye. What I didn’t realize till the end of week one was that 15 minutes is actually very useful. (just imagine, 15 minutes of silent meditation, yea, feels like forever)  Maybe time goes by slower in the Bahamas, or maybe it took me a week to slow down, to adjust, and realize I am no longer in Hong Kong.  It was the first of many “ah ha” moments to come. My heart is filled with a million emotions, I can’t even begin to list them. For the first time in a long time, I had no plans, everything was taken care of, and I just needed to focus on connecting with my inner self. All I can say is, life is good.


6:00 – 7:45 am Morning Satsang (meditation, chanting, and lecture; or silent walk)
8:00 – 10:00 am Asana and Pranayama Class
10:00 am Brunch
10:45 – 11:45 am Karma Yoga (serving the ashram)
12:00 – 1:00 pm Bhagavad Gita/Chanting Class
1:00 – 2:00 pm Break (or Karma Yoga)
2:00 – 4:00 pm Main Lecture (yoga philosophy and psychology or anatomy and physiology)
4:00 – 6:00 pm Asana and Pranayama (teaching methods)
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 – 8:00 pm Free Time (or Karma Yoga)
8:00 – 10:00 pm Evening Satsang (meditation, chanting, and lecture, concert, or special event)