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“When the five senses, along with the mind, remain still and the intellect is not active, that is known as the highest state. They consider yoga to be firm restraint of the senses. Then one becomes un-distracted for yoga is the arising and the passing away” Katha Upanishad (6.10-11) C.5th century BCE.

It is believed that it was The Beatles visit to Maharishi Yogi’s ashram near Rishikesh in India in 1968 that introduced the world to yoga and transcendental meditation. And it was this visit that brought the hippies to the east searching for nirvana in yoga and the mantras.

But this is not true. It was Swami Vivekananda who introduced Yoga to the West at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. His teachings created the foundation for the West’s acceptance of this ancient Indian spiritual practice that transcends culture barriers for it seeks to, through practice, cleanse the mind and body of fragments of worldly contaminants, and assists in reconciling itself to the Divine.

Vivekananda drew followers from a cross section of western intelligentsia including the likes of Irish Poet W. B. Yeats and British scribe T. S. Eliot who helped popularize yoga.

Interestingly, yoga was practised a long time ago in Indonesia. There are numerous references in Old Javanese- Sanskrit religious texts known as Tutur and Tattva that make reference to yoga traditions in the Indonesian archipelago. One particular text, Dharma Pātañjala, presents a form of aṣṭāṅga-yoga that can be traced to Pātañjala Yoga traditions in India. Other references can also be found in pamphlets of Balinese Hindu traditions published in Bali from the early 1950s.

According to Andrea Acri, an assistant professor of Tantric Studies at l’ÉcolePratique des HautesÉtudes, Paris, author of Dharma Pātañjala, yoga for the ancient Balinese and Javanese was an inseparable part of their love life and the preparation for death. He says that few realize that the yoga in ancient Bali and Java are quite different from the present day practices. Previously, before one practised the asana (body posture), one had to follow the yamas (code of social conduct) and niyamas (self-observances).

Perhaps the best place to avail of yoga classes or practice yoga is in the wilds of Bali, at NusaBay Menjangan resort, which rests in the embrace of the West Bali National Park, far from the roar of tourist traffic. The five kilometre white sand beach, the wild deer that lounge on the shore, the jade colour coral reef and the sound of the wind whistling through the dense forest make up a perfect setting for your yoga retreat. The only music you hear will be from colourful feathered friends of the forest, at dawn and dusk. Yoga is much more than stretching one’s limbs, it’s about connecting with oneself and with divinity through meditation in natural environs.

Contact us to arrange a yoga sojourn in the wilds of Bali.