March 31, 2014

Flowing with It: The Intuitive Side of Yoga. ~ Saraya Afolabi

512px-Yogahands-1 yoga hands by Elizabeth Crisci

I was invited to attend a two-hour Intuitive Flow yoga class by an Australian woman named Gaynor I’d met at my hotel.

She was about to embark on a 22-day yoga teacher training programme at the Intuitive Flow yoga centre. I had struck up a conversation with her one morning over breakfast, as our chairs were near one another, overlooking a pond filled with tropical fish and lotus leaves.

Gaynor had been in Ubud (on the Indonesian island of Bali) for a few days and would be leaving the hotel the following day to move into a cheaper hotel up the road before finally moving into the shared accommodation provided for the teacher trainees.

She had been doing preparatory anatomy and physiology homework for her course that would begin in a couple of weeks and had attended a few classes at the yoga centre. She thought that I might like to come with her to a class, as I’d spoken about the wonderfully diverse classes I’d taken part in during my stay in Desa Seni in Canggu. I also had told her I was planning on attending a few classes at the famous Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive Studio whilst in Ubud.

I jumped at the chance to experience the Intuitive Flow yoga class, as I’d initially wanted to do a yoga retreat at Intuitive Flow in October. It had been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. The yoga centre is on the hills of  Penenstanan, a village approximately 15 minutes walking distance from my hotel.

My class was in the upper level studio with large windows that allowed natural light and breeze into the space. There were panoramic views of the countryside and the lush green rice paddies.

There were about 12 of us in the class, the majority being women, and most were international. Eastern music played in the background, the subtle fragrance of sandalwood from an incense stick wafted through the room and a ceiling fan provided an extra current of air.

We were encouraged to use cushions and bolsters to support us during our practice by Linda Madani, our yoga teacher and founder of Intuitive Flow. The class began with some mantra chanting that served to elevate and energise our energy fields and also left me feeling calm and centred.

Linda took us through a series of vinyasa flow exercises, reminding us to focus on our breath at all times. She gradually incorporated Mudra Pranala, a healing art created by the famous Balinese shaman, Tjokorda Rai. Mudra Pranala are a series of energy movements akin to Chi Kung which serve to increase the energy flow within the body and encourage self-healing.

Grounding is an important aspect of Intuitive flow, rooting us into the earth before our vibrations are elevated. We first connected with Mother Earth before connecting to the energy of the Universe and to Father Sky.

We affirmed aloud positive statements, reminding ourselves of how loving, powerful and sacred we are as individuals. I began to wonder whether I was in a yoga class or a Louise Hay workshop, but I went along with the exercises. Soon I found myself enjoying saying the positive statements.

Finally we lay down on our backs for a deep meditation, focusing on our breath to help balance and purify our chakras. Linda walked around the room, silently placing drops of essential oil on our foreheads.

I left the class feeling safe and nurtured. My heart chakra had opened, and my energy levels had expanded. I had experienced a powerfully transformative practice in a serene and safe haven where I had connected to my body, my heart and to the elements.


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Apprentice Editor: Pamela Mooman / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant journal archives

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Saraya Afolabi