Bali Silent Retreat – Day 2

The morning wake up gong sounded in the distance,  after the ring of my own alarm clock. In the warmth of my bed,  I heard footsteps and the creaking of the stairs in my two storey bungalow. Could it be next door’s?  It sounded too close and then the footsteps retreated as it came. Outside, I found a basket containing hot ginger tea and two ceramic mugs. In the distance,  the faint calls of prayers started, thankfully not as loud as the night before. 

Meditation is at 6am and since it’s not guided,  I took my time and did a twenty minutes on my own on my balcony,  facing the lush green padi fields and distant volcano Batu Karu. Soon, five gongs sounded for the 7am Asana yoga. 

All meditation and yoga sessions are held at the Bale, a octagon stage shaded by tension structure. I brought my mat and towel but I needn’t have bothered, for my flimsy mat kept folding in the strong morning wind, wheres the mat they provided remained glued to the wooden floor. 

Morning yoga is difficult to me as my body has not warmed up and is stiff and inflexible. Even forward bending seems impossible when usually I could reach beyond my feet. The one and a half hour session consisted mainly of lying on the back and rounded up nearly the end with warrior sequence, which I enjoyed. 

If I were to do this daily while I am here, would I be disciplined enough to continue on my own – meditate and yoga upon waking up – when I return home three days later?  

Breakfast was served at 8.30am. I don’t particularly like cold food all the time, so I welcomed the sunny side duck eggs, the yolk more orange and larger than chicken’s. 

It sat atop my various vegetarian dishes and gave them additional oomph,  not that the dishes were not delicious by themselves. 

At 9.30am, our chef Simon,  took us on a garden and forest walk,  to show us where he harvested our food,  picking a flower here,  and a leaf there,  and offering them to us to taste. The rain came and walking through slippery forest mud in my Fitflop was challenging, a deja vu moment of similar slippery hikes in Sapa, Vietnam. (

After a gentle wash up,  it was time for a light lunch of more salad and vegetables and duck egg. I tried to practice mindful eating,  imagining the universe in the spoonful of vegetables as it enters my mouth, taking my time to chew and test the texture of nuts and seeds.  I thought I discover another cracked molar.

After lunch,  I joined the rest of the group as we read and siesta on cushions and futons in the humid afternoon heat. 

At 2pm,  it’s another Asana yoga,  touted to be more energetic but was just as gentle,  or even more so,  than the morning session.  I discovered the importance of investing in a good yoga mat.  Non slippery (although I hadn’t perspired to really test it out), heavy and sturdy. Our teacher,  Caroline, who looked Scandinavian, made use of many props,  bolsters,  blocks, blankets and cushions to ease us into the poses.  She reminded us to be aware of the breaths, which I had to constantly remind myself. Mindfulness is really difficult for me. 

After yoga,  I stayed behind for the guided meditation also by Caroline. After sitting half lotus for half an hour,  the second section sent my legs into numbness five minutes after it began. So I decided to lie down, as a few had done.  I went immediately to sleep and when I was awakened, I looked around and all,  except for my colleague Eric  and Caroline, were lying down and probably napping like me. 

Dinner is served between 4.30-6.00pm, which meant that it was dinner time already after yoga.  I decided  I had better shower before it gets dark. I am glad I did.  For after dinner,  there was a storm and the outdoor shower,  which  had seemed exotic yesterday in the sunny weather,  was not so exciting  and my hubby didn’t fancy showering in the rain and thus skipped his wash. 

I love dinners as it has hot soup, and I hadn’t had any hot liquid the whole day, not counting the morning  flask of hot ginger tea.I could if I wanted to, but to boil herbal tea in a pot on gas stove is not that attractive. 

I really enjoyed Simon’s cooking and could see myself becoming a vegetarian if I have him as my chef. 

It’s 7.30pm, and after waiting for the rain to lighten before making our way back to our bungalow,  we are now both in bed. How healthy can this lifestyle get? 


About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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