My 4 Day Stay at an Ashram
To be honest when I booked my stay here 2 weeks before I arrived, I had no idea what an ashram was. That’s typical Anna style by the way, I often jump when I have no idea what I am jumping into. Ready to read about my 4 day stay at an ashram?
I was searching online for some sort of spiritual retreat, what I didn’t want was to stay at a hotel and lay by the pool and drinks smoothies all day. Hell no I was searching for the real deal even if I had no idea what that would entail. I just allowed my intuition to guide me on this one.
I stumbled across the Anand Ashram’s, center for well being and empowerment website in Ubud and thought ok this looks promising. Seeing that the program included daily yoga and meditation, I browsed and booked within a few minutes.
Why did I want to go on this sort of retreat for a few days?
To be honest recently I have been feeling slightly anxious (not much, just more than usual) and disconnected from myself. Over the summer we have been traveling and some of my usual rituals have not been as consistent as they would normally be. Gosh you know us humans thrive off routine. This means I have been very reactive with social media and the whole online space which is pretty exhausting, mentally.
Running a successful business has it’s demands, I have John (my fiancee) helping me but I do wear most of the hats. The online space can be very consuming, I found myself checking it more than usual. Responding to people instantly when they only messaged and I was feeling anxious when I didn’t check in with clients or on my social media. Eeek not a nice feeling, time to change that.
I was searching for time with me, myself and I. Some connection to myself again, to put the phone down, to close the laptop and to go inwards.
“We do not propagate conversion to or from other faiths and belief systems, as we consider all faiths, and belief systems as valid ways of worshipping the same Divine Principle.” Anand Ashram, Ubud.
Going into the Ashram I had no idea what to expect (because I didn’t actually know what it was) but that’s often better, no expectations. I didn’t know any better so no reason to back out of it.
An ashram-hindi is a spiritual retreat or monastery in Indian religions. I am not religious but I am spiritual, I love growing in this area. It has helped me create a lot more happiness and fulfilment in my life.
The ashram is based on hindu values which I can resonate with but it is not delivered in a forceful manner, everyone can join in with the various rituals but it’s not in a pushy way. Although by joining in you will get the most out of your time there in my opinion.
What did I do?
I arrived on Friday, that evening we had a full moon ceremony. It began with chanting and movement with a meditation. After that I already felt calm and peaceful.
The chanting is in another language, most of the time I couldn’t keep up with what they were saying but the energy was incredible. Just being involved allowed me to connect with myself again.
Saturday morning was a 5:30am wake up with chanting beginning at 6am. The 30 minute chanting was like a meditation to me, it’s just another spiritual practice. I used this time to sit still and give myself some space for the new day.
After that we did a fire purification (Agnihotra), with incense burning our spiritual mentor led us through mantras as we made an offering of a small pinch of rice and we stood around the fire. The purpose of this is to help you get into the energy of the day and remove negativity. It is also known for it’s healing and purification benefits.
We did a very gentle yoga class for around 45 minutes. Each day the yoga was different, nothing too strenuous but I loved learning more about yoga. Our teacher explained how the western society doesn’t fully illustrate the whole yoga concept, as she explained it’s actually a lifestyle and not just a bunch of exercises.
On my last morning we did a yoga which focused less on movement but more breathing exercises along with affirmations. Amazing way to wake up the body gently and get into that positive state for the day.
I felt so grounded in the mornings (as you can imagine) after completing these practices. It’s hard to not give other things attention in the morning but giving yourself that space makes such a huge difference, mentally. I have been on both sides of the coin so I know how it feels to be that frazzled bird in the morning.
Throughout the weekend there were other activities, various meditation and spiritual discussions. One meditation I particularly enjoyed was the meditation towards super consciousness. Our mentor explained about how the modern world is so different to how it used to be, we are bombarded daily by messages, notifications and are so reactive that people lose touch with themselves. (I thought is she directly talking to me here?!)
The purpose of this mediation was to allow ourselves to trust our own intuition, to focus on being in the now rather than worrying about to do lists, emails or work. Be present. After this meditation which lasted for over 1 hour, jeez I felt on top of the world and like a new woman. Stress be gone.
I started feeling pretty zen.
As the weekend was going on, I was feeling less need to pick up the phone, normally I would scroll for no reason but these few days have allowed me to be so much more mindful of this. Having an online business means my phone is on high alert all the time but creating these boundaries again felt so good.
After 4 days, the worries, the stress, the demands dropped and I could feel myself so much more centered and grounded. I have had much better boundaries for myself before and I know how important they are. With being on the road this summer some of them dropped. I really wanted to use this time to force myself back into them in the most gentlest way possible, if that makes sense.
What I discovered from my stay.
In life we get caught up in worry and stress over things that have not even happened, we focus so much on the past and the future that we cannot be present in the now. We miss precious moments.
Social media and the internet are fantastic tools, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to run my business this way. It’s also demanding and when there are no proper boundaries in place, it can eat up your time. You can procrastinate by scrolling 10 times through the same feed. Once again I discovered that my rituals in the morning are key, sometimes we have to learn things several times so that is sticks, I am totally ok with that, I am not perfect either.
I believe in life there are always options.
I had the option to continue in a state that wasn’t really in alignment with me, it didn’t make me feel so good or I could get off my bum and do something about it. Not always easy, as you know going to an ashram is a little out of my comfort zone but hey that’s where change occurs. I am always open to growing and improving. A stagnant life is not for me, it’s boring actually.
I enjoyed every single minute there, it’s not luxury (as in hotel style) so if you are looking for that, this won’t be your thing. It’s truly a place to grow your own spirituality and to focus on the inner you. Man I actually think I would benefit from going here once a month ha, I don’t think I will do that but for sure I will do it again. Maybe I can get John to join 😉
The grounds are beautiful, full of greeness and serenity. I also loved the diverse range of people staying there, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of younger people.
I am the type of person that is always up for growing so when I feel a little stagnant I know it’s time to do something different. Don’t be afraid to try something new in life, you never know what you might get out of it.
If you have any questions about the Anand Ashram in Ubud or about my experience, just holla below.
Thanks loves for reading!
[image taken from Bali.com]