Christina@LifelyBali: Filomena, you are a renowned Yoga and Spiritual Teacher with 30 years experience in Experiential Yoga Philosophy in India, Australia and South East Asia.
We are grateful to get your insight today on what Bali has to offer when it comes to Yoga, Wellbeing and Mindfulness practice. We are interested in how visitors can deepen their Yoga practice and get inspired while staying in Bali on vacation or for a longer sojourn.
As a start please tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your connection with Bali, what is your life motto and your path as a Yoga teacher. What inspired you to live and spend a lot of time in Bali?
Filomena Aversa: I am originally from Australia and my first visit to Bali was in 1979 when Bali was less developed and so to say more raw than it is today. I immediately fell in love with the Balinese people and culture. They showed me a reverence for nature and life, for the ancestors and the heavens above us. Today, that is still strongly interwoven in the daily life and rituals of the Balinese and is what strongly connects us to keep coming back again and again. The philosophy of yoga exists in the Balinese community connection and is innately felt deep within us. Gratitude, honouring and love of life is special in Bali. When you feel that connection with your environment you feel wholly engaged and therefore homogenous in nature. This principle of life the Balinese call Tri Hita Karana and every visitor will experience this throughout their travels.
My personal guiding inspiration is by the ancient Vedic sage Vasistha "Ask not, what is the purpose of life but what is the nature of life”. Bali with its amazing volcanos, lakes, rivers, jungles, ocean and emerald green rice paddies and its original culture offers an authentic living in peace with nature.
Christina@LifelyBali: How do you think Bali and especially Ubud creates that inspiring atmosphere and why do you think so many Yoga schools and health conscious people are located here?
Filomena Aversa: Traditionally Ubud is the spiritual and cultural heart of the creative arts and because of this super imbibed energy, it is reflected back to us. There exists a powerful energy template of higher creative self awareness that we become atuned to. It’s not by coincidence that its name comes from the Balinese word Ubad, which means medicine. Ubud with its surrounding mountains, being situated among hanging banyan trees, beautiful temples and lush rice fields, has long been known as a mystical place rich in healing powers. Visitors can meet Balinese healers („Balian“) as well as experience the best of eastern and western holistic treatments on offer.
Ubud’s atmosphere is captivating and contagious. One gets hooked easily, because it allows the very best of you personally to come out. Positively speaking this is how healing can begin. It's no wonder we are drawn into the Bali spirit of yoga, healing and wellness. And yes each place in Bali with their temples and rituals holds its little secret of inspiration into our own exploration of self through the energy that is invoked by the community of that area.
As part of my LoveLivingYoga retreats I take my clients on inner purification and travelling yoga retreats to make this all possible. We even customise their needs and intentions to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual goals.
Christina@LifelyBali: If someone is not very spiritual yet but is drawn to this idea of inner discovery, how do you recommend to get started?
Filomena Aversa: Life itself will always present a path to embark on. The Divine Dance of Life , Lila, will come into play. How? I suggest taking note of your needs and then the signposts of life that present itself that can already starts to pave your journey. Ask what is your intention to visit Bali? There are so many types of workshops and retreats to choose from. Some visitors start with a daily Yoga class in one of the top Yoga schools such as The Yoga Barn, Desa Seni or Radiantly Alive, others prefer a more individual practice with personal yoga teachers or in small yoga places. There are many places in Bali where one can disconnect from the stressful life of modern living. There is the beautiful Ayung valley with its many calming river banks and sunset places, the beaches in the south or the cafes in the rice fields of Ubud, just to name a few.
When your decision is clear then all will be revealed and the journey begins. Remember Intention is number One. Then the energy of Bali will step in. After all Bali is known as the Island of the Gods.
Christina@LifelyBali: Which spiritual leader gives you most guidance and which Yoga school do you find most inspiring?
Filomena Aversa: There are many spiritual guides and teachers that have inspired me. Iyengar and Integral yoga practices, Tao and Zen masters and life itself. For meditation on its deepest level I found Vipassana in the Goenka tradition the most practical yet profound breakthroughs in spiritual awareness. But if I have to mention the one who has inspired my path and love of yoga from the very beginning, I pay my deepest respects to Zhander Remete of Shadow Yoga school. Of the many schools of yoga I have attended the Shadow Yoga school is the most balanced in the sequencing of asana and aligns with nature's order of moving energy. As without so within the spiral movement of energy is restored to self and then we can reside in mutual harmony with nature.
LifelyBali: Filomena, being a Yoga teacher, mother and having your own retreat business , you are very busy in Bali as well as when you are home in Byron Bay, would you give us some insight in your daily Bali and Byron Bay routine and how to keep the balance?
Filomena Aversa: Keeping the balance when your environment changes does keep you busy. I have many yogic tools and spiritual practices that are appropriate each time a situation arises. Within the yogic three bodies experience, I use asana, breath work meditation and ritual as a daily means of general health practice. Self Nurturing from others is important too. I love massage when I need it. A traditional Balinese body scrub called Mandi Lulur is at its best at Bodyworks in Seminyak. Bali offers the best of everything on this level. Healthy food and traditional Jamu like turmeric juice is readily available in the many cafes such as Bali Buda, Earth Cafe, Alchemy, Kafe and others, actually at almost every corner. I love juice detoxing and colonics and cleansing the blood with Ozone therapy too. Oh so many modalities of health exist and I love Bali for all the healthy choices you can make. But really mindfulness and listening to your body's needs is very important. Afterall we don't want to overindulge, very un-yogic, we want to cultivate inate intelligence as our wisdom to act, so that healing and strengthening of our body and mind can take place.
Christina@LifelyBali: If you would not stay in your private Villa, which accommodation would you recommend ?
Filomena Aversa: Bali can accommodate any type and budget of accommodation. I prefer homestyle where I can relate and interact with the Balinese and practice my language skills. When traveling I have some beautiful places to explore and make the most of the magical energy each place has to offer. From mountain or ocean locations to valleys and jungles integration of self with the environment is of prime importance. For a great place to drop out and really digitally disconnect, revitalise and reboot I recommend the Bali Silent Retreat in Tabanan - in fact it is a favourite stopover in my Chakra Purification Retreat.
Christina@LifelyBali: Filomena, can you recommend a book to read that is easy for a traveller to understand and put in his or her travel bag? Any reading on Yoga theory you suggest for a beginner?
Filomena Aversa: I have many favourite books and read voraciously in my time of studying yoga philosophy.
One of my favourite bibles of yoga when I was starting out is by Swami Prabhavananda - Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras. Right now my favorite is Multiple Reflections by Swami Venkatessananda - an overview of the ancient sage Vasistha. It's all about the mind. Fascinating! Yoga Yajnavalkya by A. G. Mohan is a great read for beginner's too.
Christina@LifelyBali: Final question and a bit off topic but neither less interesting, what is your favorite not Yoga related hang out in Bali where you connect with the mundane ?
Filomena Aversa: Well I have to say the beach at sunset in Seminyak or at Balangan is my favourite chill out hangout in Bali. Bali has the most spectacular sunsets in the world. All will come to gather. Indonesians and expats whether for offerings or whether just to relax. A beautiful integration of a busy and bustling island life. Sunset time for me is dropping all your obligations, commitments and rituals to just be.
Christina@LifelyBali: We thank you very much for this valuable insight in Bali’s incredible wealth of health, meditation and Yoga.
If our clients are interested in a retreat or personal counseling session with Filomena or have further questions on a customized tour through Bali and how to connect the dots to meaningfully spend a few weeks in Bali, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Filomena Aversa: Thank you Christina for this opportunity to share my views. I am happy to welcome LifelyBali customers for my retreats and consultations. I like to get to know my clients and specialise in customising their special package. A holiday of a lifetime can start with the intention. Happy to be part of the LifelyBali partnership!
Picture credentials: Filomena Aversa, Dip. IYAA. Cert. WUHTIF Cosmic Healing
Life and experience in Bali from the perspective of our founder Christina in conjunction with our partners.