I'm writing to you from Mung Bean Central - the cafe at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Indonesia.
Surrounding me are people of all ages, in various shades of suntan, speaking in all sorts of languages and dialects, most of whom look rather earnest. I'm picking up words like "shamanic", "arsana", "The Anti-Wheat movement", "organic" and all sorts of other concepts that wouldn't be found in my normal Melbourne life. (Okay, like what the hell is Kirtan - my new first name friend I met at breakfast was raving about Kirtan. Is it a type of kilt?
Everybody around me looks healthy - and earnest.
There might be something to this hippy thing.
This is day three in Ubud, and there is a large part of me that wishes I was spending all of my time here - yes, rather than taking up that wonderful one bedroom villa in Seminyak. I think I have found the motherland in some strange and wonderful way.
There is no not embracing your inner hippy here - you either take it on as a way to be or leave for Kuta. There is no option.
I'm spending a lot of time at the Yoga Barn. Part of me is facing a large fear - that of being dreadful at yoga. Since I've conquered my fear of the gym and of running in the last few years, yoga is like the last bastion of exercise.
I am not flexible.
I am not bendy.
The left brain part of me thinks yoga is a whole lot of bollox that should be left for the hairy mingbeaner hippy freaks.
I am not earnest or virtuous or heaven forbid an organic vegan Birkenstock type.
I am the Panda - I like tomato sauce, red meat in moderation and I like to shift weights and run. Not stretch, salute the sun and chant.
Yoga is for those trying to find themselves.
So with some great trepidation, I bought my five class pass to the Yoga Barn and turned up for my first class - and Introduction to Yoga - or as I call it, Veggie Yoga (where the vegetables go to learn what to learn what to do.).
Okay. There were only seven people in the class in this amazing open air, wooden floored place just off a rice paddy. The teacher, Eka, was slow, patient and made no expectations of anybody. He guided us through a number of positions and let us feel our way into this strange way of being. And just like the Picasso Museum in Malaga - where after years of strugging with Picasso, things finally came into place, this time, yoga made a bit more sense.
I came out of the classing feeling refreshed and I skipped up the wobbly stairs to the cafe to have a freshly squeezed energy juice - apple, mint, cucumber and ginger - yummy.
The second class this morning was a bit more demanding. A few more people and a different type of yoga. Emily the earnest American took us through a basic course of Anusara Yoga - something to do with celebrating the body through breath. It was rather reminiscent of a friend of mine who's a Mittendorp Breath Work Teacher. She'd love it.
Regardless, the class was more challenging that the last one that I'd done.
I think some of the lessons I need to learn from yoga is that I have to accept that I can't do everything - and that it will take time to learn, and unlearn some things that my body does instinctively. And that with training, I should be able to do some more. But that is with time and commitment and training.
So for the next few days I'm committed to a yoga class a day until I leave Ubud - just to work out if I want to continue with this yoga stuff - and to see what else I find in these classes.
The biggest surprise for me was at the end of the class today - where as we were lying on the floor, the teacher asked if we would like a dab of oil called "Joy" to leave our right hand facing up and our left hand facing down. Once we were given the oil we could place our hand where we wanted - be it our heart, throat or third eye chakra. The oil was received. My hand went over my heart. And from that moment, something very special happened. As soon as my hand hit my heart, I was enveloped in the most glorious golden light.
I can't explain it.
Maybe there is someting more to this hippy crap than just really wholesome, life enriching food.
Maybe there is more hippy in me than I wish to admit.
Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. It's just an old Shanti in an old Shanty town. (To quote Clive James)