WOW WOW WOW is all I can really say about Bahay Kalipay (affectionately known as BK). After my DIY yoga retreat in Bali and then spending a month in Koh Lanta doing yoga consistently for the month I knew that I needed to do more yoga during my travels.
I decided that after I finished the Davao 50km Ultramarathon I would find somewhere to do yoga. Bless Google because it showed that BK was in Palawan where I was headed after the ultramarathon. I spent the first few days chilling in Puerto Princesa and then in El Nido. I arrived back in Puerto Princesa and BK. Immediately felt like I was home. The front gate had recycled bike parts and the thatched roofs and eccentric buildings immediately appealed.
I’d booked a 7 day 6 night program of yoga, workshops and raw vegan foods. It was just what I felt like I needed at this point in my journey. Little did I realise just how transformative this week was going to be. So much so that I decided to stay another 4 nights.
Between daily yoga, inner dance and workshops I reconnected with myself on such a deep level that I was able to start the transformation process on a level that I didn’t even realise was possible. So what was BK like!
Morning Routine and General Living
I have periodically tried oil pulling but for some reason here at BK I have been able to easily pull the oil for 20 minutes in the morning. While I am pulling the oil I will either read, journal or even take a shower. After cleaning my teeth I have a ginger, turmeric and calamansi hot drink to fire up the body. Most people would do dry skin brushing as well but I didn’t purchase a brush. My teeth are whiter and feel less sensitive. I am also using clove paste instead of normal toothpaste and have been since Ubud.
One of the initial eew factors was that BK is a toilet paper free zone. We used water and clothes to clean up after using the bathroom. A first I thought this might be disgusting but it turns out that it felt much better on my body and while I am not sure of how I would be doing this in the rest of my travels I can actually see myself doing this at home… Mum we need to put a hose attachment on the toilet!!
The space was beautiful, very much outdoor living with a roof! I think this is almost my ideal type of home!
Ren from Ren Yoga , the gorgeous resident yoga teacher, lead amazing Vinyasa practices each morning (except Thursdays) and 3 afternoon Yin practices. I was in yoga heaven. The classes were challenging but not so much so that I felt overwhelmed. Myself and the beautiful Nicole also did a Yoga Inversions Workshop which helped me to understand positioning and holding of even the simply poses like downward dog.
OMG what can I say. Mana Meditation is the heart and soul of Nicole, BK’s Director of Programs. I don’t even know how to explain it. First it is a breathing cycle. Upper breath, lower fire breath and then circular breath that combines upper and lower. Then it combines Inner Dance for the final portion. To say the least, it was intense. The first time my hands cramped up and my body was heavy. I couldn’t understand why it caused my body to react that way but what happened next was more intense.
I started feeling a flood of emotions about ‘fear of abandonment’. My relationship history is embarrassingly pitiful and my father passing over a decade ago have left some internal bruising. I believe I deliberately date arseholes so that I don’t have to face my fear of abandonment because without fail they leave or I leave when I realise they are arses but I never get close to anyone. I started crying and couldn’t really control what was happening but I decided to just go with it.
After the 3 cycles of breathing there was some inner dance but as much as I wanted to get up and dance I couldn’t. I tapped my palms on the floor and sort of shimmied where I was but I just couldn’t lift my body up. Eventually I started to smile because it felt ok to be where I was at.
My second Mana Meditation was much less intense but no less emotional. It was beautiful and grounding. I made the decision to become celibate/abstain from sex while I complete the rest of my travels and courses. More about this in a post to come.
The Inner Dance session was really surprising. Facilitated by the very wonderful Nicole, I felt so much, things kept coming up. I felt blue with depression, like literally blue. One song I saw an aboriginal elder singing. It made me realise that I need to connect with the spirituality of Australia.
I don’t even know how to really explain the things that happened. Eventually I felt the Kundalini rising in my base and had to sit up to feel the Kundalini rising up my spine and then it went out of my third eye. I know I have a lot to work on. My heart is so broken and I know now I have to be celibate for a while. I need to honour my femininity and explore myself and my inner heart rather than explore myself through interaction with men.
My second session completely blew me completely out of the park. I was having a very slow trance experience, almost boring and I was thinking well I guess I am not going to really get much today. I was kind of trail running through all these amazing mountains and forests with rocky creeks and awesome trails.
Then a song came on with Arabic notes and I was in Morocco trying to stop a little boy dressed all in black from being killed. I called and called to him but he didn’t turn around or move. It was then I realised he was my miscarried children. He couldn’t turn around because he wasn’t mine anymore.
A song came on and it reminded me of dancing with my maternal Grandad, so next thing I was dancing with him dressed in the white skirt, red cummerbund and funny tan printed shirt that I wore to my Aunty Donna’s wedding. My clothes then became all flowing white with a red sash. Then a powerful speech started. He was talking about loving the world and what we were doing wrong. He talked about soldiers fighting the wrong wars and being cannon fodder. I started to see my dad, Grandfathers’, former Australian soldiers and former colleagues Matt and Blaine, Shaun Hutchinson, my cousin Ricky. Then rows and rows of soldiers who had been killed in crazy wars.
I was crying pretty strongly especially when the field of poppies appeared behind all these men. I asked Dad not to abandon me again that he had to stay and he and the others said we have never abandoned you, we have always been in your heart you just forgot. How is it possible to forget that the blood of their blood runs through my veins.
Needless to say I was pretty emotional after this! I love Inner Dance!
One of the other retreat participants, Alana ran an amazing feminine divine workshop. I don’t even know how to explain what happened during that session but basically we danced for ourselves, for each other and for every woman that couldn’t. Strangely enough it was super sexy and primal. Ironically I made the decision during the day to dedicate the rest of my travels to celibacy so to be feeling so sensual and sexual without actually being sexual was amazing.
The beautiful Alana is now staying on at BK to run more workshops and I got the pleasure of attending dance one with her yesterday!
Today, as I arrive in Manila I am ready to keep heading off on my travels. I have some work to do in Manila (Palawan’s internet is not strong enough for me to feel comfortable doing 3 hours of Skype calls) and then I am off trekking in North Luzon with the lovely Nicole. The last few days have been heavy emotionally and I’ve not been feeling physically the best. I am looking forward to cooked food and getting up into the mountains.
If you are even remotely into yoga, looking after yourself and heading to Philippines for a holiday I highly recommend that you spend some time at Bahay Kalipay! You are worth it!
All photo credits to the beautiful Nicole Humphreys!