And to you my gorgeous, brilliant and socially badass woman: Happy International Women's Day! Make badass-ery your new life goal ;)
I don’t tell you this to frighten you. I don’t tell this to deter you from visiting Istanbul, which is one of THE most beautiful cities in the world, with a rich blend of Europe, Asia and Middle-East. I tell you this because we MUST listen. We MUST pay attention. We MUST follow “that” voice that guides us.
Ellany Lea of InnerOuter Weath is also a Certified AntiGravity® Fitness Instructor. She's traveling around the world, taking AntiGravity® classes along the way. Here, her adventure is landing her in one of the most beautiful and glamorous place on earth. Read on for her heartfelt, breakthrough experience:
So far, all I’ve ever known are AntiGravity Lab in NYC and AGY studios (stand-alone or part of a larger wellness center).
Are you ready for this? Are you ready to have your mind blown? I wasn’t… until my driver in Bali, Indonesia pulled up to the grand magnificent grounds of the Four Season Bali in Jimbaran.
An abundance of white and yellow frangipani hovered over our heads. I brought my bestfriend to try her first ever AGY class. Not to shabby a location, eh? I think I may have spoiled her though for future AGY experiences. Oops.
As we walked up to reception to introduce myself as a guest, we were greeted by deliciously scented ice towels (It was over 33C / 90 F with 88% humidity!), natural ginger iced tea, and a grand sweeping view of a white sand beach and blue ocean.
Ringga, the public relations coordinator came straight out to greet us, arranged for a golf cart to take us to the spa, which houses the AGY studio. Whaaaaat?!? Did I just step into Wonderland?
For a moment, a tear rolled down my cheek, part sorrow, part gratitude. The sorrow came from 3 decades of beating myself up relentlessly and ruthlessly for not being the perfect eldest doctor son my dad/culture wanted. Whether it’s your society, your culture, your parents or yourself, a part of us all hold this image of who we “should” be and how far we are from that perfect image.
What makes us all the same though, is this constant hustle for worthiness, this chasing of an invisible external validation that we are enough: smart enough, good enough, beautiful enough, rich enough, loved enough, wanted enough, etc. When such luxury, hospitality, warmth, and tenderness embraced me in one fell swoop, it’s only natural that residues of “unworthiness” get triggered up to the surface.
At the same time, having done sooo much self-work, the overwhelm swiftly faded away, to be replace by tears of gratitude and appreciation.
The love and serenity in this place is palpable. It has it’s own heartbeat. Our class was held in a studio, which opens up onto the lush green gardens of the Four Seasons Bali resort in Jimbaran. Everything is exquisite here, the people.
Kenneth, our AGY teacher, lead our warm up and we were soon giggling upside down, with ooohs and aaahs from the two newbies in the class at how delicious the spinal decompression inversions felt. I love, love, love this displaced look of wonderment and twinkle that AGY puts back into an adult's eyes!!!
By the time we reached Savasana, we were a sweaty mess, swaddled in soft AGY hammocks, warm tropical breeze, soft rustling of palm leaves, delightful chirping of tropical birds, wooshing of ocean waves, and meditative music (but not before I asked Kenneth to sing to us, he has such a soothing voice, he laughed thinking I was joking, I was quite serious). Now THAT’s how Savasana is done! Booya!
I felt so, so, so grateful in my heart to the friends made along the way and to Christopher Harrison for his courage in overcoming adversity and realizing this global vision of airfully light hearts and magnificently strong minds and bodies.
And now that I have indeed spoiled my bestfriend, we also attend an AGY class in Sayan, near Ubud, Bali. Holy smokes, was our studio spectacular. It was outside, amongst the lush green rice fields! Our teacher Purnama pushed us harder and let us play. My bestfriend tried all sorts of moves she didn’t think she could. That’s how easy AGY can be if we fill ourselves with the spirit of play!
Thank you Thao-Nguyen, Guy, Ringga, and the entire Four Seasons Bali team for co-creating one of the top experiences this globetrotting overachieving lifestyle entrepreneur has ever experienced, ever!
One of my bestfriends was coincidentally meeting me in Seoul. We coincidentally met on the job while working in the building coincidentally next door to SkyLab in NYC, where I coincidentally first smacked into that AGY a-stand.
We were having so much fun that it only occurred to me on Friday to book a class for that weekend. What are the chances of a class being available on such short notice?
Let me tell ya, using Google translate to understand a Korean website one sentence at a time was harder than graduating from McGill University with an Electrical Engineering degree. But I never lost faith.
My AirBnB host made several calls for me and eventually got a hold of someone who was driving. They said they would check the booking system once she arrived at her destination. When I got home that night, my host told me they called back and I'm registered. Yay! See, miracles happen all the time. Talk about a trust exercise before the class ever began!
I showed up at the Chung Dam studio, which was in the swanky part of town. Finding the studio is always a challenge and dang, the class was almost twice as expensive as one in Vancouver. But when you’re the world’s biggest AGY fan, you’re the world’s biggest AGY fan.
Walking into a brand new place not knowing the language, the people, nor the studio policies always shocks my system. I couldn’t tell my nose from my navel, which reminded me of my very first AGY class in NYC.
As an overachiever, I push myself hard. I wanted to be as good as the slim, powerful, acrobatic women in the class doing flips and tricks. By the end of the class, I was so nauseous, my teacher had to sit me in the corner. And in the corner I sat... for 45 whole minutes... before I could remember where I lived and walk home without feeling like I was going to throw up.
But because I bought a 3-class pack, I was determined to use them all up. By the 3rd class, I finally honored my own pace like a proper yogi.
Three things I learned that day:
⁃ The magic happens outside my comfort zone
⁃ Don't compare my beginning to someone else's middle
⁃ Upper body strength is actually a thing! And a thing that one can acquire over time.
Back to Korea. I signed up for a Suspension Fitness class because I didn't want to attend Fundamentals 1. I wanted a challenge. Be careful what you wish for.
My teacher, Lucia, asked me if I understand Korean. I said no, with a forced smile that showed all my teeth, and hinted at me being the kind of eager beaver who'd always raise their hand in the classroom, with all the right answers and asking a million of questions.
She had a look of both "oh, boy, she's gonna be trouble" and "she's cute, this could be fun". Laughter ensued from the whole class, and I just kept smiling. To really thrive in this world, you gotta develop a sense of humor.
I learned two new moves that day. My teacher had to come untangle me for both moves lol! I could tell she wanted to laugh out loud, but bless her for only laughing to herself. Lucia is wicked strong! She pushed us hard. And wow were the women in the room strong!
I'm always irritated by shy Asian girls who cover their mouths when they laugh. I want to flick them on the head, rip their hand off from their mouth and have them laugh out loud from their gut like a hyena, until they cry of joy. That is what I want. So to witness these beautiful, strong and graceful women break that shy stereotype was such a powerful moment for me.
I was always 1/4 step behind in every move since I guestimated the verbal cues, but wanted to wait just long enough to mirror my follow students. Safety is important here, so you may not want to try this at home.
Each time my teacher counted down, all I could think about is, “God I hope she's at 3, 2, 1 and not at 7, 6, 5. I really, really should have learned my Korean numbers.
At the end, during savasana, Lucia came to still my hammock and spritzed me with delicious aromatherapy and off I went into "I want to lie here and never move again" land.
Besides, after that class, I couldn't move anyways.
See you in a few days Bali!