Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali May 1-5, 2024

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A Welcoming Vinyasa with Kim I Hyun

“I will be very honest with you. When I was in
Japan, I told my students there to come over to Korea to practice with me. And…they really did! A lot of them! And I had told them that
I would buy them lunch or dinner… So I won’t promise you that, but I do wish you will come to Korea to take my class again, and maybe I
will buy you a drink.”

With humour and charm, Kim I Hyun brings us Priya Vinyasa yoga this morning – Priya meaning ‘Welcome’. I really do feel like I have travelled to Korea
to visit him – I am probably one of three Westerners in the Room. I did not realize that the class would be taught in Korean, yet it adds a fun
twist to the class – his translator jokes, moves around the room and adjusts us, as she shares the sweetest smile.

Priya Vinyasa yoga is based on 5 elements, clearly explained at the start of the class. First of all, we use our Ujjayi breath during this practice.
Kim lets us know that it is fine to use our normal breath, if we don’t know how to use our Ocean breath yet. After all, it is more important to
breathe than not to do so at all.

Next, we want to lock our Bandhas, so that we can contain our energy inside of our bodies. Again, there is a reassurance. Yes, we want to lock the
Bandhas, but this does not mean that this is easy and will be available constantly. Mastery comes with practice, and that is what we’ve all come
for. The other elements are our focus on a Drishti, to link our movements to our breath – Vinyasa – and, of course, asana practice.

We flow through two hours of downward dogs, chaturanga’s, and multiple sequences – that challenge both body and mind. I feel Welcome and supported
on my mat, as Kim’s assistants walks past and adjust those in want or need. The practice feels complete and varied, as we pretend to be Warriors,
Eagles, Monkeys, and Birds of Paradise.

Despite the intense heat of the Bali sun, I feel strong and capable to try out new things. Kim’s sequence lets all of us move beyond what we’d imagined
to do today, and it feels darn great. Before I good and well know it, I am doing arm balances as if I always hop out of my bed and move straight
in to them.

Thinking back on his class, I am most grateful for the connection to the inner strength that I found on my mat this morning. I remember why I love
Vinyasa classes as much as I do, and how I need them as a counterbalance for my equally beloved Yin-practice. I adore teachers that are able to challenge me, without having me feel like I am indeed being challenged at all. That get me to do things I did not expect doing. Kim has the skills to take his students to this space of empowerment.

I think I might need to get a ticket to Korea.

Written by : Saar Grolleman


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