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Ubud, Bali May 4-7, 2023

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Twee Merrigan, Katy Appleton, I Wayan Marcus, & Eoin Flynn

Our first press conference of the festival featured a panel of four yogis – Katy Appleton, Eoin Flynn, I Wayan Marcus Wistika, and Twee Merrigan.

Katy Appleton from London is a former professional dancer with The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet Companies. Her Vinyassa flow yoga clientele includes high-profile celebrities such as Paul McCartney, members of the British royal family, prima ballerinas and television and media personalities.

Eoin Flynn from Vancouver is a Yogi Surfer and Blissologist. Eoin has been a disciple of Yoga, Eastern and Western philosophy, martial arts and meditation since 1987 and has taught Yoga for over a decade to thousands of students. Eoin’s teaching is grounded with humor, dynamism, and a focus on physical and energetic alignment. Eoin leads YES (Yoga, Ecology and Surf) Retreats around the world.

I Wayan Marcus Wistika from Bali is one of the few trained Balinese teachers on the island. His yogic journey started 12 years ago when he worked at a Yoga and Meditation retreat in his village in Tabanan. He met several yoga teachers at the retreat who inspired him to do more Yoga.Wayan teaches in resorts throughout Bali and was certified by Yoga Alliance in 2006.

Twee Merrigan –Twee an American-Vietnamese is a former student of Shiva Rae and a senior teacher trainer of Prana Flow, an empowering, transformational, and evolutionary-edge blend of Hatha, Tantra, Ayurveda, and Vinyassa Flow Yoga. The self proclaimed nomadic yogi travels internationally offering yoga activism and adventure retreats, teacher training intensives, and open level classes around the world.

Journalist to the panel – Beyond the physical, what is it that practitioners are seeking in yoga today?

Katy – It depends on the teacher what the student gets and what it draws out of them. There has been an increased emphasis on psychology, understanding the rhythm of the mind. I think that’s incredibly exciting. Instead of just the asanas, the dynamic is moving into psychology, which allows people to be better off the mat.

Eoin – Shallow yoga still exists, meaning strictly physical yoga. For me what makes yoga positive are the changes in people’s attitudes towards life. Here is the simple thing: the way you practice is the way you live. What you start to realize is that what happens on the mat is a continuum of your life. As you practice, you treat your friends, community, and environment with more respect. Yoga gives feedback, the feedback of bodily sensations. What’s missing in the world is that feedback. When you distill it it’s what we teach in kindergarten, but we have to keep relearning and exercising over and over. That’s yoga’s big evolutionary gift.

Wayan –Yoga is my lifestyle. As you practice more, it changes your life, from what you eat, to how you live. And if you keep practicing, it changes your soul.

Twee – I have been in a different country every other week for last 2 years – from China to the US to Malaysia and beyond. Yoga started in India and then got popular in California and now it has spread to the world. When I get to Spain or China or New Zealand or wherever it is, I challenge them to step up and take it to another level. What took 20 years to develop on the West Coast is now happening far more rapidly. There are 1.3 billion students in China – the thing that draws them initially is that yoga is a great work out and it makes you thin…it takes time to develop spiritual consciousness…With good teachers who are authentic and deep, the deeper information can be stepped up faster. They are getting the information. Truth comes through. When we teach these students, they are ready. They are not going to take 10 years. They are at a higher level of authenticity. Yoga students are connected to their local yoga teacher. As long as a teacher’s spirit is alive, they’re there. It’s spiritual globalization. It’s great you flew us here, but you also have much to teach us. What’s your yoga? We need to learn from you too. A collective consciousness around yoga is happening fast. For instance, we are beginning to see heavier set women featured on the front covers of magazines…

Eoin – My goal is to help students become more aware of how their actions affect others. It is a play between our selfish desires and the whole web of life. Where are we, each of us, in that spectrum? As much as there is talk about spirituality in the West, consumerism still reigns. In the Anahata triangle – the heart chakra, there is one triangle pulling you up, and one down to the material…that is our fundamental battle. Where are we in this consciousness balance? Yoga gets you in touch with your heart center and helps you ascend. As yoga becomes increasingly popular it’s something we need to ask ourselves. Why are we doing this? Yoga can change people’s consciousness. Or it can be subsumed by commercialization. It is up to us.

Twee – Yoga is spreading throughout the corporate world. When someone sees someone more happy and peaceful and they ask what’s different, they want it too.

Wayan – With yoga you feel stronger and better. You feel lighter, sleep better, and breath easier.

Eoin – These truths don’t have to be complicated. First, you feel better, then you eat better, the planet is much happier when we don’t use chemicals to grow our food…it creates a shift that creates ripples.

Katy – Yoga reconnects you to the heart. According to my boyfriend, it makes me kinder and more compassionate.

Twee – I agree, it’s the physical that draws people to yoga initially, and then they find their way. If you think of our body as a temple, it’s like oiling a rusty hinge so that energy can move through it. Our bodies are channels of energy. Some of those channels get blocked.

Eoin – It’s much easier than we make it. It doesn’t take years in a cave meditating. I started a Hammock Enlightenment Society…I reached a state of enlightenment in a hammock everyday in Costa Rica lying in my hammock looking up at birds doing nothing. I didn’t need to read self-help books, I was just there. In one sense it’s easy. It’s the old “I’ve been looking for it everywhere and it’s right in my backyard.” Yoga is an ancient art of feeling good and connecting to something big. Whatever you want to call it, God, spirit, it’s a mystery. Yoga is the art of doing it.I’m just trying to help people live wisdom that has been passed on from previous generations that is so simple. We get too cerebral. I’m a philosophy major. The greatest truths are not complicated.

Twee – I empower my students to teach themselves. Take handstands for instance. I direct them to focus their energy on where they want to go. Their eyes light up and I don’t have to show them what to do to align themselves…Where your energy flows, is where your life goes.

Journalist – There are so many kinds of yoga now. How does one decide which type yoga is best?

Wayan – I recommend you start with a beginner class.

Twee – Even if you’re an advanced student, pretend you’re a beginner, because every minute is a new one.

Eoin – All types of yoga and poses are similar the way that musical notes are similar. Celine Dion and Metallica play the same notes, just in a different order and style. Do you want physical challenge? Pick more challenging classes. How much spiritual content do you want? Pick a yoga based on what you want most.

Twee – Follow the inner voice…does it feel right? If this is not for you and this voice says this is not for you? Listen.

Written by : Robin Sparks

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