By Erick Joseph & Janice Tenille
“Through Yoga, I can say yes, this is who I am.” Murni’s journey to “discover herself” through Yoga started after months of resisting the persuasive efforts of Yoga Barn owners Megan and Kadek.
Murni had been working for years at this multi-faceted healing mecca as a graphic designer and manager, and was initially closed off to the idea of Yoga as a way to calm, open, and connect. Finally, Megan and Kadek offered her 50,000Rp (about $5), as sort of a playful nudge to give in. A moment of discovery manifested itself right there in her first class, and she was hooked. Soon, she was offered a School of Sacred Arts scholarship to pursue Yoga teacher training, and recently began teaching regularly at the Yoga Barn.
Though English is not her first language, Murni does an excellent job of connecting with the transient, mostly Western students who flood in to the Yoga Barn. Her verbal instructions and cues are improving every day, but one thing not lost in translation is her heart, a shining embodiment of the practice. She also uses poignant analogies in her opening dharma talks, building on her strong connection to Balinese culture, tradition, and devotion.
Born in a small village near Gianyar, just east of Ubud, she was raised in a modest Hindu family. Murni give her students insight into a ritual that can be seen all over Bali: the ancient tradition of Saiban. These offerings to the divine serve as the foundation for her practice and teachings. She sees a correlation between this tradition and the offering she makes to herself and her students in each class. “If I can open a door for just one person, I am really grateful.” It’s also the ancient belief in Bhuta Kala – the spirit realm – that helps her to understand her place in the universe.
“I believe in my culture, my spirit, and myself.”
We were also incredibly inspired to learn of the work Murni is doing to support AIDS education in Bali. At the Bali Spirit Festival held every March in Ubud, Murni works on the “AYO!” outreach program, making efforts to educate and bring awareness to thousands of mostly young Balinese who are affected by the disease. We were surprised to learn that so many new cases of AIDS are popping up each year, and that many more go unreported. Murni is an integral part of the organization’s efforts to support the local community, and works passionately to serve and give back. Murni says, “Be in love with what you do, and good things will happen.”
Erick Joseph and Janice Tenille are currently on a Journey around-the-world to find “The Indépendants,” a community of creative, inspiring, and mindful people who are changing the world and making it a better place. Follow their journey at theindependants.org and on facebook.com/theindependants