Tag Archive for: shine your light

New Moon Aries Kundalini Meditation to find Balance amidst the Coronavirus.

This 3 minute meditation resets our brain after a shock. Especially those that rapidly shift our electromagnetic field in a way that shocks our emotional reactions to change. It’s known as the “earthquake meditation” for actual earthquakes and for the sudden shocks that happen in aspects of our lives.

In this meditation, we use mantra Sa Ta Na Ma, which calls on and organizes our inner sound. If the inner sounds of our being have a steady, harmonious rhythm, we can respond outwardly in the same way. Between stillness and the pulse of the sound, we reach a profound state of neutrality that allows our intuition to act.

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Sat nam,

Today I’m really excited to share with you a set of 15 Powerful Kundalini mantras and songs that I often use in my Kundalini Yoga classes.  These mantras are incredibly powerful and up-lifting. After every class, the students always ask me how to find these mantras. So today I will share some of my favorites with you.

You can use these Kundalini Mantras anytime and anywhere. You do not have to be in a yoga class. I gave a brief description after each one to highlight the benefit of the mantra so you can use the right ones as needed. I also find it helpful to play the mantras while sleeping. This helps to re-pattern the mind by replacing negative hypnotic thoughts that play though the background of the mind and reprograms the thought patterns with positive, affirming thoughts. You may find yourself waking up in the mornings in a state of greater peace and happiness.

The truth is, as we face the day, it’s super easy to get knocked out of balance. It happens to me too! And when it happens, it doesn’t feel good.

There are lots of reasons why we feel bad, anxious or scared. Work pressures, relationships, even watching TV or getting cut off by another car on the road. There is so much chaos outside and those messages are sent into your energetic frequency. Thankfully, we have lots of tools that can help us reconnect us back into that happy, balanced state of mind. And these Kundalini  mantras are on set of those tools to keep in your spiritual toolbox.

So take a look below and when you get knocked out of your happy place, remember there is a way through every block. And that message comes straight from the Kundalini 2nd sutra of codes to live by.

Join Master Soul Guides Julie Jewels Bertrand and Shakti Cabral on an Energetic Detox Retreat in Koh Phangan, Thailand. April 25-May 1, 2019

And if you really want to go deep and clear your Energetic Frequency, then I invite you to join me and Shakti Cabral at our upcoming Energetic Detox Retreat on the magical, tropical island of Koh Phangan, Thailand. his island is called Crystal Island and well known for it’s  healing energies. This Master Retreat will give you a set of techniques to Reshape your World into a Living Masterpiece

15 Powerful Kundalini Mantras and Songs

ONG NAMOSNATAM KAUR

Primal Vibration from which all creativity flows. Tunes one in to the higher self.

MUL MANTRA –  SADA SAT KAUR

It contains the core, essential truth of creation, and its vibration is so powerful that it can change your fate and helps you rewrite your destiny.

AAD GURAY NAMEH SNATAM KAUR

Protection mantra. Recited to invoke the protective energy of the universe

RA MA DA SASNATAM KAUR 

This healing meditation is used to pray for healing energy.

EK ON KAUR SAT GURU PRASAD  – SATKIRIN KHALSA

Known as the Magic Mantra. It reverses Negativity

ONG SO HUNGGURU SINGH 

Connects you to the  Creative Power of this Universe

IK ARDAS WAHE GURU – WHITE SUN 

Mantra of ecstasy. Elevates the spirit.

RAKHE RAKHENHARKRISHNA KAUR

Cuts through and removes negative energies and infuses it with pure energy and protection

GURU RAM DAS – GURUNAM SINGH

Healing mantra. Opens the heart, enabling the experience of love, compassion and healing for yourself and for others.

TANTRIC WAHE GURUSNATAM KAUR

This mantra expresses the indescribable experience of going from darkness to light—from ignorance to true understanding. It is the Infinite teacher of the soul.

AAP SAHAEE HOAAGURU SINGH

Meditation for Prosperity. When chanting this mantra, know trust all your needs are met by the Creator

CHATTR CHAKKR VARTI – WHITE SUN

This mantra reverses doubts and insecurities. Chant along with it whenever you feel challenged or weak.

GOBINDAY MUKUNDAYSNATAM KAUR

Also called the Guru Gaitri mantra. This is a powerful tool to clear the subconscious mind of deep-seated blocks according to Yogi Bhajan, master of Kundalini yoga. He also said this mantra could balance the hemispheres of the brain and bring patience and compassion.

I AMGURU SINGH

Beautiful song by my Yoga Master, Guru Singh along with recording artist, Seal

LONG TIME SUNSNATAM KAUR

We end every Kundalini class with The Long Time Sun. This is my favorite version by Snatam Kaur

Happy chanting, Shine on,

Athena Julie

Soul Guide Kundalini, Hatha, Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Theta Healer, Retreat Leader, Energy Medicine.

Available for sessions online or in person.

Head over to the contact tab on the top right bar.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide / 26 Day Spiritual Journey

Are you thinking of Traveling to Sri Lanka? In this blog, I’ll give you a guide and highlights to Sri Lanka Travel Guide / 26 Day Spiritual Journey, including my favorite places to visit, expenses and how to get around. And let me first start by saying, it was an incredible Spiritual Journey!

Sri Lanka is often not on the radar as a top place to travel. For many years it was a turbulent place to travel due to the 25 year Sri Lankan Civil War. But that ended in 2009.  And having just spent 1 month traveling across much of the country, I can tell you that Sri Lanka SHOULD be on your travel bucket list. Read on and find out why.

The country of Sri Lanka is a laid back, relaxing large island with a glorious landscape. The land ranges from sandy beaches boasting great waves for surfing, lush serine jungles, safari full of elephants and more, ancient temples, cascading waterfalls and epic mountains for a hiking. It’s also home to one of the most scenic train rides in the world, more on that later. It’s religion is mainly Buddhist. The local  people are kind and less pushy to sell you something as in India and not as disillusioned by tourists as in Thailand. They are generally happy to see you. The two local  languages are spoken are Thamil and Sinhalese but most people speak English. Sri Lanka doesn’t have the wild party scene of Thailand nor the hectic high energy feel of India, rather it has a gentle flow where you can relax and explore the diverse landscape and beautiful culture. Tourism is growing but it’s not overrun like other countries on the backpacking circuit. It’s easy to get a visa. It’s best to apply online at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp. The 30 day visa cost $35 US dollars and can be renewed if you wish to extend your stay. It took less than 24 hours to receive my confirmation. You will get an email. Just save it to your phone. They actually didn’t even need to see it at the airport as I showed up in the computer system.

I stayed 26 days and loved each one. My favorite spots were Ella, the Nilambe Meditation Center near Kandy and traveling on the train from Ella to Kandy. I started my trip in Colombo, made my way down south to the beaches, then up to Ella for a few days, jumped on the incredibly scenic train ride to Kandy (A MUST DO), onto Nilambe for 5 days of meditation, back to Kandy and then Colombo to fly out. It was super easy to get around and I’ve detailed each step.

The only thing I didn’t like was the incredibly high prices for foreigners to visit the sites. Locals go for free or a small fee. But many of the tourist sites can be up to $30 for foreigners. So you really have to pick and choose your spots if you are on a budget. Also, be savvy of prices, especially for tuk-tuks. They often double or triple prices for foreigners. So get your bargaining skills down. I always inquired with locals or blogs to get an idea of prices. But other than that, it was a blessed journey through this diverse, ancient and spiritual land.

Below is a Guide, Highlights and To Do List based on my 26 Day Spiritual Journey.

ARRIVING TO COLOMBO (1 night)

The major airport is Bandaranaike in Colombo. You can purchase a local SIM card here for your phone and exchange money, (note, they would not exchange my Indian Rupees). There are many taxis all hours of the night. I arrived around 1:30 AM and everything in the airport was open. I did not stay in Colombo or explore the city at all. Most backpackers stay in Negombo, which is close to the airport, some beaches and many budget guest houses and hostels. I stayed one night in Seeduwa at the Airport Lounge Hotel which was super close to the airport. I paid $15.50 US / 2,419.55 LKR.  The manager was very kind. He helped me to exchange my Indian Rupees and for a fee and took me to the Fort Colombo train station in the morning where I went to the beach town of Hikkaduwa.

How to get out of Colombo and where to go?

Most people either head south to the beaches, or to Kandy.

Trains

There are many trains to going all over the island from the Colombo Fort Train Terminal. You can check the times at http://www.railway.gov.lk/web/ or https://www.seat61.com/SriLanka.htm.  It is usually NOT possible to pre-book tickets but you will always get on.  Something to know about the trains, for most of the shorter rides like to the beaches, you have the choice of 2nd or 3rd class. 2nd class does not guarantee you a seat. I had to stand with my two backpacks. The train was very full. Certain longer-distance trains like the train from Ella to Kandy have a designated 1st and 2nd class reserved car and sometimes a 3rd class reserved car, in addition to the many unreserved cars.  Only a few trains have a 1st class car and 1st class seats are always reserved. Additionally, some trains have an observation section with guaranteed seating and larger windows for views.  These are the only tickets that can and must be pre-booked from an agent. I never chose the observation car so don’t know the process. The only difference from 2nd class and 3rd class seats are armrests. None in 3rd class. But since you may not have a seat, who really cares. The announcements are NOT in English. There is an information office at Colombo Fort Station inside near the tracks if you have any questions. The information desk also has a key for the “tourist” toilets. It is sometimes difficult to see the station names at train stops, so I always asked a local on the train to assure I did not miss my stop. They are very happy to help.

Buses

Buses are the cheapest way to travel and were fine. You have the choice of local (red bus) or AC buses (blue and white). Whichever bus you take, it’s a good idea to get to the bus stand early if you have bags. There is big space by the driver where you can place your backpack. In all the travels, I never paid more than 180LKR for a local bus or 320LKR for an AC bus.

Where to keep you bags on the Sri Lanka busses

Space by the driver for your bags if you get on early enough

The AC buses are a trip!  They look like they came out of 1960s psychedelia. If you can imagine a funky, shiny electric blue and white, spiritual, magic bus complete with interior flashing lights at the front windshield surrounding glossy icons of Buddha and Ganesha. Like I said, trippy! These buses are pretty new and rather comfortable.

Psychedelic Tourist Bus in Sri Lanka complete with neon lights of Buddhist and Hindu deities.

Local Red Bus Sri Lanka

Local Red Bus. You can catch them anywhere on their route just my waving them down. Look for the destination on the front and make sure you are going in the proper direction to your next stop. For instance, your bus could be coming to or from Matara.

Ticket purchases are made day of travel. The bus stand can be chaotic, so I always asked a local where to get my bus and was guided in the right direction. Just hop on the bus and once it gets on the road, someone will come by and collect your money. Always ask them to tell you when your stop is, otherwise you might miss it.

In whatever city or village you may be, if you know the road your bus comes through, you can wave it down. The bus conductor will slow down so you can tell him where you are going. There are buses going all over.  You most likely will not wait more than 20 minutes before you find one going your way. Sometimes the buses just pass you by. I never really figured out why some stop and some do not.  There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason. They run from early morning until about 10PM. Any guest house or local can give you an idea as to what time your bus leaves and where to get it.

Tuk-Tuk

You can take tuk-tuks almost anywhere. Get your bargaining skills down because they will most likely start with double the rate. It is possible to befriend one and he’ll be glad to take you all over. I had such a driver in Mirissa. He always gave me a great rate and I called him whenever I needed a ride. Having a local phone can be very helpful.

Here is the route I took:

 

HIKKADUWA (6 nights)

This southeast beach town is about 3 hours by train from Colombo. Train ticket from Colombo was 160LKR for 2nd class ticket and 85LKR for a 3rd class. At one time, Hikkaduwa was the spot for hippies to hang. It’s still frequented by some backpackers and tourists. The undercurrent of the waters were very strong while I was swimming there; and at one time I felt myself getting dragged out to the sea. It was at that point that I went back to shore 🙂 I spent 6 days in this town. That is actually a bit long. There is not much to do but chill here. You can check out the underworld snorkeling, see turtles on the beach in the morning and there are a string of local shops, cafes and restaurants on the main road.  You can also book a tour to visit the turtle hatchery, whale watching and Tsunami museum. The agents and guest houses can book you for jungle, gem and safari tours. I did not do a tour. I was tired from my two month Spiritual Journey traveling across India and needed a break. I spend my days relaxing in my coconut bungalow at Chami’s Place (link below). It was just minutes from the beach. 

 

Stroll down the beach from Hikkaduwa

Stroll down the beach from Hikkaduwa

 

Monks on the Beach in Sri Lanka

Spiritual Journey on the beach. It was so sweet watching these monks stroll the beach

 

CHAMI’S PLACE IN HIKKADUWA

Just a short 10 minute walk from the railroad station is this tropical and funky garden hostel and guesthouse enclave. The best place I stayed at in Sri Lanka! The owner, Chami is a local Sri Lankan. He put his heart, art and soul into his coconut garden hostel and guest houses. The first night I stayed in a two bed dorm room and had the room to myself. But then he showed me his new Coconut Tree House with terrace. I fell in love with the space, so I upgraded. At the time of this trip, during slightly off season, the dorm room was $7 and tree house around $25. Check out the coconut paradise tree house on Airbnb.com. Just click on the photo below. The dorm rooms can be found on Booking.com. I got you hooked up with a discount if you use these linka.

 

 

 

 

The ambiance and food at Chami’s was great. He seems to draw in the best people. Everyday a tribe of backpackers gathered for meals and talk under the stars, accompanied by great music coming off the speakers; and the food was amazing. Try the Veg Kottu, a veg stir fry with chopped up pieces of roti bread. The avocado salad was amazing too. Great breakfast and my travel friend said it was the best cappuccino he had in all of Sri Lanka. You can gather a group together and take the cooking class. We made a killer Veg Curry! Chami took us to the market to buy the ingredients and lead us in the art of making this Sri Lankan favorite dish. He can also book your island wide tours. And when there is a yoga teacher around, you can catch a daily class. I taught yoga here during my stay.

Chamis Place Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka

The larger family sized coconut guest house at Chami’s Place in Hikkaduwa

 

Julie Jewels Bertrand teaching yoga in Sri Lanka / Shine by Jewels

Julie Jewels Bertrand teaching yoga in Sri Lanka / Shine by Jewels

 

I enjoyed most of my lunches and sunset dinners on the beach at the Sunset Cafe, which is actually Chami’s mother-in-law’s place. It’s less then a 5 minute walk from Chami’s. It has two floors, upper balcony and a few tables on the beach. The food was great. I usually had either the deviled calamari or deviled shrimp dishes. These dishes were medium spicy sautéed with peppers, onions and tomato. Highly recommend. The owners and staff are lovely too.

 

Sun Set Coffee Bar Hikaduwa Sri Lanka Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand

The view at Sunset Cafe where I enjoyed many lunches and dinners in Hikkaduwa

 

SALTY SWAMI’S CAFE

Salty Swamis is another good spot. Super clean with healthy food options. About a 10 minute walk south of Chami’s along the main road or beach. Have a cold coconut and healthy breakfast. The owner was cool and held my iPad for me while I went off to the beach to swim for a few hours. This place draws in a cool mix of yogis and bohemian backpackers. Great vibes. At time of this blog it’s ranked as #1 out of #119 restaurants in Hikkaduwa.

MIRISSA BEACH (3 Nights)

Chill vibes at Papa Mango's in Mirissa Beach

Chill vibes at Papa Mango’s in Mirissa Beach

My next stop on my spiritual journey was down to Marissa Beach. I stood on the street with some travelers I met at Chami’s and we flagged down a bus bound for Matara. It stops at Galle, Weligama  and Mirissa before it’s final stop to Matara. The bus was full but I eventually got a seat, yet I had to be strategic holding my bag. I think the ticket to Mirissa was less than a dollar, but I forget how much exactly. The trip was about 1.5 hours.

 

Mirissa is a charming beach town. The beaches are prettier than in Hikkaduwa. All along the beach are lovely restaurants serving fresh fish dishes and more. Prices are great. I never spent more that $10 on a meal. I didn’t go out at night other than for a meal, but from what I understood, the parties rotated from different restaurants/bars each night. I could hear the music from my guesthouse. Seemed like your standard party music with techno pop drum beats.  I stayed at the Bird House Mirissa, a funky little tree house bungalow hidden in the neighborhood about 10 minutes from the beach. I just love tree houses. This one is a little older, but super cute. I sat on the balcony watching the stars and exchanging stories with a traveler friend. Love those kind of nights.

WELIGAMA (day trips)

Most come to Weligama for surfing lessons. Water is always a part of my spiritual journey. If you are a beginner, its good because the waves are small. I didn’t stay in Weligama but took the bus there from Mirissa everyday. You can flag the bus down from the main road. All local red buses buses going north stop at Weligama. I paid $18/ 2800 LKR for my lessons. They used a foam board. I got up on my second try. I surfed for hours. I went back the next day and rented a board for $160 / 250 LKR for 2 hours. So much fun!!! You might also catch a good photo of the Stilt Fishermen in the waters.

Shine On Spiritual Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand learning to surf in sri lanka

Learning to surf in Sri Lanka

Surf and Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand Welligama Sri Lanka Surf

Surf’s up. I may be a California girl, but I’m a newbie at surfing. The guide had me up on my 2nd try!

 

GALLE (day trip)

Galle is a nice day trip. I took the bus from Weligama. It took less than an hour. Walking the streets in this old town was a treat. The architecture is old colonial reflecting the times of the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. There are many churches and I had fun watching the locals play cricket. The main site to see in Galle is the old Portuguese Fort. It’s a massive site by the sea. Great place for sunset with the views of the sea and lighthouse. The Fort Shri Sudarmalaya Buddhist Temple was a beautiful site for meditating on my spiritual journey here in Sri Lanka. Stop for a tea or coffee at Pedlar’s Inn.

Shine On Spiritual Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand Meditating in Galle Sri Lanka

Shining On into the sunset in Galle, Sri Lanka

 

Twilight time in Galle Sri Lanka

Twilight time in Galle Sri Lanka

ELLA (3 nights)

This was my favorite spot in Sri Lanka! Ella is a chilled out, small, hillside station town. Its diverse landscape of mountains, waterfalls, viewpoints, tea plantations, picturesque railroad track, palm trees, deep green fields and tiny but energetic village center is what draws most to spend some days while traveling Sri Lanka. Situated in the center of Sri Lanka, it’s the perfect spot to stop while making your way north or south.

The spots to see here are Ella Rock, Little Adams Peak, the MUST see 9 Arches Railway Bridge and train tracks, tea plantations and Ravana waterfalls. The small city center has a great vibe with lots of tasty restaurants serving local and vegetarian delights. This town is also full of Ayurvedic spas. I had a two hour massage at Healing Hand. Hmmmm, a must to sooth my achy bones from carrying my backpack for months! Sometimes Spiritual Journey Travel is not easy!  The guest houses are pretty inexpensive. Most are in a family home.

Shine On with Jewels Bertrand on the view point of Ella Rock Sri Lanka

Shining On the viewpoint of Ella Rock Sri Lanka

 

Demodara Nine Arch Bridge and Railroad Track Sri Lanka

Demodara Nine Arch Bridge and Railroad Track Sri Lanka

 

NURWARA ELIA 

Nuwara Elia is another village that many visit. Although I didn’t make it here. It’s known as little England and it has the same cool and rainy weather pattern. Places to see are Horton Plains National Park, tea plantations, Ramboda Fall, Vitoria Park and Gregory Lake.

 

ADAM’S PEAK

Another notable site that I did not get a chance to visit is Adam’s Peak. This peak is 7362 foot (2243 meter) high mountain known as the ‘Holy Footprint’. The footprint has a few legends. One being that when Adam was expelled from heaven, God put him on the peak to make the shock less terrible and he stood for 1000 years on one foot. Hindus, believe it was the world-creative dance of the god Shiva that left the giant footprint,  Buddhist theory is that it was left by the Buddha during the third and final of his legendary visits to Sri Lanka and lastly, Portuguese Christians claimed the impression to be the footprint of St. Thomas who, according to legend, first brought Christianity to Sri Lanka. The weather pattern here is cooler and rainy.

 

SCENIC TRAIN FROM ELLA TO KANDY ( approximately 5 hours)

The train from Ella to Kandy or visa versa is a must see! This in itself is a Spiritual Journey. It was a favorite from all who I met on my travels to Sri Lanka and is noted to be one of the best and most scenic train rides in the world. This serine 5hr? train ride takes you through a serine, lush green landscape full of waterfalls, mountain views, little villages and rice fields. You will feel like you are traveling in a time forgotten though a magical land. I had a first class ticket but really never used it. The first class seats are $9 / 1400 LKR. I chose 1st class because I thought the train would be over crowded in 2nd class like the case when you travel from Colombo to the beaches. This is NOT the case. The difference between 1st and 2nd are the windows are larger in 1st but do not open due to the Air Conditioning. 2nd class window open and you will get a seat. I spent the entire time sitting in the open doorway with my feet dangling out where I wrote most of this blog while gazing at the scenery with the wind blowing in my hair. It was an unforgettable experience that will last in my mind forever. At each stop, a vendor come by selling local street food so you won’t go hungry. Although most of the food is fried. I was lucky to get a yogurt, nuts and some sort of sweet nutty bar. 2nd class seats will run you 650 Rs / $4.20 and 3rd class 400 LKR / $2.60.

 

The scenic Kandy - Ella train ride in Sri Lanka

The scenic Kandy – Ella train ride in Sri Lanka. A must do on your travels!

 

Spiritual Travels Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand on train in Sri Lanka

KANDY (2 NIGHTS then went to Nilambe Meditation / 2 nights after meditation)

The main sites to see in Kandy are the Temple of the Tooth which is said to house a tooth relic of the Buddha. The temple also has an impressive Buddhist museum detailing the history of Buddhism from countries across the globe. Entrance fee is 1500 LKR / $10 for foreigners. Be sure to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

If you are still around in the evening you can catch the cultural dance performance outside the gates of the temple. Fee is 1000 LKR / $6.50. I did not go. Let us know in the comments if you went, how it was and if you feel it was worth the price.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is another lovely site. Price is 1500 LKR / $10 for foreigners. I enjoyed an afternoon here with two backpackers. The palm tree lanes were impressive. It seemed to be a popular date place for locals. It was cute watching them sitting under the trees in loving conversations.

Peradeniya Botanic Gardens Kandy

Love is in the air. It seems that this garden is the date spot in Kandy. So many couples enjoying their time together.

Take a nice stroll along the lake and then make your way into the shops in the city. There is also a large flea market located by the train station.

Scenic Kandy

The bus station is around the corner from the train station, so you can check prices and times of your next destination. You purchase onwards tickets day of. If taking bus, you have the choice of AC Tourist bus or local.

My favorite place to eat in Kandy is Secret Alley. You can find it on google maps. It’s a funky little spot tucked away in… an alley of course. They have a great smoothie bowl, coffee and salads. For the healthy eater and vegetarian, this is the best place to eat.

The alley to Secret Alley Healthy Food Cafe, Kandy, Sri Lanka

The alley to Secret Alley Healthy Food Cafe, Kandy, Sri Lanka

 

HIPSTER HIDEOUT LOUNGE

As for accommodation, I stayed at Hipster Hideout Lounge. It’s a lively backpacker hangout about a 10 minute walk from the Temple of the Tooth. They have dorm rooms and single room options. There is a large restaurant area where travelers gather, listen to music, play pool and share stories. The kitchen serves great food and there is a full bar. They usually offer yoga in the mornings. Hipsters is run by a super cool Sri Lankan local, aptly named, Lanka.  Hustler, the large bull mastiff is the mascot of the hostel. Be warned though, this sweet and large doggie thinks he’s a small lap dog. It was funny watching him play with the guests.

The Hipsters at Hipsters Hideout Lounge. Great hostel if you like music and meeting people.

The Hipsters at Hipsters Hideout Lounge. Great hostel if you like music and meeting people.

 

THE MANGO

If you are not interested in a hostel vibe and want something more tranquil, stay at The Mango 

 

NILAMBE BUDDHIST SILENT MEDITATION RETREAT (5 Nights)

If you have some days to sit in silence, I highly suggest Nilambe Meditation Center. I spent 5 days of reflective silence at the beautiful Meditation Retreat Center just outside of Kandy. This Buddhist meditation center is lead by the soft spoken and humble, Upul Nishantha. It’s located in a lush mountain garden about an hour outside of Kandy. You will stay in basic buddhist accommodations which is a small room with a mat on the cement bed, a warm blanket, pillow and shared bathroom. The food they serve was amazing! It’s not as hard core as vipassana. Meditations are no longer than 1.5 hours at a time maximum. It’s broken up with walking meditation, working meditation, breakfast, lunch, snack and some free time. You are able to read as well unlike in the traditional Vipassana where reading is not allowed. This is silent, so no talking. If you want to read more, head over to my Nilambe Blog Post. Upul, the kind facilitator shares beautiful knowledge regarding the path of joy and happiness from a Buddhist perspective. I LOVED my visit here and will come again on my next journey to Sri Lanka.

 

DAMBULLA: Sigiriya, Pidurangala and Cave Temples (1 Night)

Sigiriya or Pidurangala?

Sigiriya is a massive ancient rock fortress and the ancient Sri Lankan capital. According to legend, King Kassapa build his city on top of this Lion rock. It’s name comes from the lion shaped gateway he had build on a plateau on the side of the rock. The journey climbing to the summit showcases impressive frescoes and the and the famous colossal lion’s paws imbedded the rock. Sigiriya is a UNESCO world heritage site. The landscape boasts 360 degree views, lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens and cave shrines. There are about 1200 steps up the 200m to the top. The journey up and down will take the average person about 1.5-2 hours. I heard there were many wasps so take caution. The fee is 4,683 LKR / $30 USD for foreigners and only 60 LKR (about 40 cents) for Sri Lankans. So if you are on a budget you may wish to climb the equally impressive Pidurangala and catch the view of Sigiriya from the top of this rock. Many go early to see the sunrise.

PIDURANGALA

I chose to climb this rock as I needed to stay on budget. The price to enter the museum is 500 LKR, a mere $3.20 and includes a ticket to a temple. You enter the same place off the main road as you would for Sigiriya. Just follow the signs in the park area to Pidurangala instead. Caution, I saw a large alligator in jump into the canal. Many monitor lizards too. I love the monitor lizards. I have one who frequents my yard at my Thai bungalow in Koh Phangan. The climb took about 20 -30 minutes. The last part is a bit strenuous, steep and involves climbing strategically up and through rocks, but fairly doable for most people. I saw children and elderly climbing the path, but doing it slowly. There is a beautiful reclining Buddha statue embedded in the rocks on your way up. The views of the landscape and Sigiriya rock are incredible. I sat and meditated on the top while gazing at Sigiriya. It was so grounding yet so high up in the sky.

Sigiriya rock Sri Lanka Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand Blog

The epic view of Sigiriya Rock from Pidurangala Rock.

 

Pidurangala Rock Buddha Sri Lanka Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand blog

Peaceful reclining Buddha at Pidurangala Rock, Sri Lanka

Getting to Sigiriya and Pidurangala.

I took a (2hr) local bus from Kandy to the village of Dambulla and spent the night at the Takashi Inn.  The bus cost 200 LKR / 1.30 USD. You can take the AC bus -for Rs.400 LKR / 2.60USD per person. The local bus drops you off in front of a bakery in town. I paid 50 LKR / $0.30 for a tuk tuk to take me to Takashi. But if you don’t have heavy bags, you could walk. It’s about 10 minutes. I took the slightly more expensive the room on the bottom floor in the line of rooms that have balconies. There are cheaper rooms on the other side of the property. The kind owner offers a great Sri Lankan breakfast for 350 LKR $2.30. It’s a close local bus ride to Sigiriya and Pidurangala and you can catch one anywhere on the main street. from the main road.  These buses run between 6:30AM to 6:00PM every day at intervals of 30 minutes and cost 40LKR $0.25. You only need to wave them down and ask if they are going there. I think it took me 20 minutes until the bus heading to Sigiriya arrived. If you wish, you can travel by tuk-tuk 800-1000 LKR. Sigiriya is about 25 km from Dambulla. Be sure to catch the last bus back to Dambulla at  6:00PM. Buses arrive just outside the main entrance to the sites.

 

DAMBULLA TEMPLE CAVE


From Sigiriya
I took the bus straight to the cave temple. Price is 1500 LKR / $9.60. You will only need about an hour or less here. There is also a massive Buddha in the front entrance. From here I proceeded back to my guest house to gather my bags and I was on one of the last buses to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.

Dambulla Cave Temple Sri Lanka Julie Jewels Bertrand

So many statues at the Dambulla Cave Temple. What a site to see!

POLONNUWARA (2 Nights)

This is of the most beautiful ancient cities I have seen on all of my travels to over 40 countries. And another must if your are on a Spiritual Journey in Sri Lanka.  I was actually planning on going to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital and also ancient city. But upon reviews, I decided to come here instead. Other travelers said that most of the ruins in Anuradhapura had been destroyed and that the grounds too large and spread out to do in one day. Considering my time schedule and budget, I am glad I chose Polonnaruwa. I arrived in the night, around 9:30PM. The bus dropped me off in the main street. It was a 10 minute easy walk to my guest house. Manal Guest House. Great guest house! My room had a balcony with views of serine rice fields. The room was super clean, decorated nicely in a zen like motif and bed was very comfortable, bonus! The staff was incredibly helpful and guided me on how to get to the ancient city. I enjoyed a nice dinner, free breakfast and in the morning, rented a bicycle from them and was off to explore the ancient temples.

Temple Ruins of Pollonawara Sri Lanka

Temple Ruins of Pollonawara Sri Lanka

The best way to visit is on bicycle. You purchase your tickets at the museum. Your guest house can give you directions. You do not need a guide but there are many at the museum who can take you for 3000 LKR/$20. Honestly, the museum is so informative and inside the grounds there are plenty of signs telling you about each temple. From the museum go back to the main road, take a left, cross the river and keep riding about 10 minutes, the entrance to the temples is on the right. Ride along the pathway until you see all the other bikes parked. It will take you about 4 hours to see everything including the museum. Most of the temples and statues are in great shape due to the recent renovation project. The moss growing on the old stone made it look like a scene straight out of Indiana Jones. For me, this site is in my top 3 ancient temples I have had the pleasure to see. My other favorites are Hampi in India, Angor Wat, Cambodia and Macchu Piccu, Peru. I also love the Golden Temple in Amritsar, but that one is a whole different feel.

Temple dog at polonnaruwa sri lanka julie jewels bertrand

I just love temple dogs! Polonnaruwa was one of the most incredible temple towns I have ever visited and I have been to many across the globe!

I enjoyed the day with two sweet travelers, Jordan and Matthew. On the way home we got caught in a torrential downpour! The skies open and the rains came down in a fury. Wow. We took shelter in a local restaurant and enjoyed a delicious vegetable kottu and hot chai.

I then retired to my room for a good night sleep. In the morning I headed to the main bus station bound for Kandy. Omg. I honestly thought this bus trip would end my life! The bus driver drove like a wild maniac. I usually have no fear. I’m quit used to the crazy driving in Asia. But this driver took it to a different level. I actually wrote a long message to my sister telling her that I might die. It’s funny the things you reflect on in those moments of near death. Even during this scary moment, I felt nothing but gratitude for all that I had experienced in my life.

Fortunately, I made it back safely to Kandy where I was welcomed back by Lanka, Hustler and the staff at Hipsters. I enjoyed the sites for two days and then took the bus back to Colombo where I met up with the super cool and talented Social Media Marker, Content Writer and Editor in Chief  Head of aXtream Youth. Vindy is from Sri Lanka, we first met virtually on the amazing FB Group GIRLS LOVE TRAVEL. We enjoyed a coffee and exchanged travel stories and tips on social media at Tea Avenue.  Tea Avenue is just across the street from the Thai embassy where I needed to pick up my 2-month Thai Visa for my return to my home away from hOMe, Koh Phangan. She’s amazing. Contact her if you are looking to hire someone to increase your marketing projects, blog or events.

Me and Vindy sharing tips about social media marketing. Vindy gave me the route I took in Sri Lanka. It’s always good to have a local friend!

NEGOMBO (1 night)

After our meeting, I took a taxi to Aurora Budget Guesthouse in Negombo. Price for the night should have only been around $8.10 US /1,264.41 LKR. But this was an expensive trip for me. I may be a deep, meditative yogi, but I am sometimes so forgetful. I somehow forgot my bag at the cafe! With rush hour it took us 2 hours to get to Negomb which is when I realized I forgot my bag!  Oh my Buddha. I can not tell you how many times this has happened to me! My taxi drive was so good with me. He calmed me in minutes. We called the cafe and asked them to hold my bag. It was a long and expensive taxi ride!

It was great to get to my Guest House! The Aurora Guest House is run by a sweet Sri Lankan woman. Her english is not very good but she was so kind and helpful. The room was clean with a shared bathroom and free Wi-Fi. My room had a balcony but not a good view. There is a seating area outside on the ground floor. They offer a huge Sri Lankan or Continental breakfast for only 350LKR – $2.30. I had the Sri Lankan. It included tea, omelette, dahl, shredded coconut (YUM), and a fruit plate. Room rate was $9. I took a tuk-tuk to the airport in the morning. It would have been wiser to stay a little closer to the airport as it was a 30 minute drive, but I thought I would have enough time to go to the beach, which I did not.

I have to say, I loved my trip to Sri Lanka. I will come again and highly recommend it!!! I would love everyone to take a spiritual journey here to this divine land. If you do, I really feel you will come back home more at Peace.  Let’s spread the word. Feel free to share this blog on your facebook and with your friends.

Now I’d love to hear from you? Does this sound like an amazing spiritual journey to you? Have you been to Sri Lanka? What was your experience? Where have you been or would like to go on your Spiritual Journey?

Wherever in the world you are, Shine On!

With love,

Jewels

PS: If you want a discount to stay at any of the guesthouses I mentioned, use this link. It’s a win / win. I get a referral fee and you get a discount. Love spreading the savings! https://www.booking.com/s/13_6/yogaje94

Spiritual Coach and Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand

 

Eating Durian Fruit, the Smelliest Fruit in the World with Living OverSeas TV

Wow, 2017 was an amazing journey the globe. I visited Nepal, Greece, India, Sri Lanka and now I’m back to my hOMe away from hOMe base on the magical, tropical island of Koh Phangan, Thailand.  Along the journey, I met up with the awesome Jim Kellett from LivingOverseas.TV. We paired up here in Thailand to give you a dose of island and spiritual life. In this video we share with you surprisingly tasty, Smelliest Fruit in the world! Ever hear of Durian fruit? Think creamy dirty socks… eww, yuk! How could this possibly taste good? But it does.

CLICK HERE FOR A PLAY OF THE VIDEO ON ZEN BEACH IN THAILAND

Julie Jewels Bertrand of Shine Your Light, Kom Thongtan of Green Leaf Cafe, Jim Kellett from Living Overseas.TV eating Durian Fruit, the smelliest Fruit in the world on Zen Beach in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Julie Jewels Bertrand of Shine Your Light, Kom Thongtan of Green Leaf Cafe, Jim Kellett from Living Overseas.TV eating Durian Fruit, the smelliest Fruit in the world on Zen Beach in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Durian fruit has the reputation of being the smelliest fruit in the world but people here in Thailand are addicted to it. It’s even called the king of fruits. In this video, we put it to a taste test along with the Thai persimmon and the rambutan.  Come join me and Jim along with Kom Thongtan from Green Leaf Cafe, and find out what these fruits taste like in this video shot on location at Zen Beach on the magical island of Koh Phangan, in Thailand.

 

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I’ll be sharing spiritual tools and tips here on Shine Your Light as I journey across the globe to the core of the soul. So sign up for the newsletter on the bottom of this page. I’d love to have you virtually travel with me on the Soul Journey.  And connect with me on Youtube Channel, and  Instagram. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll share stories about my travels through India, Nepal, Greece and Sri Lanka. And of course, more meditation techniques and free videos.

 

Want to hear why I decided quit my high profile, high paying New York City and Los Angeles life to live a life overseas? Click HERE as I share my story of going Barefoot to Bangkok.

 

Feel free to share with someone who you feel might resonate with.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck or in a rut, stagnant and confused? You want to move and you know you should, but for some reason you can’t. You may hear yourself saying statements like, “I don’t know what to do. I’m in a rut.” We all struggle with this sometimes, and if you’re struggling right now, I invite you to try this New Year Kundalini Yoga Meditation for a Fresh Start for your life. This guided meditation is designed to bring you Liberation!

Liberation by definition means: the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release. Freedom from limits on thought or behavior. Sometimes our imprisonment is self imposed. We get so caught up in our story that we do not realize we can walk out of it and create a new story. But how? This dynamic Kundalini Meditation can help move you off the hamster wheel into a Fresh Start. It can help push through mental and energy blocks and bring renewal and rejuvenation to your life.

 

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

New Year Kundalini Yoga Meditation

Never assume that you’re stuck with the way things are. Life changes, and so can you.

You have the power to move forward no matter what obstacles block your path. The power is within you. You just need to shift your vibration. It’s like changing lanes on a highway or getting off the dead end onto a new pathway.  This meditation is designed to energetically put you on the right path. Try it for 9 minutes, everyday for 40 days and break through your blocks! Shift your energy and rise your awesomeness!

“For every beautiful thing, you have to pass through a valley of hardship. There is no liberation without labor. There is no freedom which is free. To create in you the power to create the intelligence which will give you power to be effective in your own living and give you satisfaction in your own joy, you have to work for it, you have to earn it.” Yogi Bhajan

So will you join us in a fresh start to your New Year? Only  9 minutes a day. We’d love to hear from you.Let us know how it works for you. Share your story here on the blog so we can all help each other on our Soul Journey.

 

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I’ll be sharing spiritual tools and tips here on Shine Your Light as I journey across the globe to the core of the soul. So sign up for the newsletter on the bottom of this page. I’d love to have you virtually travel with me on the Soul Journey.  And connect with me on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram

I share tools, tips and stories about my travels. And of course, more meditation techniques and free videos.

Feel free to share with someone who you feel might resonate with.

 

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If you would like go deep in your transformation… join me on two retreats in 2019.

ENERGY DETOX – LEARN THE ART OF ENERGY MEDICINE TO HEAL YOUR BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT in THAILAND 

Shift and Shape Your Reality to Create YOUR Greatest Vision of Life

APRIL 25-MAY 2019

https://jewelsbertrand.com/retreat-thailand/

 

EXPLORE YOUR SPIRIT in SANTORINI, GREECE

Spirit Voyage Kundalini Awakening and Akashic Records Retrieval 

OCTOBER 14 – 20, 2019

https://jewelsbertrand.com/santorini-retreat/

 

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Typically, when you hear the word retreat, thoughts of swaying palm trees, sandy beaches and peaceful environments come to mind. A place to stretch and tone the body with yoga, sip tropical fruity juices, eat healthy meals and share energy with a group of likeminded individuals while escaping the daily pressures of work and life. I’ve been to many and host such retreats and workshops on the tropical island of Koh Phangan, Thailand and around the world. This 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat in Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha was just as rewarding, but a vast contrast to the aforementioned holiday experience.

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Although called a retreat, the journey is more of a razor sharp, master jeti training of purifying and focusing the mind. There is socializing or lounging about in pristine nature. It is not a form of spiritual or philosophical entertainment, nor is it an escape of the trials and tribulations of everyday life. What it is and what it delivers, is a system that leads one to recognize, face and reduce their tensions, problems and suffering. The technique revolves around the simple idea that each and everyone of us share the same problems and suffering. The same suffering that happens to one can also happen to another. Although the situations may be different, the root of suffering is the same. The Buddha realized that all roots of such suffering come from three causes of unhappiness: Cravings, Aversions and Ignorance. Vipassana works on eradicating these issues so that you may live in the state of bliss and happiness that is your birthright.

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Prayer Flags Lumbini Nepal Julie Jewels Bertrand Vipassana Buddhist Meditation Retreat

Prayer Flags at the Birthplace of the Buddha in Lumbini Nepal

The “path”, known as Dhamma, takes you on an exploration of the self, though the breath, starting from the surface and digging deep down into the corridors of the subconscious mind. There, in the depths of the mind, the the causes of suffering are pulled up like weeds, straight from their roots. The very nature of Vipassana is to “see things as they really are.” The method is seemingly simple, yet involves very deep, single-minded concentration. The reward, purification, liberation, joy and happiness. This ancient technology was long lost to humanity and rediscovered by Goutama Buddha over 2500 years ago. However it is by no means limited to Buddhists. It is open to all faiths, religions and backgrounds.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1504293704503{margin-top: 90px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Since I left my home in the USA to embark on a personal Soul Journey, Vipassana has been a technique that I wished to explore. Yoga and meditation has been such a support to me throughout my own suffering. The suffering caused by watching my father slowly lose his life after 13 years of living with the debilitating disease ALS, the suffering caused by the pressures of work and life and the suffering caused by the projections of my own mind.

My first trip to Nepal was in 2009 shortly after my father died. This was also the time of the US market crash where I and thousands of others were laid off from our jobs. In this dark period of my life, it was in this peaceful country where I became “awakened”. There are Vipassana centers all over the world but 8 years later and long on the path of spiritual healing, I found myself back in Nepal. And I knew this was my divine timing and the perfect place to take my first steps on the Path of Dhamma.

I chose to do my Vipasana in the city of Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha. I arrived to Lumbini from the quaint little lakeside town of Pokhara. My pilgrimage to the land of enlightenment was not easy. 8 hours of bumps, turns and twists on a hair raising bus ride from hell. The girl sitting on the seat next to me threw up all over the floor and on me. Oh my Buddha! When we finally arrived in Lumbini, it was so hot you could fry an egg on the street. I settled into my hotel as Vipassana would not be starting for two days yet. I tried to take a cool shower but the water was too hot! It comes out from the water tank on the roof and the sun had heated it to extreme levels. So… I slept, it was all you could do in the heat. The next day I explored the Mayadevi Gardens where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, who became the 1st Lord Buddha. There are over 25 monasteries in the gardens from countries all over the world. Tired but full of spirit, I sat with the sadhus and a group of Chinese healers for over two hours. Together, we meditated under the sacred tree where the Lord Buddha was born. The tree gave us shelter from the sun and the energy of the gardens could only be described as pure bliss.

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The following day I arrived to the Dhamma Janani Vipassana Center with eager anticipation. I sat at a table in the hot Lumbini sun with the other attendees and began the paperwork. The first step in the course is to sign an oath of discipline to abide by. In this oath are 5 precepts. At least for the duration of the course one must:

  1. Abstain from killing any living creature
  2. Abstain from stealing
  3. Abstain from all sexual activity
  4. Abstain from telling lies
  5. Abstain from all intoxicants

We then handed over all means of communication. Our cell phones, books and writing materials. And from this point on, no talking of any kind was allowed. This included eye contact and body language. So I took the hard pillow they gave me and walked to my tiny room in the women’s quarters. My roommate was already there sleeping on the concrete made bed. I rolled out the thin mattress, pulled down the mosquito net and placed my bags on the affixed, concrete shelves. The room was very basic as I expected. Two beds on either side with a narrow walking path between each. The paint on the walls was faded and peeling. We had 2 concrete shelves that were built into the walls, one small window and a basic, squat style bathroom with shower and sink. The philosophy is that one should be humble and live in a simple life. The doors locked with a latch from the inside and outside, which caused some problems.

A discourse and meditation was to begin at 7PM that evening, so I took a nap. I was still tired from the traveling and from my day exploring the grounds and monasteries. It was about 6PM when I woke. My roommate was gone and as I proceeded to open the door, I was surprised to find it locked… from the outside. I searched for a way out but there was none, unless I wanted to break the screen and jump out the window. I began to knock on the door, hoping one of the girls in the next room would hear. Nothing. What a way to start. All I could do was to sit and wait for her to return. Fortunately she came before the start of our evening. I pointed to the door and without talking tried to explain to her what she did. We gave each other a sympathetic look and laugh and understood. A forced reason for eye contact and a little sign language. Although we were not supposed to communicate via facial expressions, throughout the 10 days we broke this noble silence… just a little by sympathetically looking at each other while stretching our aching bodies with a few yoga poses in our room. In a way, it made us closer and developed a bond between us.

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Our days began at 4 AM with the morning bell. By 4:30 we were all gathered in the meditation hall. The women on one side of the room and the men on the other. Our instruction was to observe the flow of breath coming in and out of the nose. And for the first 3 days, that is all one does, sits with legs crossed, spine straight and observes the sensations as the breath comes in and out of the tip of the nose. As the thoughts come up, you are to merely let them pass by, like clouds in the sky, placing no judgement, no attachment and no thought to the thoughts. Just let them float away.

After 2 hours of sitting and breathing, we were excused for breakfast. Milk tea, chapati and dhal bhat. In the beginning, our silent breakfast made me feel melancholy. Almost like a prison. But after some days I rather enjoyed it. No distractions. Just pure being.

Our meditation resumed at 8 AM.  For 3 hours, we’d sit in lotus pose and breath, while experiencing the breath come in and out of the nose. Let me just tell you, this is no easy task! Many of the meditators were slumped over finding it difficult to sit erect in the meditation posture.  An Indian vegetarian lunch was served at 11 AM with a two hour break. This gave us just enough time to eat, shower, stretch, maybe a short nap and begin meditation again at 1 PM. This by far was the hardest part of the day for me! 4 hours of meditation in the hall with only a couple of 5 minute bathroom breaks. My body ached and my mind raced. At 5 PM we walked our tight bodies to the dining hall for a 1 hour break of tea and a light snack of salty fried rice crisps. Meditation in the hall followed from 6 PM – 7:30 then a 1.5 hour Dhamma talk done on a video by S.N. Goenka. I found these videos very insightful. Our night ended at 9 PM where we would retire to our rooms for bed and await the morning 4 AM wake up bell.

My first three days were rather challenging to say the least. The no talking was easy. As a former city girl social butterfly I appreciated the silence. I didn’t feel the need to talk. I was extremely cathartic and cleansing to witness the silence. But what I did find challenging was the posture. I have been practicing and teaching yoga and various types of meditation for over a decade. But sitting perfectly still for so long was a new experience for me. I felt every ache in my body. My hips, shoulders and low back were screaming. But as we were told over and over in each video and audio discourse, Anicca – which translates to impermanence, nothing stays the same. So still and erect I sat.

After day 3 the actual Vipasana began. I wasn’t aware it hadn’t started. Apparently we were preparing. Now the real meditation was to begin. Our new instruction was to observe the body while breathing our natural breath. And as I scanned my painful body up and down, I noticed how erratic the mind can be and how fast my thoughts would change. From one thought on to the next. Like a racing car shifting lanes down a highway. A few seconds on one thought, another few seconds it changed gears to another and then back again to the same. As our teacher, S.N. Goenka would tell us on the video, “you see how crazy the mind can be if you don’t train it?” In the silence I could recognize the patterns. I always think I have no fear. And in many ways I don’t. I love adrenaline sports, I have parachuted out of airplanes, driven in NASCAR racing track, climbed the Himalayan Mountain ranges, rock climbed high in the sky with ropes and faith, packed up my life and moved to faraway countries with only a backpack, but fear… yep, she was still there, I was just too busy to notice. In my silence, the echoes that I kept hearing in the corridors of my mind were that of survival and insecurity, fears of money, will I have enough, am I good enough, blah, bhah, blah. Over and over again in some form or another these thoughts ran through my mind. It was so interesting to observe these thoughts.

Interestingly, the aches in my body also kept moving. My achy shoulder that felt like it was burning in pain, my stiff neck, the tight hips, all of it moving. Sometimes there, sometimes not. By the 4th day, I wasn’t even feeling the aches any longer. Ahhhhh, Anicca, impermanence.

It seemed like the thoughts were moving through my body too. Like a leave flowing in a river. Getting stuck along the way, then dislodging and moving on. By the end of the 10 days I felt calm, yet almost stunned. How could I return to the world. The girls in our group were anxious to talk. Two of the girls, both from India pulled took me by the hand and lead me to their room with delight. “What is your story”, they asked me. “Who are you, where are you from, are you a yoga teacher?”, they asked. “You sat soooo straight. How did you do it, do you have a boyfriend? Isn’t the guy who worked the desk soooo cute.” I tried to answer the questions, but I wasn’t ready for all of this yet. I was still processing. I felt like I was in two worlds, the socialite city girl crossing the bridge into a new land. I spoke as much as I could, but as I heard my voice, it was like it was someone else speaking. I didn’t even recognize the sound of my own voice. After some time, I politely excused myself and went off to bed. The next morning they all gathered in the cafeteria with glee. Everyone talking. I managed to find sit with one girl and spoke with her about human design, a subject I find fascinating. But that was all I could manage. The group arranged to take a bus together back into Pokhara, which was the lakeside town I had come to and was planning to return. But 8 hours in a bus of gabby girls was too much for me at the time. I chose to stay behind with my thoughts.

I eventually made my way back to Pokhara. I spend most of the time there alone. Not because I had no one to be with. There were many travelers looking for someone to spend time with. I was merely in my own personal space. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a hermit. I enjoyed long walks in nature, quiet time writing. I did some trekking and after some weeks, I did make my way out of my introspection and mingled with the locals and backpackers and a good friend who happened to be on travel in Nepal as well. My days of meaningless talk, city life and  late night parties have long since left me. They had their time and place and today, I’m happy in this space.

Shine Your Light Julie Jewels Bertrand Lumbini Nepal 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat Birthplace of BuddhaIn conclusion, I think vipassana was one of the hardest meditations I have done. But in the end, one of the most rewarding. It’s been over 2 months now since I first started writing this blog. I am just coming back to finishing it now. Writing is sometimes like that. You start writing and then the story goes to sleep, only to return at the perfect time.  And as I finish writing this blog, I am in a jungle cafe in Sri Lanka. I went on to do another Buddhist Retreat in Dharamsala, India which was also silent but came with teachings of Buddhism and I will go on to do another vipassana here in Sri Lanka. The journey continues.

Have you been to a vipassana? What were your experiences? We’d love to hear. Let us know in the comments in the blog. And feel free to share this story with someone who you feel might enjoy the read.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Are We Connected?”][vc_column_text]I’ll be sharing spiritual tools and tips here on Shine Your Light as I journey across the globe to the core of the soul. Sign up on my Youtube Channel,  Instagram or website if you want to virtually travel with me on a Soul Journey.   And share with someone who you feel might resonate with.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Retreat With Me”][vc_column_text]

If you would like to travel with me on a magical, tropical island in Thailand, I’ll be hosting my next Sacred Healing and Meditation Retreat on January 29, 2018. This retreat will not be silent. Here you will learn how to heal your body and mind with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation techniques, Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapy, Reiki, Chakra Balancing and more. All the details can be found at http://jewelsbertrand.com/retreat/

Or email me at Jewelsbertrand [at] gmail.com

Sacred Soul Journey Healing and Meditation Retreat with Julie Jewels Bertrand in Koh Phangan Thailand Jan 29-Feb 5 2018

Sacred Soul Journey Healing and Meditation Retreat with Julie Jewels Bertrand in Koh Phangan, Thailand Jan 29-Feb 5 2018

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What is Kundalini Yoga?

Julie Jewels Bertrand Kundalini Yoga Meditation Healing Retreat Koh Phangan Thailand

The very nature of Kundalini is to raise your vibration. It opens the doorway to the light inside of you. And when that light shines upon you, it awakens you to a power equal to the magnitude of 108 suns! Removed are the shadows that once blocked your vision. It lifts the veil of your self-perceived limitations and you expand to a higher state of awareness, to your infinite self and infinite potential.

Does that powerful? Well that’s what Kundalini Yoga is. It is a master set of tools handed down by yoga masters generations deep and the best part is… anyone can do it! Whether you’re a mom, a student, a business executive, artist, new to yoga or a seasoned yogi.  And Kundalini Yoga is single handed the fastest way to unblock, calibrate and harness your own energy centers.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Words from Kundalini Master, Yogi Bhajan

Kundalini Master, Yogi Bhajan said, “Kundalini yoga is a science which works on the seven chakras, the arcline and the aura. It works directly on the total energy, and that flow of energy has one simple way; either you sway it or it sways you. Either you are above the energy and ride it or you go below the energy and it rides you. With kundalini yoga you learn how to ride your energy, to experience it and penetrate any given situation to attain a balance.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1504290396583{margin-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Sacred Science

Kundalini Yoga Teacher Julie Jewels Bertrand Sacred Science“What is Kundalini actually? You experience it when the energy of the glandular system combines with the nervous system to create such sensitivity that the totality of the brain receives the signals and integrates then. Then a person feels the effect of the sequence of the causes…”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Yoga of Awareness

In other words, man becomes totally and wholly aware. We call it the yoga of awareness. Just as all rivers end up in the ocean, all yogas end up raising the kundalini in man.” ~Yogi Bhajan[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

The System

Kundalini Yoga looks and feels different from Hatha and Astanga Yoga. If you take Hatha class, you will certainly move your body. That’s the asana. I teach Hatha Yoga and have for years. It is powerful  Gypsy Jewels Bertrand Soul Journey Kundalini Healing and Meditation Retreat Koh Phangan Thailandpractice and keeps the body strong. But often times, the class is focused on the physical and leaves out key elements. Every Kundalini class utilizes meditation, mudra (sacred hand positions that activate the meridians), mantra (chanting of sacred word) pranayama (dynamic breathwork) and specific body movements that work on the body’s energy centers.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

My Personal Experience

The first Kundalini class I took left me completely and utterly confused. I felt something like a high.

Julie Jewels Bertrand Soul Journey Kundalini Healing and Meditation Retreat Koh Phangan Thailand

But it was very early on in my yoga path and I was not sophisticated enough to understand it. It took me 6 years to take another class. But when I did, I felt a bolt of energy rise up my spine and this time, I just knew, I understood. I was hooked. And my life changed… for the better! There has been no looking back. It helped me to release non-serving and harmful patterns that were not contributing to the betterment of my life, joy and my happiness. It’s become my strongest toolbox for elevation.

 

Simply put, Kundalini Yoga establishes your energy. It’s a work in rather than a work out.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

The Science

Yogi Bhajan had explained it in both scientific and spiritual terms. “When the magnetic field is strong, you relate to emotions differently. You can choose to relate to someone, or disconnect from their influence. When your radiance is strong and you direct it to someone, they will want to talk to you and be around you in spite of great differences or pains. When man has the energy and he has the power through his psyche to relate or to forget, then he has nothing to worry about. The projection of his magnetic field will arrange the rays of his existence so that his psycho-electro-magnetic circle can organize all the surrounding magnetic fields in tune. In other words, the environment will operate in tune with his purpose.”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

The Spirit

“Let me say this in spiritual language. When the divine source that prevails through the man projects out the light of God, all darkness will go away. Wherever he shall go, there shall be light, beauty, bounty and fulfillment. These two explanations are the same, but one is in mystical language and the other is in scientific language. Kundalini Yoga is the science of changing and strengthening the radiance to give extended life and capacity.” Yogi Bhajan[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”DO YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE YOUR POWER?”][vc_column_text]

Kundalini Yoga Retreat 

Wouldn’t you like to make the changes in your life so you can live in a higher vibration?  

Would you like to learn this sacred science

 

I invite you to join me on a Journey to Your Soul. Come travel to the serine healing island of Koh Phangan, Thailand this January 29-February 5th.  CONNECT with your higher self, nature, different cultures and life-minded spirit seekers.

TOGETHER in a private villa, set in a lush garden of palm trees, birds and flowers, complete with infinity swimming pool, yoga shala and luxury, you will be guided through the system of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with the focus of healing old wounds. At the end of the retreat you will be given your OWN personal meditation that serves YOUR needs so you can continue to flourish and rise to your highest potential.

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Is it Money?

What is stopping you? Is it money? There are a number of packages available to suite your financial needs. I flew into Thailand on a $375 one way ticket. There are always deals by checking into Skyscanner or Google Flights. Message me and I can help you coordinate.

Are You Waiting for the Right Time?

I once hear a powerful quote by businessman Joseph B. Wirthlin that changed my thought process and actually encouraged me to move from my fear to my power. “Those who stand at the threshold of life always waiting for the right time to change are like the man who stands at the bank of a river waiting for the water to pass so he can cross on dry land”

Are You Afraid You Can Not Do It and You Will Look Foolish?

So many people say that to me. Listen, many people are new to yoga. In Thailand I teach classes sometimes up to 40 people. I always ask, “Who is new to Yoga?” I say at least half the hands go up. Then I ask, “Who is new to Kundalini Yoga?” And 90% of the hands go up. So YOU WILL NOT BE ALONE. I wasn’t a born yogi. I  was new to yoga at one time too. And one of my earliest experiences was at a yoga retreat, in Thailand! And that retreat changed my life. I invite you to make powerful changes in YOUR life.

Sign Up Now While Space Is Available

If you don’t do it now, then when? Someday you will wake up in your home, older and say… what if?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

Head over to the RETREAT PAGE NOW and take a Journey into your Soul.

[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Are We Connected? “][tb_block_text]I’ll be sharing spiritual tools and tips here on Shine Your Light as I journey across the globe to the core of the soul. Sign up on my Youtube Channel,  Instagram AND sign up to the newletter on the website if you want to virtually travel with me on a Soul Journey. And check out some of my favorite Kundalini Yoga Meditations in the Kundalini Rising Section of the BLOG.

BONUS

Sign-up on the home page And get your FREE Chakra Balance Audio Meditation to get you into alignment.

If this material resonates with you, Share with someone else who you feel might benefit from it. We are all in this together. Because we may not have it all together, but together we can have it all.[/tb_block_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][tb_block_text]

A master set of tools handed down by yoga masters generations deep and the best part is… anyone can do it! ~Yogi Bhajan

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Namaste from Greek Isle of Santorini, Greece! I write this blog today, in a friend’s tiny cave like home in the quaint village of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, Greece. I chose to journey here to to visit my mother and family. My mother was one of 9 children born and raised in this sacred land. She is the only one in her family who moved her life to America. Growing up in America as a 1st generation Greek, I could always sense the essence of my ancestral heritage. I tried to fit into American culture and managed to do so quite well, but I somehow felt different. It’s like I could hear the divine, feminine lineage of my ancient Greek sisters and grandmothers calling to me. As a child, I soaked up the stories of Greek mythology and by the time I could walk, I was able to “feel” as an empath, channel healing energy and see what others could not. Most of the the time I kept these feelings to myself. I didn’t want to appear different. Just growing up as a half Greek in America was weird enough to some. If you have ever watched the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, you will understand what I mean. Sadly, as young child I fought the messages that my Greek ancestors were trying to send to me. Messages that I could tap into their energies. But as I grew older, I began to ask my mother questions about her life and what she knew about her mother’s life. I started to meditate on the divine sisterhood and the powerful Greek Goddess Warriors of Light such as Athena, the Goddess of WisdomAphrodite the Goddess of Love and Beauty and Artemis, the Huntress Goddess. Yoga and my spiritual studies have opened my view of the world of energy. As I meditated with my ancestors and with the Goddesses of Greece, I was able to heal and grow.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2927″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1504293863339{margin-top: 30px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Our ancestors are a source of inspiration, knowledge and protection as well as a source of trouble, chaos and patterns of pain in our lives.  Most of us have no idea how strong the hidden influence of our ancestors is on our lives. You see, some of our pains don’t even come from us. It’s in our DNA. And also in your DNA are your special gifts.

Think of your ancestral lineage as a frequency. Your DNA is like a receiver. The ancestors are broadcasting into this frequency. Just like a radio receiver, you need a clear channel so you don’t receive static. This is where you can send healing. Clear the pathway and receive their sacred gifts, skills and love.

My culture is Greek. Whether or not yours is, you ancestors come from somewhere.  Jewish or Native American, Eastern or wherever… we all have a history.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1504293704503{margin-top: 90px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2923″ img_size=”large”][vc_column_text]Jewels Bertrand Invocating the Greek Goddess of Divine Feminine on a Soul Journey in Oia, Santorini Greece[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ text_align=”text-left” css=”.vc_custom_1504293940278{margin-top: 100px !important;}”][vc_column_text]The Greeks are and were deeply intelligent and spiritual beings, they paved the path of medicine, mathematics, language, art, poetry, democracy, architecture and so much more.  But yet for thousands of years they have been fighting to survive. And today they are fighting again for survival in the infamous Greek Crisis. I think even to my mother who fought faithfully, heroically and valiantly, bringing healing to my father who was dying from the incurable disease of ALS. For 13 years she kept him alive with her love, knowledge and healings. Today I celebrate her and all of the Goddesses. And in this sacred land, I set my intentions to clear the energies of their pain. To detangle their roots and to embrace their gifts.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2929″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1504290396583{margin-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_column_text]As I walk the narrow pathways of this beautiful, volcanic island where my sisters and the Goddesses have walked before me, I embrace their spiritual traditions, I dance their sacred dances and I send them healing love.  And I invite you, wherever in the world you are to call into your ancestry.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2922″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Take time to keep your ancestral connection alive, strong and clear. Because it’s through our ancestors we can connect to the highest spiritual knowledge and higher consciousness.

Will you join me in invocation the divine ancestors? Have you worked on healing your family lineage? Or perhaps you have channeled into sacred skills acquired from your ancestors. I for one know that I acquired the gifts of energy healing through my blessed lineage.  We’d love to hear from you. Please share your story here on the blog so we can all help each other on our Soul Journey.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Are We Connected?”][vc_column_text]I’ll be sharing spiritual tools and tips here on Shine Your Light as I journey across the globe to the core of the soul. Sign up on my Youtube Channel,  Instagram or website if you want to virtually travel with me on a Soul Journey.   And share with someone who you feel might resonate with.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Retreat With Me”][vc_column_text]If you would like to travel with me on a magical, tropical island in Thailand, I’ll be hosting my next Sacred Healing and Meditation Retreat on January 29, 2018. All the details can be found at http://jewelsbertrand.com/retreat/

And stay tuned for the Santorini Yoga and Adventure Retreat in Spring of 2018. We will be doing yoga in secret, incredible view spots on the cliffside, taking eco e-bike tours through the winding  streets in the traditional Greek villages, hiking and meditating along the volcanic paths with views of the classical white washed buildings with blue domed rooftops, learning to cook delicious Greek style vegetarian meals and so much more.   Send me a message if you wish to be on the early bird mailing list for this retreat of a lifetime. Jewelsbertrand [at] gmail.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_images_carousel images=”2927,2926,2929,2925,2924,2923,2922″ img_size=”large” slides_per_view=”3″ autoplay=”yes” wrap=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Namaste,

Greetings from my magical fairy earth hut in the forests of Pai Thailand. I’ve been relaxing and meditating out here for a little over a week. Prior to that I was studying Eastern healing techniques and releasing karma at Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai.

I’ve been studying and teaching yoga for over a decade and learned much about Hindu and Sikh philosophies. And now, since staying at the temple, I’m learning about Buddhism. Since many of my friends asked me about my experience, I made a quick video on my YouTube channel sharing the teachings about Karma given to me by the temple. I hear the word Karma used a lot. But what does it really mean? Now this discussion can go on for a long time and we can dive in deep into the meaning of karma. But here’s a little 101 on the basic meaning.

I’ll be sharing spiritual tools and tips here on Shine Your Light as I journey across the globe to the core of the soul.  Sign up if you want to be inspired. And share this post with someone who you feel might resonate with it.

Now let’s hear from you. Many of you are on the same journey and can offer insite. Tell us how you would describe karma in the comments below. As always, be kind and let the light shine.

If you would like to journey with me on a magical, tropical island in Thailand, I’ll be hosting my next Sacred Healing and Meditation Retreat on January 29, 2018. All the details can be found at http://jewelsbertrand.com/retreat/

Have a blessed day.

Jewels [optin-cat id=”1995″]

Kundalini Full Moon Meditation

Sa Re Sa Sa

Happy Full Moon!

Today I share with you an ancient meditation that yogis and sages have done for thousands of years on the day and eve of the Full Moon. Meditating at the time of a full moon is very powerful. You can use this time to plant seeds of intention and to let go of that which is not serving you.  And on the night of the new moon you can revisit this garden of intention tend to it as you manifest your garden of dreams into reality. As you work through this cycle, it will help you to clear blockages and utilize the cosmic energies to bring about awakening and expansion.

I recorded this video on an enchanting beach in Thailand as the light of moon shined through the palm trees and cast its glow against the waters and rocks. It was a warm day in Thailand, but the night air brought in a cool breeze. I had spent most of the day quietly alone and recorded the meditation to share what it can do for you.

 

(Recorded in Tonsai, Thailand)

Under the full moon, your energy is amplified and pathways are open so that you are able look within. You become centered and able to release low vibrations that are causing inner conflicts. These conflicts can arise as stress, fear, sadness, indecision, dis-ease or blockages in your natural state of flow

With the moon’s alignment to the earth, you can harness the energy to become the authority. To transcend the mind and unite to the Divinity within. It allows you to release, cleanse and completes cycles, patterns and recurring situations. It’s a time where you can reset your course.

The meditation I show you in this video is called the Antar Naad.  It is a Kundalini Yoga meditation that is specifically done under the Full Moon. When the Kundalini Master, Yogi Bhajan brought this meditation to the west from India, he said that by doing it, it will give you the capacity conquer the wisdom of your past, present, and future. It brings you on a pathway to peace and prosperity even if you are far off that course.

It uses a mantra (chant) and mudra (hand movement) that effectively cuts through negativity from within oneself and awakens us to our Infinite Creative energy. The meditation is so powerful, that  burns away obstacles to that block us from achieving our higher consciousness. It’s acts as a keycode to activating the flow of the Kundalini energy that opens the gateway to your highest awareness. It balances your chakras, strengthens the aura and empowers your authority to make decisions. It allows you to release low vibrations that may be clinging to you.

I have had the opportunity to teach it countless times and it’s been a favorite and frequent request at many of my classes. Try it out and tell us what you think in the comments. Feel free to share it with those who you feel could use it. Together we can utilize these tools to uplift each and everyone of us.

Peace and blessings and may you Shine Your Light, big and bright.

Would you like to join us for the Sacred Journey Meditation and Healing Retreat on a tropical island in Thailand? Our next one is 29 Jan – 5 Feb, 2018. Early bird specials are happening this week. Message me for details at JulieJewelsBertrand@gmail.com 

For more info and photos, check out our full retreat page page at:  http://jewelsbertrand.com/retreat/ or

Can’t make it to Thailand but would like a personal yoga, reiki or cord-cutting session? Head over to the Work With Me section on my web-site. I can work with you via Skype or WhatsApp.

I also offer private Yoga, Meditation and Spiritual Retreats. Great for a personal one to one retreat or with your friends, family, wedding and business retreats. Email me to create your personal sacred journey in Thailand, Bali, Greece, California, Nepal or the land of your dreams.