Every week I sit down with an inspiring island babe to have a talk about life on the island and their personal journey. This week I’m talking to Lara Ehlken founder of The Body Centering Concept.
// About this Bali Babe
Name: Lara Ehlken
From: Göttingen, Germany
In Bali since: February, 2016
How did you fall in love with this island?
To be honest, it wasn’t really ‘love at first sight’ for me. I visited Bali for the first time in 2014 and I did not feel comfortable at all. Luckily, my perspective on this beautiful island changed completely during my second visit.
One of the first things that contributed to that change was when I taught myself how to ride a scooter. From that moment on I felt the freedom that Bali has to offer. While being free and independent I traveled around more and I got to know the island better.
I learned the language and I tried to make contact with the local people. I discovered that in some areas locals are so poisoned by us foreigners, that they give a wrong impression. But by learning their language I got to know them better. And I feel grateful to be able to experience their traditions and their way of living. I got to understand their culture and therefore the people better.
I grew more respect and appreciation for the island and its people.
What made you move to Bali?
After living in Australia in 2014 I went back to Germany. Very soon I realized, that this was not where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.
My boyfriend was also very keen on moving to another country. So we planned to move to Australia. Because he (my boyfriend) has a good friend living in Bali, we decided to visit him on the way to Australia.
And this is actually how 4 weeks of Bali turned into moving here. The island embraced us in a magical way and we simply couldn’t leave. So we decided to cancel the flights and the visas for Australia and we stayed.
You started your own physio and yoga studio called The Body Centering Concept. Can you tell a bit more about how this all started and the philosophy behind this concept?
In 2013 I graduated as a state-recognized physiotherapist in Berlin/ Germany. I worked in a rehabilitation center where I specialized in the area of sports injuries. At the same time, I started studying the Pilates concept extensively. Pilates made me more aware of the essence of good body control.
When I moved to Bali I went to Ubud to absolve my 200 hours Yoga teacher training with Tara Judelle.
With all the experience I gained I saw the high potential of combining advanced techniques of physiotherapy, pilates exercises that pursuit a central core of stability and yoga which harmonizes the entire body system. I developed “The Body Centering Concept” to share my knowledge with the people around me.
My goal is for people to experience more steadiness and ease in living, movement, and breathing.
What is it that Bali has, that you were missing at the place you are from?
Here it is all about “with each other” instead of the “against each other”.
It is quite a thing to build up a company in Bali and stand your own, all expats around here know what struggles you have to go through. But instead of looking away, people here seem more open to offering each other their help.
I noticed most of the people living in Bali do something they really want to do. Nobody complains about life. And if we do, it is about the small “troubles in paradise”. Whereas in Germany, each and every day I would listen to peoples frustrations about the tiniest things in their life.
What was the hardest part of moving?
One thing that was very hard to learn for me as a German, but I really appreciate now, is that time and structure is not the most important thing in life. I’ve learned to be more flexible and go with the flow a bit more.
It took me some time to adjust and adapt, but I think that is normal when moving to a place so far from what you are used to.
After I made my first contact with other expats, I felt more and more comfortable and at home here.
I realized how Bali somehow exactly knows what I need. As soon as I feel disconnected in whatever way, things happen to make me feel whole again. I still can not explain how that works. But it’s something very magical, that this island has to offer.
How does a random day look like?
My alarm usually wakes me up at 6.30am. I get out of bed and go over into my studio. The studio is an extension of our house.
I will open the windows and sit down in the middle of the room. Here, I enjoy the fresh morning breeze and I use this fresh energy to connect with my body.
At 8 am I’m teaching the first pilates class of the day. I love to see people leave the class truly energized and ready for the day. This is what is giving me energy as well.
Each day on the island looks different. I usually have 2- 3 private pilates classes or personal training sessions a day.
In my free time, I like to go to yoga or barre classes and let somebody else teach me. That gives me new inspiration and it gives me the opportunity to relax and to let go of my thoughts.
In the evenings I like to go for a sunset beach walk with my dog, meet up with friends and celebrate life.
What do you miss the most from your country?
I miss the music scene in Berlin because there is nothing like it. When I lived there, I used to go to secluded outdoor parties in the forest somewhere hidden in the big city. This is something you won’t find here.
What surprised you about Bali and the life here on the island, is there something you did not expect?
I could go very deep into this topic. But one thing I did not know about Bali is the rising tide of plastic waste it is facing. It makes me very sad and angry to see stranded sea turtles wrapped with all sorts of plastic.
This is the reason I don’t use any bags, straws or other kinds of plastic goods. I also try to pick up rubbish every time I visit the beach.
What would you advise anybody who wants to move to Bali or wants to move to another country in general?
If you decide to move to another country then just do so. I would say, have a plan for your big step but also be flexible and let things happen as they come. You will never know what to expect. Even if I give you some insights on my experiences. Yours might look completely different.
So just do it and go with the flow.
What are your future dreams and goals here on the island, what would you like to achieve?
I’m currently working on a new exciting project. It’s a jewelry line with silver and brass designs. I have this special connection to a certain shell, which I always find during my beach walks. I’m creating jewelry pieces that are designed with this shell.
To learn more about the Bali Body Centering concept and other projects of Lara visit her website: http://body-centering.com/ or check out her Instagram accounts: @balibodycentering & @echobylara or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/balibodycentering/