Gwendoline Ferreira

My family loves sports and since I was 5 years old I have always been practicing some sort of physical activity (swimming, ballet, gymnastics, athletics, volleyball etc.). I have 3 brothers and everyone does sports. Thinking about it, as I grew up it never was about winning this contest, this national or international championship but always having the recognition from my parents. As this did not work as I wanted, I stopped competing during my years at the university. This is when I took my first yoga class, in 2006. I was looking for a way to relax and unwind while still maintaining a physical activity. I had a really hard time at the beginning, especially with stillness and so did not find yoga relaxing but rather challenging for my unsettled mind. 

I can’t explain why but even if it was hard and I felt out of my comfort zone, I kept trying. Thinking about it, maybe this is because I suddenly started to realize how fiery I was. I could not resist reacting. For example, I could not lie down for 5 minutes or listen fully to someone without responding. It seems like I was already thinking about what I wanted to say before the other person even finished talking. I could simply not relax and calm down. I was always on the move, in my mind and in my body.

I did visit a lot of yoga teachers, places and practiced different yoga style until I found what worked for me: Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. After only one class, I understood that this was the way to go, for me. I felt calm and empty from this desir of reacting to everyone and everything. I could finally just be for a little while.

While finishing my PhD in Underwater Archaeologist in France, I realised that when this will be done I will be set. My teacher told me the timing was perfect and I will be replacing him as a researcher at the CNRS (National Centre of Science Research) when I finish my studies. That really freaked me out. I was only 26 years old, and was in a relationship doing the job I dreamt of… but that was not it. I could feel it in my bones. Would I have to live this life until I retire?

So I decided to leave. I told my teacher I will be leaving for around 3 months as after that I won’t have holidays and decided to explore the world just for a bit. I told one of my best friends and she decided to join the trip. We had no money, we did not speak english but somehow managed to leave 6 months later. After travelling in Africa and in Asia, we ended up working in Exmouth, Western Australia, at first as housekeepers. I quickly realised that I was at the edge of a burnout in France because of the pressure of being in a Phd, and suddenly all my stress stopped. My IBS disappeared and I felt alive and finally where I belonged. I knew that my life purpose was not to stay in Exmouth but it felt right being there and that was one of the most important moments of my life. I felt connected to myself.

It was a key moment because I realised that I did not need to know it all and study forever to be happy. I realised that having no money and no plan was actually the most relieving feeling at this time and, most importantly, I finally surrendered to the present moment and enjoyed my life.

As I was an underwater archaeologist in France, I quickly bounced from this and started teaching scuba diving and travelled from Australia to Asia. I also officially resigned at this time from my PhD.

During this time working as a scuba diving instructor, I decided to go deeper in my yoga study and studied Ashtanga Yoga in India (Mysore), and Bali with world renowned teachers such as: Gregor Maehle, Monica Gauci, Ramesh Sheeti, Laruga Glaser and many others, following my path as a practitioner.

WIth years of practice behind me and my first 200hr Ashtanga Yoga YTTC, I decided to quit my job as a scuba diving instructor, taking again another leap of faith. The start was very difficult financially. The land owner of what is now Yoga Bliss Lembongan asked everyone that he knew on the island if they knew a good yoga teacher. Our island is only 7km2 so we are not many. Lucky me, everyone said my name! We then met for the first time in his local restaurant and he asked me if I wanted to take care of a yoga studio if he was building one. I said yes! I then began leading drop-in classes, teaching 5 classes a day trying to make a living. After months at this crazy rhythm, I started leading yoga and surf retreats and later on my own Yoga Teacher Training. This was unbelievable but it felt so right! I was really living my dharma.

After lots of other trainings in Ashtanga and other field such as Ayurveda, Yin Yoga, Sound Healing, Yoga Therapy, Anatomy and Philosophy, I completed an additional 300hr YTT with Monica Gauci and Gregor Maehle who are published authors. Other trainings have as well followed as it is one of my passions to stay a student and always keep learning. So these last years I always taught trainings and, in between them, took trainings as a student myself.

In the last years of practice and while dealing with injuries, I found Restorative Yoga. After enjoying all the benefits of such an amazing practice, I then trained in Restorative Yoga (in the tradition of Iyengar) with Judith Hanson Lasater and Lizzie Lasater to be able to share with my students the Art of doing nothing and all the magic of Savasana! It arrived perfectly on point for when I discovered that I was pregnant with my little boy, Leo. Pregnancy has taught me a lot about my body and my practice. Realising how different we are and feel as a mom to be or after giving birth, I deepened my knowledge by becoming a certified Prenatal – Postnatal – Kids & Teens Yoga Teacher. Teaching Yoga is in my opinion accessible to everybody and the only thing we need to help others is willingness and knowledge.

I am also trained to teach Yoga anatomy, Yoga therapy and Yoga medicine by Physiotherapist and Chiropractor such as Monica Gauci, Judith Hanson Lasater, Paul Grilley and David Keil.

I am not listing all the teachers and certifications I had as a way to show off but rather to tell you that it has been a lot of work and investment in time and money. It took a lot of work and dedication for me to realise that all of this was needed.

Being now a leader of my yoga community, I had to step up and offer yoga to everyone. I offer yoga to the local kids, the expecting moms,the advanced yogini that visit our island and to other yoga teachers. I offer yoga to my students and want the practice to grow with them. 

Being a E-RYT500, RPYT and YACEP Yoga Teacher with thousands of hours of teaching and trainings, I feel privileged to facilitate and lead Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga Bliss on the beautiful Nusa Lembongan. I have certified hundreds of yoga teachers to this day and always in small groups to assure personal attention and quality of training. I am also a Certified Sound Therapist and give private sound treatment to students or island visitors. I have lived here for now 6 years with my husband and our mini yogini Leo, 2 years old. 

I believe that being a yoga teacher is a lifelong journey. and my aim is to help yoga teachers stand out from the crowd and grow their offerings so they can thrive and share their passion of yoga.