Helpful Hints


You won’t go far without seeing a small square or round palm leaf offering filled with flowers and rice, Canang Sari, on the streets. The phrase "Canang Sari" is derived from the Balinese words sari means essence and canang means a small palm-leaf basket. Canang Sari is the symbol of gratitude and are offered every day in the morning, afternoon and evening as a form of thanking the Gods for peace given to this world. Canang sari can also be used to ward off negative energy, attract prosperity or honor ancestors.

These beautiful offerings also represent the elements (fire, water, earth and air), the directions (north, south, east and west) and Hindu Gods (Shiva, Brahma,and Vishnu). One of my favorite aspects of Canang sari are the colorful flowers that delight anyone who is lucky enough to see one in person. The colors of the flowers are white, red, yellow, blue or green. These colors are not randomly chosen:

  • White-colored flowers that point to the east as a symbol of Iswara, also known as Shiva. Shiva is as one of the Trimurti, holy trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism, Gods.
  • Red-colored flowers that point to the south as a symbol of Brahma, God of Fire. Brahma is often referred to as the great grandsire of all human beings and another pillar of the the Trimurti.
  • Yellow-colored flowers that point to the west as a symbol of Mahadeva. Mahadeva means “Great god”.
  • Blue or green colored flowers that point to the north as a symbol of Vishnu. Vishnu is conceived as “the Preserver” within the Trimurti.

The average Balinese familial compound requires around 15 canangs to be placed in strategic areas within the home three times each day. The Padma, or temple statue in the north-eastern corner, needs two. The statue next to it – the Tugu, responsible for home security – also receives two. A fifth is left on the ground in between them to placate the lower spirits. The next is balanced on top of a compound’s well or water-bore – for watery Vishnu. Brahma is offered one in the Kitchen. Another single offering is placed in the main bedroom, on the family gazebo (or bale bengong), and one on the ground in the middle of the compound for Ibu Pertiwi, Mother Earth. The last four go outside. The Pengapit lawang – the little shrines either side of a compound gate – receive one each, and the final two are placed between them on the ground for the lower spirits. Only by honouring both the higher and lower spirits of a household can negativity be balanced with positivity – thus ensuring family harmony. Overall, canang sari powerfully illustrates a culture that values its rituals and beliefs.

During your time with alchemy of yoga, we’ll learn how to make a Canang Sari and the importance of these offerings to the Balinese way of life with our extended Balinese family. This evening will also include a traditional Balinese dinner and performance by Agung’s daughters. Our training not only teaches you how to understand yourself on a deeper level, we’ll also incorporate the Balinese culture to teach lessons of sacredness and love. We can’t wait to share this ancient culture with you!


When in doubt just in case you find yourself not knowing the etiquette learn how to say ‘ma’af sekali’ (very sorry).

Daily Etiquette
1. Body language: it is rude to point with the index finger. Use, instead, your thumb and always your right hand (left is seen as impure). The head is seen as sacred, so avoid patting children’s heads, and refrain from displaying the bottoms of your feet (also seen as impure). Talking with your hands on your hips is a sign of contempt, anger or aggression.

2. Hospitality: handshaking is customary for greetings (again, use only the right hand). A common method when greeting in passing is to press your palm to your friend’s palm in front of your chests, fingers point upwards.

3. Visitors: always welcome with refreshments, but refrain from eating or drinking until host says ‘silakan’ (please begin). When eating with hands, first wash hands, then use right hand only. Sandals and shoes may be left outside the entrance the home.

4. What to Wear: When visiting rural villages, skimpy attire is not considered appropriate.

5. Bargaining: in a Balinese market, haggling over price is not considered impolite, but be pleasant. Bali is not one of those places where making an agitated display of negotiations is considered part of the process. Smile, and insist on the price you want to pay, and if they refuse your price, smile, say ‘thank you’ (terima kasi) and walk away.

6. Public affection: touching between members of the same sex is seen as friendship affection, but affection between members of the opposite sex is seldom seen in public.

Temple Etiquette
1. For BOTH men and women, when entering a temple, wear a sarong around the waist.
2. Please ask permission before taking pictures.
3. Please avoid pointing the soles of the feet towards the shrines if sitting on the ground.

Names tell a story

Basically, the Balinese only have four first names:
-First child: Wayan or Putu
-Second child: Made or Kadek
-Third child: Nyoman or Koman
-Fourth child: Ketut
-Fifth child: Start over with Wayan or Putu, and so on….

Balinese Social Structure
Balinese follow the caste system, and there are four castes in Balinese society. Intermarriage between castes is prohibited.

BRAHMANA – priests, scholars
KSATRYA – warriors, nobility
WEISYA – merchants
SUDRA – farmers, laborers (primary population)

What are some handy

Words to know

Good morning: Selamat pagi
Good mid-day: Selamat siang
Good evening: Selamat malam
Good-bye: Selamat tinggal (if you’re leaving)/Selamat jalan (someone is leaving you)
Yes: Ya No: Tidak
Thank you: Terima kasi
You’re welcome: Kembali or sama-sama
How are you?: Apa kabar?
What is this / that?: Apa?
Very good: Baik juga!
Please: Silakan Careful: Hati-hati!
One more: Satu lagi Finished: Habis
Bill, please: Minta bon
Excuse me: Permisi or ma’af
Doesn’t matter: Tidak apa-apa (Note: letter ‘c’ pronounced as ‘ch’)
Do you speak English: Bisa bicara Bahasa Inggris?
I don’t speak Indonesian: Saya tidak bisa bicara bahasa Indonesia.
I don’t understand: Saya tidak mengerti.
Where are you from?: Dari mana?
I am from America: Saya dari Amerika.
How long have you been in Bali?: Sudah lama di Bali sini?
I have been in Bali for…: Saya sudah di Bali…..
What is your name?: Siapa nama anda?
My name is….: Nama saya……..
What time is it?: Jam berapa?
Where are you going?: Ke mana? Turn left / right / straight / stop: Belok kiri / belok kanan / terus / stop
Where is the bathroom?: Di mana kamar kecil? Where…?: Di mana? kantor pos = post office kantor polisi = police station toko = shop bank = bank kamar saya = my room WC (way-say) = toilet kamar mandi = bathroom Currency / Exchange Rate: $1 US dollar = 8,675 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah)
Can you help me?: Bisa bantu saya?
I want…: Saya mau…
I want this: Saya mau ini.
I would like: Saya minta
I don’t want it: Saya tidak mau
Do you have?: Ada?
I like: Saya suka
How much / many?: Berapa?
How much?: Berapa harga?
Too expensive: Terlalu mahal
Cheap: Murah


1 = satu
2 = dua
3 = tiga
4 = empat
5 = lima
6 = enam
7 = tujuh
8 = delapan
9 = sembilan
10 = sepuluh

More Numbers

11 = sebelas
12 = dua belas
13 = tiga belas
18 = delapan belas
20 = dua puluh
21 = dua puluh satu
22 = dua puluh dua
30 = tiga puluh
57 = lima puluh tujuh
100 = seratus
104 = seratus empat
135 = seratus tiga puluh lima
200 = dua ratus
1000 = seribu
2500 = dua ribu lima ratus
10 000 = sepuluh ribu
15 576 = lima belas ribu lima ratus tujuh puluh enam
1 000 000 = satu juta
3 500 000 = tiga juta lima ratus ribu

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