I planned this trip to Bali around three events, my retreat, Shiva Rea’s teacher training and the Bali Spirit Festival. Due to the Indonesian elections and a swiftly imposed rule that in the weeks leading up to Election Day, no large groups could assemble, the Spirit Festival was forced to switch dates. While I know this caused innumerable headaches to the event organizers, it resulted in a boon of yogi culture in Bali for more than a month.
Many teachers and performers who had planned to be here for the festival in early April were unable to make it for the new late-April dates, but chose to come to Bali anyway. New teachers and performers were brought in to fill the festival’s calendar and so I sort of got a two-for-one of the cream of the yogic crop.
Tuesday I completed my last day of 'work' in Bali by participating in a reality TV shoot at Kumara Sakti. Oh the things I do... seriously sometimes I really wonder. A Dutch-based show is filming a series in Bali, bringing famous people here for restorative vacations. This one featured Denny de Munk attending a yoga class. If you live in Europe look for my backside or possibly my left foot's TV debut this November.
I bought a Bali Spirit Festival pass and volunteered my services writing the daily press releases. This job suited me quite well since a requirement for writing about the workshops and concerts is attending them. In order to fulfill my duties, I am up at 6 a.m., attending my morning asana class by 8:00 and I usually get home around 10 p.m.
My days are chockablock full of asana, ayurveda, tantric chanting, movement meditations, trance dance, poi play and Kirtans. It is like a yogic Lalopalooza has come to town and I have a media pass! The event is still in its infancy, this is only its second year. But what it lacks in age it more than makes up for in the breadth of workshops and the spirit of the festivalgoers. The ‘stars’ of the show hold no pretences, they mingle freely with the yogis, and take each others’ workshops with the rest of us.
I took classes from Katy Appleton, a very beautiful UK-based yogini, who teaches Prana Flow in a way that allows for each student to experience their own vinyasa. Rarely were two of us in the same posture at the same time, but with Katy’s guidance we all worked on the same muscle groups, just in our own authentic ways.
I was treated to a workshop by Mark Witwell who teaches from such a space of love and compassion that you cannot help but to fall instantly head over heals for the man. At the end of his class he individually thanked each of the 60-some odd students for the chance to share the teachings of his teacher with them. I was so moved by his gratitude that immediately set a goal for myself to get to study with him in the future.
Throughout the week I learned so much that I can fold into my personal practice as well as into my teaching style and my love for the global yoga community was confirmed time and time again in the beautiful faces I saw and conversations I had. In the middle of this week of bliss I got an email from my Mysore friend Cary and a day later she had booked a ticket to Bali. Cary arrived in time for the last day of the festival.
During the week I did two full Yoga Malas, 108 sun salutations. For those of you unfamiliar, a sun salutation is a flow of nine or so postures including forward bends, back bends, arm strengthening poses and extensions. All together about 1000 asanas make up a Yoga Mala. It is an amazing experience, and what better place to practice one than Bali alongside 100 other yogis.
As the festival wound down I had some time to reflect on just how amazing this yoga path continues to be for me. I get to meet the most beautiful people, normal and thus extraordinary people, who are living yoga off the mat. People who have found their path and are secure enough to help bring others along for the ride.
Last night I attended the festival wrap party and I sat conversing the universe, the changing combined consciousness and the viral spread of curiosity with the beautiful Rocky Dawuni (who I mention here by way of introducing you to his music if you don't already know him) and my dear friends Tia and Cary, I realized that I can affect change, that I can virally spread hope and a new perspective. We are living in a transformational time. I now see the challenges in life as the opportunities they truly are. Change is so beautiful; nothing provides opportunity like change.
What a beautiful way to live. I invite you to find the curiosity and opportunity in your day.
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