I flew halfway around to world to get here to teach.
And, let me tell you, the Bali Spirit Festival—a music, dance, yoga and cultural festival organized in cooperation with the Indonesian government—is really worth it.
The presenter’s welcome really set the stage for the beauty in which the festival is set. The Arma is part museum, part resort, part restaurant, part park. My roomie, Julie Dorhman and I, wound down past majestic buildings, coy ponds, statues of deities, continuing until at last we arrived to the Lotus Pond. At the bottom, next to the pond (pictured above) was a huge wall-less building, painted red and gold in the interior in which we would pick up a shwag bag that was weighted down with goodies. This was just the beginning of the beauty and abundance that’s coming our way!
Admittedly, it’s hard to beat the setting. Ubud is lush, with rice paddies and family temples abutting shops and villas. Because there is so much greenery available for construction, the design and build of the festival seems very organic. Tents are carefully and artistically put together, shops are separated by bamboo walls and food is served on basket plates with left bottoms and cleverly made leaf spoons.
The festival lay-out itself is really quite friendly, with all of the studios close together, and well-designed. The shop and food court are at the heart of the action, with the studios and the pool fanned out around them. Local designers are here in force, and participants can choose between traditional Indonesian fare, and healthy raw and live food.
The yoga teachers hail from about the world—with many from the U.S. (Les Leventhal, Danny Paradise, Twee Merrigan, Julie Dorhman and myself), some from Australia (John Ogalvie), Spain (Carlos Pomeda), Singapore (Copper Crow), England (Simon Low) some locals (Cat Kabira), and more. It’s a diverse lineup with, that’s not so huge that you can’t get to all the classes you’d like to take, and not so small that there’s not quite enough to do over the five days that the festival spans. With five classes going on at once, and four classes a day, it’s easy to wear yourself out.
Participants are traveling here from China, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada and Australia. The enthusiasm is high, and the level of practice seems to be too.
The big music happenings begin tonight, an promise to be a gas, with a stage set up in the Arma.
If you have a few weeks and more than a few dollars to spare, I definitely suggest coming to Bali to experience this festival next year. When you do, make sure to make your travel arrangements through Pravassa.
Editor: Tanya L. Markul