Bali Spirit Festival 2018 - A Roundup by Robin Sparks " />


Bali Spirit Festival 2018 - A Roundup by Robin Sparks

God I love this festival, and this year, BaliSpirit’s 11th exceeded all the others.

Phenomenal, sublime… This is a music festival for those who don't like typical music festivals with their drunken, messy, masculine, brutish energy. BaliSpirit will connect you with yourself more deeply as well as those around you. – Chip Conley

Bali Spirit Festival 2018 - A roundup by Robin Sparks Evening event

The week started with a jam-packed opening night at The Yoga Barn. After a mesmerizing Balinese Kecak performance, DJ’s spun Afro/Caribbean mixes, and from the first song, everyone was on the dance floor, dancing with abandon. I saw so many people from my past. From my dance community in Northern California, from Maui, from Oregon, from Australia and of course, from my 10 years in Bali. We danced until the last song and then we straggled home to get some sleep before beginning the festival the next day.

I arrived early for the Clarity Breath workshop led by my breathwork teachers: Dana Dharma Devi and Ashanna Solaris - the Mamacitas of breathwork in Bali - and there were at least 200 people filling the main pavilion when I arrived. Dana and Ashanna opened our hearts with mantras, dance and invocations. Then they invited us to face the person sitting next to us to share our intentions for the week. Looking into my eyes was a woman from Italy who began to cry. She shared that she has come to the festival to remember who she is. I have a feeling that by the end of our 60 minutes of connected circular breathing, she had begun to remember.

Bali Spirit Festival - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_breathwork
Later, I walked around the Purnati Resort taking it all in: the pool, the pavilions, the Coco Love stage, the delicious food and the healing huts.

I saw Rebecca Pflaum, Kundalini teacher and Danny Paradise, yoga teacher, as well as Ixchel who grew up in Bali and now leads medicine ceremonies in Guatemala and around in the world, and so many more, confirming that my community is here in Bali.

There were so many classes and workshops on the week long roster, some that caught my eye were: Shamanic Yoga Flow, Qi Gong, Jivamukti, Soul Flow Yoga, Kundalini, Waking and Opening up your Unique Spiritual Gifts, Dancing with Rumi, Sex and Yoga, African Drumming Meditation, Creative Embodiment - Empower your Voice & body, Cosmic Hoop Jam, Growing Old Gracefully, Yoga in Da Hood, Sound Healing Meditation Journey, Cacao Ceremonies, Making Malas, Yoga of Radical Love and Relationships, Shamanic and Yogic Perspectives on Healing, Tarot: Going Deeper into Your Soul’s Journey and Breath of Bliss. How was I going to make time for all of these!

Bali Spirit Festival 2018 - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_daily workshops
The next morning, I arrived early to angel (yes that is a verb) in Christabel Zamor’s Breath of Bliss Breathwork workshop. Who knew that my first meeting with Christabel six years ago on the dance floor at The Yoga Barn would turn into this! From 25 attendees at her first breathwork session in her home, to today, where several hundred breathers congregate, many who had traveled from all around the world, gathering to learn how to create even more bliss and ecstasy in their lives. Breathwork is now as, if not more, popular in Bali than yoga. Thanks in large part to Christabel and her Breath of Bliss.

Bali Spirit Festival 2018  - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_Pooltime
Two hours later, it was time for a cool down at the pool. There I met Sara from New York City. I asked what brought her to the festival. She said she had watched a childhood friend’s transformation after attending the festival last year. She was going through a healing crisis at that time which had her confined to bed. Each time she woke up, the screen saver was rice paddies in Bali. She was determined to make it to BaliSpirit Festival 2018, and here she is. A volunteer and a participant. “I’ve gotten messages from the universe every day I’ve been in Bali,” she said. “It’s been incredible. I am facing some of my deepest fears traveling here alone.” What’s more, she shared that she has a life long phobia of snakes. “I believe fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but the courage to move beyond it”.

Next a cacao ceremony in the Sky Pavilion. I chugged back a cup of cacao and proceeded to trance dance with the others.

Fast forward 2 days, and I was on the road early once again to make it to the Alchemy of Breath workshop. The pavilion was full, of what looked like over 200 people, so I took a seat on the floor near the front, and there they were: Anthony and Amy, two of my longtime Bali friends. Anthony founded Alchemy of Breath two years ago and has gone on to spread breathwork around the world through weekly webinars and training hundreds of breathworkers.

Bali Spirit Festival 2018- A Roundup by Robin Sparks_Alchemy of Breath
His year-long online trainings commence each year in Bali, where the trainees lead their own breathwork groups and assist with the Alchemy of Breathwork festival workshop. He guides us in exercises that slow us down, invite us into presence and connection with ourselves and the others in the room. Sitting across from a partner, we breathe together, sink into our cores establishing our sovereignty, and then gaze deeply into the windows of the person’s soul sitting opposite us. I have profound unique experiences with each person I face. Then we laid down to breathe, guided by lovely music and the gentle loving words of Anthony. Witnessing several hundred people from all over the world falling in genuine love with each other, and realizing how perfect, unique and beautiful each one of us is was a blissful experience indeed.

Bali Spirit Festival 2018 - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_a festival full of love
When the breathwork session was over, the group was invited to share. A roaming mic made it way around the room and stops at a Chinese woman. With the help of a Chinese translator, the woman was able to be understood and shares: “Thank you. I have never felt my heart so open. I felt like I can drop my mask now and show my face to the world.” She said that in China the pace of life is very fast, and that there is disconnection and judgment. “It would be so good for people in China to have the opportunity to do this work. We invite you Anthony to bring this work to China.”

Lynsey, visiting from America told me: “I discovered breathwork during my own healing journey, my personal grief, and physical challenges, and it has really helped me. So many layers have come off and I’ve just opened up. The journey mirrored back to me those pieces and parts of me that need healing. It was intense, deep and very beautiful.”

On Sunday, the last day of the festival, there was a breathwork special fundraiser event for victims of the recent Mount Agung volcanic activity. The Breathwork special event was run by a culmination of four of the breathwork leaders at the festival this week. Four styles, one session, falling between Christabel’s energetic ‘ecstatic vibe’ style, Dana and Ashanna’s feminine devotional style and Anthony’s soft gentle heart-opening style.

Bali Spirit Festival - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_breathwork worshop
As a breathwork angel that day, I was drawn to one person after another - to inspire those who were holding their breath to go for it. To help those who were forcing the exhale due to rising emotions to breath into it. And to offer those who I sensed, just needed love and a gentle touch on their heart center. From what I could see, just about every person on that floor had a moving experience. There were lines of people afterwards signing up for the trainings.

Later that day I entered the Coco love stage food area and sat down to eat a falafel wrap next to a man from India who told me how powerful the breathwork had been for him. He said the entire week at the festival had been so enjoyable that he had extended his stay. He said that he had had no idea how powerful breathwork could be and how much emotion he had locked up inside.

Back to the pool for another cool down where a man from Brazil told me that the entire week had been a big learning experience for him. He said he had been learning on several levels about his current relationship and that he was going to stop worrying about where it was going and enjoy it in the moment.

Bali Spirit Festival 2018 - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_mermaid
A mermaid showed up with a tail and immediately gathered around her a dozen children shouting with glee. When she splashed into the pool several little ones followed. Can there be any more joy. Really?

How does one even begin to put into writing an event of this magnitude?

The closing night of music, my friends and I watched Tina Malia performing Heal this Land.” I cried when she sang “Gonna Heal this Land” and again when she sang “When we Reach the Shores of Babylon” because I felt the shift.

Once again I danced late into the night first at the main stage and later at the Coco Love stage. We then bid each other goodbye, climbed on our scooters, determined to carry this love and light with us until we meet again next year at BaliSpirit Festival 2019.

“I am beyond grateful to be part of the BaliSpirit Festival family. I have be part of many festivals around the world but none as heart opening and nourishing as this one.” - Amish

Bali Spirit Festival - A Roundup by Robin Sparks_evening


Written by: Robin Sparks 

Follow Us
Subscribe to RSS Feed