Balispirit Festival #3, Day One!
Yesterday some 50 or more presenters – yogis, musicians, and holistic healers – and media gathered at the Yoga Barn to introduce themselves before the
start of the festival now in its third year, one that is apparently being heard around the world, if ticket sales, (doubled from last year) are any
indication. The mic was passed around at the meeting and presenters introduced themselves – “Hi, my name is Tina and I teach alchemistic yoga dance”.
“My name is Michael and I am a Watsu therapist”. “My name is Jack. I teach Celtic-inspired yoga and I am amazed to be here with activators from around
the world”. It was a family reunion. Each of us with a common goal. To make this Bali Spirit Festival the best one yet.
It’s my second Bali Spirit Festival and I am elated to be here. The word has apparently gotten out about the festival because for over a week, Ubud has
been filling up with new faces. Motorcycles buzzing about town with dread locked and tatooed passengers. With beautiful bodied yogis and yoginis. Of
musicians riffing in the town’s bars and cafes.
Before the opening ceremony my friends and I joined dozens of others for dinner at Kafe. Some were headed to the opening night festivities at the Arma,
others to various mediations being held around town, and still others to the pre-party at the home of Michael Franti.
Across the table from me was Sachiho Kojima – a harpist who will lead a spirit mediation workshop on Sunday. Her host, a Balinese resident, told me he
was still buzzing from the incredible energy at the presenter’s gathering. He told me about meeting Sachiho in Okinawa at a music workshop. I learned
that she was once a member of a popular punk rock group in Tokyo. I heard about Okinawa, a place that for me, an American, conjures up memories of
bombings and military occupation. I learned that the island of Okinawa is a place of intense spiritual power, a matriarchal society, where women are
revered as shamans and priestesses – their connection to mystical forces and powers well known. I mentally added Okinawa as a place I will one day
visit and Sachiho’s sound mediation workshop as one I will attend.
By the time the bill arrives, we had missed the opening ceremony at the Arma, and so we joined a cadre of cars to the post opening party at none other
than the home of Michael Franti, who was graciously hosting (he himself is out of town), a group of musicians from Sweden called Kultiration in his
We tottered through the dark, serenaded by frogs, on a narrow path between rice paddies, along a canal and up a hill to a house lit with candles. When
we entered there were at least 50 people milling about, talking, and doing partner yoga on the living room floor. Yoga at a party? That’s a first for
I had taken along a new friend, a gal who arrived that very afternoon from Los Angeles to attend the festival. “Sasha” said to me over breakfast this morning
that she couldn’t get over the fact that people were connecting and dancing and enjoying themselves without being drunk. She loved the fact that small
talk was about where people were from, what they love, and that she never once heard the question, “What do you do?” Later, the band began to play
and we began to dance, and dance, and dance….until the wee hours of the morning when finally we left to get a few hours sleep before Day Number
One of the Bali Spirit festival.
Written by : Robin Sparks