Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali 2025 Dates TBD

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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Finding Gratefulness in Water

I owe my apologies to all of you. I should never have said that each and every class at this festival would be hot like a Bikram-like one. That was too much of an open invitation, wasn’t it? 

The rain rolled in around midnight, and did not stop until midway through our first morning practice. My full respect to all the volunteers and practitioners that shared beaming smiles – hiding under their umbrellas and rain covers. I can’t believe how many of you actually showed up; some using your mats to protect you from the downpour – as if it was your YogaWo/Mancape.

Our yoga clearly began well before arriving in the shala’s today; we all had to walk and drive through pools of mud, taking deep breaths as our patience got tested by slow traffic, slipping here and there, engaging our core muscles to stay upright, as our flipflops got stuck in the mud, catapulting us forward.

With muddy feet I arrived at a partially flooded Ampitheatre this afternoon. Deera Dewi, originating from Jakarta, would be leading a Gratitude-filled practice in fifteen minutes time. A group of staff-members was mopping the space as fast as they could; it looked like an endless battle. Deera attracted a large group of attendees, who luckily cared more about the experience they were about to have, than the dirt that would soon cover their mat. It’s like our mother used to say:

”Go out and play child, get messy, everything can be washed clean once more.”

It was with this message in mind that I stepped onto my mat (though I will admit I put it on top of a towel, just to make sure the bottom would not get dirty; once a clean freak…). What could I wash clean today?

Deera offered me the chance to empty my cup and explore new ways to expand and advance in common Hatha yoga postures. Filling her class with plenty of jokes, it wasn’t hard to push ourselves just a tad bit further. Starting with some gentle hip openers, offering clear options for beginners and regulars, Deera gave us building block upon building block to quiet our minds and show us that our body is way more capable than we make ourselves belief. Two hours of playfulness passed quickly, as we continuously wondered: where else could we take this leg; what other bind can we make?

With open hips and hearts, we got down into final Savasana. If the rain and my sweat did not wash me clean well enough, Daphne Tse’s beautiful voice certainly did. Her words rolled over me, taking away any thought or emotion that did not have a place to be with me any longer. She sang ‘There is so much magnificence, near the ocean, waves are rolling in’. Feeling grateful for the healing effect of water – whether it be rain, sweat, or the calming sound of the ocean, I could feel my shoulders sink a little deeper into my muddy mat.


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