Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali May 1-5, 2024

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Finding my Bali Spirit through dynamic meditation

In the interest of transparency, I must confess I did not walk into Indra Widjanarko’s Dynamic Meditation workshop earlier this afternoon at the Bali Spirit Festival in as cheery a mood as perhaps I typically might have under more normal circumstances. That is to say, I didn’t quite walk in. Hobbled in would be more accurate.

At the risk of being a Debbie Downer (not my intention I promise), please allow me to explain. After years of dreaming of coming to Bali, I was finally getting my chance. I’d taken a leave of absence from work and would be spending the month of March here to explore the island, connect with friends, work on my novel and, last but not least, participate in Bali Spirit Festival. I was looking forward to expanding my practice with some of the world’s best yoga teachers in what I imagined would be a truly magical and breathtaking setting.

What I didn’t expect was that through no one’s fault but my own, I would get into a thankfully minor yet ankle injury-producing scooter accident about a week before the event. I did everything I could to speed the recovery process in the hopes that my big Bali yoga plans would not be foiled. In addition to the obvious things like icing and elevating my ankle, I sought out acupuncture, did copious shots of turmeric juice, and applied every esoteric balm to the affected appendage that empathetic passers-by would recommend.

As the Festival drew near, I found myself on crutches yet still determined to get my yoga on–the anxiety over the lack of progress in my condition growing exponentially by the second. I envoked meditation to quiet the recovering Type-A voice in my head having difficulty accepting the reality that there would be no vigorous Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Acroyoga or hoop dancing in my immediate future–the very things I was most excited about practicing during the Festival. Admittedly though I do try to take the occasional Yin or restorative yoga class in my day-to-day life because it’s “good for me,” the ardent power yogini in me couldn’t help but be disappointed.

It was under these less-than-ideal circumstances that I walked into Indra’s session. As soon as I entered the stone Amphitheatre, I was greeted with the soothing sounds of Indra singing, her guitar, Dong Wenwen’s Qin (a Chinese instrument with more than 2,000 years of history), and the river flowing magnificently before us. Almost instantly, I could feel the tension melting away, the tightness in my shoulders softening. I quickly found a comfortable seated position on my mat and dropped into the guided meditation with surprising ease.

Each of us in the class sat cross-legged in stillness, our eyes shut, firmly grounded to the Earth beneath us. With her gentle voice, Indra painted vivid images along our inward path, and gradually our stillness evolved into a deliciously slow and conscious movement choreographed to the undulating melody and rhythm of the music. We guided our Prana (breath) across our chakras and into our organs using our hands, creating fire by briskly rubbing them together.

As the dynamic meditation began to incorporate motion in the rest of our bodies, I humbly and seamlessly modified the poses in a mindful effort to take care of my ailing ankle. It was in those moments that I finally felt free of the angst I’d subconsciously been carrying around with me over the past week. No longer was I worrying about what I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to do, and as a direct result, I was able to be fully present and enjoy what I was experiencing exactly as it is. No more, no less. After all, isn’t that what this is all about? Letting go of expectations, accepting our Selves as we are in the present moment, and having gratitude for the gifts we have been bestowed?

It occurred to me that I was grateful that my scooter run-in was not more serious, that no one else was hurt, and that I was still able to practice yoga at the Festival to the extent that I could. And there, on my yoga mat in the Dynamic Meditation class at the Amphitheatre, I found the silver lining to my cloud–a beautiful life lesson that I was better for having learned. It is with this perspective that I positively embrace the true spirit of the island and what I know will be an amazing rest of my experience at BaliSpirit Festival.

Written by : Melanie de Leon


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