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

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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Hammock Enlightenment at the BaliSpirit Festival

It is my second day at the BaliSpirit Festival and I have a moment. It’s one of those euphoric, momentous moments, the “can you believe I am here moment.” And it happens not when I am in the midst of a rocking African dance class, shimmying my hips from side to side and flailing my head in what I think is utter abandon but in reality is probably comedic imitation of the instructor. It happens when I sit in a hammock under the shade of a palm tree, rocking my one year old baby and nursing him to sleep.

A few minutes after he succumbs, a large breadfruit falls with a loud thud, a few feet away . My heart falls, but my baby lies peacefully and I conjure up a prayer of gratitude, gratitude for the lucky stars watching over, that didn’t allow the fruit to fall on his tender little head and gratitude for being here, for allowing the magic of Bali to seep back into my being.

You see, when you leave Bali, the stripping away of the Bali magic can start to happen. It’s innocuous at first, because you are at first radiant in         it, the glow of possibility. And then, as life in your “normal” the pre and post Bali life, begins anew, you become immersed in the whirlwind of work, relationships and living, and you start to rebuild little by little that armor you wear to protect yourself. You begin to forget what it feels like to only need flip-flops and a bikini and yoga pants, maybe a surfboard and a smile. You forget what it feels like to experience every moment of every day without worrying about what’s next, unless it’s another green drink.

And then, if you are fortunate, as I am, as so many of the lucky ones who attend the annual Bali Spirit Festival, you return to Bali.

Despite the diesel fumes that surround you on the drive up to Ubud, and the intense heat, you notice the plumeria and the lush tropical foliage, the coconut palms that line the road, the small stores selling nasi goring and cap chay and the colour. The colour of flags and prayer offerings; of ceremonies and hope. And you arrive at the BaliSpirit Festival and you remember that you are in a place of dreams. For this festival was created from dreams, intermingled with love and hope that somehow flowed into a yummy stew of yoga, music, art, creativity and joy. There’s a tribe of teachers, artists and musicians that come from around the world, attracted by the festival’s call. They come, not for hefty paychecks, but for the wild sweetness of Bali, the embrace of community here and the vibe at BaliSpirit.

That’s why my yogi husband Eoin (Finn) and I are here, baby in tow; to inhale the Bali “spirit” a little more deeply and carry it back with us. This morning on the grassy lawn pavilion, Eoin shared his hammock enlightenment mantra: “We want to make the world a better place, by slowing down our frenetic pace, by doing so we make the space to open up to love and grace.”

There was a slight breeze and a string of ocean blue hammocks swayed in the breeze. I managed to find an empty hammock and found a few moments of the big slow down, the recharge, the getting off of autopilot immersion back into my life.

I realized how much I need it. I am drinking it in. I hope you are too.

Written by : Insiya Rasiwala-Finn


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