Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali May 7-11th, 2025

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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Kiyomi’s got nothing to Prove

Taking your yoga practice off the mat: often spoken about, not as easy to embody.

As the BaliSpirit Shuttle takes me back to downtown Ubud this evening, I ponder over the message Kiyomi Takahashi shared during her Kundalini: Find You in You class. We worked on getting in touch with our Soul, the voice of our heart, and tried to quiet our Monkey Mind by doing hundreds of Breaths of Fire – in different positions – followed by retentions, locking of bandhas, and long and deep exhales.

How do you know the difference between signals of the physical body – “Ouch, I really can’t take this anymore, this might end up hurting me” – and those of the (weak) mind?

You kick yourself into Top Gear. Move beyond resistance: chant, meditate, box all that doesn’t serve you into the air around you with your fists…Breathe deeper than you ever have before. You move until you reach a state of flow, of stillness within movement. Quietness; a question-free zone – there is no option but to take on the challenge. Surrender .

Sounds of drums and songs in the background – the Capoeira energy can be felt across the festival grounds – quickly faded, once Kiyomi spoke my new mantra aloud.

There is nothing to prove, only to improve.

I travel inward as I reflect on this, and ask myself several questions. I invite you to do the same. ‘Who do I try to prove anything to? During my yoga practice, in my profession, when I’m with family, and with friends that I have or haven’t yet met. If it is just myself I am trying to prove something to, what belief lies at the root of this action? What areas of my life need attention; where can I create space for improvement?’

I look out of the window as we pass temples, street stalls, rice fields and election billboards. I become aware of the fact that I’ve nearly spent two months in Indonesia, yet haven’t learned as much about the culture – or been able to get in touch with the locals – as I’d like to. Attracted by Ubud’s healing energy, I dove head-first into the safe haven most of us find here. But often feel a bit ‘itchy’ about the Westernization of my current base – who really benefits from my stay here?

An important founding feature of the Bali Spirit Festival is the ability to give back to the community. Not just to the travellers and expats that live on the island or travel from close or afar. But mainly the people that give this island its true face and medicinal roots. Those who are at times forgotten, as we’re so occupied by creating a comfortable ‘home away from home’.

The festival supports some amazing outreach and awareness programs, focusing on environment, children’s education, the encouragement of the use of the Balinese Language, bamboo reforestation, and community health – primarily HIV/Aids. These programs quickly get overshadowed by the next juice bar to check out, a Kirtan to attend, or that dress you fell in love with at the Dharma Fair.

Take some time this week, to ask yourself what you’d like to improve in your life. How do you give back to your local community, and who can help you to take your Inner Monkey to the forest so that your attention can travel where it is needed?

Takahashi’s class was a challenging one, though we were offered plenty of options to modify postures. Kundalini yoga gets energy flowing up and down your spine, into your heart space – where it whisper that the practice of yoga goes well beyond our moves on the mat. We need people whose teaching radiates from their heart, and lightens up more than just the space we’re physically present in, to get us to question our ways. Kiyomi does just that.

You can read more about giving back here:

Written by : Saar Grolleman


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