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

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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Tara Judelle’s Lila Brings Play Back into Yoga

Tara Judelle, no longer a newbie to the Bali yoga scene, started Saturday morning’s Lila class by analyzing her own journey through this year’s festival. She has come to the realization that she’s grouchy, and has spent a great deal of time getting hot and bothered. The honesty was refreshing.

She realized it was the perfect time for her Saturday morning theme – Lila, or play. Tara recognized that the people who live in Ubud are so playful, and they are in fact, teaching her to play. In the class she hoped for a “slow build and hopefully we will get a little nutty by the end.”

She was back in the United States recently, attending her niece’s birthday party, which was loaded with moon bounces and slides. She spent her time focusing on the children, more than hanging with the serious adults. This was when Tara realized that the children got bored pretty quick. After a few times down the slide, they wanted to go down on their stomachs, in groups of two or three, anything to just take it up a notch. They were constantly reinventing the experience, to take in more joy.

Einstein says that play is the highest form of research. And, asanas are research on what the body can do, but it is hard to notice the play of yoga, of the mind.

Tara even offered the yogis the chance to leave class, before it even began. An African dance class was occurring just on the other side of the wall. She appreciated the sound of the music coming through the trees, saying I understand if you want to leave. That sounds like fun over there. She was determined to bring fun, or Lila, into the class.

And, she did. In downward facing dog she suggested yogis could touch their neighbor, but cautioned don’t put any digit into anyone’s hole. She offered up a modification, that anytime you want to shake your booty, just go for it. While in half moon pose, she directed if you fall, fall gloriously, “take out the whole row.” She invited the group of well over 150 yogis to play on their own moon bounce, a bouncing high lunge with waving arms. Later in the class, she asked the group to act like a snake, a drunk snake. Tara said “I never met a drunk snake I didn’t like…well, scratch that.” I wondered where she is hanging out. At one point she tried to say “shift” and it sounded more like “shit.” She laughed it off saying “shit is consciousness in Sanskrit.”

It is important to remind yourself not to be so serious, to bring the fun back into yoga. With each of these cues, directions, and jokes, the class laughed, with muscles straining, with brows sweaty.

She cautioned the group to catch the moments where they got super serious, and to instead invited them into play. If you see someone having fun, it only means that you are also allowed to have fun. For this 90 minute session, Tara definitely brought the fun, and the play, into yoga.

Written by : Amber Hoffman


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