The gift of Freedom
As we reach the midway point of the BaliSpirit Festival, it is becoming clear that we’re not just practicing yoga in separate buildings, on separate mats, having separate experiences.
Take a look around, and you will see – or rather, feel – how everybody has started to connect. We meet old and new faces, practice together, share hugs, drops of sweat, and create new memories as a whole. Take a look around, and you will see – or rather, feel – how a large community has started to shape up. A community in which playfulness is a key rule of foundation, as are acceptance, truth, and a willingness to learn.
How blessed are we to be surrounded by like-minded people, for a solid five days, that walk their talk, and dare to freely express themselves?
Gwyn Williams’ class resonates strongly with this feeling, as it is themed around Freedom. Gwyn shares his vision: “Think back a good five hundred years ago. All that people had to focus on, was survival and security. Am I safe, will I be able to have enough food to survive? Now think a hundred, or even fifty years back. People’s main attention was on knowledge. Nowadays, I don’t feel like we are as occupied with survival or knowledge as much. We value Freedom.
Freedom is not something you get. It is something you give.
We have all come to this festival to gift each other this freedom. Let’s get rid of our old jackets today, let go of our old ways, and create space to experience Freedom. I think we can all lift our hands up in the sky and vow for that, can’t we?”
I don’t think there were any hands that did not swing into the air.
After a lovely shared chant, led by the sweet-voiced Indra on guitar, Gwyn takes us through some gentle, flowing movements. Later on it will become clear that these really are the foundation of another thing we can gift each other.
Working in pairs, we play with the themes of trust, expansion – as we hold hands, lean back and open our hearts, or put our feet together and bring them up in the sky. Partner yoga is a wonderful tool to note where you are at, in terms of holding patterns in the body. Am I able to fully let go, be present and with my breath?
My partner has legs about 1.5 the length of mine – which isn’t uncommon, really. Our heights don’t really work so well together, and I’m glad when Gwyn says: “There are about two people here in this group that are the exact same size as you. Go and find them, and hang out together for a while. Look each other in the eyes, and smile.”
What a blessing to be in Asia, where more people are ‘short’ as I am – compared to the tall Dutch people in my home country. I pair up with two beautiful souls, and it doesn’t take long before we hang onto hands, elbows, place our legs upon the other person’s bodies, twist, fold forward or backward – and laugh an awful lot. I feel completely free to laugh out loud and feel my heart beam.
Gwyn comes back to our foundational movements, and explains how these can be used while doing bodywork. We want to use our intuition, trust, fluidity, breath, awareness, as well as lunges, Archers, tree postures, and our hands to push upon our partner’s “Freedom point”. Gwyn shows us how it’s done; watching him ‘perform’ massage is like a meditation in itself, after which we all get to give and receive. As we tune into our partner’s energy, the vibration in the Lawn Pavillion changes. If we hadn’t fully let go yet, we sure have now.
This is Freedom. This is allowance. This is BaliSpirit. Welcome Home.
Written by : Saar Grolleman