Feeling the need to recharge your spirit? Or how about simply connecting with like-minded yogis on a tropical island? The BaliSpirit Festival is on again in March 2014 - a spiritually charged event that inspires and unifies the global community through yoga, dance, healing and the beat of world music.
- An Event That Will Change Your World.
Now in its fifth year, the annual Bali Spirit Festival has cemented its status as Bali’s most popular holistic travel experience, and is gathering steam as one of Asia’s events not to be missed.
In 2012, the Festival aims to build on its wild success, by once again presenting over 100 workshop leaders and world class musicians, spread over five days and nights of yoga, high-energy dance and music, at two gala-style venues.
What sets this Festival apart is its eclectic range of offerings—amounting to a packed menu of benefits for one price of entry--from daytime meditative contemplation to an ecstatic carnival ambience at night; from eco-friendly shopping options to healing arts wisdom and poolside relaxation, from Balinese and Indonesian cultural exchanges to passionate one-of-a-kind global connections.
Festival organizers say that the Festival is “magnified by the magic of Bali,” tantalizing prospective guests who are in search of a vibrant tropical island setting. The daytime Festival grounds are located just outside of Ubud, the capital of the Bali arts scene, in a natural, outdoor setting, with Balinese offerings and cultural demonstrations held daily.
It’s 6.30am in Pondicherry, India, and my sweat tastes like insect repellent. Wiping my brow with a sarong, I contemplate which is the more yogic option: killing insistent mosquitoes with my hand, or lathering my legs with more super-strong insect repellent.
Suddenly, the overhead fans go on and I can focus on the sound of the nearby ocean, and more importantly, the instructions from Byron Yoga Centre founder John Ogilvie as he guides a flowing, early morning practice in the spacious beachside yoga shala.
“The next one is multiple choice,” proffers Ogilvie, before expertly leading almost 50 students safely through six options, ranging from a relaxing Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) to—for those so inclined—Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand). “Whichever option you take, yoga should always be performed joyfully,” Ogilvie adds, as he assists individuals with their choice. “That’s what I like to see,” he nods to one student who, post-Handstand, has flopped onto the floor laughing. “Rolling on the floor, full of joy.”
On India’s south-east coast, it’s easy to be joyful. We are tucked up three kilometres outside of the French colonial town of Pondicherry, which at only 220,000 people, is almost a village by Indian standards.
By Ana Davis
Every time I go to Bali, the moment I step out of the airport into the steamy, nasi-goreng scented air, I start smiling. I just can’t help myself. Smiling is contagious in Bali. In the street, in your hotel, strangers greet you with a broad smile, as if you’re a long lost friend.
I am reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert’s uber-famous novel, “Eat Pray Love”, in which she adopts, during her time in Bali, a daily ‘smiling meditation’ given to her by her idiosyncratic Balinese Guru. Sometimes the simplest things can make us happy.
For the aspiring or already dedicated yogi, Bali has it all. A rich culture steeped in Vedic history, an endearing people who live simple lives, and a beautiful, tropical location in which to roll out our mat, on a well-earned yoga-holiday.
And the centre of yoga in Bali? The charming mountain town of Ubud, of course. Seasoned travelers to Bali will already know Ubud as the hub of traditional Balinese art and culture. What you may not know is that it’s now also the home of a vibrant yoga-culture driven by locals and ex-pats alike.