I have just had a walk around the Purnati festival grounds to check out how things are shaping up for Bali Spirit 2011. It is another beautiful warm sunny day in Bali, and there are smiling faces behind the stands in the Dharma Fair and the Healers’ corner. The Purnati grounds are replete with rolling lawns framed by coconut palms and banana trees and plenty of oversized leafy plants all doing their bit to shade festival go-ers, not to mention provide us with life giving oxygen! (Three cheers for the plants!)
At the Dharma fair you can buy all kinds of interesting things to aid in your body and soul development. I tested some acupressure Prana Nail Mats, with small plastic prongs to stimulate the movement of energy along the chakras. Then I dropped by Utama Spice where I sampled some natural mosquito repellent, which smells wonderful – a mix of citron and spices – such a refreshing change from a chemical repellent. The healers were just setting up as I wondered around, but many of their offerings were already posted. From past life therapy to Balinese traditional healers, to Reiki, there is a technique or a therapy for all spiritual tastes and interests.
Opposite the Dharma Fair is a 2-metre squared billboard with the daily Purnati schedule posted up. Next to the schedule are food stalls, with tables heaving with wonderful tasty morsels, from organic chocolate rice balls to raw mini pizza, Vietnamese rice paper rolls, carrot cakes, artichoke and rocket salad, wholemeal muffins and more. To drink there are freshly made vegetable juices, aloe vera soda, lemongrass soda, a variety of hot and cold teas and whole range of lovely coffees for a natural energy injection (yes even lattes, expressos and cappuccinos).
For the high tech spiritual seeker, spiritual and technical evolution have clearly combined to create an ‘aura reading machine’, which is located to the right of the healers. This machine (don’t ask me how it works as its minders were still setting up when I passed) reads both your aura and your charkras, diagnosing the energetic state of each one. You are then given a 22-page full aura report. If we needed any more reason to believe the Mayan prediction of a planetary consciousness shift due in 2012, then the appearance of an automatic aura reader certainly helps!
Yoga is all about facilitating the union of mind, body and spirit, thus allowing us to connect to the deepest parts of ourselves. Through a deeper self-knowledge gained from our yoga practise, we can then better connect with the outer world affect positive change in our daily actions. Here at the Bali spirit, there is an NGO desk next to the Lawn Pavilion, where local and international NGOs, such as AYO! Kita Bicara HIV/AIDS (Let’s talk about HIV/AIDS) and a Bali based ashram called Satyagraha Foundation that teaches yoga to underprivileged local children have information on their organisations and are happy to take donations. Here we help yogis to follow Ghandi’s advice and Be the Change.
Wandering out of the Dharma Fair I headed down to the Lawn Pavillion where Deborah Williamson was giving a Vinyasa class on the grass accompanied by the sweet strumming sounds and lilting voice of Kellie Lin Knott. This was an intimate morning class with students, teacher and musician clearly enjoying themselves.
Heading left from the Lawn Pavilion is the Trimurti Pavilion, where Tara Judelle was leading an Anusara class accompanied by chilled Café del Mar style sounds of a DJ. Tara was up on stage with a clip on microphone teaching a group of about fifty yogis, who were deep in backbends as I looked on.
Walking down the stone steps I arrived at the big hall home to the ‘Bale Up’ upstairs (an open space) and ‘Bale Down’ downstairs venues. Upstairs was full to the brim with yogis ‘returning home’ with Twee Merrigan, who was also miked up and accompanied by soft rhythms from a DJ during her Prana Flow class. I also wanted to join this one (surprise surprise!), but was drawn around the corner towards the left to the sparkling aqua pool, about 25-metres long by 10-metres wide, where the Watsu sessions will be held.
Watsu is a form of yoga done in the water, which I am told is an very calming experience almost akin to being back in the womb. (Mental note: try to escape to a Watsu session one of these days!). Watsu sessions will be led by Bali based therapist Michael Hallock and Satya Berger from Germany from 10.00 to 11.40 am each morning. From 12-midday each day, the pool is free for all festival participants to jump in and freshen up after yoga.
The swimming pool marks the edge of the Purnati complex, so I found myself doing an about turn and heading back up the hill. Right next to the pool was another yoga workshop area, the Yoga Barn pavilion. Here John Ogilvie was leading a Yoga Teachers class, but I didn’t need to read the sign to work that one out – the back and forward flips from the Chakrasana position were enough to confirm this. This is the one class where I was very happy to be a wide-eyed observer.
There is a myriad of wonderful things happening here on a whole lot of different levels, and every day offers different experiences. If you are in Ubud, or the general vicinity of Bali, do come and check it out.
Michelle is a writer, web entrepreneur, musician, yogi and international traveller who has just launched a new online enterprise that is looking to bring together the international yoga community – digital yogazine TheGlobalYogi.com. She also blogs at From Samsara to Superconsciousness, and has her web portfolio online at BabelMedia.ws