It is 2am. I am High. I am high from four days of yoga and three nights of dance. I’m feeling free. I’m feeling alive. I’m feeling full from all the nourishment I am receiving on every level. Level one; morning meditation…
At 8am I was tired from dancing into oblivion. Carlos Pomeda’s workshop on “The Wonders of Meditation” was a perfect solution. I didn’t need to tackle the stiffness in my calves or the sleep in my eyes, and yet I could still be immersed in the wisdom of the teachings. Carlos led three different meditation techniques and dispelled the obstacles to meditation explaining that day dreaming was simply a way to cleanse the mind rather than a sign of failure and that movements of the body were the release of trapped tension as opposed to restlessness. Carlos provided keys I know I will be able to pass on to my own students about how to sit and find stillness. I felt refreshed; just about refreshed enough to begin to move my body again… I ended up in Cheri Rae’s Peace and Love yoga class.
Cherie was wearing a vest top with the words “Bad Ass Yoga Instructor” across the back. In large letters. It did not say ‘Peace’. It did not say ‘Love’. She was all her shirt said she was and I was scared. What inspired me about Cherie’s class was not her sequencing nor her adjustments, it was quite simply her passion for the practice. Cherie’s presence has been a daily feature of this festival. She makes her voice heard and her voice is loud. Last night I found her humping the giant Fiesta condom outside the Arma stage. Yesterday during Les’s class she was screaming that at last she had found her long lost brother as she applauded Les Levinthal’s similarly passionate approach to teaching. Cherie’s class woke me up. It reminded me that as a teacher the attitude I bring into the studio is important. She reminded me that the more we do yoga the more we are “magnified”, the more we are “full of light” and with uncanny wisdom shouted that we need “seek out the people that resonate with your soul and stay with them til you die”.
I left Cherie’s class exhausted, tired from her voice and seemingly relentless anger, but weirdly inspired to give more in my own. I had to rest again. Next up, Govinda Jai. “Its not Jai its Kai” Donna laughed at me at me, after all “‘he’s a yoga teacher, not a kirtan artist!” Govinda Kai began with twenty minutes of call and response chanting. I shone a sly smile across the room at Donna.
The title of Govinda’s workshop was “Sex and Yoga”. Its a Yoga festival and sex is always popular. The room was full, Govinda a fantastic speaker, and the subject beyond inspirational. ‘Sex’ was simplifying the topic; Govinda was really talking about everything which we place limits on or distort – emotions, medicines, experiences. His message was powerful, it was a declaration that we have a huge capacity to change and for radical transformation; that this is a time to recreate our understanding, to push our perceived boundaries and to play the edge. And why? Because the time has come to move beyond a limited perception of ourselves confined to physicality and allow ourselves to explore the energetics of our existence. Sex is a big part of that; as is yoga. Neither are purely physical experiences, and if we allow ourselves to investigate the energetics of connection in both senses then we are shifting human consciousness to the next level. In Gonvinda’s words “we have no excuses not to be in ecstasy. We are designed for bliss and we come together to cultivate the highest love.” Ultimately, “if you truly become a spiritual being then every moment is a spiritual moment”. This is yoga; this is the real practice.
Its now 3am. I’m now tired. I am simultaneously still full of Life, inspiration and feeling art in every aspect of this day. In the yoga philosophy, yoga asana, music, mantra, performances, co-creations of the international artists who came together to share their messages at Arma this evening.
It is potent to be living in this community at a powerful time where teachers are sharing inspirational wisdom, and we the people – the practitioners – are paying attention. Once again, thank you to the BaliSpirit Festival for all the service that you are doing. We are blessed. Peace and Good night!
Photo courtesy of Suki Zoe.