As the clouds and rain descended on Ubud, Bali, the euphoria and anticipation of the first day of Bali Spirit Festival gave way to a soft, gentle, and healing energy.
We felt ready to openly embrace the Divine feminine energy that settled in over the festival. We spent the previous evening mired in miscommunication, weaving ourselves a tangled web of ego driven insensitivities towards one another.
We were in need of positive energy and heart opening from new and old friends.
In the Alchemy Of Breath workshop we discovered our hearts through the natural ebb and flow of breathing. The movement’s founder Antonio Abbagnano says “The breath heightens sensitivity and connection from the inner world through the body and outward into the cosmos”.
The best advice for approaching intense breath workshops like this one is to go with an open mind, and open heart. Unlike Asana practice back home which keeps us to our own mat, this workshop brought us together with multiple partners.
My partner on the first round started crying instantly, so I decided to be the emotionally strong one and hold the energetic space for her to do so. I didn’t anticipate the strong emotions that welled up in me as I connected with each new partners eyes and breath. It was almost as if each person represented an aspect of myself and I was just gazing into a mirror. By the fourth or fifth partner emotions were high and I could hear people letting out screams, moans, grunts and tears. I tried to just keep my gaze, attention and breath linked with my partners. When we finished with all of the partners, we were given time to lie on the ground and really feel the emotions and let them out. I sobbed for a while, experiencing an incredible release!
The emotional, physical, and spiritual breakthroughs we experienced at the Alchemy of Breath workshop compelled us to dig deeper. At Bali Spirit Festival, we didn’t have to go far. Strolling through the beautiful festival grounds we came upon the YogaBarn Stage to Nai’a Project’s Transformational Breath workshop. The two hour session had an energizing feel that connected the breath with sacred movement. Nai’a founder Genevieve share her insights “If the mind is getting in the way, the breath alchemizes all”.
Synchronizing breath with ecstatic dance movements gave us a way to release the tension that arose between us the previous evening, and provided some much needed catharsis.
With so many eclectic and remarkable presenters at this festival, we finally realized it had been almost two full days since we’d actually taken a yoga class!
I settled in to a space at the “Bale Up” pavillion, not knowing what to expect. When Janet Stone walked in, I instantly recognised her from taking one of her workshops at Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree two years prior.
Janet’s Hanuman Flow workshop started with devotional chanting to embrace Hanuman’s masculine energy, but was uniquely accented by her own Divine spirit. She engaged the class with a very mindful and deliberate elegance, and kept the energy and mood of the class light and cheerful. Near the end of class Janet inspired us with her demonstration of Hanumanasana (the splits) and seamlessly flowed into a pretty amazing arm balance.
We finished our second day at Bali Spirit Festival with Gwyn Williams’ An Expanded Heart Connection and Unity. Gwyn created a safe and sacred space for us to connect with new friends. Gwyn uses the power of Qi (life force energy) to connect the body and mind to bring into a place of equilibrium. “Life is energy. Without it nothing moves…nothing rests. Without energy, matter is inanimate. When we see energy we are seeing spirit.” The exchange of Qi with random partners allowed us to let go of any judgements had of ourselves or each other.
Once again we connected with a deeper understanding of our collective oneness. We realized that letting miscommunications and ego get in the way of discovering the Truth was to miss the point. Embracing the Divine feminine energy given to us at the Bali Spirit Festival gave us way to open our hearts, minds, and souls.