On the way through Bali we stopped off in Ubud to attend the Bali Spirit Festival; a four day celebration of yoga, dance and world music. Hundreds of lithe human pretzels, glowing in Lululemon attire and snacking on vegan brownies. My kind of scene. As my theme for the year is expansion, I chose to attend workshops outside my normal scope of body movement: “qi gong iron shirt & iron body”, zenthai shiatsu”, “hot apple yoga, “shamanism, evolution, total freedom & astanga” and “yoga meets ecstatic dance.” The latter had me a little worried when the instruction was to make love to the ground. Not only was the grass itchy, but I felt like a total unit! I was relieved when we got onto the ribbon twirling and skipping with gay abandon. The festival pulls some big name teachers, including Eion Finn, Shiva Rea, Twee Merrigan, Danny Paradise, Katy Appleton & Duncan Wong. Their signature classes were matt room only - elbow to elbow - which seriously hampers a zealous sun salutation. It required strict focus on one’s dristi to ignore the puddles of sweat on my neighbour’s mat, the stinky foot in my face and blinding view of a free hanging ‘member’. Just for the record, I don’t sweat, I gently perspire.
Tom was happy to do his own downward dog at the villa then join me for the evening music gig. One night was a washout, and we spent half our time dodging waterfalls behind the counter of the merchandise tent. The headline act was Ganga Girl from Australia; a tribal dance blend of didg, drums and vocal. Fuse this with contemporary Balinese gamelan, stage it in front of temple gates and spot-lit frangipani and you have the elements of a memorable event. It will be on again in March 2011, so book in now for a chance to investigate different movement practices and find your inner elbow.