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Published: April 11th 2014
It's all started by my friend, Tissa, who suggested that I joined Yoga Bali Spirit Festival which happened yearly and this year, it was held on March 19-23, 2014 in Ubud, Bali. I am not a true blue Yogi but the thought of attending a yearly global event of Yoga in Bali was exciting, so I booked my flight and bought the five day pass to the festival. A few days before I left, my friend told me she was not able to come, and the rest of my friends were not able to join me either. Determined, I went ahead with my plan and left for Bali on March 19.
Upon arrival at noon, I was greeted at the airport by my car rental agent from whom I regularly rented a car, and got my Avanza car for the week. This time, I went straight to Ubud from the airport using the new toll road built passing Gulf of Benoa. In no time, I reached Ubud (the toll road saved the traveling time by approximately half an hour to 45 minutes), had my lunch but decided to have an afternoon cycle with Jegeg Bali Cycling Tour (www.jegegbalicycling.com) who agreed
to arrange a private, afternoon ride for me.
I was picked up at my accommodation at Bebek Tepi Sawah Villa at around 4 pm by Putu, my guide and Wayan, the driver, both are related to Nyoman (the guy who runs the tour). On my way to the starting point, I passed by a temple which had a ceremony in preparation of Nyepi (Balinese New Year or "Day of Silence"). I could not help but asked the driver and the guide to stop the car as I wanted to capture this beautiful moment.
Interestingly, I was explained that - to ensure fairness, each village had agreed on the kind offerings that each house is going to make so that each of them is identical (sticky rice, apple, oranges, pink cup cake, rice crispy/crackers and marble cake - see photo). All the married ladies are also dressed identical in white kebaya, purple ikat/sarong and pink belt. They would then walk in line with offerings on top of their head, walking towards the temple.
Afraid that we were running against time (it gets dark at around 6:30 pm), I had to struggle to leave the place and headed towards
the starting point. This was my second time joining cycling with Jegeg and I had like the previous easy ride - at my request (all the way, it went down hills with very few upward ride), and I was glad I made the decision to have this afternoon ride as I could explore the other side of Ubud that we don't typically see.
The next morning after breakfast, I was ready to go for the Festival, drove to the Purnati Art Center and managed to get there with great difficulty (without GPS and map). After walking around for a while, I finally decided to join "the Alchemy of Breath", a session ran by Richard Bock (www.quantumlightbreath.com
It was my first time attending this type of yoga. Slightly late, I found a spot at the last row, laid on my mat, closed my eyes and followed the instruction. Throughout the two hour session, we were told to empty our mind, lift the burden in our mind, liberate ourself, etc. A few minutes later, to my surprise, I heard a cry from the person on my right, followed by a laugh from the person on my left. I could also
hear a man gruntled in a distance, while the 'angels' (assistants to the instructor) started walking around spraying some water and spreading aroma therapy. Noticing no emotion coming from me (perhaps as I was too busy praying deep inside), one of the angels touched my forehead and later my ankle. The only time I felt some kind of emotion when I was told to imagine the ocean, and somehow, I felt a bit of sadness without knowing the meaning of it. I was glad when the session was over and hurriedly leaving the place while everyone else was sharing their experience, holding hands in a circle to further embrace the positive energy. For whatever reasons, I felt good afterwards too.
In the afternoon, I tried the spa at Bebek Tepi Sawah Villas & Resort, which was not too bad, and went to explore the Tegalalang area to see the rice field terrace, and found this cozy place called Cafe Kampung which means "Village Cafe" (http://www.thekampungresortubud.com) for my afternoon tea. Initially, I wanted to join Yoga music festival in the evening located at Arma Museum & Resort (www.armabali.com), which was a restaurant, resort and museum with stunning surrounding (the restaurant
serves excellent Thai food) but decided to leave after dinner.
The next day, I decided to start early as well and this time, I joined Simon Low's Crouching Tiger and Fly Dragon, which looked mild but was strenuous. He taught the Ying and Yang of Yoga and combined the technique of Tai Chi and Yoga, of which result was impactful! (www.theyogaacademy.org
). I could not even finish the entire two hours but felt rejuvenated afterwards. Actually, there were many more classes that I'd like to attend as they all were interesting such as forest yoga, yoga dance, etc. but I was too drained to stay on and attended other classes. I decided to leave, bought a painting from Bebek Tepi Sawah Gallery before leaving for Padang Bai for my part II of short break.
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