Earlier this year, I participated in the BaliSpirit Festival (BSF) as a member of the Bali Spirit Team. Founded 10 years ago, BSF is a celebration of yoga, dance, and music which takes place in Bali, Indonesia. As the Spirit Team’s “Goddess of Joy,” I worked with other volunteers behind the scene to make the event a successful one. During the weeklong festival, I had the opportunity to attend a number of workshops, classes, and performances. Below is a synopsis of my five favorite workshops.
1. Daniel “Sonic” Rojas: Embodied Dance
Singapore-based Daniel “Sonic” Rojas shared “Embodied Dance,” his own style of movement with festival attendees. Embodied Dance combines elements of yoga, capoeira, popping, breakdance, parkour, and contemporary dance to give individuals a unique way of expressing themselves. Daniel guided us through a series of exercises to attune us to various muscle groups and musical frequencies, enabling us to connect to our physical and emotional selves. His class was energetic and empowering; it provided us with tools to communicate our feelings through the flow of our bodies and our breath.
2. Bex Tyrer & Carlos Romero: Flying High into Bali Skies – AcroYoga for All
As an acroyoga teacher, I am aware of how challenging it can be to teach moves that are challenging and achievable to students with diverse backgrounds and skill levels, more so when those students are from all over the world! Given that, I think that Bali-based teachers Bex Tyrer and Carlos Romero did an excellent job. Instead of focusing on standard L-basing moves (when the base is on the ground and the flyer is balanced on the base’s feet and hands) which are the ABCs of acroyoga, they skipped straight to mid-alphabet by introducing standing acrobatics to more than 50 participants. They made standing acro accessible to the group by presenting poses in a fun and participatory way. We stood and fell on top of each other, but we did so with smiles on our faces!
3. Vincent Bolleta: Hansa Yoga
Vincent Bolleta, a yoga teacher from New Zealand, combines humor with extensive knowledge of biomechanics, yoga therapy, movement therapy, and postural analysis. His workshop initially appealed to me because of his inventive flow. His imaginative sequencing of asana forced me and the other students to exercise our limbs and brains in a manner dissimilar to what we are accustomed to experiencing in traditional yoga classes. Vincent explained that by exercising the muscles in this unusual way, Hansa Yoga practitioners are able to heal and strengthen their bodies. In addition to a physical practice, Vincent’s workshops consisted of talks about how to bring awareness of the breath and bandhas into our daily lives, techniques which I have since absorbed into my personal yoga practice.
4. Nicole Barrote: Yoga Dance Soulful Striptease
When I heard that there was a yoga dance class called “Soulful Striptease,” I was skeptical at first. American instructor Nicole Barrote encouraged us to bring a playful attitude and open mind, however, so I showed up ready to learn and to dance! Nicole showed us JAMA Yoga, also known as Journey Around Movement, a combination of yoga and dance aimed at eliciting students’ confident and energetic sides. Sure enough, the moment the bhangra warm-ups started, I was throwing my hands up in the air and having a ball! Sadly I couldn’t stay for the striptease portion of the class as I had to return to volunteer duty, but I have no doubt that it was a blast.
5. Eoin Finn: Slow Flow
Canadian Eoin Finn is the founder of Blissology Yoga, a name which made perfect sense the moment I stepped on my mat and felt the bliss and joy emanating from him and his wife, Insiya. Eoin taught a slow Vinyasa flow, encouraging us not to drive our heart rates up but to quiet our minds and enjoy each sensation of the practice. We ended the class by collectively singing the song “Let It Be” by The Beatles, a sincere performance which would melt even the most cynical heart.
I hope you enjoyed the review and look forward to seeing you at BaliSpirit Festival 2018!