We Came To Return To Source
Cover Photo By Denitsa Kibarska
By Brooke Nally
Set in the whimsical jungle just outside of Ubud, the Bali Spirit Festival made it’s 10th year around the sun, celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary.
It was my first time to Bali, and I didn’t know what to expect. Others told me to expect amazing food, kind people, and beautiful scenery, but even with high expectations, the magic of Bali was still surprisingly far greater than I could ever imagine. As soon as I set foot on the island (or out of the airport, that is), I took a deep, full breath of flower scented air. After a long journey from India to Bali, I felt I could finally relax and settle in.
My mom asked me how Bali was compared to India. Funny enough, they’re very similar, but at the same time they’re exactly opposite. Their currents both run at an ecstatically high vibrational energy, yet India is wild, chaotic, and masculine, and Bali is relaxed, nurturing, and feminine. India is yang, and Bali is yin. Both locations are a [vortex for spiritual growth, which is why they both attract conscious communities, yogis, and spiritual seekers, yet Bali and India are completely different in so many ways.
Needless to say, it was a nice change to come from chaos and high energy, and set foot on the nurturing, mothering soil of Bali.
The festival itself was set in the most beautiful location imaginable. Set about 20 minutes south of Ubud, the venue was set amongst rice fields and lush, green jungle.
The schedule was absolutely packed — from multiple styles of yoga, to cacao ceremonies, to dance classes, to power vinyasa classes, to breath workshops, the schedule had every flavor available on the menu. To be honest, it was quite overwhelming to pick between all of the amazing options, as there were usually about 15 different sessions going on within the same hour. My sprained ankle turned from being ‘not so lucky’ to ‘extremely lucky’ - as the Pitta/ Type A personality in me was forced to stray away from my usual power flow classes, which saved me stress from trying to pick between 15 classes, narrowing the schedule down to 4-5 options instead. My sprained ankle ended up turning into a huge stroke of luck for me, as I had the most amazing sessions that I wouldn’t have otherwise taken. I can’t tell you about everything, but here are a few of my favorite experiences from the festival:
We’ve all experienced breathing, but have you ever experienced a guided breathwork? The experience is far beyond what you could imagine. These powerfully guided breathworks take you on a journey deep into your subconscious, helping you clear away old patterns and conditioning, releasing trapped and stagnant emotions, and gives us greater access to our inner bliss. I know this sounds extremely vague — but to be honest, it’s an experience you can not explain and will only understand once you experience it for yourself. Each morning, the festival offered a breath intensive featuring different teachers. After attending the breath session the first day of the festival with Dana and Ashanna from Clarity Breathwork, I was hooked! I loved the breathwork so much, I even ended up doing a two day immersion with Anthony Abbagnano, founder of Alchemy of Breath. He offers free breath sessions every Sunday if you’re interested in learning more. Check em’ out, here.
Cacao Ceremonies Galore
Cacao beans? Cacao nibs? Warm cacao elixer? Cold cacao beverage mixed with maca? Cacao goji berry mint infused truffles? Yes, yes, yes, all of the above! If you’re a chocolate lover like me, then you would be in heaven at Bali Spirit Fest, because Bali produces some of the best cacao beans in the entire world.
Drink in the bittersweet elixir of cacao and feel the pulse of your heart begin to vibrate. Cacao is known as ‘the drink of the Gods’. In fact, long ago cacao was only drank by kings and queens, and has been held with a deep reverence throughout many cultures and traditions across the world. Ubud Raw, a cacao company based out of Ubud, has hands down the best cacao I have ever tried. (And trust me, I’m a chocolate expert!) The festival offered a cacao ceremony almost every day, but for sure the most memorable experience was during the opening ceremony. Everyone gathered at the main stage, where Jemmita guided us through an absolutely beautiful, powerful ritual where we opened our hearts, set our strongest intentions for ourselves and the Earth, and sipped in the sweet elixir of cacao.
This years Bali Spirit Festival was honored to host amazing yoga instructors from across the world. World known instructors such as Janet Stone, Mark Whitwell, Govind Das, and Denise Payne made their appearance. The classes ranged from power flow, to acro, to yin and restorative, and so much more. There were classes suitable to everyone - beginners and experts alike.
Due to my sprained ankle, I drank up the sound healing sessions almost as much as I was drinking up the cacao! With the use of healing crystal bowls, drums, gongs, and even a crystal didgeridoo, the sound sessions were potent for healing down to the core. One of my favorite sessions was with Skylove & Claire Castillo.
High vibrational food
Our spirits were fueled by yoga, dancing, and breath, and luckily for us, our bodies got to be fueled by the best food imaginable. Raw, vegan, and organic foods were the main offerings in the food venue. We started off our days with a green smoothie from Kafe, followed with a chai flavored chia bowl from Soma. For lunch, we indulged in a salad buffet from Alchemy, with the best toppings you could imagine; raw, vegan pad thai, tahini kale, sweet and spicy cashew nuts, and the list goes on. The best part, at the end of the day we had vegan coconut ice-cream from Kokolada. Almost all of the food was organic, vegan, or even raw; perfect for us yogi’s who care about our bodies and the environment.
Every day was packed with new opportunities for you to delve deeper into yourself and your healing journey. A few of my favorite workshops included Cat Kabira’s bio-dynamic cranial sacral class, a session with Amy Rachelle where she guided us through her ‘6 Steps to your Magic & Medicine’ system, and an intimacy workshop with Leah Santacruz.
Dancing was the common theme of Bali Spirit Festival. Whether you were in a yoga class, at one of the music stages, or even in certain meditation classes, such as the Osho Meditation, dancing was included in the agenda. After all, dance is one of the most effective ways to quickly shifting your vibration and energy, and in my opinion, is the strongest way to heal from the inside out. There were also ecstatic dance sessions almost daily, cacao ceremonies, and the whole evening was packed with amazing music to dance your heart out to.
Which leads me to, last but definitely not least, the music. The line-up for the festival was absolutely amazing. There was everything from heart-felt, medicinal music like Minuk, to Bhakti devotional music like Haribhakti Dey, to upbeat DJ’s like Templestep, Brian Hartman, Fanna-fi-Allah, and Sophie Sofree. A personal favorite was a music group all the way from Peru, Herbert Quinteros.
It’s difficult to explain the Bali Spirit Festival in 7 small bulleted points - because it was so much more than words could ever describe. However, I’ll finish with the last but most important part of the whole festival, which is the people.
The Bali Spirit Festival, and Bali in general, attracts a very special, open hearted, open minded, Earth loving, conscious community. I can honestly say that everyone I met was truly loving, special, and lifting the vibration of the planet in their own unique way. Everyone you meet looks you in the eyes, is open to connection, and generally happy and grateful. The people at BSF were what made the experience most special to me, and I will definitely be returning to the Bali Spirit Festival again and again.
To learn more about Bali Spirit Festival visit balispiritfestival.com.