About This Festival
There was a time when people went to music or cultural festivals, burned themselves out, and then needed weeks to recover from the madness. Like the growing Wanderlust festival, BaliSpirit is a relatively new phenomenon, a festival where you are built-up rather than burnt-out. With health and wellness presenters from around the world (and participants from more than 50 countries), be prepared for a beautiful experience that will engage all six of your senses as the lovely, lush Ubud has done for visitors for hundreds of years.
Isn’t This Just A Yoga Festival?
You’re likely to find yoga teachers from more than a dozen countries and, yes, yoga is a foundational part of the BaliSpirit experience, with a variety of classes offered throughout the day and evening. Meghan Pappenheim, a Manhattan transplant well-known in Ubud for running a few different restaurants and creating the Yoga Barn, created the festival in 2008 as a means of connecting people to each other, to themselves, and to the vibrant and life-sustaining Balinese bliss. There are music and art classes, tours of local temples and spiritual sites, nutrition and health workshops, and a collection of family activities like Balinese dance for kids, circus tricks, and storytelling. The daytime activities occur in the Purnati Center for the Arts. At night, you’ll move to ARMA (Agung Rai Museum of Art) and be serenaded with everything from local gamelan orchestras to well-known world music stars and Balinese puppet shows. Expect everything from electronica to indigenous to Bhakti/Kirtan but all with a soft edge as the whole flavor of the festival has a yin energy.
Given how Elizabeth Gilbert put Ubud on the map with her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, Bali Spirit is particularly popular as a girls’ getaway festival. The porous, laid back nature of the event and the area make it a perfect place to meander and to explore. Quite often, you’ll meet someone at the festival and they’ll invite you over to their nearby villa for an after concert glass of wine or tea and to admire the Balinese moon. For this reason, it’s also a great festival for people traveling alone, and it’s a good time of year to visit Bali because it’s not too crowded in March.
Are You Curious?
At the daytime Dharma Fair and the Night Market there are a variety of vendors who will teach you how to live a healthier life. There are healing huts where you can get a cranial sacral treatment, Reiki, Chakra balancing, an Esalen-style massage, Balinese traditional healing, and Tama-Do Sound medicine. And, for the more traditional, there are tarot card readers and astrologists. Just know that the overall quality of the practitioners is quite high, so this is a great place to test a few treatments.
Meghan’s vision is based upon the Balinese Hindu concept of “Tri Hita Karana” or harmony with God, Community and Nature. The festival provides support to HIV and AIDS awareness, multicultural education, and environmental conservation in Bali. BaliSpirit is a poster child for a new generation of festivals for the rapidly growing holistic travel marketplace. It’s a festival makes you feel good both physically and emotionally, while also doing good socially and spiritually.