My last 10 days in Gili Air were jam-packed full of beautiful and exciting things.
Slow Food And Yoga Festival
My dear friends Julie helped create a wonderful festival on the island. My initial plan was to leave before the festival started and go back to Pai for a couple of weeks. But then I thought, why not just stay on Gili Air and enjoy?
I bought myself a ticket to make sure that I would actually go to the workshops and make the most out of it, rather than seeing how I felt on the day. And oh boy, did I make the most of it.
As well as teaching at least two classes daily, I made sure I went to at least 2 or 3 workshops every day, then catching sunset and doing fire spinning most nights.
For those people who don’t know what acro yoga is, it’s like acrobatics mixed with yoga poses. The person that’s the “base” lays on their back with their legs in the air, and then the “flyer” does all incredible balancing things on the bases feet and hands.
Basically, it looks super impressive and really cool.
My beautiful friend Donna, who I met in Gili Air last year, linked me with her friend Brent. Brent is an acro yogi, but also does fire spinning, so of course we were going to be best friends. I went to acro yoga classes and jams every day of the four day festival. Brent and I ended up choreographing a palm torch acro yoga routine which we did on the beach most nights and workshopped a little more each time. If we had more time we would have been able to do ever more with it, but it was still very impressive.
I did a lot of other beautiful workshops, however, there were two that were really incredible. One was Breathwork. I’d never really done breathwork before and found it really interesting and super powerful. Basically, you just breathe… Easy right? But with the music and vibe in the space, it allows you to go in to this trance which is really interesting.
I also did a workshop called intimacy and connection. The teacher, Colleen Schell was this incredibly positive and bright woman who lead us through exercises about listening, requesting and communicating effectively. The simple way of saying “I have a request” was really interesting. It took a lot of weight out of saying to someone “I want…” or “Can I have…” I really enjoyed being around her as well. You can see her website here and see what an absolute goddess she is!
If she’s ever near you and holding a workshop, I implore you to go.
Cocoa Ceremony and Ecstatic Dance
This one night was extra special. After running around from workshop, to my class, to another workshop, to sunset, I just had too much energy to deal with. So I went to a cocoa ceremony paired with an ecstatic dance. For those of you who have no idea what these words mean, allow me to explain. A cocoa ceremony is when you drink some delicious cocoa and feel the medicinal and spiritual benefits. It dates back to Aztec and Mayan traditions who used it a lot in ceremonies. And ecstatic dance? Using a template of 5 rhythms, a DJ goes through a playlist of sounds and beats and you dance however you damn well please! I love it so much as I get to move how I want without having the judgement of others or myself.
Pair these two together, and something really special happened for me.
The Fire Spin
Brent and I did our acro yoga fire routine around the middle and then I continued to dance. I thought about spinning my dragon staff. However I didn’t really know if I wanted to, as that makes it in to a performance, rather than a dance experience for everyone. When Brent got out his fire sword, I found myself jealous and went and dipped my dragon staff.
Just as I lit it up, the music slowed right now. I had a group of about 70 people sitting in a circle around me absolutely consumed by my movements. There were no phones, no conversations, no drugs or alcohol involved; just simply my movements.
Usually when I spin dragon staff, it’s to faster, upbeat songs. But this forced me to move slowly and get me in to this gorgeous flow state that I have honestly never felt before. I was so in that moment that it felt like it lasted forever.
When I blew out the last wick, everyone just erupted in cheers and applause, which made me plant myself on the sand and burst in to tears for five minutes in pure joy. It was a really special moment that I hope I get to experience again at another point of my life.
It was bliss.
Post Festival Feels
Remember when I wrote about that wonderful festival I attended over Easter, ConFest? If you don’t, read about it here. These four days felt very similar to this festival, only that I got to sleep in a bungalow instead of a tent, there was a lot less fire spinning, and I could shower.
This feeling of recognition was aided by two wonderful ladies that I met at Confest, being at Slow Festival as well! Sophie and I met at an eye gazing workshop and she just happened to be travelling Indonesia and came to visit me in Gili Air. And Steph and I recognised each other when she came to one of my yoga classes. We half met at Confest, but not really. So it was really special to be able to connect with her.
I also was able to connect with a lot of really beautiful souls during this time through a bunch of different ways. It reminded me of the community I want to be a part of – the weird hippies at the beach, literally just playing.
One really special night, I found myself at sunset running around between doing acro yoga, spinning hoop or my dragon staff and doing handstands. I had to throw my hoop on the ground at one stage and just yell at myself “STOP MOVING!” This got some giggles from people watching me, wondering where all my energy came from.
A lot more has happened as I left Gili Air, but I’m going to drip feed this to you a little bit. I need to post a little more anyway.