It’s been a very inspiring and transformational month for me here is Bali, as I have been so fortunate to get a taste of Balinese culture through the magic of sacred music and dance. Since the last blog post where the cutest girl inspired me to try Balinese Dance for the first time, I’ve been looking high and low for Balinese Dance Teachers here in Bali. Strangely enough, they are difficult to come across…until now!
I’m not sure where to start to catch up all my friends and family, so I’ll begin with what has been bringing me the most excitement.
Check out the video below first! I love this music!!! There is so much more depth in this video than one can see with a naked eye, so make sure you continue reading to learn the true spiritual beauty of balance and beat that is “behind the scenes,” and maybe feel a few goose bumps run all over your body as you read, which is what happened to me.
What you just saw in the video above is Gamelan Cudamani, some of the most well known and sought after musicians and dancers in Bali. You can study with them in Bali like I am doing, or you can find them in San Francisco.
This rare video is Cudamani entertaining us while we took a break from dancing one day. The gentleman in the middle is Pak Dewa Putu Berata his son is right behind him, and his daughter is in the back left corner. Both his children are INCREDIBLE musicians and dancers, and he such a one-of-a-kind superstar teacher, leader, director and composer.
His niece is also behind him, nephews, cousins all around…and they are all my teachers!!! His wife is the associate director of Cudamani, Emiko Saraswati. She is a whole other phenomena! A true feminine leader, captivating dancer, musician and singer, and stands as beautiful role model for all women without knowing it, especially for all the young girls in this village. I feel she is the backbone and glue that bridges all this Balinese creativity, culture and interaction together, from east to west, or in this case, west to east.
This beautiful family just makes my heart burst! Anytime in the day, you can walk throughout their open home and find musicians on one stage breaking down sacred beats for over 8 hours a day, the cutest young tiny little girls on another stage with one of the moms helping them perfect a sacred dance, the older girls on another stage with one of the grandmas like Ebu Arini, who is responsible for training almost every dancer on this island. As a true living legend at age of 76, she taught sensual dance at the Bali Spirit Festival 2 years ago, and I just cannot believe I had the blessed chance to be her student, and be touched by her kindness and spirit.
Tell me this isn’t a dream environment!?!?
If you feel like I feel, I totally got your back! We are working on bringing you here next summer for a Tantra Yoga and Sacred Music and Dance Retreat!!
So let’s go ahead and go deeper behind the scenes of the video above, and share a little bit about what makes Balinese music composition, and life for that matter, unique in a way that embodies the true essence of spiritual balance and beauty.
What is not visible to the naked eye on the video, and sent shivers throughout my body to my deepest core, was the following statement made by my teacher, “Every instrument you see, is out of tune. It is only in tune when played at the same time with its partner instrument.” WOW!
If you watch the video closely, at all times matching instruments are being played together supporting one another. Most obvious in the video, is with the drums. The drum making the deeper more bass sound is the female, and the drum making the sharper quick sound is the male. Watch the video again and see if you can identify which drum is which.
The musicality of course goes even deeper, as notes can be played in various interlocking ways, once again bringing a different feminine and masculine support and performance style. And if that wasn’t enough, each song is usually over 10 minutes, with very intricate patterning, is never written down, but instead dependent upon the 20 best friends around you to teach you or remind you when you forget because….are you ready for this, not only do all of them know 100s of musical pieces expertly, each musician knows how to play EVERY instrument in the Gamelan, for EVERY song…expertly…and with full heart and smile. This type of talent and training is beyond what I’ve ever known to be possible.
The balance of feminine and masculine is the first important element embedded into many Balinese Arts. The second important element is connecting the earth to all the arts.
This is seen not only in stage performances (which is a whole other story) but is very visible in the daily offerings made from coconut trees, palm trees, flowers, food, and many other gifts from the earth. The Balinese do these offerings everyday, three times a day, and they are everywhere! Never for a moment in a day can a person forget the power, love, beauty, nurture and support mother earth has for us all.
So let’s recap. Balinese life and core belief integrates, the balance of masculine and feminine, the fusion of arts and earth, and now a third essential ingredient is noted as, the balance of good and evil. These two opposing forces are recognized, honored and thus, balanced.
Maybe for you, your experiences and upbringing was different than recognizing both good and evil. I know for me, totally so. Even as crazy dramas and horrendous things would occur in my life, I lived a life of denial like, “No no, there is no evil,” especially after the many yoga schools I’ve been to that push nothing but divine energy and recognition of only that.
The words of the Balinese teacher made me shiver once more, “The reason we do ceremony is to create harmony between the 3 worlds, the divine the human and the natural.”
The Balinese do not shy from, or forget, the existence of evil in the world, and so they equally make offerings to the divine realms and the underworld.” It was profound hearing the children say, “Many make offerings only to god, but what about everyone else? They need help too.”
By making offerings to both good and evil, it is hoped that those energies are harmonized here on earth, in the “middle world,” and that everything hopefully “behaves.”
My teacher mentioned, “We don’t just pray to God. What about the underworld?…When a bad spirit is bothering us, we do a purification ceremony called Somyo.” The coolest thing is that “Somyo” means “change” or “peaceful.” It is intended that the bad spirit changes and helps them, or itself, instead.
What is even more amazing, bringing the balance and harmony to the 3 worlds, goes beyond religion, and into the arts. While most countries and traditions separate religion and spirituality from everything, here in Bali there is no conflict between the two. Spirituality and the arts, such as dance and music, are honored, integrated and alive as one.
This balance of the 3 worlds is apparent and embedded in musical composition and choreography.
~ Divine – the head of the body – or the intro beginning of a song.
~ Human – the physical main part of body – or the longest part of the song with many cycles.
~ Natural – the feet and feeling of a song, i.e., dynamic, happy – the rhythm, and obviously the ending.
At his point my mind had exploded. Not only did I learn this, I experienced this. Still I am studying with these teachers, and learning a few sacred dances that correspond to the divine music, and loving it!!! Now you see what I mean when I said in the beginning of the blog, “I don’t know how to catch you up,” I can only try to share what is bringing freshness to my life.
By dancing to music that is intended to harmonize the cosmos, I feel so much harmony and balance present throughout my body, mind, heart and soul.
As an eye-opening surprise came me, recognizing that, now only does the Hip Hop Tantra Yoga™ class structure follow the Balinese 3 world harmonizing concept (no wonder that class rules!) the correlation of all the above with Tantra Yoga is written everywhere!
Every cell of my being brightened when I realized that I’m basically learning Tantra Yoga here! Just from a very new, fully embodied artistic perspective this time, which is what I’ve been praying for. My students will get a heart and earful of this excitement when I get back to San Diego!!!
There is much more to share, but I’ll just have to bring you here to see and feel for yourself.
In sum, the best way I can help you feel all the above magic is by sharing the short audio below. There must have been something to my harmonious full emersion of Balinese life and sacred tradition, as I taught my Woman’s Online Tantra Yoga class live from Bali that day. The ladies said it was their favorite class ever and so I trust them.
Click the play button below to hear the total embodiment of Balinese spiritual beauty, balance and beat that is behind the scenes over here, as expressed in my Woman’s Online Tantra Yoga class.
The woman’s online Tantra yoga class, Feminine Power Chakra Flow™, starts fresh from Bali next Monday, August 5th!!! For the whole month of August we will be identifying and activating our dominant chakras – always a fun surprise.
This activation just makes you be more yourself in all that you do, and so you’ll do it better, get the results you want in the workplace and in relationships, while significantly reducing the mental stress and agitation that adds on extra pounds. Plus, activating your dominant chakra will tone and strengthen your entire body, heal your spine, and leave you looking and feeling super youthful.
If this is your cup of tea, drink it with us!!!