By Hannah Black
A couple of days ago I was talking to a friend about the KungFu yoga class (yes, you read that correctly) I’d just joined, and I realised I was talking about how strong the energy in the room was. “Hold on a minute,” my brain screamed at me. “Brakes on, rewind, forget I just said that,” I pleaded to my friend.
I’d joined the class hoping for some chopping and kicking action, but found it was mostly about meditation and using “energy” to build strength. I was a bit disappointed (I’m a bit of a 70s Kung Fu film fan); but I also found the class refreshing.
After almost five years of living in or close to Ubud and fighting the dreaded hippy-dippy vibes, I’ve realised somehow it’s been creeping up on me all along.
Perhaps chuckling at the fishermen-panted, dreadlocked “yoga tourists” in Ubud’s cafés has been my subconscious way of hiding the hippy bubbling under my much-too-cool-for-all-that surface.
I’ll fully admit my life has changed a lot over the past few years, but never did I suspect I might be becoming a New-Ager!
I’ll lay out the scary evidence I have to support my theory that I am indeed morphing into a bead wearer: a) I gave up dairy, wheat and gluten; b) I go to yoga twice and sometimes three times a week; c) I have more than a few books on natural remedies, birth and child rearing; and d) my current favourite lunch spot in Ubud is Kafe.
The most damning evidence is obviously speaking in public about “energy,” but other factors have clearly been building over some time.
Being in Bali, and especially where I live, looking out over the jungle and a river, it’s tough not to catch a bit of getting-in-touch-with-nature fever, but I never thought I would be infected with the getting-in-touch-with-yourself strain.
It’s very easy to be spiritual and start to believe in things I didn’t even have time to think about before because my whole family here is so dedicated to their religion.
Although I’m still not sure exactly what I believe in, I consider the possibilities much more often now.
It’s also hard to ignore how people glow here. Balinese people have a natural draw; perhaps it’s their smiles, or their beautiful skin and twinkling eyes.
Is it partly because their absolute belief in their God and the path He has chosen for them? I believe it might be. I don’t know what it is exactly, but like many people who come to Bali, I can’t help but want some of what they have naturally.
Of course, religion and spirituality are not always one and the same, but they can easily go hand in hand, especially here in Bali.
If it takes a healthy diet, yoga and natural remedies so be it, but my big question is why foreigners in Bali feel the need to talk about their spirituality constantly, when the most spiritual of people don’t.
Can you imagine a group of sadhus sitting around drinking chai and talking about how their chakras felt after a meditation? They’re quite obviously way past talking about it.
Perhaps I’m not too far-gone to reverse the effects of hippydom. I still fully believe in regular hair removal; I don’t even pretend to like spirulina; and I still buy readymade soap. I’ll also be keeping my yoga class analysis in check from now on.
I want to be able to feel good and positive about my lifestyle, but not have to pick it apart piece by piece.
I want to make a point that I know tons and tons of great people who live or have passed through Ubud, many of whom are what my friends and I might call New-Agers. It’s just that there seem to be so many people that have inexhaustible amounts of energy and time to hang around talking about themselves.
Well, now I’ve totally over analysed the situation, I think I’ll eat some granola and do some power yoga.