Tonight on my constant journey into enlightenment here in Bali, I attended a Sound Medicine session. I didn’t really want to admit that this was mainly because I have 20 classes to use up on my Yoga Barn card and I’d rather some of them weren’t spent on yoga, but this was the main reason, really. I had a bit of a shit yoga session today, you see. After yesterday and feeling all pleased with myself I got a little cocky with my newfound yogic abilities and went to a Level 2 class instead of Level 1.
Big mistake. HUGE.
After balancing on limbs I swear I never knew you could balance on, everyone around me did headstands and handstands like members of a nubile circus troupe, and some even did the splits before coming down. Bastards. The Balinese instructor flung himself around like a dolphin jumping through hoops and then all but levitated off the floor for nine seconds, while I just sat there on my mat feeling like a failure. It was hideous. After twisting my back and blacking out I crouched in child’s pose listening to the satisfied groans of my Level 2 peers for about ten minutes, then pretended I needed some water and ran away.
Back to Level 1 tomorrow.
Anyway, I’ve always been enchanted by the notion of Sound Medicine and I wasn’t disappointed just now. It took place in a darkened yoga studio – the same one that had witnessed my yogic failures earlier in the day – and I was pleased to walk into a beautiful serene scene, ambient and lit with little candles. Shervin (an expat Ubudian), a Balinese man from a nearby ashram, another guy with some serious musical skills and a Native American psychic who also lives here called White Star were all sitting behind an arrangement of natural sound-making tools. After arranging ourselves amongst yoga mats, floor cushions, bolsters and blankets, we said a few chants, did some omming and began.
There’s not much to tell really. Basically it was an hour or so of lying down and being whisked away into another world as these musical geniuses played, strummed, sang, tooted, fluted, sprinkled water on things, banged mini-symbols (not sure what those are called) and generally made some very lovely noises. They walked around as they did it, waving feathers, saying blessings, sticking rice onto our foreheads at random intervals and making everyone in the room feel incredibly special and lucky.
It was so soothing I almost fell asleep on my yoga mat at one point, which is more than I can say for the class I did on it earlier, when I almost puked up my organic salad from an upside down position.
White Star read a special Native American poem, which had us facing north, east, south and west and then facing downwards towards mother earth. It was a really great reading and I wish I could remember all of it, but I do remember bits about soaring like an eagle, roaming free like a wolf and following your heart. At the end she sang a song about travelling round the world and home being where the heart is, and I did think, as I sat there feeling all zen and wondrous, that maybe my heart is here, and therefore perhaps this is my real home. And then I got a whiff of B.O and remembered I have to go back to Level 1 yoga tomorrow because Level 2 of anything in Ubud is always taking things too far.
Perhaps I shouldn’t get carried away.