Join this once-in-a-lifetime adventure into the very heart of Balinese ceremony and ritual — during the time of Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu New Year. Discover the joy of honoring your own inner darkness and releasing that which no longer serves you. Be in harmony with ancient ceremonies that wake up your own unique indigenous wisdom. Spend a full 24 hours in total silence throughout the island, giving time for self-reflection, healing and affirmations for a year of blessings.
Dig deep into Balinese culture for five days near Ubud, the cultural arts capital and hub of “global transformation.” Spend your nights at a stunning Balinese-owned hotel with full amenities and easy access to Ubud village. Activities will focus on the many ways Balinese prepare and celebrate Nyepi*. Witness this extraordinary culture and its honoring of ancient traditions at its best. Watch how local villages finish their artistic (and often humorous) masterpieces of Ogoh Ogoh’s, giant-size representations of internal demons and bad spirits. Participate in the processions and be part of the ceremonies at the nearby ocean, where the prayers are for cleansing their village, their island, and the whole world! You’ll also visit remote temples with private guides, meetings with visionary Balinese, experience healers first-hand, and enjoy a private meeting with of one of the Royal Family princes and visit his palace.
Your journey continues to the northwest remote ocean village of Pemuteran where you will spend 3 nights staying right on the beach in a gorgeous villa resort. Considered the “spiritual capital” of Bali, experiences will include visiting one of the most unique temples of Bali for an evening visit and blessing ceremony, dinner at a local Balinese home compound, snorkeling in some of the best areas of Bali including the coral reef restoration area, a spa treatment extraordinaire and dine on fresh organic tropical foods and more. Attend local ceremonies as available. Optional trip to Menjangun Island for a day of snorkeling and boating.
A final 2 nights of renewal brings you to Sanur, a seaside town in southeast Bali made up a long stretch of gorgeous beach with calm, shallow waters. Colorful jukung fishing boats rest on the sand and a paved path snakes along the beach for several kilometers. Sanur is home for great restaurants, a wide variety of shops and a relaxed atsmosphere. These last days will be spent preparing for your journey home, enjoying delicious meals and shopping for souvenirs as you reflect on the memories you have created!
About the Program Leaders:
Elizabeth Gosselin, the founder of Yoga of Compassion, will be co-leading the Bali 2023 retreat. Her love of Bali began eight years ago when she visited for the first time, describing it as “a rare and unique culture that combines spiritual devotion of Hindu-Buddhist traditions with its Balinese customs. Bali’s fascinating people playfully invite visitors to experience its warm and inviting island known for beautiful nature and an exquisite mix of drama, ritual and art.” This will be her forth group trip to Bali and she will be leading a gentle yoga class most mornings (optional) and simple meditations during the retreat.
Marcia Jaffe, founder of Bali Institute, is delighted to join part of the program, especially during her favorite ceremonial time — Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu new year where dark forces are honored and silence is a golden connection to bringing in a new year. Marcia has a deep love for Bali, discovered on her first trip there in 2003. “The indigenous wisdom existing in the culture and its people felt like a global healing for all of humanity,” she says. It became her passion and huge drive to encourage people everywhere to visit, listen and experience the knowledge that lived both in the seen and the unseen worlds in Bali. Now, more than 15 years later, the Bali Institute has emerged as the largest provider of educational travel for teens, college students and adult travelers in Bali and Indonesia. Marcia’s background includes running her own events management business for over 10 years in Silicon Valley, prior to her Bali launch.
–> If you are not traveling with someone you would like to share a room with, we will pair you with another solo traveler, if no one is available, single room occupancy fee may apply. Each traveler will have their own bed unless you have indicated otherwise.
Nyepi is one of the most important festivals in the Balinese calendar, and it marks the new year according to the Hindu calendar. It is a day devoted to self reflection. The Balinese will not speak a word or engage in any type of entertainment for 24 hours and all shops and businesses are closed. Only hotels and emergency services are allowed to stay open. The local people take their period of silence seriously and even foreign visitors will be expected to stay in their hotels on this day. Spirituality plays a key part of life on Bali, and the Balinese believe that they need to perform regular offerings to the gods and placate demons. The new year is seen as a time of renewal, and the local people use it as a chance to purify their bodies and mind. It is hoped that by doing so it will mean that they will enjoy prosperity over the coming year. On Nyepi Eve there will be a real celebration atmosphere with parades and fireworks – probably the noisiest day of the year. And then, all of this excitement is followed by a day of complete silence. There is no other festival quite like it anywhere else on the planet.
The preparations for Nyepi begin months before, with each village preparing its own unique “Ogoh Ogoh” – a giant artistic representation of a favorite “demon”. These Ogoh Ogoh’s are being built on every main village road, and at night, as members of the community work together to create these monsters, the excitement is building. About three to four days before Nyepi, all Balinese prepare with the purification of temple objects – this is called the Melasti ceremony. The holy symbols that are of importance to the Balinese are taken to the sea for cleansing. This event involves processions and gamelon music.
Celebrations on Nyepi Eve (aka Tawur Kesanga) tend to be very noisy gatherings for an important reason — the goal is to drive out evil spirits. With this in mind the villagers parade their Ogoh Ogohs proudly through the streets and into the main village square. Songs and skits are often developed by different village groups. As they pass through a village the procession will stop at every crossroads and turn the Ogoh-Ogoh around three times – the aim is to confuse the spirits so that they will be forced to leave the island. As well as trying to frighten away demons and spirits, the local people will cook enough food to last them for the next couple of days. Nyepi Eve is one of the days when cock fighting is allowed because it is believed that the spilling of this animals blood can have a purifying effort for the entire island.