What’s a Yogathon? 12 hours of funding raising hilarity!


Notes post a 12-hour Yogathon at Desa Seni resort in Bali. Just how much yoga, meditation and kirtan can you fit into one day? I was almost levitating. I’m saying it again, that was simply the most fun way to raise money for Aids Awareness ever! I know I said that last year but you try toning your act down after you’ve practiced Kundalini, Hatha and downright Hilarious Yoga (care of the astonishly talented Cherie Rae, we love a gal who knows how to have everyone in happy baby and belly laughing!).


I just love this form of Seva, a collection of beautifully gifted people who gladly share their knowledge, guidance and humour to us yogis and yoginis for a good cause. Indonesia has one of the highest number of HIV/AIDS-infections in the world, and with infection rates tripling in Bali in the last five years, the island has one of the most alarming infection growth rates in the country. According to Wikipedia, “In the last 15 years, HIV/AIDS has become an epidemic in Indonesia. The highest concentration areas are Papua, Jakarta, East Java, West Java, Bali and Riau and all are considered to be zones that need immediate attention.” Teenagers in certain Bali communities are especially susceptible, data from the AIDS Countermeasure Commission suggests.

In response to this threat, the BaliSpirit Festival in 2010 launched the “AYO! Kita Bicara HIV & AIDS” (Let’s Talk About HIV and AIDS) Education Outreach Initiative as a pilot program in response to Bali’s pre-epidemic. At the end of 2011, the outreach progerm had developed into a full-fledged AIDS/HIV awareness education and prevention program that had successfully reached 1,200 kids in 26 Bali schools.


I tried to start the day with something a little different but my soles led me to my Kundalini teacher Daphna Dor, who was helping everyone to chant a favorite mantra of mine ‘ Sat Kartar’. Turned out to be just the ticket to awaken the necessary Kundalini energy to get me through the day ahead.


Next up, a class with the passionate Cherie Rae, owner of LA based Peace Yoga Gallery. Full of passion, humour and an open heart, Cherie had us all owning every inhale and exhale. Joking about the popularity of ‘hip yogawear’ in the States, she poignantly stated that “we came into the world with an inhale and we will exit the world with an exhale” and that’s really all we need in a class. Word.


Hoop Yoga with Jocelyn Gordon the poolside lawn threw me back to my childhood (only this time I was totally rubbish with the hoop! How come the things we totally took for granted as children seem to have us in a fix as adults). When I did get my ‘hoop’ on, I felt footloose and fancy-free.


One organic vegetarian lunch and a well earned pool dip later and I was off to dance my pants off. When I hit forty I decided that what I formerly thought was embarrassing would actually be the thing I’d throw myself into. One of the things I love about getting older is that self-consciousness fades. I totally rocked behind the dreadlocked boogieman!

Ashtanga Yoga demonstration by the wonderful Kate Graham

As if that wasn’t enough I jumped into another dance session care of Charlie of Ubud’s Yogabarn and then showered off, ready for a catch up with my Buddhist Meditation guru Jason Lamberth. Jason reminded me why I feel Buddhist at heart during his Bok Jinpa teachings. Today we meditated on what we are not (a process of losing the ‘I’ by defining what you are not until the I disappears). Jason has a sublime way of expressing the Buddhist interpretation of emptiness. I adore group meditation and the energy was warm and welcoming. At this point I am almost levitating…really!


What a gift to end the day with an ecstatic Kirtan performance care of Kevin James Carroll .

Situated in Maha Devi open studio, tea lights and flowers on the floor and tiki torches fringing the pavilion, awesome individuals chanted. Tone deaf, I love chanting because I feel like an ancient old sage arises deep within me and I seem to know all the mantras and sing along with great gusto. Wielding everyone into ecstatic chants and claps, my night ended with a last mantra and a journey floating home on my magic yoga carpet.


I want to bless all those wonderful teachers who gave there time, energy and love to us. To all the soulful people who collected sponsorship money and got into downward dog like their life depended on it. I want to spread huge love to all the people who sponsored me, and of course Desa Seni, a royal house of Seva. May good karma ripen in boundless amounts to you for hosting this event again.