When a Balinese Ceremony Left Me Speechless

Have you ever had the feeling where you struggle to get into something, a struggle to relax and join in 100%, then all of a sudden you find yourself on the other side, and the unwanted emotions magically turn into sprinkles of happiness and carelessness?

I have.

When a Balinese Ceremony Left Me Speechless


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For the beginning of my stay in Ubud I was accompanied by Kirsten, we both decided to experience yoga spiritually. We managed to find a place called Om Ham Yoga Retreat – which I could not recommend enough.

Read : OM Ham Yoga Retreat Review


One of the things we were looking forward to the most was the Sunday yoga with a blessing run by Master Ketut Arsana. Somehow, we got our days confused and by the time we realised it’s Sunday – the yoga lesson has just finished.

We went to the reception hoping there will be another one, but were told otherwise. With our heads down, we started walking away when the receptionist stopped us and mentioned a Balinese Ceremony.

“It starts in 2 hours, it’s also with Master Ketut Arsana.
There will be meditation, singing and dancing.”

We looked at each other for a confirmation..

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The experience

Two hours later we found ourselves sitting in a circle with other guests of the retreat plus the Masters helpers surrounded by instruments (who I will call the musicians because I have no idea what the correct term is).

The inside of the circle was filled with a fascinating art created from flower petals and candles. It was hypnotising and we couldn’t take our eyes off it.

That’s when the Guru / Master Ketut Arsana walked in – in a body of an older but incredibly fit men, bursting with some serious energy. I couldn’t figure it out just yet, but it was surreal and nice. He smiled and joined the circle next to the musicians.

The Guru started talking, about everyday life things. How we worry too much and how we don’t know what being relaxed feels like. How we are so extremely busy with being busy all the time that our bodies don’t know what rest really is. We need to learn how to help our body & mind to de-stress. He added that yoga is a good way to do this, but singing is the best and most effective way.

He pointed at the screen behind him, which was projecting one of the Gurus chants/songs.

“When you worry or when you are angry – sing.
We are never angry, when we get upset – we sing. Singing will put a smile on your face.”

Everything that was said, made so much sense – but you can’t help thinking : Yeah I wish I could do that, but come on. It’ll never happen in reality.

The Guru then pointed at a guy sitting opposite him and said something to one of his helpers. The men looked confused, and the Guru smiled and said “Back problem, sit there, it will be better..”

The confusion on the guy’s face was priceless, how did the Guru notice it, so quickly. Feeling impressed – tick.

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The Guru then pointed at the projector and the musicians started playing their instruments. We started reading the lyrics, all the guests including myself were slightly uneasy, not knowing completely what we should expect from what was happening.

After a while, the tone of his voice got slightly louder and quicker but still beautiful and calming – the smile on his face was getting wider and together with his musicians, they all stood up, pointing at us to do the same.

Us being westerners, looked at each other one by one – it felt like we wanted to get each others permission to join in. This is another point that the Guru made – it’s unhealthy how much we worry about what people think. We are craving others acceptance, but why? As long as we don’t hurt anyone – why do we need it so much?

Why do we let it get to us so much that it sometimes stops us from doing things, we really want to do?

It stops us from being brave to make changes – whether big or small.

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“Open your heart through singing”

The Guru and the musicians continued to what was now singing not talking, they were clapping and offering their incredibly positive energy to all of us so openly. I looked to my side, and slowly, one by one, all the guests started to stand up.

He then started to speak while the music was still playing, in his unbelievably calming and hypnotising voice.
Everything, of course made so much sense.

“We are here to share our energy with you, our happy energy. I want you all to be happy. I want you to know how singing can make you feel.”

We all tried to join in, I tried to let go and loosen up to experience what was happening, but it was so hard.

We don’t realise how our lifestyles stop us from being able to do that. Even when we think we are relaxed – it’s very rarely (or never) in 100%. We simply don’t know how to.

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What’s happening?

The singing was getting louder and stronger, the movements were becoming more comfortable and confident.

I looked around and it hit me – it was indescribable,
all the worried and uneasy faces turned into bursts of happiness.

We were dancing and even jumping. All of a sudden, my energy felt like something that I have never experienced before, I wasn’t controlling my movements anymore, I wasn’t controlling my body. My mind was resting, enjoying what was happening, almost like it was just casually watching me from above. I physically couldn’t stop smiling, I actually tried just to check – and I couldn’t.

I wasn’t the only one who felt like this, some of the other faces were surprised too.. looking around in shock, realising what they are doing – without controlling it, somehow.

That’s when the tears went down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe I was here, experiencing it – the culture, religion & people I don’t know much about.. how could they possibly manage to have such an impact on me?


I’m not sure how long this lasted, but when the Guru sat back down – everyone’s face expressions clearly stated:

Nooo… I’m not ready for this feeling to go away.

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The Guru managed to do exactly what he promised, even though at the beginning most people were too sceptical to believe it.

When it was all finished and the musicians and Master Ketut Arsana stood up, the guests stayed on the floor for a long while, trying to figure out what has just happened.

The Guru then spoke to whoever was interested in having a conversation with him – I wanted to, really badly, but I was still speechless.. So Kirsten did instead and I just listened and watched, completely stunned.

This experience – I couldn’t recommend it enough. It was unreal.

How can someone have so much happiness, enough positive energy to transfer the whole room in that way.

Thank you Master Ketut Arsana and the whole Om Ham Retreat Team for this experience in the Balinese Ceremony.


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Lauren @ LaurenSomewhere.com

What a magical experience. The photos are gorgeous too! If you’re into yoga, you definitely should visit Rishikesh in India where they have tons of awesome and amazing yoga & meditations to experience and choose from. In fact, I recently wrote a blog post on it if you’d like to read it and do some research on how to pick a yoga school in India. I think it’d be another great mystical experience for you. Love your blog! xx

Link to blog post mentioned above: http://laurensomewhere.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-how-to-pick-a-yoga-school-in-india/

Tracey Pictor

How truly beautiful, I really want to go on a retreat to Bali.


Sounds like an amazing local experience! Loved the article 🙂