Ubud, Indonesia’s BaliSpirit Festival (BSF) marks its 13th year this March, hosting over 5000 people at Bali’s Purnati Centre for the Arts. Rooted in the Balinese Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana (existing in harmony with God, Community and Nature), co-founders Cultural Liaison Pak Kadek, Musical Director Robert Weber, and Executive Producer Meghan Pappenheim offer a variety of yoga and wellness workshops, world music, and dance. They aspire to “light a fire in the hearts of everyone who comes” to the festival. Meghan spoke to Parvati Magazine this month about her love of community and music, and her desire to support MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. This interview has been condensed and edited.
BaliSpirit Festival Inspires Positive Change
Parvati Magazine: The BaliSpirit Festival came together in 2008 with the intention to create a global community gathering in Bali. Twelve years later, what goals have you set for this festival?
Meghan Pappenheim: I believe that through the beneficial traditions of yoga, dance, music and healing, we can inspire the larger community to view the world with a wider (and wilder) open heart, and approach their lives with abundance for all. The goal of the BaliSpirit Festival is to awaken and nourish each individual’s potential for positive change within, leading to positive change in our homes, in our communities, and globally.
Parvati Magazine: The BaliSpirit Festival places a strong emphasis on culture, live music and dance, which you describe as an immersive experience. Why did you choose to incorporate these?
Meghan Pappenheim: As a lover of world music and sacred traditions from all over the world, my number one desire was to create a multicultural music festival in Bali, bringing music from the outside to the Balinese, who are brilliant musicians in their own right. I feel that mixing the world’s sacred traditions with the practice of yoga is a natural combination. Both practices have the ability to open our channels. They can inspire stronger heart connections amongst our multicultural audience and encourage them further into the practice of karma yoga, or selfless service.
Parvati Magazine: Your Karma (Giving Back) outreach initiative raises almost $90,000 US each year for local Balinese communities or organizations. What have you found rewarding about developing these connections? How has karma yoga changed you?
Meghan Pappenheim: The most rewarding part is simply knowing we are making a positive difference locally and inspiring others to do the same. I have practiced karma yoga my entire life, without labeling it. As a child I volunteered in soup kitchens. Through my adulthood I have volunteered and donated to help a variety of causes. Living in service for the greater good is a game-changer for us all. Anything we can do to help others will come back to us twofold.
Parvati Magazine: Bali, as an island, is not sheltered from increasing ocean temperatures or sea level rise due to Arctic ice melting. How would you like the BaliSpirit Festival community and others to respond?
Meghan Pappenheim: What’s happening in the Arctic is tragic. The Arctic, the ocean, the seas, the rivers, the lakes, the ponds—these precious bodies of water created us and sustain us. If they disappear, we do as well. Governments need to step up their game. It’s almost too late! The more of us who jump on this bandwagon, the better—sooner than later. The Arctic is the mama and she needs our help. Anything we can do help spread the facts to our BaliSpirit Festival audience, we are happy to do. Even more, we are happy to inspire action.
Parvati Magazine: How do you see the practice of yoga as a vehicle of transformation for ourselves and the world?
Meghan Pappenheim: Practicing yoga calms the nervous system and stills the mind. It is within this stillness that we are able to think clearly from a grounded place. Making decisions from a heart centered space—from love—is clearly the best way forward. I see yoga as a path to peace.
Meghan Pappenheim is one of the co-founders and is the Executive Producer of the BaliSpirit Festival in Ubud. Their goal is to awaken each individual’s potential for positive change within, leading to positive change in our homes, communities, and the world. Each year over 5000 attend the economically and environmentally sustainable festival.