Having visited Bali frequently over the last 14 years, Rebecca Pflaum has witnessed first-hand the growth of the yoga community in Ubud, Bali.
“It was much smaller [back then]. I remember when there was just a small studio, but it has grown so quickly -- and it’s great!” she said to The Jakarta Post Travel on the first day of the BaliSpirit Festival, one of Ubud’s largest cultural events, involving yoga, dance and music.
Over the last decade, Ubud has seen its yoga community grow at a very fast pace. People from around the world travel to Bali to experience and learn about the spiritual practice that originates from ancient India. Some even decided to settle on the beautiful island to take things further as a way of life.
Pflaum is one of those who found solace in Ubud, and chose open up her own class there a few years ago. She is now the proud owner of the Chakra Ma store and the Naya Retreat center, both in Ubud. She practices Kundalini yoga and is a certified teacher.
Even though yoga is a growing trend all across South East Asia and Australia, Pflaum agrees that the developing yoga community in Ubud is something special. Ubud has gained quite the reputation for being a magnificent yoga destination, and she attributes such growth to the village’s atmosphere.
“It’s like magic here [in Ubud]. There are places in the world with strong energy, and Bali has a really strong healing energy -- especially up in Ubud,” said Pflaum.
Indeed, Ubud offers the perfect environment; Pflaum herself testifies how the island convinced her to settle. She loves the artistry, the ceremony, the beautiful lush tropical environment, as well as the nice people.
Such positive feedback gets around, giving Ubud its reputation and attracting people to come and experience it themselves. Pflaum is sure that when people do arrive in Bali they will feel its healing energy.
But she does not turn a blind eye to the issue of over-development that is currently plaguing the island. She agrees that development is happening too fast and much of it is not positive. Yet, despite disliking things like the big tour buses that go around Ubud, Pflaum is confident that development is far from diminishing the tremendous healing energy that Ubud has -- she believes that both currently exist side by side.
Pflaum sees the booming yoga community itself as a great thing -- not as increased competition, despite having her own establishment. She thinks there is enough room for everyone, and believes that it will continue to grow -- she hopes so.
Her confident words proved to be true during the BaliSpirit Festival 2014 where the yoga community celebrated the positive energy of Ubud while causing little disturbance to the village. She is also right in saying that ‘competition’ is not a relevant word in the community, which is evident in the great friendship between all of the yogis who taught during the festival.