August 16, 2017


Many extraordinary adventures start right here in Ubud. I’ll wager that Taksu Gallery’s Borneo and Bali photography workshop in November will offer you new and mesmerising experiences every single day.

David Metcalf’s wealth of experience along the back roads and villages helps him immerse visitors in the real Bali that has existed for thousands of years. And you can trust his knowledge of respectful customs and temple courtesies, as you capture images of Balinese culture, traditions and temples. So too in Central Kalimantan, where during the past six years David’s team has developed a strong relationship with the Dayak people – the original inhabitants of the area.

In Borneo you cruise up the rivers in small boats, searching for the native hornbill bird and photograph orang-utans. On the way, you visit Dayak villages, learning about indoor portrait photography using natural light, witness traditional dancing, visit village education projects, and meet excited local children who will be happy to dance for you. November 4-15;


Once again, Cudamani Festival gifted us with some of Bali’s most precious and beautiful music and dance pieces, performed by highly skilled masters of their tradition. This was the second year of this three-day festival, and if you missed it, mark late July 2018 in your diary NOW!
Cudamani teachers and masters do not normally perform outside of traditional settings and international tours and festivals. They made a pledge some time ago to cherish and preserve Bali’s cultural heritage, and this three evening event – one for the Cudamani Performing Company, one to highlight the works of Bali’s “living masters” and one for the Cudamani children and youth troupes – demonstrate how well they are honouring that pledge.
Keep your eyes open for other opportunities, especially their internationally acclaimed “Kebyar” repertoire. Kebyar means “Explosion” and it was truly an explosion of dynamic virtuosity, featuring some of the island’s most brilliant young performers. Find Cudamani on Facebook.


Internationally renowned Threads of Life is offering a one-week residency at their Ubud studio and natural dye garden, from December 10-16th. This workshop about batik and natural dyes in Bali will offer the opportunity to deepen an existing batik practice, or discover a new fibre art form, through a vibrant creative experience with other practitioners.
Drawing on Threads of Life’s detailed ethnobotanical field research and providing practical application of Indonesia’s ancient natural dye traditions, the workshop explores the interaction between a naturally made pallet of colours and the batik process.
The week includes five days of studio time: teaching and support from studio staff; exploring batik with natural dyes on cotton and silk, using indigo blue and tannin browns; practical exercises to learn how these dyes interact and change on different fibres through the batik process; and developing your own natural dye batik projects. Suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners. For more info about this and other upcoming events, find Threads of Life Textiles on Facebook.


Ex-pat Mario Cossa helps people investigate and transform their own lives through psychodrama; based in Ubud, he disappears every now and then to honour other commitments. At the end of August, he’ll travel the US for annual high schools programs with disadvantaged youth, returning via a series of psychodrama teacher training sessions in Asia.
Mario uses live-action role-playing to help children explore many life issues – self-doubt, depression and malice, for example – through the metaphor of Encountering the Dragon. Children love this kind of creative activity, and he has three more Bali sessions this month – in the Drago-Drama workshop series, co-facilitated by Susan Allen at Yellow Coco Creative Nest.
Contact Susan for dates and other info, mobile 0818-0563-0001 or email Yellow Coco is in Kengetan, five minutes from Nyuh Kuning. If you want to organise an activity with Mario later in the year, leave him a message on Facebook. He also runs workshops for parents, teachers, and youth workers.


If you are not yet a yoga legend, but you’d like to get a good grasp on its physical and – dare I say – spiritual benefits while you are in Ubud, start with Estee.
A Jakarta-born expat who came to Ubud 10 years ago to “heal herself” and learn yoga, Helvi Lystiani is now one of the most experienced and respected teachers at the Yoga Barn. Her two-day, six-hour “Intro to Yoga” workshop is the very best way to get going, or make sure you are doing things right. The workshop includes basic yoga philosophy, practice in several key yoga poses, alignment, breathing, an overview of the body’s energy centres, and hand-outs for your home practice. (August 30-31; best value ever at 1.5 million rupiah/ $US120ish).
Estee also runs Beginners and Yin Yoga yoga classes most days of the week, and has a monthly “Yin & Chakra Meditation Series”, four weekly sessions with tempting titles – Stepping into Radical Trust, Owning our Truth, Resting in Compassion and Manifesting Divinity – to help you slow down, relax and begin to trust yourself with your own life and healing again.


How’d you like to fly past your sixties and still be finding exciting new ways to teach a healthier life? Lela Thomas, Reiki Master Teacher, Eternal Breath Facilitator and Access Consciousness Facilitator, is one of the founders and senior healing practitioners at Taksu Spa’s Healing Haven.
Lela says one of the joys of Access Consciousness, her chosen healing process, is that children love to take part in the sessions, which are safe and empowering for all ages, with kids as young as six years attending.
According to Lela, what’s important is investigating the qualities of the Celebration of Living? She constantly asks: “Are you willing to say YES to Ease, Joy, Glory, Exuberance, Fun, Loving, Caring, Gratitude, Giving and Receiving?”
Lela is currently travelling with her Access Consciousness workshops across the United States, and will be back in Ubud in October. E: