June 20, 2018



Visitors, locals, yoga pros and the simply curious will come together at Ubud’s Yoga Barn Sunday June 24 for United Nations World Yoga Day – a special time for the global community to practice yoga for peace.

Beginning at 7am with sunrise meditation, sun salutations and sound healing led by The Yoga Barn teachers, followed by a special session of everyone’s favourite “Sunday Dance”, the Yoga Barn’s United Nations World Yoga Day will be a charity event, with all proceeds going to the Mount Agung evacuees.

Tucked away behind the streets, the Yoga Barn can be a little hard to find the first time. Later, you’ll find it again easily, as you visit again and again: http://www.theyogabarn.com/findus.html.



Laughing Buddha Bar celebrates 10 years this month. Once the new “baby sister” of the inimitable Jazz Café, Laughing Buddha on Jalan Monkey Forest has become an institution, with song, music and laughter spilling out onto the road almost every night.

Laughing Buddha has a great regular program of local talent-blues, jazz, rock, pop, acoustic, Latin and soul, some of whose musicians are so fine they regularly get invited to move to LA as session musicians! And over the years the venue has become one of the most obvious places for international acts to strut their stuff, so every month we can listen to some extraordinary musicians and singers from around the world.

Great cocktails, friendly and efficient serving staff, a kitchen that stays open to 1am and a decent food menu. For me, there’s nothing nicer than stopping in the midst of an afternoon rush to eat the Buddha’s wanton soup, sit at a table near the entrance, and watch the madding crowds rush by.



Early bird tickets available till June 30 for the sixth Ubud Village Jazz Festival (UVJF), to be held August 10 and 11 this year at The Arma Museum Garden.

Though a local-community-based event, UVJF has gained a serious reputation over the years, both locally and globally, as a versatile and evolving festival. The sixth Ubud Village Jazz Festival – with the theme of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, will provide jazz performances and programs from some of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed international and Indonesian artists, as well as emerging talents, and provides greater exposure for the rich diversity of musicians from the archipelago.

For tickets, the complete schedule and line-ups, please visit:




Working often from the US, where she lives most of the year, Midwife Katherine Bramhall has nonetheless been an integral part of the Ubud community for decades, since she and our fearless Robin Lim founded the Nyuh Kuning-based birthing centre, Yayasan Bumi Sehat.

As well as delivering more than 500 babies in her time – many of them here in Bali – Katherine has helped Bumi Sehat in many ways over the years, including teaching, fundraising and managing the website at various times.

Now she’s “telling the stories” that she’s learnt from those many safe arrivals, in a process that will no doubt add further enrichment to the organisation, and the lives of those who hear them. This month, Katherine launches “Blood, Sweat, Baby and Life After Orgasm. Tales from a Midwife,” a play narrative that she has written, produced and performs in, containing precious stories of tender, vulnerable times when babies arrive.

Although the first theatre showings are in America, hopefully she’ll both share them on line and do a “Season” here in Ubud at some stage. Check out You Tube: StoriesFromAMidwife.



Bex Tyrer, one of the Yoga Barn’s longest standing teachers, is someone worth following and emulating. After a solid few months teaching classes and yoga teacher trainings here in Bali, she will go off again next month to lead yoga retreats in the UK and Palestine.

Bex’s love for wisdom and her fascination with human experience from different cultures has led her to Yoga Activism projects in Kolkata, Kathmandu and Palestine; this in turn breathes life into her work, putting it within the contemporary global context.

From July 6-9, 2018 you will find Bex and Zoe Nash at Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, in a Wilderness Retreat of camping, hiking, practicing yoga outdoors and immersing in the vitality of the Yorkshire Dales. Or you can join Bex in August for a Freedom Through Movement women’s program in Bethlehem, Palestine, where she will take you on a walking yoga retreat through the desert, following the footsteps of the ancients.

Bex will be back in Ubud in December, for a 21 day Activate Yoga program.

More info: www.freedomthrumovment.org.



Congratulations to organisers and performers of the recent Indigenous Cultural Festival, which attracted 2,500 visitors and displayed the rich music and dance heritage of 34 Indonesian tribes, seven invited countries from the Pacific and the tribal lands of Odisha and Nagaland, India.

This is the very first time a tribal gathering of this magnitude was staged in Indonesia, 200 Indigenous people from the rivers, jungles and small villages of the archipelago meeting together in Bali to share their knowledge and wisdom, delivering performances that resonated with ancient rhythms, songlines and sacred dances.



Visitors to Ubud often ask me how they can “give back” to the island, sure that their contribution will go to a project that is making a difference to the future success of the island.

Of course there are many such, but in this column I’d like to highlight the work of Karuna Bali, an Indonesian non-government organisation that identifies potential future leaders in local Balinese villages, and gives them a very significant hand-up. Since 2007, Karuna Bali has sponsored 185 students to attend the extraordinary one year “Leadership and Communication” program at Campuhan College.

Based on the conviction that each student carries within him or herself an innate knowing of their natural skills and creativity, Karuna began by focusing on students from Balinese low-income families who can’t otherwise continue their children’s education. The program is now also offered to young people throughout Indonesia who have graduated from senior high school – from orphanages and others – and have a strong desire to make a difference in their lives and to extend benefits to others.

Donations, bequests and volunteer work by international visitors helps the program enormously. Check out www.karunabali.com, or call +62 361 978986 to make a time to meet Karuna Bali’s inspring Co-Founder, Pak Wayan Rustiasa.