Bali is preparing for a happy accident of nature on March 9, 2016 when a total solar eclipse will coincide with Balinese Hindu New Year, known as Nyepi.
A total eclipse itself is not uncommon, averaging once every 18 months; the sun’s diameter is 400 times greater than the moon’s, yet the moon is 400 times closer to the Earth, according to astronomers. But it is not often that a total eclipse occurs on Nyepi, the new moon signifying the new year in Bali. To mark this coincidence and to harness the heightened energy for introspection, Four Seasons Resorts Bali will host Nyepi Eclipse Yoga at its two Bali resorts, the riverside mountain retreat of Sayan and the all-villa beach resort of Jimbaran Bay.
This soulful and meditation-inspired yoga will embrace Bali’s natural beauty, taking place on the edge of the ocean at the new Nirvana Shanti Yoga Bale at Jimbaran Bay, or on the edge of the forest at Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale at Sayan. Guests will be guided through gentle and mindful yoga asanas, pranayama breathing, nidra relaxation practice, and chants of peace and light to the soothing sound of a singing bowl.
The 90-minute complimentary class will begin at 8:00 am on March 9 to follow the eclipse, which in Bali will be observed as a partial solar eclipse starting at 7:22 am local time. The maximum eclipse will be at 8:27 am, and it will end at 9:42 am.
“Nyepi is a special time of purification and renewal supported by silence and inactivity, as nature turns within and encourages us to do the same. To have this combined with a total solar eclipse makes it even more unique,” says Luisa Anderson, Regional Spa Director for Four Seasons Resorts Bali. “An eclipse is an ideal time for spiritual practices, chanting, meditation and introspection, and it is with this in mind that we have created a special sequence for Nyepi Eclipse Yoga.”
In Bali, the Hindu new year known as Nyepi is not a time for lavish parties but rather for giving Mother Nature a rest to restore the balance between god, man and the environment. The whole island observes a day of silence: 24 hours of quiet during which no vehicles or machinery may be used, no work may be done, no fires lit and no exuberant activity undertaken. The airport and seaport close, roads are empty and nobody leaves their house (or in the case of tourists, their hotel grounds). The idea is to scare away evil spirits into thinking the island has been deserted so they will go elsewhere.
Other activities available for guests staying with Four Seasons over Nyepi include watching the lively parade of ogoh-ogoh papier-mache statues on Nyepi Eve (March 8), which takes place in every village on the island. Accompanied by music and dance, this parade is intended to wake up the evil spirits before the island “plays dead” to trick them into leaving. On Nyepi Day, March 9, guests must stay within the Resort grounds, with most facilities remaining open. Starting with Eclipse Yoga, it is the perfect time for introspection and meditation, and giving the Earth a day of much-needed rest.