By Martina Reinbold, Yoga teacher & Wellness Coach at Udara
Udara is becoming a hub for conscious events in Canggu and we are proud to say that our twice monthly cacao ceremonies have become very popular in just a short time in Bali. You might ask yourself why people create such hype around cacao these days and what you can expect when you participate in a ceremony. Let’s shed some light on the magic of cacao!
Bringing cacao ceremonies to Canggu, Bali
When I lived in Ubud – the current mekka for Yoga, healing and self-development – I joined many Cacao ceremonies as private events and as big gatherings e.g. during the Bali Spirit Festival. After moving to the Canggu area I started missing these ceremonies and the connection to a crowd of like-minded people, so I proposed to guide cacao ceremonies at Udara. Why not creating our own ceremonies, experiencing magical evenings and create uplifting community? Luckily the whole team was very open and supportive.
Within a short time, we were able to gather an enthusiastic band with vocals, harmonium (Martina), guitars (Adi and Gus Wira) and Djembe (Gusti), all members of the Udara family. In the background there is a dedicated team taking care of the logistics of preparing the Cacao, setting up the space with opulent decoration and magnificent mandalas, so we could instantly manifest magical evenings. I was amazed how the energy becomes so strong during these events and how the participants, my fellow musicians and I feel so uplifted, touched and opened afterwards.
The magic formula of Udara’s cacao ceremonies
In our ceremonies we blend chanting spiritual English songs with traditional Sanskrit Mantras, we drink the Cacao as a sacred ritual, pray, meditate and share about our experiences and feelings in a conscious way. It is a beautiful coming together in a sacred space that allows for true connection to each other and to something much vaster than our individual selves. I feel honored to guide people through these experiences and help them set powerful intentions, open their hearts and find their joy and authenticity through singing and sharing.
Cacao and its benefits
Cacao has been used in ceremonies since thousands of years, especially in Central and Southern America for spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Nowadays Cacao Ceremonies are becoming more and more popular in Yoga communities all over the world. Theobroma Cacao, the botanical name for the plant, is translated as the food for the Gods and is attributed with promoting inner awakening, creative guidance, heart opening and healing. As a super food it is rich in iron, magnesium and b-vitamins, improving immune functions, enhancing concentration and giving an energy boost. It is a natural plant medicine that induces feel-good hormones in our blood stream yet without any hallucinations or psychedelic effects.
Ceremonial grade Cacao from Bali
In Bali we are blessed to find high quality raw Cacao that we blend in the ceremonies with local spices such as Ginger, Cinnamon and Coconut sugar for additional sweetness. When I tasted the ceremonial Cacao for the first time, I was surprised how rich and intense it was. It is very different from the sweet Cacao that we usually drink with warm milk. The ceremonial Cacao is much rawer and thicker in consistency.
Ubud Raw, a local chocolate factory where we buy the ceremonial grade cacao for our ceremonies at Udara, has made a beautiful video of the cacao production here. Make sure to check out Ubud Raw’s stores in Ubud and Canggu to taste their high-vibe cacao creations.
Tradition and Progression
In the Yoga and spiritual communities, we are often faced with the question of how to balance tradition and modern lifestyle. How to honor the shamanic traditions of the Mayans and Aztecs yet adapting the ceremony to a contemporary way without neglecting the deeply spiritual aspect of it? Is it just a trendy thing in yoga communities to get “high” on cacao and will it be forgotten again in a few years?
After having worked now for several years teaching yoga and co-facilitating retreats, it felt like a natural progression for me to hold space at these ceremonies and guide the participants through their experience, even though I have never been to South or Central America to join a traditional cacao ceremony.
For me it is the combination of singing, meditating, sharing and performing rituals in a sacred space that creates a recipe for a memorable evening. Anyone is welcome to cacao ceremony, no matter which religious belief or cultural background they have. I believe that it is immensely important to create our own rituals, lift each other up and bring more spirituality into our daily lives. And the cacao might just bring an extra spark to the whole experience where we come together and celebrate the divine in all forms.