Last Saturday night, Bliss Out 2015, Singapore’s first-of-its-kind Yoga & Music Festival, took place with 1,000 fans thronging The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay, where the event was held.
A unique combination of yoga and music
As the name suggests, this event was a unique combination of music and yoga, led by international acts such as a New Zealand Indie electronic band from Auckland, The Naked and Famous. A yoga session led by a world-class yoga teacher, American Sianna Sherman and home-grown Singaporean singer iNCH were also featured at the event.
Earlier in the evening, the rain had threatened to put a dampener on the event. And the first yoga session, The Yoga Glow (for beginners), which was supposed to have been conducted by well-known local yoga teachers Lynn Yeo and Sumei Shum, was cancelled.
Event kick-started with a yoga session
But the second yoga session, Fire & Nectar (for intermediate to advanced yogis) led by Sherman, took place – to kick-start the entire event, as the rain fortunately had cleared in time for the 6.15pm class. And the US-based teacher was pleased at how the session had turned out.
Said Sherman, 47, who has been practising yoga since 1989, “I really love it in Singapore. We had so much fun tonight. Also, it was great seeing how open and happy the yogis were, to connect and interact with each other and celebrate happiness. Yet at the same time, when we prayed for world peace, everyone suddenly became very quiet – this was a very powerful moment for me, during the session.”
As for myself, this had been my first time doing yoga, so I hadn’t been sure what to expect. But I thought the session was very interesting and a lot more enriching than I had originally expected. However, I do admit that some of the yoga moves being taught, had been slightly difficult to follow, for me at least.
One difficult pose, which I think I definitely need more practice on, would be the handstand. But according to Sherman, this coincidentally also happens to be one of her favourite yoga poses. She explained, “I like to play with the balance and get on my hands with my foot upside down.”
But overall though, I really enjoyed the yoga session and by the end of the hour, I ended up working up much more of a sweat than I admit I had originally expected, for a type of exercise that is generally seen as a light workout.
Music by home-grown and international acts
Following the yoga session, there was live music performances by home-grown musician iNCH as well as The Naked and Famous, from New Zealand, to entertain the yogis. Both had engaged the crowd with feel-good musical performances.
Rocking the Singaporean stage for the second time, The Naked and Famous performed some songs from their latest album – In Rolling Waves. As well, the Kiwi band had thrilled Bliss Out participants with some of their hottest singles, such as Young Blood, Punching in a Dream and Hearts Like Ours.
Said Alisa Xayalith, vocalist and keyboardist from The Naked and Famous, “It’s always wonderful coming to Singapore, and I always love the place every time we come, even though we are all feeling quite jet-lagged now. In fact we were lying down in our hotel rooms and feeling totally exhausted – 20 minutes before coming here to perform! It’s 3am in the morning now in the US where we were, prior to coming to Singapore.”
She added, “This is our first time doing an outdoor festival and it’s really fun and cool. Though due to the crazy storm that took place just now, we were wondering if the show was really going to go on.”
For American-based Singaporean singer-songwriter iNCH, 26, whose real name is Inch Chua, returning to her hometown for Bliss Out, is amazing. She said, “It’s always good to be back. So much has improved in Singapore over the past three years, not just in the local music scene but also the rate in which we are expanding and developing as a country is definitely commendable.”
She had performed a mixture of indie-rock melodies such as Mousedeer, Artful Dodger, Simple Kind of Life and Rule the World at the Bliss Out event.
iNCH, who recently released her new album, entitled Letters to Ubin, added that she had quite a lot of fun taking part in Bliss Out. She explained, “I very much enjoyed this event. Thought weather was dampening, I’m so glad it did not affect anyone’s spirits at all. The merger of yoga and music together is also something that is both compatible and fun at the same time – both are very spiritual events so I thought it’s very cool to pair these together.”
Participants had thought that the event was a great idea
Participants taking part at the event also thought that the combining of yoga and music was a really great idea.
Said yoga enthusiast Sin Yee, who felt that Bliss Out was a revelation, “Nothing like this has been done before so it’s very refreshing for yoga practitioners like me. Usually we’re in an enclosed area, but when you mix yoga along with nature and music, it’s a wonderful feeling. The rain actually elevated the feel to the concert,”
Tabitha Koh, a fellow music and yoga enthusiast, shared the same sentiments: “Bliss-Out was an event that I was hoping to happen in Singapore eventually because I love music and yoga. So combining the two was a really good experience. It’s a great way of bringing together the yoga and music community.”
Besides the performances, there was also plenty of food available for purchase at the event site. These included green acai bowls, popsicles, churros, kebabs and beer – and participants really enjoyed the food.
Said technician Darren Choo, 28, in between taking mouthfuls of beer and churros, “The food’s really good. Beer goes well with music and yoga. Though yoga always goes together with music, I loved the outdoor location of this event – yoga is usually done in a gym, but to practise it outdoors in a big group with high music tempo and beats, was really exciting. Sianna Sherman also made the exercise fun.”
He added, “Chilling out and listening to iNCH and The Naked and Famous performing at the concert later on in the evening was enjoyable too and the crowd was fun despite the rain.”
Organiser is pleased with the inaugural event
The organiser was pleased with how the inaugural Bliss Out event went. Said Adrian Mok, Managing Director of HiVelocity Events, the owner and organiser of Bliss Out 2015, “The concept of the event is to engage the public to be part of a heathy lifestyle and at the same time, get to unwind by enjoying a series of indie music. The turn out and atmosphere was amazing and it was great seeing people enjoying this really unique mixture of an uplifting and energising event blended in one.”
Mok, who has been practising yoga for the past five years, initially came up with the idea of Bliss Out, because he wanted to venture outside of running and explore his other interests, which coincidentally happened to be music and yoga. He said, “I think that yoga as a sport, is so different to running. Running has so much adrenaline and gets you going. On the other hand, yoga is so peaceful for me and in that way, the two sports really complement each other.”
He added, “The perception of yoga has also changed a lot over the years that I have been involved in it. For starters, it’s become more popular – initially yoga was seen as a sport only for the super-flexible and always in the zen mode, but I think that Sianna had made it so much more interesting especially with her contemporary type of music. That is the way that we definitely want to go, and I am still trying to find that blend of music too, that will define Bliss Out, in future years to come.”
So with future editions of Bliss Out being planned, Singaporeans will be able to regularly feed their body, spirit and musical soul together at the same time.