We hear with more than our ears, and when Music joins the practice of Yoga a spontaneous wave of co-creation takes place.
Like never before, like never again, the beauty of the present moment is revealed, and we're nourished at so many levels.
Join us this Sunday at 9am for a Live Music Yoga class with Rachel Arnold playing her Cello while I lead us through a nurturing practice.
Drop-ins welcome, please come a little early so we can get started right at 9am
Here's a clip of Rachel and her band The Grownup Noise. (she'll be playing solo cello for us)
I just love offering our monthly Sunday Live Music Class in West Concord, and going by the feedback I receive, you do as well.
Please share this note with a friend or two, if you're on FB, click the like button to help spread the word.
Many thanks for supporting our Live Music Yoga series, I've got some great musicians lined up for the Fall!
Om Shanti, I'll see you in class
p.s. Tickets for Being the Change (the Peace conference that I co-founded) are going fast. If you know you're joining us, skip the long registration line by getting your tix online at www.beingthechange.us
Meet Andy Mackie – The Harmonica Man. After many heart surgeries and dire warnings, Andy went off all medications and started teaching children to play music. He thrived for 13 years and left a legacy of over 25,000 new musicians:
Your greatest strengths, your finest qualities… are not yours. They exist for helping others. What if we all lived our passions as fully as Andy did? What if you started today?
Love this life. Please share this with a friend or two, and click the 'like' button below if you're on Facebook. Thanks!
I have the best news to share with you! This coming Sunday, October 23rd. Karnamrita Dasi will be singing for our 9am morning Yoga class.
Inspired by her life story and beautiful music, I’ve been playing Karnamitra’s songs in class for years. You see, her mom’s dying wish was that she sing, and boy does she sing… in honor and memory of her mom.
Last weekend, her first time in Boston, I sat in on one of her gatherings. When she offered the first line of the first song, her soaring vocals enveloped the silence, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the full room.
So true to her name which means ‘Nectar for the ears.’
Whoah. Intending to just stay an hour… I ended up staying for the whole event and over an hour afterward to get a chance to talk with her.
I asked Karnamrita to come and sing for our Sunday morning Yoga class. Right away she said “Yes,” but then added, “I don’t have a way to get there from Boston.”
While I pondered that, a man offered to drive her to the studio. Nice, thank you Shunyam.
“Wow,” She then explained: “Okay, but I need to be in New York City by 3pm, can you get me to a bus or train?” As I started to ponder that tight a schedule, a woman stepped in and offered to drive her to NY after class. Thank you Madhuri.
Just then, a man handed the volunteer driver a roll of bills to pay for the gasoline. I’m sorry that I don’t know his name.
So many things came together for Karnamrita to join us this Sunday, She’s very happy to be coming, and I’m feeling very fortunate to be able to share her singing with you all.
Yoga and music go hand in hand, in fact, there's a whole lineage of Yoga called Nadam Yoga which is the Yoga science of sound. I'm careful in selecting music for class, it must be high in quality, have a meditative feel, without being too distracting to our focus. I just love finding new cd's in my mailbox to play in class and review for you all. Lately you've been hearing:
Gurunam covers a wide swath of tempo and feel here in Moonlight. From mellow – devotional and traditional to lively energy raising modern beats. You'll find Jai Te Gung and Naam real nice to practice Sun Salutations to. Mainly sung in Sanskrit, Gurunam's voice is smooth and melodic on the Kundalini Mantras, and the instruments are tastefully arranged. I really like the liner notes, with the lyrics and Mantras printed in Sanskrit and English. Click on the link above to hear samples of this beautiful disc. Many thanks to Jeanne at Spirit Voyage for sharing this with us.
A tasteful selection of Tabla drum beats woven in with Bansuri flute. Steve Gorn, Manose, and Ty Burhoe create unobtrusive music that can captivate, or serve as a backdrop to a more focused practice. "Rising Sun" is nice and long, and varies tempo smoothly. The dual flutes on Radiant Heart" are sweet, enthralling. I love the other releases I've heard from Tala records, and their must visit website. Thanks so much Ty, for all your efforts in bringing this beautiful music to our lives.
In the works, I've got several books, a Yoga Documentary, a Yoga towel for kids, and even a Nutritional cleanse kit that I'm just starting on. Reviews will be up real soon.
Om Shanti, -j
p.s. Restorative Yoga next week, New Years Eve Yoga, and many updates to the events page
Namaste. Thanks so much for all the well wishes and welcome backs!
I've been on a relatively fast pace since returning from India, and really felt the need to sit in quiet reflection. I headed off to Ananda Ashram for a few days of Mauna, the practice of sacred silence.
Arriving at Ananda is like coming home. No matter where you've been, the ashram always takes you back, and it's like you never left. I always pause at the old iron gates to set an intention for my stay. When I looked inwards, what came back was 'quiet'
Sitting down for my first simple meal, I looked up and there was the radiant Shrimati Kankana Banerjee sitting across from me.
She smiled and said, more as a statement than a question: "You're coming to my class tomorrow?" Before I could even think about an answer, I felt my head nodding yes.
Turns out that Kankana is considered the best vocalist in india and she was at Ananda to teach a weeklong immersion in Classical Indian Singing.
You can't always get what you want.
I was a bit resistant to this idea of not just singing, but singing all-day… I mean, I made my vow not to speak for 3 days, I was committed, or rather – attached to my plan.
After some going back and forth in my mind, I finally surrendered to the new plan, the opposite of what I 'wanted.' That next morning, I fixed myself a really huge mug of green tea and settled in for my first lesson.
But if you try some time.
Kankana played an ancient harmonium, and led us in stringing many single syllables into beautiful – swimming melodies called Ragas.
You just might find.
Practicing the Raga scales is very meditative, There's a true sense of surrender to it She leads, you follow, it's simple, beautiful, and beyond mind.
My friend Kamaniya said "I didn't see you leave, but you were gone for some time, and I saw when you came back into your body. You were different."
You get what you need…
At some point, hours into the practice, I merged with the seductive sounds, sliding into a peace I've never experienced before. Words don't describe this new threshold, so I'll not even try.
Three days of Mauna practice may have been good for me, but surrender to the new plan was even better.
I grapple with decisions sometimes. When faced with several equally nice sounding options, my mind gets all attached, looking for the 'right' decision. Is one ever really more right than the other?
I've got this great opportunity to study with my teachers this October. It will take some effort to travel to Ohio to be with them for a few days. Planes, travel details and expenses… but mostly, being away from the students I'm so blessed to have.
As I churn this choice in my mind, and type this, it seems I still haven't fully grasped this lesson that surrender is best. That things tend to appear right when we need them, and often not in the tidy packages we are looking for.
To make room for them, we sometimes have to un-make our minds. Have you found yourself changing plans midstream, how did it work out?
I'll leave you with this beautiful video of Kankana singing:
Next Saturday August 28th is our free Open Mic Music Night at Yoga and Nia for Life. And note the Live Music Yoga class with special Guest Tom Lena – 9am Sunday September 5th. Om Shanti, I'll see you in class.
I’ve been asked several times this week, "What is Kirtan?"
The experience of Kirtan is beyond words, But I’ll give it a try. Technically, Kirtan is a method of learning via call and response. Back before teachings were written down, they were passed in an oral tradition. Students would learn the acres of scripture by repetition and rhythm.
In the Vaishnava tradition, Kirtan is the only way to self-realization that works in our current times. Way back in the Sat-Yuga, (age of truth) people lived to be 100,000 years old, and that is the last time that Yoga really worked. In our current age, Kali-Yug, theage of darkness, we don’t have enough time, and must recite the name of divinity to realize our own divine nature.
If we lived to be 100,000 years old, our IRA’s might have enough time to recover huh?
In our culture, Kirtan has come to mean songs of devotion, called out in Sanskrit by a leader; responded to in chorus along with some instruments. You hear some of these songs in Yoga class. The voices unite, and you feel really good after. You can ‘hide’ in the chorus until you find your range, and join in…. Everyone can sing kirtan. Really.
My personal experience of Kirtan is that the whole of Yoga is contained within it.
The songs are sweet, or Ahimsic in nature. They are devotional: Ishvara Pranidad. We sit still, in Asana. These Mantras takes all our breath, a focused Pranayama.
Once The rhythm is established, we slide into Pratyahara, a withdrawal from the external senses. This brings about a single point of focus: Dharana, the gateway to Meditation: Dhyana. In this meditation we are cleansed of negative thoughts and emotions: Kriya.
When the music stops, In that viscous-stillness we look within: Swadyaya, and get a glimpse of Samadhi, our blissful true nature.
That’s a sliver of how Kirtan has unfolded for me. To find your truth about Kirtan, come try. I host at least once a month, and maintain the Boston Kirtan Facebook group where you can find out about all the local offerings.
After meditation this morning, I played a few Bhajans on this old harmonium, usually puts me in a great mood, and I’m ready for just about anything. I was thinking about our challenging times and our many different ways of coping. How practice can be seen as refuge, but eventually we must come out of our cave and live in this world of ours.
Looking down I noticed the reflection of a window in the harmonium glass. The spring thaw from the roof appeared to be raining upwards, like little gems, and the brilliant reflection framed Krishna Das’s signature "All Love – KD" perfectly. You could almost hear the angels sing.
I was transfixed by the simple messge that KD had written many years ago at the Ashram. It was his response to my question, "How do I live with my doubt" Perhaps it’s that easy. All Love, Love All. I felt blessed, to have the time to practice, to have this home studio as refuge, for awareness, for my teachers.
Then I got graspy, got up to get my camera, (why do I do that?) which doesn’t begin to show the beauty of that moment. Perhaps I could have sat longer, present to the teaching.
We can’t get back to now, but we can be in it, and practice Aprarigraha, – non-grasping. I’m still glad for the pic though, so I could share it with you all.
Thanks KD, your message, and your teacher, Neem Karoli Baba’s message lives on. I will practice this.
Om Bolo Sri Krishna Das Dev Ki – Jai!
p.s. If you get these blog-posts by email, click to see the picture, I’m working on getting the email to include images.
Thanks to all who Joined us for the full-house Yoga of Sound workshop on Saturday. I’m getting lots of great feedback along with requsts for more Kirtan and Movie nights. Your presence makes these events possible.
The Namesake is one of my favorite films and the soundtrack is just stunning, it was a pleasure to watch it again with all of you.
Our next event is a Free Yoga Class with three teachers at Yoga and Nia for Life, December 6′th 12-2pm. Bring a donation of food for the Food Pantry and get a great Yoga class!
I’ll be warming us up with breathwork and gentle twists. Kate will take over for a nice flow. Natalie will then lead us through an amazing restorative series of postures, and ease us all into a nice long Shavasana. Join us in helping to feed people. You’ll be doing good, and feeling great. find out more at the Yoga Events page
We’ll end just in time for the Polar Bear Plunge at Walden Pond. Yes, they go swimming to encourage education about global warming. There’s a video of last years plunge on the page.
I wish you all a healthy, happy and compassionate holiday, I’ll be in retreat at the Ashram for the next five days, Susan Chorman is sub-teaching our classes on Monday.
p.s. Here’s the link for everyone who asked about the amazing soundtrack for The Namesake Amazon is promising great savings at their black friday sale . Hopefully that includes that yoga book or music you’ve been wanting to get.
Ani and will be back on December 21′st for the Annual Winter Solstice class, Let me know if you want me to hold a spot for you.
I’m planning the Second Annual Work Off the Fruitcake class the day after Christmas, and we’re looking at a New Years Day class as well. details up on the web soon.
This Bhagavan Das video will stir your soul, He’s been practicing Yoga and Meditation longer than I’ve been alive! Her he shares his journey of awakening, Alan Watts, Travelling to India, Neem Karoli Baba, and Ram Das. Be sure to watch till the end.
Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. One of the first steps in Yoga is commiting to truth. We become
responsible for our wellbeing, and don’t force or enter any position that feels inappropriate.
All Content Copyright 2007 – john calabria
Offering Yoga Classes at 50 Beharrell St. Concord Ma, 01742 – 978-257-6430 Also offering classes in the wider Metrowest area, including the towns of Acton, Sudbury, and Wayland Ma.