Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Lullaby of Queen Madalasa

Image Source and Selected Readings
Several years ago, I wrote this post about the beautiful teachings Yogini Queen Madalasa gave her infant sons when they cried.

In the cradle, she reminded them that they are not this body, this mind, and these emotions.  She taught them Atma Jnana or the Wisdom of the Higher Self.

When I heard this rendition of the song I was brought to tears and knew it was time for an update.

Sanskrit Song from the Markandeya Purana

Gabriella Burnel is a Sanskrit scholar and accomplished musician.  To learn more about her and to read the full story from the Markandeya Purana click here.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

PAC 156, Yoga and the Chakras

I'm honored to be a guest in your Yoga class today to introduce an asana practice which focuses on the pranamayakosha.

It is adapted from the "Yoga of Lady Niguma" which was taught to me directly by Geshe Michael Roach.  Through postures and meditation, we will concentrate on the movement of prana through the nadis and chakras.

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, there are 72 000 channels in the body through which life energy flows.  They intersect at hubs referred to as chakras, meaning "wheels".  These chakras are knots which prevent the rising of Kundalini.

Tibetan Buddhist practitioners of Yoga have their own unique interpretation of this system of subtle channels which you can read about herehere and here.

Geshe Michael describes the history of this series and the life of Lady Niguma here.


And teaches the first series in full here.


I hope you learn something today which is of help to you in your studies and in your daily life.

I look forward to seeing you next month for an Introduction to the Language and Literature of Yoga.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Goddesses of Creation at the Art Gallery of Alberta

She is devouring, ferocious, and awe-inspiring. She is nurturing, tender and benevolent. In Hinduism the Goddess (Shakti) enacts the cycle of creation as envisioned by the Gods Vishnu and Shiva. The Goddess is represented in various forms throughout the history of art in India, and in classical Sanskrit religious literature, like the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Recent scholarship asserts that many important characteristics of the female divine are derived from folk and oral traditions, as well as from aristocratic and literary ones. For example, the Goddess Kali can be seen to have roots in the fierce Goddesses of village traditions, and as such has been called by revered Hindu scholar A.K. Ramanujan a "Goddess of the Tooth". In contrast, he calls the benign and motherly Lakshmi and Bhudevi "Goddesses of the Breast." Featuring the return of the AGA’s 12th century Shiva Bhairava, the exhibition encourages the viewer to discover the multiplicity of forms and meanings in these images of the Goddess.

On Now:  December 1, 2018 – March 24, 2019
Thursday, January 10:  FREE Bharatanatyam Performance from 6-7 pm
Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta. Curated by Elizabeth Herbert.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Happy Winter Solstice

Source: Museum of Fine Art, Boston
Best wishes for enlightenment, outside and in!

I pray that you are well, navigating the darkness with courage and cheer, getting the rest you've earned, and time for the introspection that awakens inner wisdom.

If you're looking for ways to celebrate, here are some simple ideas:  8 Winter Solstice Traditions

If you're seeking revelations read this CBC 2018 Winter Solstice Horoscope.

Recognizing that this is a challenging time of year, to say the least, know that if you're grieving, there is help.  For a supportive yoga practice, contact Sandy:  Yoga for Grief Support

And if you would like some uplifting music for the longest night of the year here is a short YouTube playlist to get you started:

Yule (Winter Solstice) Song
Solstice Night
Wyrd Sisters - Solstice Carole
Ravens - Solstice Carole
Ring Out Solstice Bells - Jethro Tull
Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Longest Night of the Year

Tomorrow, the light begins its slow return.  Until then:
Go merry met, my gentle friends, let nothing you dismay The bright Son of our Lady comes birthing with the day To free us all from winter's grasp and mind us all of May Oh tidings of comfort and joy... Source

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Yoga and Origami Workshop

"Under the Rain" by Oriland
A great big thanks to all of you who joined Satwinder and me at Yoga Within on the weekend for Yoga and Origami.

It was peaceful and uplifting spending time with you folding and unfolding the energy and crafting pretty things from paper.

Many of you showed an interest in learning more paper folding so here are a few of my favorite sites for you to browse:

Origami Club is my favorite site for beginners and children.  They have great diagrams and even an animated diagram feature that makes it easier to understand transitions.

You can find the instructions for the cup we folded here and a slightly simpler variation of the lotus with optional leaves here.

Origami Spirit is a beautiful blog for artistic inspiration and soothing instructional videos.  Author Leyla Torres and her sweet kitty Corazon just added this beautiful post about Origami for stress relief and building community.  So Yogic!

Oriland is an absolutely charming Canadian site.  Authors Katrin and Yuri Shumakov have done considerable research on the brain benefits of Origami and their paper flower arrangements like the one pictured above are each more beautiful than the last!

Last but not least, I'm very fond of Paper Kawaii. Chrissy's video tutorials are clear and uncluttered.  Her photography and choices of paper are so creative and inspiring!

There are so many other amazing Origami artists and sites out there, but I'll save them for another workshop and post.

Do you have a favorite Origami site?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Happy folding!