Saturday, 30 June 2012

Sattvic Movie Saturday: The Sun Behind the Clouds - Tibet's Struggle for Freedom

Book Handmade by Tibetan Refugee
Honorary Canadian citizen, The Dalai Lama is an international celebrity.  Tibetan Buddhist teachings are now accessible virtually around the globe. 

But the Tibetan people still struggle for autonomy, religious freedom, economic equality and cultural recognition in their homeland. 

They regularly face persecution, arrest, interrogation and abuse that for most Canadians is the stuff of horror movies.

As we celebrate Canada Day, let us be grateful for our position of privilege and freedom in the world and support human rights and justice for all. 

Please take the time to watch this revealing documentary.  Thank you.

Click here to watch: The Sun Behind the Clouds - Tibet's Struggle for Freedom full screen on YouTube.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Blessings for a Beautiful Summer

Lakshmi by Betsy Schott
Lakshmi is revered as the goddess of beauty, abundance and prosperity.  She represents wealth in both material and spiritual matters.

As we enter the second half of 2012 and the beginning of summer, I wish health, wealth, spiritual awareness, freedom from misfortune, happiness, love, gratitude and generosity to all!

To invoke the energy of Lakshmi you can chant:

Om Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namaha

Or you can learn her Gayatri mantra by watching this video on YouTube.

Jai Ma!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sattvic Movie Saturday: The Three Lives of Panditji


Yeah, I know, it's not Saturday yet!  But I'm really excited to attend the premiere of "The Three Lives of Panditji"  this Saturday at the Royal Alberta Museum and thought you might like to see it too! 

Click here to watch the trailer full screen on YouTube.

If you're willing to take a chance, there may be tickets for 7:30pm available at the door, but they've also added a 9pm show, so call and reserve your seats!

Hope to see you there!

P.S.  Do you recognize tabla player Ojas Joshi from this post? Cool, huh!

Brahmarpanam: A Yogi's Meal Prayer

Yogis in the Sivananda lineage and many other schools of yoga bless their meals with Verse 4:24 from the Bhagavad Gita:

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणाहुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्म कर्म समाधिना ।।


Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnau Brahmana Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam
Brahmakarma Samadhina

Word-for-word translation:

brahma: spiritual in nature  
arpanam: contribution  
brahma: the Supreme
havih: butter
brahma: spiritual  
agnau: in the fire of consummation
brahmana: by the spirit soul  
hutam: offered
brahma: spiritual kingdom  
eva: certainly  
tena: by him
gantavyam: to be reached
brahma: spiritual
karma: in activities
samadhina: by complete absorption


The act of offering is Brahman, the oblation is Brahman,
By Brahman it is offered into the fire of Brahman.
Brahman is That which is to be attained by s/he
who performs actions pertaining to Brahman.

Gratitude and mindfulness are said to transform food from mere sustenance into prasad!

For additional commentary and the source of much of this post check out

And if you like the look of these homemade pickles, find out how to make your own in this post.

Jai to the Cooks!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Free Online Devanagari Script Tutor

Click here to visit, a learning resource for Hindi students. 

The Devanagari Script Tutor shows you how to write each letter, gives an audio sample of the sound alone and in a word, and even lets you test yourself!

You can also click here to go to my Sanskrit page where you will find more online resources.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Quick and Easy Homemade Pickles

Once upon a time when I worked in a cucumber patch, I had an easy recipe for refrigerator pickles. 

Yesterday I found an even easier and healthier recipe on A Beautiful Mess!

Emma's pickles are low in salt and sugar, take very few steps, require no boiling and are ready for sampling the next day!

So far, I've made four small jars:

1) Carrots with Fennel and Mint
2) Cucumber with Dill and Peppercorns
3) Radishes with Sambar Spices
4) Beets with Mint

By lunch today, the pickles were beautiful, crunchy, delicately infused and delicious,  I'm especially thrilled with the radishes!

Emma says they last up to a month in the fridge, but I'm sure I'll eat them before then.  I'm already looking forward to new combinations and salad dressings with the leftover infused vinegars.

Let me know what flavors you come up with!

Sattvic Movie Saturday: Little Krishna

Saturday morning calls for cartoons, so here's a computer animated treat for you! 

Grab your bowl of cereal and a comfy blanket - enjoy!

Little Krishna, Darling of Vrindavan, Click here to watch full screen on YouTube.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Sattvic Movie Saturday: In the Name of Peace

Today on Sattvic Movie Saturday, I would like to introduce you to Swami Vishnudevananda, founder of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.

In the Name of Peace highlights Swami Vishnu-devananda's mission as a yogi and peace activist.

Click here to watch Part One on YouTube.

Click here to watch Part Two.

Click here to watch Part Three.

Swami Vishnu's unconventional methods included flying a "Peace Plane" painted by Peter Max into disuputed border areas, earning him the title "The Flying Yogi".

He established the Sivananda Yoga Teachers' Training Course encouraging others to become "Peace Ambassadors" in the world using yoga to cultivate inner peace.

"Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, yoga shows the way." - Swami Vishnudevananda
This isn't the whole movie but it gives you a good taste of Swamiji's teachings. 

Maybe you'll take the Sivananda Yoga Teachers' Training and experience them for yourself! 

Om Namo Narayanaya!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Soham: I am That

Soham is an abstract or formless mantra, a mantra "without qualities".

Like the bija mantra Om, it doesn't invoke any particular deity.  Rather, it invites us to recognize our unity with the absolute or infinite nature of the universe.

The formless mantras are among the oldest, originating in the Vedic texts.  Yet we repeat this mantra naturally with each and every breath, "Soh" as we inhale, and "Hum" as we exhale.

As such, this universal mantra calms the body and mind, helping us to "Be Here Now".

Try concentrating on the sound of "Soh" as you inhale and feel the energy rising from the base of the spine along the sushumna nadi toward the crown.  As you exhale "Hum", feel the energy descending from the crown to the base of the spine. 

For a more detailed explanation of how to use this mantra in meditation, click here to visit

Although the vibration and the awareness are more important than the translation, the meaning is So-Aham, I am That or That I am.

Saraswati with Swans

This mantra helps the meditator realize that s/he is existence itself, timeless and without limitation of qualities or form. 

It is used mainly by experienced yogis and those who do not identify with a particular personification of the divine. 

It is sometimes referred to as the Hamsa mantra meaning "swan", a symbol of purity, prana, detachment, spiritual realization, escape from samsara, and identification with the Atman or Highest Self. 

Mantras for Precarious Times

Deep gratitude to Deva Premal and Miten for this!  Listen here or see the video on YouTube