Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Shuddosi Buddhosi

Saraswati, Image Source: Scriptures.ru

Since Shimshai sang this lullaby of Yogini Queen Madalasa on Sunday night, it has been going around and around in my head... 

Now that we're in the last third of this year's Navaratri celebration and honoring Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and purity, it seems especially fitting.

Click here to listen on YouTube.

I'm finding alot of variations on this upadesha (instruction), but I've put together text, transliteration, and translation to the best of my ability below.

To see where I got the Devanagari from, click here.  Please note, I corrected the transliteration, and merged the translation with Shimshai's English version... whew!! 

If you find another version of the Devanagari, or have Shimshai's transliteration (which doesn't seem to match this), please let me know.  You know what a yoga geek I am... I'm dying to work out a Shruti Box version!  Jai Ma!

शुद्धोसि बुद्धोसि निरँजनोऽसि
सँसारमाया परिवर्जितोऽसि
सँसारस्वप्नँ त्यज मोहनिद्राँ
मँदालसोल्लपमुवाच पुत्रम्।

Shuddhosi buddhosi niranjanosi
samsara maya parivarjitosi
samsara svapnam tyaja moha nidram
mandalasollapamuvacha putram

"Madalasa says to her crying son:

You are forever pure.  You are forever true.
And the dream of this world can never touch you.
So give up your attachment, and give up your confusion.
And fly to that space that's beyond all illusion."

Monday, 22 October 2012

My Favorite Fashion Blogs

Anika Designs Edmonton Alberta
Image Source: Anika Designs, Edmonton

Lakshmi is the goddess of beauty and abundance. 

As a tribute to her this Navaratri, I'd like to salute some of my favorite fashion bloggers.

You may be wondering... what does this have to do with yoga? 
Well, not much from the point of view that says not to be attached to material appearances... 
But from another vantage point, why not acknowledge and appreciate the grace with which these earthly goddesses share, inspire, empower and uplift. 

I am in awe of their generosity, humor, whimsy, cleverness, elegance, dedication, openness and individuality. 

As John Fluevog puts it, "Style is Grace".

Jai Ma!!!

Thanks and beautiful blessings to:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Devi Mahatmya

Image Source: Wikipedia
Every Navaratri I read the Devi Mahatmya, the story of the Divine Mother's battles with the forces of evil! 

In it, she helps destroy Madhu and Kaitabha who come out of the dirt in Vishnu's ears while he is in Yoga Nidra.

Then she defeats Mahishasura the Buffalo-Demon.

Later, she vanquishes the dreaded Raktabija who can replicate himself from drops of his blood.

Finally she slaughters Sumbha and Nisumbha who rudely pull her by the hair and try to force her into marriage.

Although it sounds gruesome, I remind myself that these "demons" represent negative thoughts.  And the goddess, our own inner light.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

108 Names of Durga

Durga, Image Source:  Wikipedia
Did you know that Durga has 108 names? 

Here are a few examples:

Bhavani: The Abode of the Universe

Buddhi: Intelligence

Chamunda: Slayer of the Demons Chanda and Munda

Durga: The Invincible

Jaya: The Victorious

Nitya: The Eternal One

Ratnapriya: Adorned by Jewels

Shaambhavi: Beloved of Shambu (Shiva)

Sundari: The Gorgeous

Click here to hear the 108 Names of Durga on YouTube.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Happy Navaratri!

Durga Ma
Tonight is the beginning of Navaratri, nine nights of annual celebration dedicated to the Divine Mother!

For three days, we celebrate the Divine Feminine in the form of Durga, the fierce warrior who clears away the demons of our ignorance. 

Then for three days we honor Lakshmi, the beautiful and generous Mother who bestows wealth and abundance.

The last three days are dedicated to Saraswati, the embodiment of wisdom and creativity.

Durga Ma
There are many ways to honor Shakti, or the creative feminine power within and around you. 

You may like to place reminders around your home or workplace in the form of flowers, images, or symbols.
One such tradition is to wear clothes in particular colors for each of the nine days. 

Durga Ma

Just in case you want to coordinate your "Saris" with the Divine Mother this Navaratri, here's the official listing for 2012. 
Please note:  This advice is in no way intended as a substitute for spiritual or sartorial counseling! ;-)
Image Source: Wikipedia
Tuesday October 16: Red
Wednesday October 17: Sky Blue
Thursday October 18: Yellow
Friday October 19: Green
Saturday October 20: Grey
Sunday October 21: Orange
Monday October 22: White
Tuesday October 23: Pink
Wednesday October 24: Blue

Today is World Food Day

Monk's Prayer Poster - Marion Black Design
Glastonbury Kitchen Prayer

Today, October 16th, is World Food Day.

Kali's Kitchen is still working toward our goal of donating one million grains of rice through the United Nations World Food Program on Freerice.com.

Join the Kali's Kitchen group today and play a new category: World Hunger

Learn and donate for free! 

For every question you answer correctly, you donate 10 grains of rice to hungry people around the world.

May all beings be nourished, in body, mind and spirit!

Monday, 15 October 2012


Brian McLeod and Gord Oaks are opening for Shimshai in Edmonton on October 21st!

Sunday October 21st 
The Centre for Spiritual Living
7621 - 101 Avenue, Edmonton
Doors @ 6PM 
$25 Advance, $30 at the door

Friday, 5 October 2012

Legends of Yoga: The First Guru

Shiva as Nataraja
Tradition says that Shiva is the Adi-Guru or first teacher of Hatha Yoga. 

Wanna hear the story of how yoga first came to human beings?

Shiva's first student was Parvati, the Mother of the World and his beloved consort.  She was saddened by the suffering of human beings.  Out of compassion, Shiva shared these teachings with her.

Some stories say they went to a small island or a remote riverbank or a deserted beach.  Others claim they had a beautiful bubble lair at the bottom of the ocean. 

(Lol!  This always makes me think of Maxwell Smart's "Cone of Silence".)

As Shiva spoke, a fish (Matsya in Sanskrit) overheard.  Shiva turned the fish into a Siddha, or realized being who became known as Matsyendranath or the Lord of the Fishes.

Others say that Matsyendranath was swallowed by a fish when he was just a boy.  The fish happened to be resting near the divine couple as they were discussing the secret wisdom of yoga.  From within the belly of the fish, Matsyendranath overheard.  He practiced what he learned with vigor and determination.  When he escaped from the fish belly twelve years later, became a fully realized master and a liberated soul.

Either way, Matsyendranath became the second teacher of yoga, the one who brought it to humanity.  He is revered by Hindus and Buddhists alike as a Guru in both paramparas, or lineages of yoga.

Ardha matsyendrasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Image Source: Yoga Vidya)
As the first human guru was known for meditating in a particular asana, the position became known as Matsyendrasana, or the Seated Spinal Twist, one of the few postures described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Ardha Matsyendrasana, or the Half Spinal Twist is one of the twelve basic postures in a traditional Sivananda yoga class.  It has numerous benefits for the abdominal organs and the spine, and helps to rouse latent spiritual energy.

Some versions claim that Parvati fell asleep and missed the whole teaching.  Perhaps this is a metaphor for the human condition.  The yogis say we spend most of our lives unaware of our own potential and therefore unable to fulfill it. 

Or perhaps it is a reference to Kundalini Shakti, the spiritual force that lies dormant or "asleep" in the Muladhara chakra at the base of the spine waiting to be channeled upward.

However you interpret this mighty fish tale, it highlights the power of yoga to transform.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Three Deadliest Words in the World: It's a Girl

October 11th is the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child

In honor of girls everywhere, the Indo-Canadian Women's Association in Edmonton is hosting a screening of the film It's a Girl 7 pm at the University of Alberta.

"In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.

Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members."

Watch the trailer here.