Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sattvic Movie Saturday: The Story of Stuff

Wait!  Before you buy ANYTHING else this season, watch this!

(Click here to visit the

Aparigraha, non-possessiveness or greedlessness is the forgotten yama.

Especially at Christmas, its easy to make the mistake of choosing presents over presence.

This season, choose presence.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

What Deepak Chopra Wants You to Know About Your Chakras

Harmonize the Chakras with Meditation
According to a recent article by Deepak Chopra, each of the seven chakras are governed by spiritual laws, or principles of consciousness.  Understanding these, he says, can help you to achieve greater harmony and happiness in your life and in the world.

First Chakra, The Law of Karma:  Observe the signals your body gives you when considering choices.  Your physical reactions of comfort and discomfort can help you determine the potential nourishment or toxicity of your actions.

Second Chakra, The Law of Least Effort:  Like a musician using the same notes in new relationships to generate new melodies, co-create your life by viewing situations and circumstances as raw materials to be used in creative new ways.

Third Chakra, The Law of Intention and Desire:  Intention + Attention = Expression.  Manifesting your desires is a matter of applying attention to your intentions and then allowing space for the results.

Fourth Chakra, The Law of Giving and Receiving:  Like the physical heart circulates blood, being open to love in all its forms helps foster feelings of unity and lessen feelings of separation.

Fifth Chakra, The Law of Detachment:  When your intentions are clear and your heart is open you experience less anxiety about expressing your views and needs.

Sixth Chakra, The Law of Dharma:  To discover your purpose in life, learn to distinguish your own wise inner voice from the internal chatter of others. 

Seventh Chakra, The Law of Pure Potentiality:  Become as familiar with the inner domain through yoga and meditation as you are with your outer world.  Remember that you are not a body with a spirit, but a spirit with a body.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Warming Ayurvedic Tea for Coughs and Colds

Brrrrr!!!  Its a cold, snowy autumn in Alberta.

Here's a Ayurvedic tea that will warm you up and soothe coughs and sore throats like magic!

What you need:

4 cups water
4 cloves
2 pieces of  licorice root (called "mulethi" if you're buying it from your favorite Indian grocer)
2 (or more) slices of raw ginger root

What to do:

Boil the ingredients together or steep in your thermos on the way to work and sip happily.  No need for honey as licorice root is known to contain compounds 30-50 times sweeter than sugar!

Thanks to Rul, my favorite Ayurvedic consultant for this delicious recipe!

Note *Please do not drink this excessively if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Artful Yogis and the Festival of Trees

This gorgeous wreath, hand-felted by our crafty karma yoga community won the People's Choice second prize at Sherwood Park's "Festival of Trees" last weekend!

Not only was it great fun to create (wow, the spinoffs from Raja Yoga Summer Camp are blowing my mind!), but it helped raise money for the Volunteer Information Service!

Thanks to all the "Artful Yogis" who participated, and everyone who attended and voted for our "Heart-felt" creation! 

Also a big thanks to Yoga for Today for sponsoring the wreath and posting the information on their Facebook page!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Inviting Divine Grace

Kalofer Lace

Maybe its all the snow, but I seem to be having a little love affair with lace lately. 

Really!  Curtains, scarves, flowers, garland, gift wrap, bracelets, the list goes on and on.

What does this have to do with yoga, you ask?

Well, the snow has certainly got me longing for some warm weather and a trip to the ashram, that's for sure... 

But all that lace is also reminding me of the beautiful Kolam designs many women in South India create each morning with white stone or rice powder to invite the divine to grace their homes. 

Check out these pretty examples: 

My Kolam for the contest1
Kolam by Nithya of Nits Arts and Crafts

Nits Arts and Crafts

So, I'm curious, how do you invite divine grace into your home?

Friday, 15 November 2013

Sparrow's CD Release Party, Nov. 16th!

Announcing the Release of Sharanam

Sparrow, my dear friend and Bhakti-Sister, is releasing her long awaited Kirtan recording SHARANAM tomorrow, Saturday, November 16th, 2013!

The Edmonton CD release will be held at the McMullen Gallery (room 1G1-8 of the Walter Mackenzie Center) at the U of A Hospital.  This is a gorgeous art gallery right off the main entrance from 112th Street and 85th avenue (8440 112th Street).
      7pm   Doors
      7:30   Music and chanting with Ojima Clarke, Andriko Lowozy and Kim Jorgensen
      8:15   Songs and kirtan from 'Sharanam' with Sparrow and the Sparrow Spirit Band
     10:00  Sound Journey with Kris Elaschuk and Blair Armstrong

Entrance is $25.00 at the door, which includes a copy of the new CD.

Sparrow's two previously released CDs will also be available onsite.

There will be chairs and some floor seating but we welcome you to 'byoc' bring your own cushion as seating will be somewhat limited.

If you are not in Edmonton, CDs and recordings will be available soon through:

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Intermediate Hatha Yoga Sunday at Sunshine Fitness

Due to ongoing cleanup at Yoga for Today, our last Hatha Yoga class of the fall session will be held at:

Sunshine Park Fitness on the lower level of Franklin's Inn. (enter through the north doors)

Time: 9-10:30 am

Please bring your own mat.

Looking forward to seeing you!  Namaste!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Classes at Yoga For Today Cancelled Until Further Notice

Best wishes to the owners, staff, and members of Namaste, Yoga for Today and all of the businesses in Franklin's Inn in Sherwood Park, affected by the fire at Namaste on Saturday!

I'm so glad to hear you all made it out safely!

Sending you lots of prayers for freedom from fear, safety from harm, and a quick return "home"!

Looking forward to getting back to class as much as I am? 

Check back here, and on the Yoga for Today Facebook Page for updates.

Om Trayambakam!

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!!!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Buddhist Relics in Edmonton!

9, 10 & 11 August 2013
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Friday: 6pm to 8pm Opening Ceremony
Saturday: 10am to 7pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm
City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square NW
AB T5J-2R7
Alberta, Canada

Contact: Dr. Steven Aung
Telephone: (+1) 780 421 4777

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Natural Beauty: Sandalwood and Marigold Scrub

Thank you Rul, for this Ayurvedic beauty recipe!

What you need:

- One fresh, organically grown Marigold flower
- 1/4 tsp. Sandalwood Powder
- 1 tsp. Virgin Coconut Oil

What to do:

- Remove the petals from the blossom and place them in the mortar.

- Add the sandalwood powder and coconut oil.

- Crush/grind together with the pestle until you have a smooth paste.

- Rub gently onto your face and body.

- Rinse off, or wipe with a wet washcloth.

Enjoy your soft, glowing skin!

Monday, 22 July 2013

More Fruit and Flower Infused Waters

Fruit and Flower Infused Waters
I just couldn't resist sharing today's refreshments.

They're so pretty, frosty cool, and delicious too!

On the left:  Cherry and Marigold (next time I would cut the cherries)

On the right:  Nectarine and Day Lily

What combinations have you come up with?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Fruit and Flower Infused Waters

Strawberry and Wild Rose
Looking for some naturally sweet summer refreshment? 

You can make plain water pretty and delicious as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1.  Add a few pieces of fruit and some edible flowers to your water glass or pitcher.

2.  Infuse for a few hours.

3.  Enjoy!

Blueberry and Lilac
Want more inspiration and recipes?

42 Flowers You Can Eat

Watermelon Hibiscus Water

Jasmine Infused Water

Lavender Water, DIY Infused Water Station

What's your favorite infused water recipe?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Proud to Be a Canadian!

Wild Roses from my yard, the official flower of Alberta.
 Happy Canada Day! 

And welcome to the official beginning of Summer in Alberta, 2013! 

Woo Hoo!!!

I hope you've all enjoyed a beautiful long weekend full of sunshine, the great outdoors, friends, family and lots of fun!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Raja Yoga Summer Camp is in Full Swing!

Prasad from the Mahaganapathy Temple
Thanks to all who came (despite the tornado warnings!) on tonight's Raja Yoga Summer Camp field trip to the Mahaganapathy Temple!

It was such a beautiful experience and so wonderful to share it with you!

Thank you to everyone at the Temple who made us feel so welcome, you've given us an evening to remember!  Our eyes and ears and hearts were filled with sights and sounds, customs and kindness!

I can hardly wait until we go back on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013!

If you'd like join Raja Yoga Summer Camp, email me:

Ganesha holding Tara's marigold

Also, thank you Tara from the Yoga Within Hatha Yoga Teacher Training class. 

Tara, of all the students and friends I've given peace marigolds and marigold seeds to (and there have been lots!), you're the first ever to plant them and bless me with a bloom! 


Best wishes to you and all of your classmates as you complete your Yoga Teacher Training!

Atha yoganushasanam (Yoga Sutra 1.1) ...NOW the teaching on Yoga begins...

Jai Ganesha!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Raja Yoga Summer Camp: Jai Ganesha Study Night

When:  Wed. June 5, 2013, 7-8:30 pm

Where:  Strathcona County Public Library  Meet at the top of the stairs by the couches and if possible we will move to a more private study area.

Study Topic:  Stories of Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles, his names, mantras, adornments, weapons, qualities, family tree, favorite sweets and more!

Plus prepare for a Raja Yoga Summer Camp field trip to the Mahaganapathy Temple!

There is no charge for this event, but donations for study materials are gratefully accepted.

My handstamped Ganesha Greeting Cards

My Ganapati Greeting Cards will also be available for purchase.  Each one is uniquely handstamped in shades of sandalwood, saffron, and turmeric.

If you, or someone you know would like to join Raja Yoga Summer Camp, sign up on the right side of this blog to get posts from Kali's Kitchen sent to your email box. 

And email me directly at: to get on the private invitation list!

Hey, just in case you can't make it this time, here's a beautiful video with chanting by Harish Johari and illustrations by Pieter Weltevrede. 

Plus I've created and posted a fun word search puzzle for you, all about Ganesha!  Jai Ganesha Word Search Puzzle 

Good luck!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Jupiter, Venus and Mercury in Yoga

For the past couple of weeks, and until June 7th, 2013, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are in alignment or Yoga.  (A "yoking" or coming together of astrological entities.)

In my life things have been both brilliantly coordinated and jarringly discordant lately.  Maybe this has something to do with it. 

According to Vedic Astrology or Jyotish:

Brihaspati with Tara (Image Source)
Jupiter गुरू, बृहस्पती (Guru, Brihaspati) is the teacher of the gods.  He helps the gods in their ongoing wars against the demons, or lower, crueler aspects of human nature.

Guru also means "priest" so Brihaspati is the "lord of prayer or devotion." 

Brihaspati wears yellow garments and is generally worshipped on Thurdays.  Appeasing him is said to cure stomach ailments.

Venus शुक्र (Shukra), also known as Shukracharya, is Brihaspati's arch-nemesis, the spiritual advisor of the demons or Asuras

He helps the demons in the wars against the gods and revives their wounded and dead with a secret mantra given to him by Lord Shiva. 

Shukra graha.JPG
Shukra (Image Source)
Shukra means "clear, pure, brightness, or clearness."  He has a light complexion, wears all white and likes to be worshipped on Fridays.  His influence can relieve eye problems, even though he is half-blind:

"In one story, Lord Vishnu is born as the Brahmin dwarf-sage Vamana. Vamana comes to take the three worlds as alms from the asura king Bali. Lord Vishnu wanted to deceive the king Bali who was the grandson of the great king Prahlada, in order to help the Devas. The sage Shukracharya identifies him immediately and warns the King. The King is however a man of his word and offers the gift to Vamana. Shukracharya, annoyed with the pride of the king, shrinks himself with his powers and sits in the spout of the Kamandalu, from which water has to be poured to seal the promise to the deity in disguise. Lord Vishnu, in disguise of the dwarf, understands immediately, and picks a straw from the ground and directs it up the spout, poking out the left eye of Shukracharaya." Source: Wikipedia

Shukra presides in the areas of love, fertility, romance and sexuality, creativity, the physical body and material life, wealth, the opposite sex, pleasure and luxury, the sacred feminine, music, dance, painting and sculpture, appreciation of nature and harmonious relationships.

Both Jupiter (Brihaspati) and Venus (Shukra) represent brilliance, intelligence, memory and above all spiritual devotion... but for entirely different goals!

Mercury बुध (Budha) (not to be confused with Buddha, the enlightened sage) is the son of an illicit liason between Chandra, the god of the moon, and Tara, the wife of Brihaspati. 

(Hmmm... sense the potential for some astrological tension there?) 

Here's the story:

Budha graha.JPG
Budha (Image Source)
"Chandra was a student with Brihaspati, the Teacher of devas. Tara was the wife of Brihaspati. Tara fell in love with the beauty of Chandra and started living with him, deserting Brihaspati. When Brihaspati asked her to come back, she refused. Brihaspati became angry, and a war eventually started between Chandra and Brihaspati. Sukracharya, the teacher of the Asuras, joined Chandra in the battle, while The devas joined Brihaspati. As the battle was due to desire (kama) for Tara, it was known as Tarakaamayam. Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, feared the war might abolish the world. Hence, he came down and stopped the war. He convinced Tara, took her away from Chandra, and gave her back to Brihaspati. Budha, a beautiful child, was born to Tara. Both Brihaspati and Chandra claimed to be the father of Budha, but Tara kept silent. Budha himself got angry over this tussle and asked his mother to tell the truth. Tara said that Chandra was the father of Budha."  Source: Wikipedia

He is known for his good looks, his wisdom in the Vedas and the arts, his shining intelligence and his disdain of his father's immoral behavior!

Budha means "awakening, clever, intelligent, wise, learned man, wise man, or sage."  He represents communication, analysis, the senses (especially the skin), science, mathematics, business, education and research. The written word and journeys of all types fall under his domain. 

His favorite color is green, and he is generally worshipped on Wednesdays.

Well, I'm no Vedic astrologer... but it seems to me that with these three forces engaged and in close proximity with one another, we may experience some conflicting ideas about what is right or wise, and perhaps some poignant inner or outer turmoil about how these are expressed or put into practice.

Given my own recent ups and downs, I feel reassured by the reminder that we are all under the influence of many factors beyond our control, for worse... and for better.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Pet Appreciation Week, June 1-8

In addition to love, sweet love, animals friends offer us some tremendous health benefits!

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced anxiety
  • enhanced immunity
  • pain and stress management
  • longer life expectancy
  • better heart health
  • improved intelligence and reading scores

And so much more!  Check out these articles:

The Vancouver Sun, The Top 10 Benefits of Pet Ownership

WebMD Article, 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health

Lessons from the Tiger Buddhas

And this beautiful website by my Reiki Teacher, Marci Burgess:

Reiki for Pets and People, Healing for All Beings

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

We're All in This Together

Namaste, oneness, unity in diversity, compassion for all beings, seeing "others" as our Selves...

I know, some days these yogic practices may seem like lofty ideas, like intellectual exercises, like airy-fairy philosophy, like sappy slogans, like sentimentality rather than scientific fact. 

But consider this:

"Quoting geneticists, Guy Murchie says we're all family. You have at least a million relatives as close as tenth cousin, and no one on Earth is any farther removed than your 50th cousin.

Murchie also describes our kinship through an analysis of how deeply we share the air. With each breath, you take into your body 10 sextillion atoms, and--owing to the wind's ceaseless circulation--over a year's time you have intimate relations with oxygen molecules exhaled by every person alive, as well as by everyone who ever lived. Right now you may be carrying atoms that were once inside the lungs of Malcolm X, Christopher Columbus, Joan of Arc, and Cleopatra." 
- Rob Brezsny,

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Hot Kirtan from the Bahamas, Jai Uttal and Daniel Paul

Oh this is just awesome! 

Here's a great video of one of my favorite kirtan dynamic duos, Jai Uttal and Daniel Paul performing recently at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas. 

Jai Uttal and Daniel Paul (The Maha Mantra and a Few Surprises)

Just in case you're wondering, they are as fun and friendly offstage as they are on! 

And hahaha - check it out!!  Jai is still using the clamp my Guru brother/Sanskrit teacher Brahmachari Shankar gave him a few years ago to hold his very well-loved harmonium bellows together! 

And if you look reeeealllly closely, there's a Ganesha sticker on it that I gave him!  Jai!! :-D

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Raja Yoga Summer Camp 2013 Begins!

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and we are going out on the town!

Watch for upcoming outings, fieldtrips and gatherings that bring the philosophy of yoga to life!

Wednesdays from 7pm- 8:30/9pm plus special evening and weekend events.

Various locations in Edmonton and Area.  Cost/Donation varies according to the event.

Do you want to receive Evite invitations to Raja Yoga Summer Camp, 2013 events?  Do you know someone who does? 

Let me know!  Email:

First event:
House Concert! Satsang and Kirtan with Sparrow, 7-9pm, Wednesday May 22, 2013.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

My Harmonium is Here!

Oh its here!  Its here!

I'm so excited!

Thank you so much to all of you who contributed funds and encouragement of all kinds for the purchase of my own Harmonium

Its the best 40th Birthday gift I can imagine! 

Thank you so much!!!!

Stay tuned (Haha, get it???  Ya, ok, lame joke, but I'm giddy!) for the follow-up party! 

Um... just give me a little time to practice, ok? :)

If you'd like to get your own harmonium or a tambourine, or tablas... visit Kala Kendar

Talk to Mickey - he's awesome!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

This Weekend at Yoga Within

There are still a few spots available for this weekend's workshops at Yoga Within!

February 8 - 9 ~ Sanskrit for Absolute Beginners with Tara Woltjen

$82.50 + GST

Friday, February 8,  5:30 – 8:30pm (3hrs)

and Saturday, February 9,  1 – 4pm (3hrs)

The Sanskrit letters are said to be the sounds of the inner winds heard by the ancient yogis in deep meditation. Learn the basics of Devanagari script and transliterated Sanskrit in an easy, lighthearted way so that you too can resonate with these sacred healing sounds.

February 9 - 10 ~ Mantra Yoga the Complete Science with Yogi Amandeep

Feb 9th  - 1-6pm  $65, at door $75
Feb 10th – 10-2 pm $55, at door $65
Cost: for both days $111
  Mantra Yoga is perhaps one of the most ancient ways of self realization. “Man” means mind and “tra” means wave, Mantra is that which controls the waves of the mind.

According to the metaphysical science Mantras are primal sounds that alter the patterns of the mind and brain chemistry. Mantras are living conscious energy and have to be awakened to fully benefit from the sound, a process closely guarded secret.

The chanting of Mantras create blissful and peaceful mind. They bestow upon us the power to attain our goals and lift ourselves from the ordinary to the higher level of consciousness.  They give us the power to heal, attract prosperity, abundance and health. 

A very unique workshop on the detail science of mantra, how to awaken them, how they work, different forms of mantras, different stages in practise, their physiology in the body, their seats in the chakras, activation of 72,000 Nadis, their imprint in the mind and the whole science of mantra perfection.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Karma and Emptiness in the Yoga Sutra

Geshe Michael Roach.  Blurry Photo Credit: Me :)
Hey, Yoga Sutra Geeks! (You know I call you that with the utmost reverence and affection...) Check it out! 

Asian Classics Institute has more than 400 pages of transcribed teachings on this topic alone!

Karma and Emptiness in the Yoga Sutra, Part One, Geshe Michael Roach

Karma and Emptiness in the Yoga Sutra, Part Two, Geshe Michael Roach

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Oprah Likes Kirtan Too!

Oprah offers an evening of inspiration
Oprah Winfrey in Edmonton, Image Source: Edmonton Journal
So, Edmonton is buzzing from Oprah's appearance here last night!  Whether you were in attendance or not, her presence was palpable and somehow, we all felt part of it. 

In Oprah's own words,
“Why are you here?... You’re here because you’ve been called. Even with our sadness and victories and trials. Everything matters. It does not matter how you got here. It doesn’t matter if you were ignored, welcomed. If you are here sitting in a seat in Edmonton, if you are breathing, you’ve been called..."
It's no secret that Oprah is a fan of modern mystics like Deepak ChopraRam Dass and Eckhart Tolle, and that she has an appreciation for yoga, meditation and a variety of spiritual practices and music. 

But did you know she's also a Kirtan fan?  Seriously! 

Oprah's friends even arranged for Snatam Kaur to play at her 58th Birthday Celebration

Check out the album below and I'm convinced you'll understand why.  Click here to listen to Snatam Kaur on YouTube.

Prayers for Shyamdas

Oh, it is with many tears that I offer prayers for release from samsara for one of my most beloved Kirtan Wallahs EVER.  Shyamdas left his body in India a couple of days ago.  World-wide his students and fans are saddened, but I doubt he's feeling the same way. 

Since I saw him in the Fall of 2009 at the Omega Ecstatic Chant Retreat in New York, I've been affectionately referring to him as the "Drunken Uncle" of the Kirtan scene. 

I arrived that weekend utterly broken hearted and desperately in need of a big bhakti bandaid and some serious pressure washing for my nadis. 

All of the artists were amazing:  Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal and Miten, David Newman (Durga Das) and Vishal Vaid... but I was so shattered that I just couldn't relate to either the ecstatic dancing or the sweet meditative vibes. 

I simply wasn't "in the mood".

At four in the morning, onto the stage came Shyamdas.  He had the voice and air of the last drunk Uncle standing at the end of a night of wedding celebrations.  His Bhava, and the perfection of his imperfection cracked me wide open. 

You can get a glimpse of what I mean in this Shyamdas Tribute on YouTube from Substratum Films.  The clips were pulled from interviews for the upcoming documentary One Track Heart, which I shared with you just a few days ago in this post.

Shyamdas-ji, from the bottom of my busted and bursting heart, thank you!  May you be forever melting in Blissful Union with the Divine!  Jai Sri Rahde!  Jai Sri Krishna!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sattvic Movie Saturday: One Track Heart

Ok, I'm putting it out there into the universe...
I am officially on a quest for my own harmonium! 

In the process, I found lots of information on Kirtan Central.
AND the trailer for an upcoming documentary about Krishna Das called One Track Heart (Click here to watch the trailer)!  I can hardly wait!

The film is named after Krishna Das's first album. Click here for more info on his website.  And here to listen to the whole album on YouTube. 

PLUS check out this little gem from the Virtual Kirtan Choir which brought me to joyful tears.  I just had to share it with you!  Jai Ma Durga!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Kirtan with Sparrow at Yoga Within

I'm so excited to be joining Sparrow this Friday evening for Kirtan at Yoga Within

Come sing along!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kirtan with Sparrow Grace

7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

$20 + GST

"Sparrow is a Canadian singer songwriter and kirtan artist. She offers musical experiences featuring her original world folk art songs blended with uplifting, moving kirtan, mantras and chants."

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy 2013!

After two years of waiting patiently, look what opened up on my windowsill today!

Here's hoping equally beautiful surprises are "opening up" for you already this year.

May your yoga practice, your inner peace and your joyful effort blossom in 2013 for the benefit of all beings! 

Happy New Year!