Friday, 28 November 2014

Wish Lists

Origami Wishing Wand by Tara
Its that time of year when young and old are making "wish lists".

Whether focused on holiday gifts or new year's resolutions, most of us are already dreaming of what we would like to see or change in our homes, our lives and the world over the coming Holy-Days and in 2015.

But how do we turn our dreams into reality?

You can start by filling in the rest of this sentence:

Wouldn't it be great if...

What Would You Change About Your Body?

Origami Wishing Wand by Tara
Thank you Jenny, for sharing this touching video from Jubilee Project.

Fifty people were asked one question:

What Would You Change About Your Body?

You'll be amazed at the difference between the adults' answers and the kids'!

So, what would you change about your body?

Ethical Giving at "Just Christmas" This Weekend

Remember when Christmas was about thoughtful giving? 
Just Christmas offers the opportunity to give gifts that help make the world a better place. 

Just Christmas is Edmonton's largest Alternative Global Market Place for quality arts, handmade crafts and other goods. 
When you purchase a gift from the non-profit and charitable organizations in this market, 
the money you spend goes towards the building of healthy communities around the world. 

Located at:
Alberta Avenue Community Hall
9210-118 Avenue

Friday November 28,  5:30pm - 9:00pm
Saturday November 29, 9:30am - 4:00pm 

Proceeds from Kalyana's sales (
at Just Christmas will support Tibetan Buddhist Nuns at  
Keydong Thuk-che Choling Nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

The living situation is in Nepal is very difficult. Power is only available 8-10 hours per day.  No power also means no water because the pumps to fill the water storage tanks are electric.  There is no such thing as turning on a tap in Nepal and expecting water to flow.  Hot water is never available due to the lack of power for heating.  Cold water is only available if you have the ability to store water.

To address the water & power shortages the nunnery has purchased a generator with the support of donors. However, ongoing fuel shortages in Nepal constantly pose a problem. Many evenings, the nuns must study by flashlight for many hours and may not have the water to brush their teeth or wash up before going to bed.  They do have 5 rooftop water storage tanks but without the fuel to run the generator there is no way to fill them if they run dry during a power rationing time.

The cost of most goods, including fuel, have nearly tripled in the last few years.  Nepal has no internal resources for power and gas and must rely on either India or China to supply both.  Because of the unstable government, Nepal is falling behind on paying for their supplies so neither India nor China will provide a predictable supply of gas.  As a result, fuel is being rationed and prices have dramatically increased.  Because there is no fuel to run generators, many basic services - banking, tailoring, phones, etc - also are unpredictable.  Those services that do run charge a premium price because of the price of fuel needed to keep the power supply going.

The Nepalese people are suffering greatly.  General strikes over the price of fuel, the government, lack of services, and more happen regularly.  As long as the government instability continues there is no end in sight to these issues.  Tourism is down significantly and this was the primary source of income for Nepal.  

Your support can make a visible difference in the quality of life of these wonderful nuns. 
You may also consider the opportunity to sponsor one of the nuns at Keydong Thuk-che Choling Nunnery! 
Sponsorship forms will be available at Just Christmas.

Free parking
Admission by donation
Food and entertainment

For more information visit:

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Raja Yoga Summer Camp 2014 Wrap-Up Party

Canada Geese gathering for a feast in Jasper National Park

Thank you for participating in this year's Raja Yoga Summer Camp!

You are warmly invited to one last event: a Pizza-Party at Nitza's Pizza on Wye Road in Sherwood Park.  (See the link for the full address and menu.)

Wednesday September 3, 2014 at 7 pm.

Lots of vegetarian options are available and even gluten-free crusts! 

The owner, Peter, is known for his generous community spirit and excellent pizza!  In addition to your dinner purchase (soft drinks and slushies are free!) please consider making a donation to the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation

Let's take this opportunity to share our fondest memories of Summer 2014, cherish eachothers company and discuss what's in store for this fall!  All are welcome! 

RSVP's are very much appreciated so I can reserve a great big table:

Preview: Fall 2014 Yoga Schedule

Marigold Mala
 Wow! Time sure flies!  Here are just a few of the classes and events you can look forward to this fall. 

Times and locations to be announced shortly.

- Hatha Yoga Teachers Training Program begins Friday, September 5 at Yoga Within

- Hatha Yoga Classes, start Mon. Sept. 8
- Full Moon Celebration, Tuesday, Sept. 9
- Raja Yoga Classes, start Wed. Sept. 10
- Fall Equinox Celebration, Tuesday, Sept. 23

Did you know Kali's Kitchen makes house calls?  Email me to arrange for private classes:

The Holiest River in the World

Athabasca River, Jasper Alberta
"What is the holiest river in the world?

Some might say the Ganges in India. Others would propose the Jordan River or the River Nile.

But I say the holiest river is the one that's closest to where you are right now.

Go to that river and commune with it. Throw a small treasure into it as an offering.

Next, find a holy sidewalk to walk on, praise the holiness in a bus driver, kiss a holy tree, and shop at a holy store."

By:  Rob Brezsney author of Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Yogi Bhajan Birthday Celebration 2014

Photo of Yogi Bhajan's Feet

Saturday, August 23

2:00 – 6:00pm at Yoga Within

Come and be uplifted through the experience of video recorded teachings of Yogi Bhajan himself on this 9th annual celebration with Satwinder Sran and friends. (Including me!!) 

Join together with community for yoga, mantra, meditation, singing bowls, live kirtan and a delicious vegetarian dinner!

Suggested Donation: $50, all proceeds go directly to Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology.

Contact Satwinder: or (780)-457-6639

Prayers for BKS Iyengar

My copy of Iyengar's, Light on Life
BKS Iyengar said, "Live happily and die majestically."

A fond farewell to him, as after 95 rich and vibrant years he ventures into the beyond, attains auspicious rebirth or release from samsara, the cycle of birth and death.

Iyengar led by example, inspiring countless yogis to go beyond their perceived limitations, to aspire to their full potential, and to honor and treasure the teachings of yoga without diluting the lineage, discipline and dedication that kept it alive for thousands of years.

His children, his students and his books, Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, and Light on Life, will continue to keep his teachings alive for countless more. 

For more inspiring quotes on life, yoga, and your body from this great modern master,  link to this article at Care2.

Noble Teacher, may your journey be a peaceful one.  Thank you.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Full Moon Meditation and Kirtan, August 10

My Sweet Lord, Krishna's Birthday

Its that time again!  Join the festivities for Janmashtami, Lord Krishna's Birthday on August 16/17, 2014 at the Bhartiya Cultural Society and the Radha Govinda/ISKCON Temple.

Pranam to Swami Kashi Muktananda Saraswati

Sandals representing the Guru
Pranam, or greetings and salutations to Swami Kashi! 

Congratulations to Brahmachari Shankar on taking a great big step on his spiritual path.  On Guru Purnima day, by the banks of the holy river Ganga, in the company of Swamis and Sadhus, Shankar traded in his yellow robes for ochre ones and was given a new name as he was initiated into Sannyasa or the role of Swami.

In his words, "There are few possible meanings for the name. One of them I like in particular was given by Acharya Swami Vishnu Tirtha: Kashi Mukta is one who was liberated while living in Uttarkashi. This refers to Swami Chaitanyananda my Guru. The Ananda or bliss that a person devoted to him gets is Kashi Muktananda. May I be worthy of this name."

Blessings and good wishes to you always, Swamiji!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Hari Om Kirtan with Narayan Jyoti

Even if you can't make it to the live events during Raja Yoga Summer Camp's first Nine Nights of Sacred Sound, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy devotional chanting and uplifting vibrations.

I'm currently hitting replay over and over again on this Hari Om Kirtan with Narayan Jyoti!

Narayan Jyoti is one of my dearest bhakti brothers and fellow students, son of my teacher Sita Chaitanya of the Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Bahamas (now Swami Hridayananda), and direct disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda who gave him his name!

All his life he has been immersed in sacred sound.  Listen, you will feel it.

Sivananda Daily Chant, Jaya Ganesha

Anyone who has spent time in a Sivananda Ashram is familiar with this chant, sung twice daily, in the morning and evening satsangs. 

Here is an excellent version by Swami Hridayananda, Jaya Ganesha with lyrics.  I'm sure if you close your eyes it will bring you right back to the ashram, and here and now, bring the ashram to you!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Nine Nights of Sacred Sound, July 12-20 2014

Summer is the time for music and celebration! 

Just in case you can't get away on a "yoga vacation" to the bigger retreat centres and festivals, here is your chance to steep yourself in sacred sound and satsang, without leaving your own home town!

Join me and Raja Yoga Summer Camp at various locations in the Edmonton area.  You can join us for some or all of the events. 

Please note that the first and last days are by invitation only.  If you would like to attend, and are not already on the Raja Yoga Summer Camp mailing list, please let me know at:

Also note that some days, there is more than one event!

Nine Nights of Sacred Sound Schedule:

Day 1)  Saturday July 12:  Guru Purnima Puja at Tara's 1-4 pm * By invitation only!

Day 2)  Sunday July 13:  Shiv Puran Katha 10-12 am at Bhartiya Cultural Society

Songha with Sparrow and Friends at Noorish 7-9 pm

Day 3)  Monday July 14:  Shiv Puran Katha 6-8 pm at Bhartiya Cultural Centre

Day 4)  Tuesday July 15:  Shiv Puran Katha 6-8 pm at Bhartiya Cultural Centre

Day 5)  Wednesday July 16:  Shiv Puran Katha 6-8 pm at Bhartiya Cultural Centre

Day 6)  Thursday July 17:  Shiv Puran Katha 6-8 pm at Bhartiya Cultural Centre

Day 7)  Friday July 18:  Eight Limbs of Yoga 7-9 pm at Yoga Within

Day 8)  Saturday July 19:  The Power of Sacred Sound 2-4 pm at Yoga Within

Shiv Puran Katha 6-8 pm at Bhartiya Cultural Centre

Day 9)  Sunday July 20:  Shiv Puran Katha 10-12 am

Potluck Dinner and Kirtan at Tara's 5-8 pm *By invitation only!

Guru Purnima: Honoring the Great Masters

Pada Puja, Honoring the Feet of the Guru
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each year on the full moon in July, yogis honor and celebrate the principle of Guru, and the countless teachers who guide us from darkness into light. 

It is called Guru Purnima, and this year, you're invited to participate!

I will be hosting a celebration at my home from 1-4 pm on Saturday July 12 with songs, stories, pada puja and refreshments. 

If you're not already on the mailing list for Raja Yoga Summer Camp and you would like to join us, email me at:

Shiv Puran Katha, Stories of Shiva, July 13-20 2014

Shiva riding on Nandi the Bull
July 13-20, 2014, for the very first time at Bhartiya Cultural Society in Edmonton: 

Shiv Puran Katha, or stories of Shiva, the Lord of the Yogis!

Feel free to join me on any of the weekday evenings from 6-8 pm (there is a dinner from 5-6:30 if you're free) and on the Sunday mornings from 10-noon.

You are welcome to bring fruit or flowers to offer if you like.

Please observe the temple etiquette of modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees and be aware that you will be sitting on the floor in a crowded space, so try not to bring too many excess belongings.

Om Namah Shivaya!

The Power of Sacred Sound, July 19, 2014

Saturday, July 19, from 2-4 pm join me again at Yoga Within to experience the Power of Sacred Sound!

Nada Yoga, the Yoga of Sound, uses mantras, chanting, singing and storytelling to purify our hearing and speech, raising our vibrational resonance in the world and within.

Nada Yoga embraces the notion that the basic stuff of the universe is vibration. 

By attuning our resonance with it, using verbal, instrumental and subtle sound as a medium for meditation, we can not only enjoy, but elevate our lives.

No musical experience necessary!

Amazing Resonance Experiment

"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."  - Nikola Tesla 

Need evidence that sound affects form? 

Watch this Amazing Resonance Experiment and see sound vibrations create amazing geometric patterns in sand.

*Warning* Turn your volume way down, as the tones get quite ear piercing as they get higher!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Legends of Yoga: The Birth of Patanjali

Patanjali, Image Source: Wikipedia
Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras is often referred to as the Father of Modern Yoga, but many modern yogis know very little about him, or why he is so revered.

Around two thousand years ago Patanjali wrote the wisdom of yoga down for the first time.  He wrote it in the form of Sutras, a codified style of writing meant to be memorized and then interpreted, or "unpacked" by one's guru.

Today, The Yoga Sutra, also known as Yoga Darshana is considered one of the most authoritative texts on yoga, famous for outlining and elucidating an "eight-limbed" path known as Ashtanga (asht meaning "eight" and anga meaning "limbs").

Admittedly, scholars know little if anything about his actual birth, but nevertheless, as with all teachers of great renown, cool legends abound!

File:Yogini in devanagari script.png
The word "Yogini" in Devanagari script.

Once there lived a great Yogini named Gonika.  She lived alone in a small hermitage where she practiced diligently and meditated happily. 

One day she caught sight of her reflection in the surface of her water pot.  She saw deeply etched lines on her face and white streaks in her hair. 

She realized that her time on earth was limited and wondered what was the point of all her realizations if she had noone to pass them on to.  So she prayed for a worthy student. 

As she stood in the river one morning offering her prayers to the sun, she contemplated this.  She scooped up water from the river in her hands, and as she did so, she saw something flutter lightly down like a feather or a little leaf.  It landed in her cupped palms.

When she looked down she was surprised at what she saw! 

Some say she saw a little snake in her palms, homage to the belief that Patanjali is an avatar or incarnation of Adishesha.  Some say it was a teeny, tiny child.  Either way, she placed the being gently onto the shore and instantly he grew into a handsome, intelligent boy who asked respectfully for permission to be her son and her student.

Gonika, of course, accepted.  She named the boy Patanjali because he had fallen or floated down (pat) into her prayer-folded hands (anjali).

He studied the wisdom of yoga with her until he was a young man and then founded his own school of yoga which emphasized swadyaya or self-study. 

His teachings have showered blessings and wisdom onto generations of yogis to this very day!

The Eight Limbs of Yoga: July 4, 11, 18, 25, 2014

Vishnu reclining on Adishesha with Brahma
Four feet and eight limbs?  Sounds strange! 

Actually, the Asht-anga or eight limbs of yoga are a practical eight-part practice to reach our highest bliss, on and off the mat.

The four chapters of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, known as padas or feet, describe three paths to samadhi or bliss.  The second chapter describes the most famous and easiest path, known as Asht-anga.

Join me at Yoga Within every Friday night in July from 7-9pm for chanting, group discussions, reflections, personal practice suggestions and more.  Find out what this 2000 year old text has to offer us today!

Drop-ins are welcome.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Dozens of Uses for Wild Rose Petals

Alberta Wild Rose as part of a flower mandala
Alberta's floral emblem, the Wild Rose, is in full bloom just in time for Canada Day! 

Not only do wild roses look and smell beautiful in the bushes and ditches, along fence lines and forest edges, they are beneficial in so many ways!

I invite you to take a walk outside, and be inspired by nature's fragrant bounty.  Perhaps you'd even like to gather a few petals on the way to freshen up your cooking, cleaning and beauty routine.

Here are dozens of ideas to get your started!

Here are a few more ideas.  Use Wild Rose Petals to:

- flavor butter, vanilla ice cream or yogurt

- eat them in salads

- candy them with egg white and sugar for snacks or decorations on cakes and other desserts

- freeze them in ice cubes

What do you use Wild Rose Petals for?

Natural Beauty: Rosy Cheeks Facial Scrub

Wild Rose Petals, Coconut Oil, and Sandalwood Powder
Here's a variation of the Ayurvedic Sandalwood and Marigold Scrub I shared with you last summer.

What you need:

- 1 Tbsp. Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp. Sandalwood Powder
- Petals from 3 Wild Roses

What to do:

- Grind together with a mortar and pestle.
- Scrub a small amount gently onto your face.
- Rinse or wipe off with a warm, damp, cotton or silk cloth.

Store in the fridge for up to a week. 

This recipe makes enough for 4 - 6 facial scrubs or masks, enough to share with a friend!

Natural Beauty: Wild Rose Sugar Scrub

Wild Rose Sugar
What you need:

- A jar or container
- White sugar (Don't worry, its for scrubbing the surface of your skin, not eating!)
- Wild rose petals
- Oil (Coconut and sesame are my personal favorites.)

What to do:

- Fill the jar most of the way with layers of sugar and rose petals.
- Pour your oil in slowly and mix with a fork.
- Seal tightly.
- Leave overnight for the petals to break down a bit.
- Scrub onto skin in the shower, and rinse!

Voila!  Petal-fresh skin!

Wild Rose Vinegar

Wild Rose Vinegar (Day 1)
Wild Rose Vinegar is easy to make and extremely versatile!

What you need:

- A glass jar
- Clean, dry, organically grown rose petals
- Vinegar (any kind, its up to you)

What to do:

- Fill the jar with rose petals.
- Top it up with vinegar, making sure all the petals are covered.
- Let the jar sit in a cool, dark place for a few weeks, until the color from the petals has transferred to the vinegar.
- Strain and use for natural beauty, cooking and cleaning!

What to do with it:

You can use this vinegar as is in your favorite salad dressing, or dilute it 1 part Wild Rose Vinegar to 4-8 parts water for a natural cleaning spray, bug bite soother, sunburn cooler, conditioning hair rinse, softening foot soak, or facial toner.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Summer 2014 Workshops at Yoga Within

I'm looking forward to sharing two brand new workshops with you this weekend at Yoga Within

Also, check out Yoga Within's July/August Workshop Schedule for more events including The Power of Sacred Sound, and a series of Friday night gatherings focusing on the Eight Limbs of Yoga, the "easy path to bliss" described in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Wishing you an enlightening summer!


The Power of Sacred Sound, June 27, 2014

Tibetan Singing Bowl, with Engraved Tara
This Friday, June 27, from 7-9 pm join me at Yoga Within to make some joyful noise!

Nada Yoga, the Yoga of Sound, uses mantras, chanting, singing and storytelling to purify our hearing and speech, raising our vibrational resonance in the world and within.

Nada Yoga embraces the notion that the basic stuff of the universe is vibration, and that by resonating with it, using verbal, instrumental and subtle sound as a medium for meditation, we can not only enjoy, but elevate our lives.

No musical experience necessary!

Aromatherapy and the Chakras, June 28, 2014

Wild Alberta Roses
Join me at Yoga Within this Saturday from 1-4pm for a fragrant journey through the chakras honoring the earth element with asanas and aromatherapy!

Incense, spices, herbs and flowers have all been used since ancient times to maintain physical health, elevate the mind, and connect to divine essence. 

Uplift and ground your energy through relaxing yoga postures and your sense of smell.  Practice beautiful "scent-ering" rituals, sample an all-natural "body incense", learn how essential oils can enhance your yoga and meditation practice, and more!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Summer Solstice with Satwinder Sran

I'm honored to be joining Satwinder Sran this Saturday, June 21 from 2-5pm for a Summer Solstice Celebration Fundraiser for the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology!

Satwinder says, "Join us for a powerful practice that can energize your system and give you renewal. Yogic practice on the summer solstice is said to be very potent and can set your energy for the next six months. Recharge yourself with yoga kriyas and meditations that connect you with your source of infinite energy and Healing".

I've been invited to sing, and share a chant for the earth, sky and heart, the Isht Sodhana Mantra! 

Celebrate the first day of summer, the light within and around us with yoga, meditation, chanting, and more!

Isht Sodhana Mantra: Chant for Presence

Dharti Hai (Earth is)...
Thank you Satwinder, for introducing me to the Isht Sodhana Mantra

A salutation to the earth, the ether and the energy of the heart, this mantra is referred to as the Mantra for Being Present.

I've been singing it to my own tune, which I will share at the Solstice, but if you're curious, here's one you can tune into today:   Dharti Hai by Gurunam Singh on YouTube

Yogi Bhajan said:  “My dear ones, you want your prayers to be effective. You want your ultimate destiny to manifest. This kriya can do it. I know there are thousands of kriyas that we do, but it just takes one done well and this is the one for isht sodhana to manifest.”

Rhubarb Ginger Coolers

Rhubarb Ginger Cooler
Last year, Candice served these delicious drinks when we toured her beautiful garden during Raja Yoga Summer Camp.  Thanks for sharing the recipe, Candice!   

Rhubarb Ginger Coolers

10 cups chopped rhubarb
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger
2 cups sparkling water

- Bring rhubarb, water, sugar and ginger to simmer over moderate heat, uncovered and simmer 1 minute. 
 - Remove from heat and steep 1 hour.
 - Pour through a sieve and chill.  
 - Serve over ice with a splash of sparkling water.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Invoking Summer with Flower Mandalas

Garden Mandala by Tara
Have you ever made a mandala from found objects and natural materials?

This is your invitation!

Honor the infinite potential of the present moment, the abundance of Mother Earth, your own playful spirit and the nature of impermanence.

Gather your materials, select a meditative space to create, and see what happens!
Adjustments by Saleem the Cat

Would you like to enjoy this experience together?

Join Raja Yoga Summer Camp, 2014! 

Wednesday, June 4, 7-8:30 pm we're gathering to form a sacred circle of creativity, friendship and natural beauty.

This event is by invitation only, so if you'd like to join us, please send me an email at:

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out these beautiful flower "danmalas" by Kathy Klein!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Raja Yoga Summer Camp is Blossoming!

Japanese Iris, Symbolizes Wisdom
Raja Yoga Summer Camp has grown into an inspiring sangha of yogis and yoginis sharing their passion for all things yoga!

So far, we've savored South Indian food at Lingsa, heard about Candice's amazing experience in Africa with the Stephen Lewis Foundation's "Grandmothers to Grandmothers" Campaign, and explored the 124 Street Grand Market!

Today, we're having an Ayurvedic Tea Party and Healing Meditation!  But don't worry if you can't make it, you can check out the tea recipes here and meditation here.

We look forward to learning more about wholistic living through yoga, Ayurveda, essential oils, and more!

To receive the evites, contact me at:

Ayurvedic Tea for Your Dosha

Cardamom, Cloves, Licorice, Cinnamon, Roses, and Fennel
 Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga, practiced in India for more than 5000 years.  Some say it is the world's oldest health care system! 

Ayurveda promotes vitality by removing toxins from the body, and harmonizing body, mind and spirit using foods, spices, herbs, and mantras.

You can determine your personal Dosha or constitution by taking this Dosha Quiz from the Chopra Center or this one from Doctor Oz or this one from Yoga Journal.

Ayurvedic teas are a wonderful way to introduce this ancient wisdom to your life.  They are delicious, and easy to make from herbs and spices in your garden, whole foods store, or your favorite Indian grocer.

Here are three recipes that calm and energize the body and mind without caffeine.  They also promote healthy digestive and immune systems. 

Click here for the recipe source and more information about their indications and benefits.

Vata Chai:  Licorice root, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, fennel, and stevia.

Pitta Chai:  Licorice root, rose petals, fennel, cardamom, ginger, and stevia.

Kapha Chai:  Ginger, licorice root, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and cardamom.

Drink to your pleasure and health!

Om Shri Dhanvantre Namaha: Mantra for Healing

Click here to listen to this mantra by Deva Premal on YouTube.

"Salutations to Dhanvantari, the embodiment and power of healing!"

Dhanvantari is the 17th avatar of Vishnu, physician of the gods, and the father of Ayurveda

This mantra can help us find the path to healing and direct us to the best health practitioners for our situation.  It may be chanted during cooking to charge the food with healing vibrations, to prevent disease and benefit those who are ill.  In addition to physical dis-ease, this mantra can be chanted for any situation that needs to be healed. 

Remember that the path of healing is not always what we expect!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Om Namo Narayanaya: Chant for World Peace

Image Source: Sivananda Ashram, Uttarkashi
Raja Yogis and Yoginis!  Remember a couple of months ago when we gathered together to write the mantra for peace, Om Namo Narayanaya in Sanskrit?

Our friend Jenny was embarking on a voyage to the Himalayas and kindly agreed to deliver and "deposit" our prayers to the Swami Vishnudevananda Peace Bank near the Sivananda Ashram near Uttarkashi

Well, check out this beautiful update from Jenny!  Blessings from the Himalayas!

"Hope everything is going peaceful and smooth for you all <3 I have been thinking about you and our night writing Om Namo Narayanaya - the peace mantra - to send along to the Himalayas.  Here's a short story about the travel of our little love letter:) ...  

So when I left Edmonton there was snow across Canada and the flights were all delayed.  I missed every flight except the one out of Edmonton and got rerouted twice on the way to India.  My bag, which had the peace mantras in it (because Tara was totally right - they'd keep the bag safe) also went on its own adventure, spreading peace and harmony wherever it went... then it came to meet me in Montreal so we could travel together to India:)  

Made it to Uttarkashi and the little village Netala... along the Ganges... The energy at the ashram and in the Himalayas is amazing.  And Mathaji, the spiritual mother at the Sivanada ashram there loved to receive all our writings for the peace bank.  She collects them from all over the world and organizes them to be offered at the entrance to the cave outside of Gangotri (the end of the road heading toward the mouth of the Ganges) where they fly to spread the peace all over:)  

Anyways, I feel so blessed to take the Peace Mantras part of the way:)  Hope to see you soon! 

Much love and many blessings to you and yours!  
Om Shanti

Thank you Jenny!  We can hardly wait to hear more about your adventures in India! 

Om Namo Narayanaya!

Heart Pilgrim Yatra, October 2014

Image Source: Heart Pilgrim
Do you dream of seeing the Himalayas with your own eyes? 

Wish to experience "Sacred India" for your Self?

Let's join Brahmachari Shankar, on Heart Pilgrim's first Himalayan Yatra, October 4-17, 2014!

Too far-fetched?  Follow your heart! 

As Shankar points out in Hindi, "Sab Kuch Milega!"  Or in English, "Everything is possible!"

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Grass is Always Greener... When You Get Outside

"A growing chorus of scientists and researchers agree: time spent in nature makes us happier, healthier and less stressed. It increases creativity and lowers risk of heart attacks. It even makes us nicer, more empathetic humans, with more meaningful relationships and increased community involvement."

Its not too late to Join Canada's 30x30 Nature Challenge!  Check out this awesome infographic:  What's in it for you?

Stay tuned to Kali's Kitchen for New Outdoor Yoga Classes and Events, coming this Spring and Summer 2014! 

May All Beings Be Happy

Detail of Illustration by Mayumi Oda
Never mind what the calendar says, May is the real beginning of spring in Alberta. 

Birds return, the grass turns green, buds start coming out on the trees.  Our gaze shifts from inside to out, and our mood lifts. 

We marvel at nature, the miracle of rebirth and new growth.  We think about planting, how we affect our surroundings and the beings with whom we share them.

The mantra Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu seems especially fitting at this time. 

It says, "May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering; may my actions contribute to the happiness and wellbeing of all."

You can read more about this mantra and its word by word translation in this article by Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga.

This is my wish and my focus this month,  "May" all beings be happy!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Raja Yoga Summer Camp, 2014!

Summer is nearly upon us!  Get ready for 2014 Raja Yoga Summer Camp!

Last year we enjoyed kirtan, study nights, field trips and more!

This year we're getting even bigger, brighter and bolder than before, with temple tours, puja ceremonies, crafts, cooking demos, ayurveda, outdoor classes, karma yoga opportunities, free talks, weekend retreats, and even a nine-night yoga intensive!

Note*  Many of these events are by invitation only.  If you would like to be on the evite list, send me an email at:

Have a suggestion for an event, karma yoga project, field trip or topic of study?

Join us for the Raja Yoga Summer Camp Reunion and 2014 Planning Meeting on Wednesday May 7, 7 pm at Lingsa, in Sherwood Park, AB.

Schedule of events coming soon!

Heart Pilgrim, Brahmachari Shankar's New Blog

Shankar teaching the Bhagavad Gita
I'm so excited to introduce you to Heart Pilgrim, the new website and blog of Brahmachari Shankar!

Many of you have heard me refer to Shankar as "my favorite monk".  As a senior staff member of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas, he is my friend and fellow student, my revered mentor and my most beloved Sanskrit tutor.

We have shared many hours studying and chanting, serving the ashram, our teachers and guests, even updating and editing the Philosophy section of the Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training manual. 

Shankar's teachings reflect his intelligence, his devotion, and his sense of humor.  I enthusiastically encourage you to check out all he has to share!

Farewell Yoga for Today

Vibhuti or Sacred Ash, the holy remains of a Fire Puja
After 15 years of teaching classes, workshops and teacher training at Yoga for Today in Sherwood Park, its time for me to move on!

Warm hugs and heartfelt thanks to all of the yogis and yoginis I've met, shared with, and learned from over the years!  You are an ongoing inspiration to me, and I'm so grateful for your support, encouragement, and companionship on the Path.

I look forward to connecting with you at other events and locations!  Om Shanti!  Namaste!