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.