Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Introduction to Meditation at Yoga Within

This Sunday, May 31, 2015

10:00 - 11:30 am

Please join me for an Introduction to Meditation at Yoga Within.

- Find the style of meditation that works best for you.

- Transform what captivates you into your personal practice.

- Open to anyone who wants to reduce stress, focus intention and quiet mental chatter.

Feel free to bring your meditation cushion, a blanket or bolster.

Meditation in 12 Steps with Sivananda Yoga

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10 Science-Based Reasons to Start Meditating Today

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Sunday, 24 May 2015

To Sum it Up: University of Alberta Lecture

Namaste to Deanna and all the students of Spring Term 2015, PAC 156 Introduction to Yoga Basics at the University of Alberta!

Thank you for inviting me to your class to share a sampling of the origin, history and basic philosophy of Yoga with you!

I've organized some links to previous posts here on Kali's Kitchen that you may find helpful as you go over your notes from last Thursday.

I hope our time together whet your appetite to find out more about the roots of Yoga and How Yoga Really Works!

One of the first things we talked about was the sound and Meaning of Om.  We chanted it along with my Shruti Box in a very meditative way, but there is also a popular form of devotional chanting known as Kirtan.

Check out this video featuring one of my Guru brothers from the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas and the mantra Om: Hari Om Kirtan with Narayan Jyoti.

We chanted The Teacher/Student Chant in Sanskrit.  Not easy, but it sounded great!

Regarding the history of yoga and its journey to the West, I mentioned two of the early ambassadors of Yoga who introduced the ancient, mystical teachings of India to North America:  Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda.

The Seven Chakras
I also mentioned a few of the westerners who significantly contributed to popularizing Yoga in the mid 1900's:

Swami Vishnudevananda and The Beatles

Bhagavan DasKali Kirtan with Bhagavan Das and Richard Alpert/RamDassRam Dass on Giving and ReceivingRam Dass Gives Maharaji "The Yogi Medicine"

Yoga was traditionally taught in ashrams or retreat centres with monastic teachers known as swamis.  

University of Alberta professor Neil Dalal recently released a film called Gurukulam that gives a beautiful "insider's view" of a modern ashram.  Don't worry if you didn't catch it at the premiere in March, it turns out they're offering an encore screening on May 31st!

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I gave you two classical definitions of Yoga:

The first was from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,  Sutra 1.2, "Yoga is the cessation of the mental waves."

For more about Patanjali and Raja/Asht-anga Yoga see:  Legends of Yoga: The Birth of Patanjali, and Yoga Sutras, Free Online Resources

The second came from the Bhagavad Gita,  Shloka 2.50, "Yoga is skill in action."

For an easy way to relate to the main characters, Krishna and Arjuna, check out this cute tribute to the original text: Love in the Bhagavad Gita.  It's part of a series of cartoons originally published in Ascent magazine that depict the entire text!

I mentioned several of the main Paths of Yoga:  Raja YogaBhakti YogaJnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and of course, Hatha Yoga the most widely practiced path of Yoga in the West.

We ended with the Chant for Enlightenment and wishes for Shanti or Peace.

May you all enjoy your studies and benefit the world with your wisdom!


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Got Plans? Raja Yoga Summer Camp 2015 Begins!

Baby Ganesha, Blesses New Beginnings
Its that time again!

Raja Yoga Summer Camp is ready for its third year and we'd love it if you could join us!

Planning meeting:

6 pm on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in the Food Court at Millbourne Mall in Millwoods, Edmonton.

Come share your ideas for classes, outings and events.

Enjoy a mango lassi, or chai and momos at the brand-new Nepali food-kiosk, Everest Cuisine.

Can't make it to the planning meeting?  Have a suggestion?  Want to get on the evite list?

Send me an email at:  tarawoltjen@yahoo.ca

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Sensitive as an Eyeball

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Sometimes when we hear of disasters in the world or are faced with our own crises closer to home, a feeling of being overwhelmed can paralyze our ability to act.  When tears and fears become our primary reactions, yoga can help.

My dear Teacher Swami Swaroopananda has described it this way:

He says, "The yogi is as sensitive as an eyeball."

Meaning, when you take a piece of cotton and rub it on your arm it feels pleasant.  On your cheek it is also pleasant.  Rub that same piece of cotton on your eyeball and it is irritating at best, likely even painful.

Many practicing yogis and yoginis will relate to this description.  You may find yourself so acutely sensitive to suffering that at times it becomes debilitating. 

If you're feeling too small to make a difference today, your yoga practice itself may offer some encouragement.

Here are a few suggestions:

Watch this video by Pema Chodron called Loving Oneself and Others:

Read this 3HO Tantric Numerology Forecast for May 2015

Chant these mantras by Deva Premal and Miten or listen to the Hanuman Chalisa.

Finally, in life and in your asana practice, focus on what you can do rather than what you can't.

As it says in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 40:

"Nothing is wasted on this yoga path.  Even the slightest effort saves one from the greatest turmoil."

Prayers for Nepal and Tibet

I continue to offer my loving prayers to all of the monks, nuns, residents, visitors and pilgrims in Nepal and Tibet, and their loved ones abroad shaken and un-grounded by the massive earthquake in April.

May they have faith, courage, and comfort in their suffering.

May all those who have left their bodies navigate bravely through the bardo and attain noble rebirths.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how best to help financially, but you can certainly send positive prayers and energy right now with the meditation known as "Taking and Giving" or Tonglen.

If you're not familiar with the Tonglen meditation, please join Pema Chodron in this short video filmed in 2009 at the Omega Institute in New York.