Friday, 21 December 2018

Happy Winter Solstice

Source: Museum of Fine Art, Boston
Best wishes for enlightenment, outside and in!

I pray that you are well, navigating the darkness with courage and cheer, getting the rest you've earned, and time for the introspection that awakens inner wisdom.

If you're looking for ways to celebrate, here are some simple ideas:  8 Winter Solstice Traditions

If you're seeking revelations read this CBC 2018 Winter Solstice Horoscope.

Recognizing that this is a challenging time of year, to say the least, know that if you're grieving, there is help.  For a supportive yoga practice, contact Sandy:  Yoga for Grief Support

And if you would like some uplifting music for the longest night of the year here is a short YouTube playlist to get you started:

Yule (Winter Solstice) Song
Solstice Night
Wyrd Sisters - Solstice Carole
Ravens - Solstice Carole
Ring Out Solstice Bells - Jethro Tull
Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Longest Night of the Year

Tomorrow, the light begins its slow return.  Until then:
Go merry met, my gentle friends, let nothing you dismay The bright Son of our Lady comes birthing with the day To free us all from winter's grasp and mind us all of May Oh tidings of comfort and joy... Source

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Yoga and Origami Workshop

"Under the Rain" by Oriland
A great big thanks to all of you who joined Satwinder and me at Yoga Within on the weekend for Yoga and Origami.

It was peaceful and uplifting spending time with you folding and unfolding the energy and crafting pretty things from paper.

Many of you showed an interest in learning more paper folding so here are a few of my favorite sites for you to browse:

Origami Club is my favorite site for beginners and children.  They have great diagrams and even an animated diagram feature that makes it easier to understand transitions.

You can find the instructions for the cup we folded here and a slightly simpler variation of the lotus with optional leaves here.

Origami Spirit is a beautiful blog for artistic inspiration and soothing instructional videos.  Author Leyla Torres and her sweet kitty Corazon just added this beautiful post about Origami for stress relief and building community.  So Yogic!

Oriland is an absolutely charming Canadian site.  Authors Katrin and Yuri Shumakov have done considerable research on the brain benefits of Origami and their paper flower arrangements like the one pictured above are each more beautiful than the last!

Last but not least, I'm very fond of Paper Kawaii. Chrissy's video tutorials are clear and uncluttered.  Her photography and choices of paper are so creative and inspiring!

There are so many other amazing Origami artists and sites out there, but I'll save them for another workshop and post.

Do you have a favorite Origami site?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Happy folding!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Happy 150th Birthday, Gandhi

Gandhi: Image Source
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi dedicated his life to truth (satya) and is well known for his policy of Satyagraha, a form of non-violent civil resistance which led to the independence of India in 1947 and inspired civil rights movements around the world.

To honor this special anniversary, the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs has released a medley of Gandhi's Favourite Bhajan featuring artists from 124 countries.

You can read the beautiful lyrics of this 15th-century Gujarati song, called Vaishnava Jan To here.

And listen to Gandhi's translation of the Bhagavad Gita here.

Music for Reading the Mahabharat

Shantanu woos Satyavati: Image Source
I've really been enjoying rereading the stories of the Mahabharat lately.

I used to call the Mahabharat "the original soap opera", but a more relatable example these days is the original "Game of Thrones". (Looks like I'm not the only one to see the parallels! Mahabharata meets Game of Thrones)

It is full of fascinating and dynamic characters, beautiful landscapes, suspense, intrigue, love, lust, riddles, revenge, virtue, vice, curses, and boons.  In other words, everything you could possibly want in a story!

It is the longest poem in the world, originally attributed to the sage Vyasa, son of Satyavati (pictured left) and has been retold countless times since it was composed thousands of years ago.

But every reading needs a soundtrack, right?  So here are a few Krishna songs that feel like they fit the bill.  Jai!!!

Panduranga Yere, by Theo Bharathwaj

He Natha Narayana by Karnamrita Dasi

Theme from Mahabharat TV Serial

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Thank You, MacEwan University

Om Symbol at the Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Bahamas

Here are a few links, charts and tips to support today's guest lecture on The Language and Literature of Yoga.  

Feel free to browse around Kali's Kitchen.  It's a cozy place to explore the paths of Yoga and allow your own realizations, musings, and practice to "cook".


We began today's class with the chant Om Sahana Vavatu in the call-and-response style of a traditional ashram or gurukulam.

The main topics introduced were:

The Language of Yoga:

The Foundational Literature of Yoga:

The Vedas
The Upanishads
The Mahabharata including the famous chapter The Bhagavad Gita
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

*Although we didn't discuss it in class, I also recommend the highly influential 15th-century text The Hatha Yoga Pradipika for a deeper understanding of the foundations of the path of Hatha Yoga specifically.

Key Definitions of Yoga:

The Vedas and the Upanishads: Aham Brahmasmi or "The microcosm (individual self) and the macrocosm (universal Self) are one and the same."

The Bhagavad Gita: Yoga karmasu kaushalam or "Yoga is skill in action"

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:  PYS 1.2 Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah or "Yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of consciousness/the stilling of the mind."

Note* If you are in need of source materials for papers or your own personal study, I highly recommend, a non-profit digital library of millions of scanned documents and texts.

Final Chant:  Asato Ma Sadgamaya

Best wishes in your studies.  May your learning be brilliant and may it bring peace of mind, peace in the world and peace in your life.

Om Shanti,