Thursday, February 24, 2011

All Roads Lead to Bhakti Fest!

Enjoy this cute Bhakti Fest jingle by Bhakti Fest artist Tony Khalife!

Thank you Tony Khalife, Dawn Cartwright, Elaskary (Gitali) and Sheila Vosough!

Love and blessings,
Bhakti Blogger

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snatam in LA Dream Giveaway

This contest ends February 25th! Don't miss the opportunity to win 10 free tickets to see Snatam Kaur in L.A. And don't miss the bloopers at the end. Very funny.

Visit the Spirit Voyage forum and submit your story!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Yoga of Relationship

Please enjoy this beautiful message from our Yoga OMbassadors Hemalayaa & Mas Vidal. Meet them in person at the Spring OMmersion or at Dancing Shiva in Hollywood CA (where they both teach).

"Bhakti is the nectar of the Yoga tradition and through the experience of life we have learned to take many opportunities as gifts to honor the divine. We find that in relationship with each other we are given a glimpse of that higher knowledge of understanding, forgiveness, patience and acceptance in all circumstances. It's a challenge to be consistent with the intentions sometimes (most times), but we can see that these things can ultimately bring us greater joy and happiness. When we are over-flowing with love for the Divine, that dazzling creative potential within us as individuals is beautifully able to flow through us. As we honor the multitude of Divine Couples (Shiva-Shakti, Krishna-Radha etc…), we can see the qualitites of that union reflected onto our lover which is everything our souls yearn for. We are then inspired to serve each other in the name(s) of God & Goddess.

Aum Nama Shivaya, Aum Shakti MA!
Hemalayaa & Mas Vidal"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stay Stong and Keep Your Faith Alive

Today is the Official Release of the "Stay Strong" Music Video!

The Stay Strong Project is a charity offering in the style of 'We Are The World'. Over 30 Chant and Yoga Luminaries have come together to join their voices and hearts on a song and video entitled, ‘Stay Strong’ for a worthy environmental cause.

Stay Strong participants include: David Newman, Mira, Krishna Das, Seane Corn, Jai Uttal, Wah, Sharon Gannon, Snatam Kaur, Sean Johnson, Donna De Lory, Gaura Vani, Dave Stringer, Girish, Shantala, Shyam Das, Govindas and Radha, Suzanne Sterling, Kirtan Rabbi, C.C. White, Saul David Raye, Bob Wisdom, Prema Hara, Brenda McMorrow, Amy Barnes, Gina Sala, Yvette Om, Zat Baraka, Terra Gold, Philippo Franchini, Tony Khalife, Radhanath Swami, and more...

100% of the proceeds of Stay Strong go to Global Green USA, a non-profit organization supporting efforts for the Gulf Coast recovery and other environmental and humanitarian concerns. So, when you download the song Stay Strong from iTunes and other digital sites, you will be directly donating to Global Green’s environmental efforts! Stay Strong will be distributed by Nutone Music.

The vision of The Stay Strong Project is to spread a global message of unity and to inspire others to come together in service, celebration, and prayer, and to remain positive in challenging times. The Stay Strong Project also aims at bringing healing to our Mother Earth and to all who inhabit our beautiful planet!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band

A Message from Sean Johnson, Kirtan Wallah with The Wild Lotus Band & founder of Wild Lotus Yoga in New Orleans, LA.

“The Dalai Lama says "Don´t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are." There was a brief time when I first began singing kirtan when I wanted and tried so hard to sound Indian but I realized that the most sincere approach for me is to honor and celebrate the roots and tradition of mantra with love and respect, while simultaneously finding a voice for kirtan that springs out of the variety of musical and cultural influences that stir in my blood, heart, and soul.

So the Sanskrit mantras I practice and share marinate in the street rhythms of my New Orleans childhood; the haunting Irish songs I sing to connect with my ancestors; the Indian vocal practices that I have studied and practice regularly; the mystic poetry of Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai and others; the rhythmic and melodic flow of a vinyasa yoga practice and teaching; Alvin's inspiring voice on bass and guitar weaving the jazz, rock, classical, and folk styles he's been immersed in for the last 35 years; Gwendolyn's beautiful singing and intricate rhythms merging ancient ethnic rhythms with a modern, urban flare; my own life joys and struggles and those of our home and community; the playfulness and light I feel in the presence of my love Farah; a reverence for the gifts passed on by my parents and ancestors; and a great respect for the mystery that nourishes creativity and feeds the heart.

Bhakti yoga is about channeling emotional experience into a love affair with Life itself. And kirtan is a form of lovemaking with the divine. It is an act of kindling the connection with the sacred presence within us through the sincerity of singing. Just as we stretch our bodies with yoga asanas, kirtan stretches our hearts, and cultivates emotional flexibility.

In kirtan, we celebrate the longing and thirst for god and sing from that place, because it's that hunger that milks the heart. Kirtan is a form of purification. Kirtan is an act of liberation. The mantras sensitize us, polish away the clutter in our heads and melt the numbness in our hearts, so we feel clear, awake, and brilliantly alive. The singing melts our inhibitions. The frozen places inside us defrost and we start to move and play like children.

Kirtan is a meditation practice. Our wandering minds have the opportunity to return again and again to the touchstone of the repeated mantra, an invitation into the present. Kirtan can be a gateway into sacred silence. The striking contrast between the dynamic energy of kirtan and the sweetness of the silence is profound. The mantras themselves are medicine, soothing the monkey mind, awakening healing, and tuning the head to the heart.

Kirtan is pranayama. The repetition of the breath regulates our breath pattern, stoking the prana. Kirtan is good for our health-- the mantras vibrate and massage our muscles, tissues, bones, and organs. The word sound is even a synonym for health, for stability. Kirtan is therapeutic. So many people have lost touch with the power of their voice and their creative expression and kirtan is a direct path to freeing the authentic voice within. Many people who love kirtan savor the opportunity to sing without being judged, and the cathartic and liberating power that comes with that experience.

Kirtan and other yoga practices help prepare us for change and transition, keeping our hearts and minds supple. So that when life stretches us, we can bend but not break. Kirtan creates community. Singing together, we merge with each other, and entrain with the divine vibration. Kirtan is a most sublime form of satsang, gathering with fellow seekers of truth to sing, to reach into the Within together.

When I close my eyes and sing the mantras, I feel so incredibly free, yet so present. One of the reasons I love leading kirtan so much is that I get to share my deepest most intimate practice with a group of people, and we nourish each other. There's a vibrant exchange, a transmission of energy circulating back and forth from hearts to hearts. A big THANK YOU to Bhakti Fest for creating such an amazing space where we can all come together to experience the joy of kirtan. We look forward to joining you at this year's April and September Bhakti Fest celebrations!”

For more videos from Sean Johson & The Wild Lotus Band, check out their youtube channel!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How Do You Practice Bhakti?

This video was taken at the first Pre-Bhakti Fest Event of the year at Bhakti Yoga Shala. Thank you to David Newman (Durga Das), Mira & Philippo Franchini for sharing your beautiful music with us!

If you are wondering what the background music is taken from, I can tell you. It's off of Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band's album "Devaloka." The track is called "Devakinandana Gopala (Love)."

Bhakti Blogger

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seriously, Jai!

Jai Uttal shares his "See you at Bhakti Fest" theme song.

This is the beginning of something very exciting! The amazing Kasey Luber, who brought you all the "daily love" videos from Bhakti Fest 2010, will be making 3-4 videos a month on everything Bhakti!

For now, enjoy and haribol!