Category: <span>Teachers</span>

Tanpura - WikipediaIt was midnight of the third day when the chanting ended.  Jan 1, 2008.  We’d been at it, 2 hours on and 4 hours off, around the clock. After the first 24 hours I felt myself slipping into an altered state that felt amazing.  For the entire 3 days, the chant never left my mind…there was no room for discursive thinking, worrying, obsessing, analyzing, wondering,. There was no past, no future, just the chant. …there were no thoughts…just the chant…   Looking it up for the first time I discover that the moon was conjunct natal neptune/ketu.  It feels good to *know* that.

I was one of the musicians alternating between harmonium and tamboura.  This was my first time on a harmonium for ‘performance’ and I was nervous about that.  The tamboura however was sheer joy for the memories it brought up.  Years before I accompanied a local sitar player with his gig at the nearby Indian restaurant.  He needed the droning of a tamboura to play his best. He had one and taught me how to play it.   Loving all stringed instruments I was eager to learn and quickly mastered these 4 strings.

The tamboura I was handed at Kripalu was an entirely different instrument.  Little did I know that tamboura’s could be female, like the one I learned on, or male, like this gigantic gourd that was bigger than me!     The powerful, resonant, droning sound could project throughout the entire Main Chapel at Kripalu with only the most gentle touch.  I’m in trouble I thought, for I always err towards loud.

I was grateful for the time we spent together earlier getting to know each other, learning the chant, practicing with the instruments, and rehearsing the ‘changing of the chanters/musicians’ from one shift to another. Although I had received many invitations to join this team, I was only able to participate twice due to family responsibilities

I remember the first meeting of our team.  We sat in a circle on  dusty pink velour cushions and listened to Bhavani & Atma lay out the program and how it was going to work.  After time spent on the logistics, Bhavani brought out the instruments and introduced the chant.  I can still feel my excitement at being one of the musicians.   Although the Sanskrit was short and simple to say, the melody was difficult.  It required good breath control, along with some notes that were hard for me.  I was really impressed with those on the team that were the lead chanters and yearned for a voice as beautiful as theirs.

Over the course of the next three days we would chant Om Nimah Shivaya in Swami Kripalu’s chapel.    It was my favorite room in the whole building with it’s soft pink carpet and cushions.  The light wooden paneled wall behind the riser was rounded.   In one corner was a supply closet hidden behind a wooden door that matched the paneling.  On the other side was the space that housed the artifacts from Swami Kripalu’s time in the USA.  This was also the room where Amrit Desai, the founding Guru of Kripalu Center, would have his most intimate gatherings, I supposed.

On the last night, without missing a beat or a syllable, we moved ourselves to the expansive Main Chapel on the 2nd floor.   The backdrop to the riser we were sitting on displayed a huge OM symbol. Behind the OM backdrop is a mosaic left behind by the Jesuits who previously owned the property   The alcoves on both sides were open with the a/v station on the left.  I am sure that it looks very different today.

Everyone from the surrounding area of Lenox was invited for the final 2 hours of live chant and they began arriving soon after we began.  Slowly the room filled while all 20+ of us, all dressed in white chanted away.  I was grateful not to be the tamboura player for that last session as I was so high from bliss using a “gentle touch” would have been impossible.

There were easily 500 people on the floor in front of us all chanting and swaying away.  I saw thefamiliar faces of teachers, mentors, fellow students, and strangers that I have come to love in my years there.  The entire room was one with the chant.  You could feel it.  Everywhere.  Surrounded by sound & vibrations.

And then,

finally,

we chanted the final Om.

I understand now how “Silence is deafening”.

I don’t have the words to describe the exquisite experience of those silent minutes.  I don’t remember how long it lasted.  It might’ve been 2 or 20 minutes?  Time stopped.  Tears streamed down my face adding to sensory experience of this silence.  It became easy to understand the devotional Bhakti path if this was the reward for practice.  Of course, I had been immersed in it for 72 hours, not 2, a realization that took some time to comprehend.

Eventually, the sounds of bodies moving and voices whispering spread throughout the room.  Most of the audience had only joined in for 2 hours and maybe occasionally during the 3 days in the other chapel.  I wondered if they were feeling what I was feeling.  There was no way to know.

It didn’t take too long for the holiday cacophony to erupt.  It was New Year’s Eve and the kitchen had prepared a feast that everyone was eager to partake.  I didn’t have a bite.  Even though I hadn’t eaten much that day, I was filled up with something that left no room for food.

The next day, we met again to say goodbye and share our experience of that year’s Saptah.  After the hugs I floated out of the building and made my way back home, a 4 hour drive.

 

This year Bhavani & Atma will be leading the Saptah Chant on Zoom & on Facebook.  I’m excited to participate in this way!  I don’t have a tamboura or a harmonium, so I’ll use my harp & a drum for some musical accompaniment.  The chant itself is a difficult one and requires a lot of practice to do it well.  At least that’s how I felt about it 10 years ago.  That said, the melody has never left my mind even though I haven’t heard it anywhere since that night in the Main Chapel.

I’m not sure how long they’ll keep the Facebook link live.  There may be some issues around “recording” this particular melody?  That said, I’d recommend to those who are serious about their seeking to keep the chant on repeat until the clock strikes midnight of 2021.  Om Nimah Shivaya.  Jai Bhagwan.  Jai Gurudev.  Namaste.

Blogging journal entry Music Teachers Yoga

Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.
Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.
Be like the Tao.
~Tao-Te-Ching

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5 stars from me!  a must see…. touched me in too many ways to count.
Ah….the road(s) not traveled……..     Om shanti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music philosophy sound/music therapy Teachers

Do you imagine the universe is agitated?

Go into the desert at night and look out at the stars.

This practice should answer the question.

 

The superior person settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky.

By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it.

Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.

~Lao Tzu

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Currently teaching classes at The Sanctuary are:

 

Ida Cullen, ERYT-500, PKYT, IYT

Julie Caputo  RYT 200

Claudine Fenniman  RYT 200

Jane Kleiman, KYT 200

Bio’s coming soon.

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Each zodiac sign has a core truth that only time spent in a human body can accomplish. Few of us display the virtues of our sun sign at birth. In reality, it takes at least a Saturn cycle of experience (approx. 28 years) to connect with and live from the essence of our Sun sign. Before that, most of us are operating from our moon sign and moving thru the world with habitual and unconscious response patterns. As we approach our first Saturn Return we begin to understand what the essence of our Sun sign is all about and we begin to make a conscious transition from habitual patterns (moon) to conscious living.

One thing that I find most interesting about natal-chart astrology is that you can’t tell by looking at a chart the level of consciousness of the individual. Jeffrey Green in his wonderful book on Pluto- The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul writes about four states of evolutionary conditioning that are not revealed by the chart.

The first state is what he describes as the “dimly evolved” state and encompasses about 3% of the population. It is quite doubtful that we as yoga therapists will come in contact with these individuals as many of them are severly mentally deficient.

The second state he calls the herd state and about 75% of the population falls into this category. He describes these individuals as those who comply with the social/cultural norms of the day. They rarely question their beliefs and are happy to follow mainstream thinking and behavioral patterns.

The third state which holds about 20% of our population ( and growing by my observation) he labels the individuated state. These people question the beliefs and norms of society and look to develop their individuality. Many of them are drawn to yoga and the other spiritual practices which teach from the inside out. Self-discovery is their chosen methodology for learning.

The fourth state of about 3% of human beings is the spiritual state where one lives from a universal state of consciousness. These individuals have moved beyond the individualized state and and attempt to align themselves with the timeless, universal state of being. Jesus, Buddah, Mohammed are the primary examples of what is possible in this state.

In order to support our clients/students it is important to recognize which evolutionary state they are operating from and work from there. Those in the herd state will require patient understanding and acceptance before they can move to the third, individualized state. When working with others it is always important to meet them where they are before you attempt to move them. Yoga & yoga therapy supports experiential learning so rather than using dialogue to explain the different states it is much more effective to design experiences that will help them discover for themselves a more enlightened way of being.

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What happens when you integrate astrology into the yogic practice of self-observation without judgement?

Self-inquiry is a spiritual practice that directs our energy and our attention inward. It’s a particular form of self-discovery that encourages one to first recognize and then drop the social mask (also known as the persona, personality, or ascendant) and practice authenticity in every moment. (rather than productivity or some other external goal). In, The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, he describes a Buddhist practice of sitting quietly and repeatedly path with heartasking yourself, “Who am I”, over and over until you reach a point where something in the body/mind relaxes (?) and a subtle shift in consciousness happens. It’s one of those things that you have to experience for yourself and hard to describe.

Svadhyaya is one of the niyamas (from Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga) that encourages us to look at ourselves, clearly, without prejudice. It’s a challenging task and requires constant practice. Kripalu Yoga is the methodology that i practice. It brings the physical and energetic bodies into the mix by developing a heightened sense of awareness to sensations, breath, thought patterns, and spontaneous emotional expression.

man-astrologyAstrology attempts to find meaning in the natural order of the cosmos. Everything has it’s own time, it’s own season, and every minute that passes is unique. Astrologers observe both long term & short term trends and relate that information to the present moment. In addition, astrology also adds mythological, archetypal, & psychological dimensions that are extremely personal and relevant.

Natal Astrology looks at an individual (or oneself) thru a lens that has no prejudice. The natal horoscope does not see: gender, race, religion, economic status, socio/cultural differences, sexual orientation, political affiliation or any of the ways in which we categorize ourselves. What the natal chart does describe is our ‘energetic’ makeup and the timing of unfoldment. The ‘how’ is up to us. There are many ways to manifest the potential of our horoscope. It’s the energy pattern and the timing that are pre-determined. All else is free will. When approached with equanimity and non-judgement the natal horoscope becomes an impartial map of possibility with a built-in clock to help one connect to the present moment more intimately.

Yoga & Astrology have co-existed harmoniously in various cultures for eons.yantra cropped Each discipline recognizes the value & contribution of the other. Across the centuries, astrologers have continued to relate the movement of what is above to the movement of what lies below. Whereas, at the same time the yogi’s were discovering what lies without, also exists within. They both agree that here & now is important.

Yoga provides us with the tools to help us be with that moment in peaceful co-existence. Astrology helps us to understand the characteristics of the our particular ego-state and the nature of the obstacles that impede our path towards a higher consciousness. Yoga helps us to smooth out the obstacles, minimize the ego drives and approach life’s challenges in peace. Astrology provides us with the nature of the ever-changing present moment. Yoga practices train us to respond to the ever-changing moment with acceptance. Astrology, when properly understood, can advance us towards spiritual awakening. Yoga does the same.

As a Professional Kripalu Yoga Teacher & Astrologer it’s taken me most of my life to bring these two paths together in a way that goes beyond the mental field or intellect. After 30+ years of study and practice I have now reached a point where I can no longer keep them separate. My personal practice and the programs I offer always include the cosmic point of view in an attempt to teach the hermetic principal, As Above, So Below. For those who are ready for the practice of self-inquiry and seek to approach life multi-dimensionally, astrology & yoga together can be quite enlightening.

Om shanti, shanti, shantihi.

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The Peruvian shamans living high up in the Andes Mountains have come down to tell us that a new species of human being is about to appear. They call this being ‘Homo Luminous’. They tell us that forerunners of Homo Luminous are already among us right now. Like Cro-Magnon Man of 26,000 years ago, the last time that we passed through the cusp of Aquarius, so too now a new human is emerging. This new human will possess entirely new qualities that we do not have. The great Avatars, Jesus Christ, Krishna and many others may have early arrivals for this newly emerging species. Aquarius is the only one of the four quadrent signs that is symbolically represented by a human, and this human carries a container of water. This symbology is interesting as DNA can only be activated in water. So even the symbolic nature of the sign of Aquarius seems to suggest a change in the genetic structure of the human race.

Our spiritual existence is really a unique combination of free will and predestination. While we possess the ability to act freely within the moment, there is little we can do about the larger cycles of time and the qualities that emerge at the cusp of each of the four great signs. So as the hand on the great cosmic time clock passes into Aquarius one can expect massive changes to occur. While the ancient art of alchemy is concerned with many aspects of our existence including the extraction of light from plants and minerals, the transformation of the dark lead of our physical being into the pure gold of enlightenment and much more, alchemy also is a symbolic ontology concerned with the observation in the changes of the “quality” of time through the 25, 920 years-long duration of the Great Year.

The world is changing. The past will disappear and history will become legend and finally myth. Our destination is unknown. The only thing we know for sure is that it will change.

http://www.jayweidner.com/time.html

mayan pyramid“Shamans understand that the human brain “is modeled after the celestial vault and the human mind functions according to the stars, which are the ventricles and sensoria of the cosmic brain … there exists a close relationship between astronomical observations, cosmological speculations, and drug-induced trance states.”

—Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff (1982:176)

I lifted that whole quote off this webpage, an excellent resource for time comprehension.

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moon photo

Do you imagine the universe is agitated?

Go into the desert at night and look out at the stars.

This practice should answer the question.

The superior person settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky.

By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it.

Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.

__Lao Tzu

From Hau Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu by Brian Walker

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