The sacred roots of divine music in India

We’ve posted a few times about Naren Schreiner and Sangita Yoga, which performed at this year’s Confluence and is back on the schedule in 2014. (Here is a post with Sangita’s own video from the Confluence.)

Sri Tyagaraja, via

Naren is well and deeply steeped in the history of sacred music in India, has studied the tradition extensively in India, and continues to explore how music can affect us, much as asana does — and how all of it coalesces as yoga.

He understands the tradition and, if I can use this work, the essence of what he talks about and performs.

For this fall’s Raga Spirit music festival at UCLA, happening all day on Sat., Oct. 19, Naren has written an article for the program booklet. You can find it in full here, and here’s a short excerpt:

As you listen to Indian music, realize that you are linked to an ancient coalition of science, art and spirituality. Seek to perceive the essence of the raga as it awakens within you some profound response.  Feel the underlying rhythm that unites the pulse and breath of your body with the sway of Nature.  Realize that a harmonizing flood of sound is pouring over your being—the calming tanpura drone, the raga of voice and instrument, the energizing tala of drums.

Naren has absolutely helped us understand this aspect of yoga, and this piece showcases why and how.

Posted by Steve


Tim Miller rides the Bhav at Bhakti Fest, lunches with KD

On Saturday, Tim Miller went the Bhakti Fest.

On Tuesday, he wrote about it.

Last week, I dropped a quick link to Tim’s blog post about the awesomeness of September and a surprising number of folks clicked through. So perhaps it is worth reminding everyone of Tim’s wonderful Tuesday pieces, and this week’s is on a subject matter I know a lot of our readers fancy. Here’s Tim on the Fest; here he is talking about Krishna Das‘ set:

My favorite was a hymn to the Divine Mother interspersed with the chorus from the old Journey song, “I Want to Know What Love is.”  I hung in there until 11, but knew I had a two and a half hour drive ahead of me and two classes to teach Sunday morning.  I left with a nice glow and an open heart that made the ride home much more pleasant.   I’m very glad I went.  My friends always told me it was my kind of vibe and they were right–I don’t know why it took me five years to get there.  If Bhakti Fest ever invites me to teach again I will say yes.

There are two other reasons you ought to take a look at his full piece. The first is the story retold from his lunch with KD, concerning Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass and the infamous hit of acid that Ram Dass once gave his teacher. Did the tab really have zero effect on the Indian guru? You’ll have to read it to find out.

The second illustrates the impact on people that Shyamdas had. We linked through to Namarupa’s special issue on him after he passed away in February.

I always hear good and bad things about Bhakti Fest (is there anything one doesn’t hear good and bad things about, though?). Tim paints a picture that shines through with all the good.

Posted by Steve

A piano and cello for Pattabhi Jois

I maybe should have waited until Thursday — the heavy guru day — to post this, but it looks like this video is new. The brief description:

The Song “Guruji” is dedicated to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois the Ashtanga Yoga Master.
Andreas Loh wrote this tune on May 18th 2009 after he recieved the Message that Guruji died. RIP

Composition & Piano: Andreas Loh
Cello: Franziska Kraft

Here you go:

Posted by Steve

Soundtrack to Krishna Das doc now on iTunes

Don’t know if you’ve seen the Krishna Das documentary, One Track Heart, but now you can begin listening to the soundtrack.

It’s officially up at iTunes. According to KD’s people, the “physical CD will be available for purchase on August 20th.”

Included are two unreleased live recordings by Krishna Das. Most of the music is by J Mascis and Devadas.

No word I see at this point from the Encinitas yoga trial. (Keep in mind today’s coverage will be about the defense’s closing arguments. Judge’s ruling is supposed to come on Thursday.) But you may have seen some other court rulings today.

Posted by Steve

A couple of chances to share in sacred music

This one’s a bit of a provincial post. Apologies. But both of these events seem worth some highlighting.

First up, tomorrow — Sunday — in celebration of the full moon, the Pancha Vayus will be performing at the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Encinitas/Carlsbad. The free event begins at 7 p.m. Directions for those who need them are right here.

Secondly, and with a little more lead time, Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga — who performed at this year’s Confluence — is giving a class in Los Angeles this coming Friday, June 28. It’s happening at InYoga Center. Here’s how Naren describes it:

Next Friday, June 28th, I’ve been invited to give a class at InYoga Center on “The Yoga of Music” to their students, followed by a Kirtan and Bhajan presentation at 8:30pm.

I will present some beautiful traditional Indian bhajans and also lead the group in sacred kirtan.  The Center has a large and beautiful space, and so we’ll create a very sacred environment there.  My friend Robin Sukhadia will play tabla.

If you’re out in that part of LA, give some thought to attending.

Posted by Steve