Some ragas you ought to check out

If you’ve missed our coverage of Sangita Yoga and Naren Schreiner — well, you haven’t been paying attention, have you?

As we noted earlier this month, Naren has finished a new album of sacred chants . Now there’s a quick video about it, which is well worth you time on a calm Saturday. From the description:

In this video interview, Naren describes the project and the vision behind this groundbreaking album release. New Earth Records and Sangita Yoga Music present Naren’s newest album, Sangita Yoga: Sacred Chants of India, a compilation of sacred texts from India set to Naren’s original raga-based compositions, accompanied by guest musicians on tabla, santoor, sarangi, violin and cello.

And here’s the video. Enjoy:

Happy day off, unless you’re among those who have migrated your day off to Sunday.

Posted by Steve

LA, Boulder: Here’s your chants to explore India’s sacred music

Oh, yeah, I went there.

Two upcoming events — one in Boulder, the other here in LA — feature Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga, who has performed kirtan and Indian sacred music at the past couple Ashtanga Yoga Confluences.

Up first is Boulder, at Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop. One is a workshop on chants, the other a more “traditional” performance of bhajans. Both are happening the weekend of Nov. 8-9; day one is $30, day two is $20:

In ancient India, chanting formed a path of Yoga — union of soul and Spirit. This simple and profound discipline is an important part of spiritual life.

In this workshop you will learn about the sacred foundations of chanting and music, how to use your voice yogically, and how to pronounce and chant simple Sanskrit slokas.

A month later, Naren will roll up from Encinitas to LA, at the Yoga Works “Center for Yoga,” where both Tim Miller and Pattabhi Jois have taught:

Discover how India’s tradition of sacred music is an integral part of yoga and spiritual living. Naren will introduce India’s tradition of sacred music in the context of yoga practice and the spiritual lifestyle. This interactive and experiential class will include live and recorded music demonstrations as well as guided practice intended for all levels—no musical experience is required.

In this workshop you will learn:

• An overview of the art and science of India’s sacred music.
• The effects of music and sound on your body, mind, and spirit.
• The function of your voice as a sacred instrument of speech, mantra and chanting.
• Practical instruction in correct pronunciation of Sanskrit and Hindi.
• Daily practices to help you bring sacred music into your own life.

All levels welcome. No musical experience required.

Cost is $30. Registration is at the link above.

Posted by Steve

Why is the opening chant important to the Ashtanga practice?

Over at the Yoga Workshop webpage, Mary Taylor answers that question in a post this week:

Chanting is a very complimentary part of the asana practice as a general rule in that it is another means of drawing the mind spontaneously into a meditative state. It is also a method for focusing the mind on theory—the meaning of a chant—so that one can reflect on and question specific ideas. Of course as we chant the mind may focus on meaning for a brief period, but then the nature of chanting allows that meaning to dissolve into the background as the vibratory quality and resonance of the act of chanting (without the mind assigning meaning) has a spontaneous and deep effect on the nervous system, body and mind.

Specific to your questions about the Invocation, we usually don’t chant in situations where there are brand new students. This is because we are not trying to indoctrinate students into a “religion,” belief system or yogic lifestyle. Rather we are hoping to give students a clear and direct taste of how an asana practice can be beneficial both physically and on other levels that for different students might be open in different ways to being impacted.

Because chants have words with specific meaning, it can be quite presumptuous here in the West—or actually anywhere outside of India or a Hindu culture—to chant to a beginning group of students not knowing what their religious or cultural beliefs are. This is why we say that chanting may be problematic for some, and why we don’t shove it down the beginner’s throat. (Or more accurately out of their throat!). In certain situations where beginners may be in a class during which we choose to chant, we always say what the meaning of the chant is and also always say that students may chant along with us or simply listen.

Check out the full answer. And here’s some earlier video of Richard Freeman and Guruji chanting; Bobbie’s thoughts on teaching the opening prayer; and Bobbie on why we learn mantras.

Posted by Steve

Here’s the Krishna Das documentary trailer

We posted a few days ago that the trailer for the Krishna Das documentary, “One Track Heart”, had hit iTunes’ trailer page.

Well, you know how the Internet goes. From there it is just a step to its being on Youtube. So, without further adieu:

We did manage to get to Kino MacGregor’s Led Primary today, although we weren’t able to stay for her arm balance workshop. We may make it to her backbending one tomorrow, depending on some things. (Those things eventually will be made public!)

We’ll get something up about her Led class, likely tomorrow.

Update, March 28: Screenings are up at the film’s Facebook page.

Posted by Steve