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

Your chance to learn about sacred chanting in Los Angeles

For our readers in and around Los Angeles, maybe mark your calendar for Dec. 13.

That’s when Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga will be up here — at the Center for Yoga / Larchmont Yoga Works — leading a workshop on sacred chanting.

Link to the promotional flyer is right here. (You also can preregister at that link.)

A few details: It runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $30. A quick rundown:

Naren K. Schreiner and Lopamudra Bose will teach sacred chants of India, including correct pronunciation coaching, and the foundations of sacred and yogic chanting.

Lots more at the flyer. Previous info on Sangita Yoga at our site is here. As we’ve noted, Naren has a compassionate and deeply devoted approach to teaching people to sing or understand the fundamentals of chanting. More on Sangita is right here. Also, Naren has a new album of sacred music out. Info here.

Posted by Steve

Sweet taboo: Music

There seem to be just a few more touchy subjects within the Ashtanga world than playing music during practice. We’ve touched on it a few times, including here and here (our most commented upon post to date). Few people seem to be agnostic about it.

The thing is, music can be beneficial — at least to the physical side of things. There’s new news on that front, via the always handy New York Times. It’s about music’s ability to boost a high-intensity interval workout.

Here’s the key takeaway:

The volunteers all reported that the intervals had been hard. In fact, their feelings about the difficulty were almost identical, whether they had been listening to music or not.

What is interesting is that their power output had been substantially greater when they were listening to music. They were pedaling much more ferociously than without music. But they did not find that effort to be more unpleasant. Without music, the workout struck them as about the equivalent of an eight or higher on a zero to 10 scale of disagreeableness (with 10 being unbearable).

With music, each interval still felt like about an eight or higher to the riders, but they were working much harder during each 30-second spurt. The intensity increased but not the discomfort.

Polled by the scientists at the end of the experiment, all 20 riders said that if they were to take up interval training on their own after the study, they definitely would listen to music to get themselves through the workout.

So, to a question: Can there be a role for music within an Ashtanga practice?

Here’s where I think the answer could be yes: when researching or exploring new, difficult poses. I think that experience can be near enough to the intensity of an interval workout. (For so many, this seems to be all about Kapotasana.) And what I mean is an initial exploration of the physical side of asana, of the reaching and crunching and stretching and ouching as one attempts to find the calmness and stillness of a “proper” pose. Of the discovery of where your body — your grossest kosha — can go before you begin to peel down into the deeper sheaths.

For that, probably turn the music off.

There’s also this: Music also can just be a nice change of pace and scenery.

Posted by Steve

The yoga of music goes to college

It’s not secret we’re big fans of Naren Schreiner, who leads Sangita Yoga — the Yoga of Music — and performed at last year’s Ashtanga Yoga Confluence and will be doing so again in May.

He brings a sweet, light, quietly devotional perspective to music, focusing it on honoring the Divine. (Yes, somehow quiet even though it is music. And from our experience, it seems like a lot of kirtan leaders are celebrating themselves when they sing and not you know who/what.)

So we are happy to pass on the following video, although we also have to say we aren’t fans of the location! (That’s for you college football fans… er… fan?)

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

A beautiful Hanuman devotional aid from Sangita Yoga

Here’s a little something just in time for Hanuman Jayanthi.

Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga — which performed the sacred music at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence this year — has uploaded a track recorded at the Confluence. The song? (Is “song” the right word?) Jai Bolo Hanuman Ki, which he wrote just for the Confluence.

Here’s the link. The cost, by the way: Whatever you want to donate.

Here’s what Naren has to say about it:

I composed this kirtan especially for the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence as a tribute to the many Hanuman-bhaktas present there. The words are traditional verses that honor Sri Hanuman, the great devotee and servant of Ram, Lakshman, and Janaki (Sita).

In celebration of Hanuman Jayanti on April 25, 2013, Sangita Yoga is releasing this single on a donation basis.

My desire is to make this song available for everyone all over the world to download and sing along with joy and devotion to Hanuman, who is the embodiment of strength, wisdom, devotion and humility. If you wish to give a donation, it will directly support my sacred music and my mission at Sangita Yoga. Thank you and I hope this recording uplifts your mind and heart in praise of Sri Hanuman!

I remember when he led us through this song (and I’m pretty sure his sound engineer managed to drop the level on the mic that picked me up, so no fears in listening!), and it was one of those that — if you’re a Hanuman-bhakta — reminds you all the reasons why. (Alternately, you know what I mean if a devotional to your great guide plays — one to Ganesh, Siva, Krishna or Kali, for instance.) The feelings come. The goosebumps. The pulse quickening. The tears of happiness. The peace.

Naren, I believe, captures that all in this piece. Thanks to him for sharing it.

Posted by Steve

The Yoga of Music at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence

I’m considering changing this blog’s name to the Confluence Music Countdown. Music, music, music. We can’t get away from it, despite my best efforts.

This time, though, I’m more than happy to fill a post with some sacred music. Below is video produced by Sangita Yoga, who performed the sacred music at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence. Perhaps some of what Naren Schreiner says in the voice over will be a way to tie up the ongoing discussion about music’s role in yoga.



And no, I don’t think either Bobbie or I are anywhere in the video.

Posted by Steve