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

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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