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

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

‘People are not dying. They’re gaining moksha’

The Namarupa blog has a link up to a CNN story that I can’t help figure is Robert Moses’ way of telling those of us going on this summer’s Yatra: “Read this.” It’s about Varanasi, one of our many stops:

Varanasi has always been known as the city of light. But a more appropriate moniker might be the city of death.

The end of life here is stark and out in the open, for all to see. Bodies blanketed by white shrouds and orange marigolds are brought to the ghats, the broad steps leading down to the Ganga. Funeral pyres, especially at Manikarnika Ghat, the most sacred of cremation places, burn nonstop, melting human flesh on piles of mango wood. Sometimes, parts of bodies remain after the flames go out; stray dogs surround the smoldering embers. Those smells and sights reminded me of my time covering the war in Iraq.

Many of the city’s residents make a living from death. They include the Doms, the untouchable caste of Hindus who work at the cremation sites as well as the astrologers and priests who gather at the river. Part of the fascination for visitors, especially foreigners, is to bear witness to the process of dying.

The piece comes with a ton of arresting photos, too.

Also, we just highlighted Sangita Yoga’s Naren Schreiner’s effort to crowd-source funding for an album of devotional music. If you are somehow on the fence, maybe give a listen to a radio show he did over the weekend to get a sense of why we think his Yoga of Music is worth support.

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

Get your Hanuman on

A few big celebrations of one of our two Ishta Devatas, Hanuman, are on the horizon.

The first is global, the second local.

A Tantric diagram of five-faced Hanuman. Via
A Tantric diagram of five-faced Hanuman. Via

On the global front, and with the support of both Krishna Das and Jai Uttal as well as Sounds True, Shri Anandi Ma has organized a worldwide chanting of 108 Hanuman Chalisas on April 20. Information, including how to register, is here. A bit of the detail:

Event Date: April 20, 2013
Time: 9am – 6pm Pacific
(USA West Coast, California
(webcast 8:30am til event end)

Broadcast live on the web from Antioch CA and other world locations via Skype.

Physical event with Shri Anandi Ma is in Antioch, California

The link above includes some wonderful quotes about Hanuman and the Chalisa.

The local event is down in San Diego, at Tim Miller’s Ashtanga Yoga Center. The Center and Sangita Yoga will be chanting the Chalisa 11 times from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 25. It’s free. The Center, for those who don’t have the address, is at 1905 Calle Barcelona in Carlsbad.

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

An outsider’s view of Ashtanga and the Confluence

“Outsider” in this context really isn’t fair, but it seems the best way to sum-up Naren from Sangita Yoga’s look back at us and at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence.

In other words, this isn’t from one of the many attendees nor from one of the teachers. (And believe me, I’ve got my eye out to see when some more of the teachers reflect on the weekend.)

Naren’s put some thoughts to virtual paper on the sacred music performance from the Confluence. Not only does his devoted and serious approach to yoga come through, but he offers a glimpse of us and our practice from someone only recently introduced to Ashtanga. That strikes me as rare and valuable, especially since it doesn’t end with some superficial description of Ashtanga as being the Marine Corps of yoga, etc.

Take a look at his full piece right here. Here’s just a little taste:

Being traditional and a purist in may ways, I confess that I’m often skeptical when Westerners are in charge of anything dealing with India’s sacred traditions.


A shortened, yet very authentic, Ganesha Puja was led by Eddie Stern.  We immediately saw and felt his authenticity and reverence. His intention was to invoke Sri Ganesha’s blessings on the conference and convert the resort into a yoga shala, a place of practice and learning.  Those of you who know me know how much we at Sangita yoga value such invocations.


Afterwards, our Sangita Yoga crew sat together talking about the event.  We were very impressed with the sincerity of the ashtangis and their determination to stay true to the traditions of India, brought by their Guru, despite living in a society where quick n’easy usually trumps authenticity and discipline.

That last paragraph, especially, captures a substantial part of the essence of the Ashtanga practice — and certainly much of what the gathering of teachers last weekend highlighted.

As I’ve already urged you, click through and read all of his piece. (Pay no attention to the quote from a “veteran ashtangi,” though.) Naren uncovers some deep truths about yoga, our practices and the paths we all are on. And you can look around the site a bit — there’s lots of resources there. And we love resources.

I’ll also urge you not to miss Sangita Yoga if you have a chance in the future. (Don’t forget, you also can buy Naren’s recent album at this site.)

Posted by Steve