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Shiva's Blog

New Moon Imbolc Chinese New Year Blessings

Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Dear Friends on the Path,

New Moon - Imbolc - Chinese New Year Blessings!

We are just passing the conjunction of Imbolc - the first cross-quarter festival of the year - marking the 6 week point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, the New Moon and Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. From now until Valentines and Full Moon, let us increase the positive flow of love in our lives. The Year of the Rabbit is invoked as support for lunar restoration, peace, family, friends, rejuvenating the soil of our life after the wild years of the monkey, tiger and before the dragon year of 2012.


Sending you my pranams for all that you are cultivating.
Here are our offerings for the next cycle.

Love all ways

Makar Sankranti 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Dear Friends,

Makar Sankranti Blessings!

This Friday, January 14th is the beginning of the auspicious Uttarayana Cycle or the journey from winter solstice to summer solstice that is honored today throughout India (see article - click here). This Friday-Saturday is a time to connect to your own solar energy - creativity, core energy, radiance, ability to shine through surface obstacles and connect with the source. While in India, Makar Sankranti has lots of variations of celebrating this growing season from honoring and ritually decorating cows for Pongal to bathing in the Ganga in Bengal. The Kumbha Mela always begins on Makar Sankranti as it is now the time to initate your auspicious practices for the next six month cycle. Makar Sankranti is the time of honoring the emerging light and remembering the sunlight that we are come from, eat, and circulate our energy from as well as remembering your ancestors.

In our Tending the Sacred Fire: Living Yoga Sadhana group, we are focusing on the core solar bija mantra practices with surya namaskar, honoring the sunrise, noon and sunset sandhyas with, if possible, visible darshan of the sun's radiance. I have daffodil bulbs on my altar with Ganesh from Rishkesh, and photos of my ancestors and a seed pot that I brought from Costa Rica to care for seed intentions coming to fruition over the next six months.

So enjoy a special meditation in the next two days, feel the sun in your heart, eat Kitchadi (another part of Makar Sankranti), feed as many people who are hungry as you can and focus on honing your energy towards the next full-moon on Wednesday.

I am initiating the first stages of the Yoga Energy Activism (YEA) project this Saturday night at Yoga Journal Ignites with Dave Stringer and DJ Dragonfly.

Please see our call for activism through retreat and celebration to store and circulate our energy at the highest level. This is my seva project for this year and I reach out to all the energy activists out there to join in the open circle as we consciously live the wheel of the year. I would love your feedback.

Let us listen to the spanda, the creative vibration within the sun of our heart and in the words of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., begin as "faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase".


Hram Hrim Hroom Hraim Hraum Hraha!
Honor the inner and outer sun and move towards a renewable energy future together.

Love All Ways

New Year Blessings

Thursday, January 06, 2011
Dear Friends,
 
New Year's Blessings! Blessed beginning of the New Moon and the Winter Sandhya (sacred time cycle).
 
We are initiating with the New Moon Amavasya - our new year's journey around the sun and our dance with the waxing and waning moon that will form the basis for our transformational sadhana cycle for householders.
 


This calendar is a paradigm-shifting view of our journey around the sun that I have been envisioning as a way to take us out of the the grid view of the month and to link the solar and lunar cycles together to experience how the world's transformational holidays are connected. Lisa Firefly - our fantastic Samudra designer and I are working out this proto-type and you are invited to give us feedback AND also join us for our Tending the Sacred Fire online community as we come together in 6-week cycles of sadhana to live our journey around the sun and our heartfire with individual and collective inspiration and authentic community.
 
 
Being in the flow of everyday life requires that we flow like nature - that we change with the seasons, the phases of moon, the energy level of our body and the bhava or mood of time of day. This ability to emanate from our center in relationship to external changes gives us freedom in every experience to be in our truth and natural essence. Our living yoga practice is to stay connected to the sacred flow within any circumstance in life - from the challenging to the sublime, the smooth to the rough, the hot to the cool. In vinyasa, we learn to attune ourselves to the sacred flow of our breath, consciousness, devotion, spontaneous wisdom, creativity and truth in every moment.
 
The ebb and flow of our own inner sun and moon - sometimes bright and sometimes dim - is a reflection of our daily need to align with the rhythms of life. "Tending the Sacred fire" are universal ways we keep our spirit, our inner fire, alive amidst the flow of life. This fire-keeping is at the heart of all yoga practice where in Vedic, Tantric and Ayurvedic traditions practice takes place around a fire altar known as a kundh, literally "womb" where the alchemical processes of purification, death and regeneration are tended to on a daily basis. See our program and teacher training section below for the year for students and aspiring teachers to go deeper in living vinyasa.
 
When people act from the inner fire of their heart, mountains move, their beauty is piercing. Their truth silences. Their creativity illuminates. Tending the Sacred Fire is learning how  tend the energy of our inner fire in practice and in life.  
 
I look forward to this journey around the sun with you and tending our sacred fire within and as collective support for all.
 
Infinite blessings in all directions.
 
Om Hrim Aginaye Swaha!

Happy New Year 2011

Saturday, January 01, 2011
Dear Friends on the Path,

New Year's Blessings!

We have been cultivating the flow of love, deep listening, unwinding of root tensions, encouragement for creative pathways, care for our life-energy and giving permission to speak our truth during our New Year's retreat process leading up to last night's bonfire, kirtan with dave stringer and yogatrancedance.

Now is all is quiet and a beautiful opportunity to plant seeds for the New Year that can be watered, nourished and regenerated through the coming cycles of the year. Tonight  1.1.11 and for the New Moon on 1.4.11, we are initiating our year-long journey around the sun in 6 week long sadhana cycles synched with the macro-cycles. We are sharing with you our opening meditation-chant (joined by Demetri Veisarius, Dave Stringer and Patrick Richey) for the HeartFire that is part of our evening opening circle here at Blue Spirit Retreat in Costa Rica (see details below). Please see the new calendar Mandala of the Year that I created for our Tending the Sacred Fire program which links your rhythm with the sun and moon cycles.

I am really grateful for all of the connections that have developed from the last cycles and look forward to all the ways we can deepen, create, expand together over the coming year. From my heart, truly thank you for all of the amazing beings and connections around the world, from my family, guides, collaborators, musicians, artists, prana flow tribe staff, teachers and students and spontaneous encounters from the road.

May we our lives be instruments of love, authentic presence, sacred vision and energy activism (caring for life-energy)

Let us plant auspicious seeds in fertile soil.

Pura Vida!

Winter Solstice Preparations

Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Dear Friends,


We are living the preparations for the auspicious Winter Solstice - Full Moon Eclipse sandhya - sacred juncture - coming up. I will be offering special classes beginning this Monday with Dave Stringer and the retreat is an auspicious opportunity to connect with this cycle. This coming juncture is the strongest full eclipse for southern California for 1,591 years and it will not be this like this again for at least another millennium! Join us for the weekend as we will be going deep into the sacred sandhya cycles connected with the Winter Solstice (including Chris Tompkins's in-depth research within the earliest Tantric Sadhana) giving space for reflection, meditation and deep yoga sadhana.

Our 3-day, 7-day or 10-day Rasa Immersion and Living Ayurveda at the end of January will put into embodied motion the full-spectrum vision for the year that we are cultivating in our Living Yoga Sadhana program.



Sending you Mojo Love that is the all-transforming power!

Om Suryaye Swaha!
Bring on the Light!

Happy Diwali

Thursday, November 04, 2010
Namaste!

Happy Diwali, Indian New Year!

This is a time to welcome the auspicious energy of Lakshmi into your home.  Diwali is also called the festival of lights, where people light their homes with oil lamps. It is a way to bless your home, your muladhara for the new year.

We are excited to offer our upcoming programs including our first online teleseminar series, connecting the winter solstice and new year 2010 to winter solstice and new year 2011.  This living vinyasa series will be an online resource for integrating all aspects of yoga sadhana into your life with practical tools, inspiration, live yoga class and music downloads to help you evolve through energetic alchemy authentically cultivating and managing your life energy in service to your unfolding path. Based on our living yoga sadhana program, this is for all the mentors and teacher trainees in our program in addition to anyone who wants to go deeper.

Thank you to everyone who made the 10-day east coast and west coast teacher study communities an amazing experience.

Love all ways,

Shiva

New Moon Ritual and Navaratri

Saturday, October 09, 2010
Its always darkest before the dawn.
 
The last day before the new moon is the darkest night of the month and we often feel that mirrored in our own life as there may be some difficulty in our outer life that causes "darkness" within or the reverse when what is brewing in our shadow begins to project out into our life. How we experience this peak of "endarkenment" can change and coincide with a natural going within or retreat to emotional melt-downs with the display of sadness, grief, swelling of feelings, neurosis, conflict, emptiness and despair. If we are not aware of the powerful mirroring of this peak darkness, it catches us off guard particularly if we are in a high-peak cycle of joy, stability, "life is wonderful" state of being. The days before the new moon can rock our world if we are not aware of this natural shift.
 
The hardest part of householder life is to maintain a steady rhythm of personal retreat necessary during times we we are naturally moving inward. Monks and nuns, sannayasins (renunciates), yogins and yoginis have these ritual rhythms as the center of their life which is also full of challenges. The potency of ritual life is to be able connect with the larger cycles of nature that are effecting every being on this planet simultaneously and be in harmony with the cosmos.
 
When we are feeling at our "lowest", "darkest", most vulnerable, our practice becomes truly alchemical as we are very aware of the need to understand, listen and move with a new energetic flow. Balancing excess vata and pitta is very common at this time as the air and the fire fan each other creating aggravation. Yoga can be viewed as an inner rasayana or alchemical elixir working with both the elements and the prana-shakti to alchemically transmute stress and karma into bliss and authentic being. Tantric-based yoga develops a connection to the alchemical flow of life - how every moment is a creative opportunity to be in true presence, dance with change, create antidotes for difficulties, and sustain the flow. Our practice, our sadhana, is the place to align our life with the sacred flow, the alchemical movement that renews us again and again.
 
The New moon is the reflection of this process and this month we have the opportunity to renew ourselves in the sacred 9-night festival known as Navaratri.
This ten-day cycle connected to the three aspects of the Great Mother - Creation, Sustaining and Dissolution and Victory over Ignorance or Sarawsati, Lakshmi and Durga. Most likely before the new moon and this transformative time of fall, we are able to connect with what we are letting go of, what we are sustaining with love and what is emerging within us. It is during this Navaratri cycle that we have access to authentic transformation as well as magnifying the blessings in our inner and outer life that are the essence of Sri - the creative, regenerative power of the one - that although beyond personification - becomes invoked as the divine feminine within all.
 
I am grateful to all the amazing men in my life who choose to honor the sacred feminine in their beloved lover, wife, sister, daughter, son, their own self, the Earth. I encourage all the yoginis to make as much space in their awareness as you can over the next 10 days to really connect with the Shakti within.
 
Navaratri CycleNavaratri begins Oct 8
Days dedicated to Durga - Oct 8-10
Days dedicated to Laksmi- Oct 11-13
Days dedicated to Saraswati - Oct 14-16
Dusshera - last day of Navaratri Oct 17
 
 
Living Yoga Sadhana for Navaratri
Universal
These are the recommendations for yogis and yoginis during Navaratri
1) Create Sacred Space- AltarCreate your altar or renew your current altar. Clean the Space for your practice and set-up your supplies (incense, lighter, etc.). You can activate your altar in a specific way for each sadhana with relevant pictures-murtis-symbols (images of the Divine), sacred objects and specific colors of cloth, flowers and candles. Keep your altar simple but potent as a reflection of your inner being.  Choose vital and expressive colors and images; Siva-shakti or Shakti or images of your own creative inspiration.
 
Explore the pathways of awakening kundalini shakti as the divine creative brilliance within nature, within your body and as a supreme navigating intelligence within the flow of one’s life. Includes essential daily practices, meditation, kundalini namaskar, prana flow creative sequences and prana sahaja flow – the spontaneous awakening.
 
Have a candle at the center of your altar or images of the Goddess according to the predominant day - Durga, Lakshmi or Sarawati.
 
2) Meditate in the morning and evening with bhava, mantra and devotion - the duration is not as important as the consistency although the longer the seep the deeper the soak. You can have your regular meditation practice and add or substitute the mantra connected with each Shakti for a mala (108 rounds).
Om Aim Saraswatiye Namaha
Om Dum Durgaye Namaha
Om Shrim Lakshmiye Namaha
You can also listen and chant the 108 Names of the Goddess, and Lalita Saharanama (1008 Names of the Goddess).
 
Here are some suggestions of tracks and artist below  
* Craig Pruess
* Bombay Jayashri Goddess Namavali
* Shakti Blessings - by Benjy Wertheimer - "Jala"
* Lalita Sahashranama - CD and book from www.amma.org
 
3) Live and practice yoga with heightened awareness, with intention, seva and rasa vinyasa(tm) - an alchemical connection to the flow in your daily life.
According to the three phases of Navaratri - 3 days for Dissolution and Letting Go;  3 days for Manifestation and Abundance; and  3 days for creative energy how will you focus  
 
4) Fast in some form either by releasing a food item such as alcohol or sugar or being pure vegetarian for the entire 10 days. This is a very powerful way of strengthening your inner dedication and relaxing attachments.
 
5) Journal your experience and share. We will be sending out post through facebook and every 3 days via internet. We will also offer posts on our youtube account so please join the Navaratri festival cycle together.

Bhakti Momentum and Temple of Rasa Gratitude

Friday, September 17, 2010
Dear Friends on the Bhakti Path,


We are in ritual-festival mode as we leave today for the sacred 700 acre Tara Mandala to begin the Yab Yum retreat in honor of Lama Tsultrim and her beloved David Petit. We will also be connecting with people all around the world who are engaged in prayer and raising funds and consciousness for Global Mala Project, YogAid, Peace Week and more on Saturday - the Fall Equinox - which is also UN INternational Peace Day. We will also be rocking it for energy activism at the PULSE 108! Yogatrancedance - the first ever at Estes Park for the Full Moon.

And today is Yom Kippur - the day of at-one-ment, fasting, clearing our inner path and relations to all. Gratitude to Cosmic Navigator/Teacher and Astrologist,  Gahl Sasson for sharing his wisdom. Read below to connect to this sacred day. We will be sending you the PULSE! throughout this week to honor this sacred cycle.
For those of you who participated in Bhakti Fest or wanted to go, our media artist extraordinaire, Jenay Martin has put together a video of highlights from Bhakti Fest which was an extraordinary gathering of the love that connects us all and flourishes in the flow of bhakti yoga. The over 108 hours of continuous kirtan, mantra, dance and the the epic yoga sessions along with seva for all made Bhakti Fest a totally transformative event.

We are grateful for all of the Prana Flow teachers, Jennifer Ellen Mueller, Melanie Foust, Monica Mesa, Logynn Northrip, Robin Clements, Cosetta Romani and Kristen Townsend who helped create the Temple of Rasa as a resting place for rasikas where we got to massage the feet of some of our beloved collaborators/artists friends Bob Wisdom, Dave Stringer, Lorin Roche, Suzanne Sterling, John DeKadt.  

Also a great bow to the musicians who raised the vibration of our Ritual Bhakti Vinyasa collective sessions/classes Donna DeLory, Bob Wisdom, Arjun Baba, John DeKadt, Benjy Wertheimer, Suzanne Sterling, Mayapuris, Gaura Vani, Joey Lugassy, Craig Kohland, Fabian Alsutany, David Duke Mushroom, HariBol Das, Ben Isaacs, DJ Nagaraja aka Demetri, Fantuzzi. Also our pranams for our dear friends Mayapuris and Tantric rasikas Chris Tompkins, Lorin Roche and Demetri Velisarius for helping to initiate Bhakti Fest under the stars at Joshua Tree National Monument. Finally Kristen Townsend for her joyous seva to support the PULSE! at Bhakti Fest and beyond in these newsletters. She caught a spontaneous moment of the ever Krishnafied Gaura Vani and I dancing together for MC Yogi's stellar set.  

I bow to you all and give thanks to you and all of the amazing bhaktas we met on the path. The bhakti bhav continues with classes and retreats including Thanksgiving at Joshua Tree with Arjun Baba and New Year's Costa Rica retreat with Dave Stringer. Without the conscious leadership of Sridhar Silberfein and his amazing staff including Shiva Baum and Prana Flow grad, Janet Marley and Cristi Christensen of Exhale who sponsored the YogaDome and our Samudra office team, we would not be able to serve the flow. We also give thanks to our larger partners, BhaktiFest, Firefly Designs, Anjenaya Imagery, Amir Image, Namaste Interactive, prAna, Exhale, MindBody, Mantrology, Mandala Publishing, Melodia, Java Juice, Health Force, and SweetNuit who continue to create synergy in service.  

A special bow to Radhnath Swami for gracing us with his deep authentic love and contagious bhakti spirit at Bhakti Fest and for our class honoring RadhaKrishna.

Blessings to all...let us be guided by the all transforming nectar of love through all of the phases, tastes, rhythms of life - smooth and rough, joyous and difficult, simple and abundant.


Loving You All Ways!

Shiva

Still rockin' from Wanderlust!

Friday, August 06, 2010
Wanderlust was a complete mountain high from the life-potent sessions-that happened for me in the PULSE tent with the live music of Dave Stringer, Shaman's Dream, Donna DeLory and more to the river float with Steve Gold and the Mayapuris, to the art that permeated Village Anusara thanks to DK, and the extraordinary music from Moby to Hamsa Lila. It was really about the people of Wanderlust. Like looking in a mirror and finding a cross-blend of all the aspects of yourself - nature-music-yoga-activism-vision-creativity- flow echoed back through so many people of diverse backgrounds.

Jeff Krasno and Schuyler Grant and the Wanderlust Staff headed by Chris Cuevas were our joyous and fearless visionaries and leaders. The musicians and yoga teachers were beloved friends from all over the country. It was a summer festival - a coming together and the ecstatic power of the mountains revived us all.

A special thanks to Beaver of prAna who created the Prana Shala which by day was anchored by PULSE team Gina Caputo, Maria Garre,Twee Merrigan and Simon Park joined the assistant team with stellar hands. Demetri offered a sold out meditation class on which caused ripples for all participating. Alex Theory set-up his vibracoustic table, and Rainbow Michael and his consort Katie helped many ways. I offered with the powerpoint help from Maria Garre a 12 minute history of 2,000 years of the repression of movement  entitled "Dance in freedom for those not free"  was offered at the Speakeasy where Moby and our beloved Swami Radhnath also gave their vision for Wanderlust's video series.

Wanderlusting in My Bones

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We are heading out the door for Wanderlust at 6:30 this morning and I feel a surge that I don't feel very often after years of traveling. When I was a kid, my whole body would vibrate the night before I went anywhere like a star trek beam. Even in the midst of pre-travel excitement, there was a mystic peace in the air as we would rise at the crack of dawn to travel. I am up now before the sun rises with the same vibrancy.

I got a feeling in my bones - its wanderlusting - like I am being magnetized to the Mountains of Lake Tahoe. Wanderlusting is an organic pull beyond your every day life. The open road calls you, but the destination is inside you. It doesn't have to make any practical sense, although it may be the only thing that is sane.

Wanderlusting - the passion for the unfolding road. A gathering is convening on the mountain. Some of my favorite musicians, DJ's, yogis and yoginis, friends, students, vendors. There is an element of a summer festival rocking in the air. I saw the weather it is straight sun in the 80's which makes our wanderlust river float on Truckee on Thursday with about 90 people divine. I feel like an acorn ready for the sun to let summer crack open and immerse in music-movement-yoga-tribe.

Jeff Krasno, founder of Wanderlust has put together an amazing group together for the Speakeasy including Moby. I am giving a "talk" on Saturday called - "Moving Mountains: The Power of Music and Movement". This 15 minute talk has me really attuned to what anthropologists call "collective effervence" or "communitas" - the spirit of the collective movement of the tribe.

We are born this way and we are wired this way for a reason - we need to feel the collective pulse. The PULSE Tent at Wanderlust is a space dedicated to the collective force through individual flow. With thanks to the Wanderlust team, the Pulse tent is the heart of Wanderlust movement with DJ Dragonfly as our resident DJ, an amazing array of classes with Live Music and off-the-chart evening performances from Moby, Hamsa Lila, Bassnectar and beyond.

I will be web-streaming live from the PranaShala tent-lounge created with co-sponsors prAna. The PranaShala is a navel, nadi line, gathering point with free water, a sacred shala (rest) zone, Kumbha Mela and Bali Malas, spontaneous jam sessions with PULSE project musicians, Dave Stringer, Steve Gold, Donna DeLory, Shaman's Dream, Mayapuris, Nikos Veliskakis, Fire & Flow Staff and Poi Jams with Rainbow Michael and Demetri, Flying Flow with Simon Park and Friends, Sound Healing with Alex Theory, and ShaktiBhakti from the Prana Flow Senior Teachers Maria Garre, Twee Merrigan, Gina Caputo and Media Connections through Jenay Martin and our web partners, Namaste Interactive. We are grateful to everyone for making it all happen. We are looking forward to connecting with all the amazing other tents (Kula Village, Anusara Village, Yoga Tree), teachers, musicians, artists, and participants. I will be hanging out at the PULSE tent for most of the festival giving you an inside view and behind the scenes flow of Wanderlust with lots of guest spots with artists, teachers, friends at the PULSE.

Please enjoy our new website with great thanks to Namaste Interactive for their amazing delivery including a new baby boy! It is the first creative stage of more to come that will make our site at the cutting edge of interactiveness and change. Enjoy the beginning of our rotating playlist.

Check out the amazing upcoming events-teacher training-retreats.


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