Stage set for kirtan. (Photo by Joshua Canter, Kristin Luna Ray Music)
Yesterday I spent a delightful evening of beautiful music in the company of good friends. The kirtan at the Yoga Springs studio in Springfield, Ohio was the first stop on Kristin Luna Ray‘s Spring tour through the Midwest and it was also the first kirtan held at the studio. It is always a pleasure to see Luna and Joshua. It was also great to see other friends.
Luna’s two hour set included several familiar chants as well as some new music. I loved her rendition of the Gayatri Mantra as a lullaby and her version of Lokah Samastah. It was a blissful evening of devotional chanting. I’m looking forward to seeing her at Day Yoga Studio in a few days for the Alive Music and Yoga Experience and next weekend at the Serendipity Festival in Cloverdale, Indiana.
Kristin Luna Ray & Joshua Canter, Yoga Springs, Springfield, Ohio
(That’s me in front of the post.)
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Has it been a year already? I closed out 2010 and began 2011 with yoga at the Sri Yoga Center‘s New Years Eve Satsanga, closing out the year with kirtan and japa then starting the new year in silent reflection and meditation.
2011 was an incredibly full year for me filled with workshops, kirtans and studies. For the first part of the year I enjoyed the Sunday morning Sanghas, discussing the Yoga Sutras and other topics. I began taking Abigail and sometimes Nick to kids’ yoga classes which fell by the wayside later on due to conflicts with my schedule.
I attended a couple yoga workshops. In February I attended a Jivamukti workshop taught by Anna Ferguson from World Peace Yoga. The Jivamukti approach is a bit different from what I’m used to but it was a good workshop and I got a lot out of it. In December I attended weekend Yamas and Niyamas workshop with Lila Lolling. She brought a different perspective to it from the Sivananda tradition. I really enjoyed the asana portion of the workshop which consisted of a traditional Hatha Yoga practice, so much that I’m using it as the basis for my home asana practice.
The year was a good one for kirtan. The kirtan that had the most profound effect on me was the Chants for Ma kirtan led by Michael and Melissa at Sri Yoga Center on Mother’s Day. It was a simple kirtan but my heart really opened up and I was overcome with emotion. In June I accompanied Michael and Melissa to World Peace Yoga in Cincinnati for the Jubilee Kirtan and Hafla. Michael and Melissa led the kirtan accompanied by Christopher Cox and Doug Kreitzer. One of the highlights was the World Peace Tribal Belly Dancers who really got the kirtan swinging.
I attended two more kirtans in July. SRI Kirtan played at Sri Yoga and featured several songs from their Live Your Love CD. By the end of their set, one could definitely feel a positive shift in the energy. About a week later, I went to Yoga Springs for a Karen Johns kirtan. She had us do the final chant while in Savasana which was an interesting experience.
There were other events blending music with yoga. In August Girish visited Sri Yoga and played as Melissa led an asana class. About a month later, the Bhakti Vinyasa Project returned to Sri Yoga with Luna and Joshua playing cuts from One Shared Heart as Katy Knowles led a vinyasa flow class choreographed to the music. A few days after that, Luna and Joshua held a “Soul of Voice” workshop with a small kirtan in which Melissa received her first harmonium lesson.
The highlight in my year of yoga was the 100-hour Yoga Studies Program taught be Michael and Melissa. It was a preparatory class for teacher training covering the Yoga Sutras, subtle anatomy, asana, sequencing, pranayama and meditation. Three of the five students who completed the course went on to take the teacher training course. Later in the year I took part in a Yoga Studies Intensive focused on finding balance. This course expanded on some of the concepts from the Yoga Studies Program and took them a bit deeper.
Next year should be another great year for my yoga practice. I’ll starting off with Lila Lolling’s Svadhyaya Intensive. Some of the offerings on the winter schedule also look interesting, such as the 6-week Weekend Flow and the Core Flow series. There are also the drop-in Yoga Flow classes with Melissa on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I want to make 2012 the year my practice really takes off in a new direction.
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I had a rare free Saturday night so I drove to Yoga Springs in Yellow Springs to attend the Luna Rasa Kirtan. I followed Michael and Mellissa from Sri Yoga just to be sure I could find it. Even though I had only formally met Luna and Joshua earlier today, they greeted me like I was an old friend. How can you not love people like this?
Then I went upstairs to pay my money and then went into the studio, grabbed a bolster and a blanket and found myself a nice spot up against a wall. It was a nice, cozy studio and now that I know about Yoga Springs, I’ll probably attend other events there.
The kirtan, performed by Kristin Luna Ray, Joshua Canter, Melanie Leenhouts and guest bassist Chris Brown, was a mixture of Sanskrit and English chants and I remembered serveral of them from this morning. They also played When Heaven Meets the Earth and Open to Grace. It was great to see and hear the songs performed live in an intimate setting.
The two kirtans I’ve attended have been different experiences from each other. I’m looking forward to the David Newman kirtan in July.
This morning I experienced the Bhakti Vinyasa Project at Sri Yoga Center for the third time. I took part in the BVP at Sri Yoga in October and December of last year and enjoyed both of those events immensely. Today’s practice was just as good, maybe even better. I think it gets better each time I experience it.
Katy Knowles of YogahOMe in Cincinnati lead the class. She is so full of positive energy and she had us moving almost constantly. I loosened up a bit more than I had in the previous BVP visits. I found myself flowing with the rhythms and did quite well in the balancing poses and the vinyasas. I’m not sure what did it but my lower back felt so much better at the end.
It was great to have the chance to hang around afterwards and chat with everyone. I’m looking forward to the Kirtan tonight at Yoga Springs.
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