Today I read an interview featuring Erykah Badu in Mantra Magazine. Erykah’s comments about her newfound love of yoga and mantras inspired me. Here’s what she said:
“I love yoga. I started taking yoga at a gym and I met the most wonderful instructor who teaches you in Sanskrit as well as in English. She repeats everything in Sanskrit. There’s something about the vibration of this language that really resonates with me and helps me to focus more on the breathing and not so much on the stretching.”
Her words made me think about some of my favorite mantras and how they have helped me strengthen my meditation, Reiki healing, and yoga practices. Click here to listen to Krishna Das chant OmNamah Shivaya which means “I bow to my inner self.” This sacred mantra helps me to surrender my ego to my highest self. It helps me live in the present moment. It opens my heart to Creator’s wisdom and blessings for my life.
Do you have any favorite mantras? How do they impact you?
Mantras have been a part of my yoga practice for the past 10 years. Mantra is a Sanskrit word that means mind protection. It is a sacred word, sound or chant repeated during meditation to promote inner peace and facilitate transformation of your consciousness. Last week, I started Deva Premal & Miten’s 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey to continue the work I have been doing to strengthen my meditation practice. The 21-Day Mantra Journey started on May 14 and offers a free, daily guided session. Click here to learn more.
Do you use mantras in your meditation and yoga practice?
Listening to sacred music during my yoga practice is one of my favorite things to do. I adore the music of Sista Shree, a yoga teacher and mantra singer who has created a unique rhythm that blends a mélange of Soul, Blues, Jazz, Funk and Gospel music with the beautiful vibrations of ancient Sanskrit mantras. She also has a band based in New York City called Hanuman. Click here to watch a video of her singing at Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York City in 2012.
I first discovered Sista Shree’s music during my yoga teacher training at Flow Yoga Center in 2005. Karen Harris, one of my friends who agreed to let me student teach her during my training, gave me copies of Sista Shree’s CDs: “Asatoma” and “Sacred Sound”. We would use them during our yoga sessions. Sista Shree’s music was filled with soulful energy. It had us chanting and dancing in between poses. I still love listening to her music.
In 2008, I interviewed her about her yoga practice, music, and commitment to green living on my radio show Go Green Sangha Radio. Click here to listen to the show (includes other guests).
Happy February! Happy Black History Month! Happy Heart Health Month! Happy Love Day/Month! Happy #YogaMonday!
It’s a lot of happy going on today! Why? I am very excited about sharing reflections and resources that celebrate my yoga passion, practice, and services as a yoga teacher on Mondays. This month, I’m sharing yoga reflections and resources that promote an open and healthy heart on my blog and social media platforms (search #YogaMonday on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter for my yoga goodies).
Do you practice yoga?
What are your favorite poses?
How does yoga make you feel?
What kind of music do you like to listen to while practicing yoga?
One of the things I love to doin my personal yoga practice and in my sessions with clients is chant mantras. Mantras are words or phrases that create energy-based sounds when they are repeated over and over again during meditation and yoga. Devi Premal has a beautiful collection of mantras I use to open my heart. Her Love Is Space DVD is one of my favorites.
I fell in love with her rendition of Om Mani Padme Hum which means “Hail, the jewel in the lotus.” Click here to listen to it. I use the mantra to open my heart to the practice of compassion. I love to chant it before I do several rounds of cat and cow yoga poses (great heart openers). Yoga Journal has some great instructions on how to do the poses: cat pose and cow pose. Many of my clients enjoy using the online resources too.
Here are some of heart-related quotes I am using this month as reminders to keep an open heart and practice compassion as I move through my life.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey
“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” Mother Teresa
“Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it.” Braveheart
“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.” Author Unknown
Click here to read Renita Weems’ post with 21 quotes to open your heart on BeliefNet.
Did you know you could practice yoga with your hands? This kind of yoga is called mudras. They are hand gestures and seals that can help improve flexibility and coordination in your fingers and hands. When you use them with breathing exercises, they can stimulate an opening to your lungs and heart and open your joints and relieve tension in your head, neck, and shoulders. They can also help cultivate a specific state of mind during your yoga and meditation practice. I use them in my yoga practice and sessions with clients. The lotus mudra is one I use to open my heart.
Click here to watch my video on the lotus mudra. For more information, check out Yoga Journal’s article on mudras. Enjoy!
OM #YogaMonday OM!
PS: If you would like to read about my yoga journey, check out my memoir That Which Awakens Me on Amazon.com. It is available on Kindle