Thursday, February 10, 2011

World Culture Festival

This July, the Art of Living Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary with a grand celebration in Berlin, Germany. On the agenda is a veritable list of events, each one promising to be grand and spectacular!

Mesmerizing parades of various countries, each one showcasing its culture and heritage through music, dance, and gorgeous costumes; talks by distinguished world leaders and personalities about fostering peace and dialogue; artistic presentation of the ancient tradition of Yoga; brilliant musical concert featuring an ensemble of pianos and guitars; the International Women's Conference; the Youth Conference; the Food Festival and many more wonderful events!

For more information, visit World Culture Festival, July 2011. You can also follow the updates on Facebook by selecting 'Like' on World Culture Festival on Facebook. To follow the Twitter feed, please visit World Culture Festival on Twitter.

We'll see you in Berlin for the most spectacular celebration ever!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How deep is the reservoir?

This morning, my husband told me about a woman he met recently at an introductory seminar to the Art of Living Course. She confessed that she had hardly ever felt happy or peaceful in her life. As she did a few rounds of Bhastrika and alternate nostril breathing, her face relaxed.

That set me thinking. Our thoughts and emotions are often the most tangible aspects of our being, apart from our physical body. We often tend to think that we are our thoughts, our feelings and emotions. We don't know if there exists anything beyond these thoughts/emotions, and if it does, what is it? How do we see it? Can it be even seen?

Imagine a reservoir filled with water up to a certain level, say 4 meters, below the rim. When we peer into it, we see some leaves, a twig or two, maybe some branches floating on the surface of water. We cannot see beneath these objects but they convey to us that there is water underneath. How deep is it? We don't know. Our vision extends to the floating objects, and we understand that the water is as deep as them, maybe a little more. But when the debris is taken off, we can see that the depth of water goes far below. So much so that we may not even be able to fathom it.

Lake O'Hara from Yukness Ledges

In a similar way, the ancient practices of yoga, Pranayaama, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation help us to clean the floating debris from the mind i.e. the thoughts, emotions, age-old impressions, etc. And then we can truly see, even better, actually experience the sheer depth and clarity of who we are. Once having gotten this experience, it serves as a reminder for us to never allow the debris to accumulate and cloud our vision. Such is the incalculable value of spiritual practices.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meditation May Change the Brain?

A new article published in the New York Times mentions that regular practice of meditation results in measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.

Read the entire article at How Meditation May Change the Brain.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mantra Sadhana

Mantras and chanting have been part of spiritual traditions all over the world since centuries. These ancient sounds have a profound effect on the collective consciousness. The benefits of chanting are not restricted to the one who chants; instead they span the entire existence. Chanting of Mantras is uplifting and energizing for the environment as well as for every being that resides in it.

The Art of Living Center in Metuchen (New Jersey) organized a Mantra Sadhana (chanting) program recently. Participants learned the meaning and the correct intonations of popular ancient Sanskrit mantras. The program was conducted by Prof. V. Shastry, an instructor of the Art of Living Course, a respected Hindu priest and a professor of engineering at St. Mary's and Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Read more about the Mantra Sadhana course conducted in Metuchen here.

Interview with Prof. Shastry

Participants shared that the course had been a truly transforming experience. Chanting the Mantras focuses the mind and brings it to a place of stillness and quiet. One of the participants noted, "I go home after chanting these mantras and they keep going through my mind and I feel so happy and so contented."

Experience of Course Participants (Part 1)

Experience of Course Participants (Part 2)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yoga Rave 2011

The Yoga Rave movement has taken Latin America by storm. Imagine an evening of music and dance, energy and excitement, sattva and praana! That's Yoga Rave in a nutshell.

The So What Project is the team behind the Yoga Rave movement and they will visit the United States this Spring. Atlanta, Austin and Houston will be some of the cities that will host Yoga Rave events. Watch this space for more details about this spectacular music and dance event that has set Latin America on fire!

The video below has an excerpt from one of the Yoga Rave events in Latin America and a special message from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar regarding this event. Transporting youth from an intoxication that is draining to one that is enlightening... Amazing indeed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's New Year message for 2011

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's message for New Year 2011:

May the New Year bring you laughter and joy, health and happiness!