A few months ago I stumbled across at post in my Facebook feed from a musician in the Kundalini Yoga community named Livtar. It read, “Does anyone want to write a short review (a few words or sentences) of the sadhana cd Aquarian Dream to help get it out there? Thanks, Livtar.” My interest was sparked, you see, because although I love Morning Sadhana, my practice of this special pre-dawn yoga & meditation experience had been sporadic to non-existent and in dire need of resurrection and restoration. In the back of my mind I’d always thought that someday I’d get into doing Morning Sadhana more regularly, even every day. Someday, when the kids are older, when I don’t have to worry about tiptoeing around in order to not waken everyone else. Someday when I get enough sleep and we all go to bed early enough. Someday…………
One of the Five Sutras for the Aquarian Age is “When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.” Over the past year I’ve been really feeling the pressure to get going on this Morning Sadhana practice. All I needed was a little inspiration to get started! Traditionally done 2.5 hours before sunrise, carving out the time and obeying the alarm clock are essential to beginning this practice and over time the body’s natural rhythms will synchronize with the practice of Morning Sadhana and waking up will become effortless.
My yoga space sits in front of a large east facing window- with a view of the sunrise and the Bridger Mountain range- though it’s dark when I begin and my eyes are closed during this time to go within. Sadhana is as much of a spiritual practice as it is a lesson in self-discipline. By cleaning the subconscious mind through meditation at a time when the sun’s angle to the earth is perfect for this task, we have an opportunity to achieve a kind of victory- a self victory. Life flows easier after Morning Sadhana and I notice that I am able to relate to my children better, I feel more energetic, polished, even sparkly, and I live my life from a higher level of consciousness. I’m on top of my game and the little things that used to bother me don’t seem to be such a big deal any more. And you know what? I don’t even miss the sleep I lost.
Livtar says his new Sadhana album “Aquarian Dream” was made in service to those who practice Sadhana. It’s true. You can feel it. His steady voice carries the mantras in the proper rhythm while maintaining a peaceful meditative space. Grounded and earthy as well as expansive, this album sets the stage for an authentic experience of Morning Sadhana.
I hope you enjoy Livtar’s “Aquarian Dream” as much as I have! You can download it here.
As a parent of two children I’m always happy to find an album of music that is not only fun for the kids, but enjoyable for the adults as well with an uplifting message. Snatam Kaur’s “Feeling Good Today” is a perfect fit for a kids yoga class, jamming out in the car, and playing around or dancing in the house. Sing-songy enough for the little ones to love, intricate enough for the parents to appreciate, and varied enough to suit a range of moods, this album has become a quick favorite in both my home and the studio. Snatam weaves her melodic voice of an angel with the Children’s Kundalini Choir for a truly unique sound. Yogic mantras and yogic philosophy are playfully arranged with a lightness of being while preserving the spiritual integrity of the mantras. The first track “Feeling Good Today” sets the mood and is a great way to start a day with your child! My favorite verse: “God inside is lighting up my way, and I can see that light in your eyes too, and I am feeling good today!” Track 2 “The Sun Shines on Everyone” introduces the concept of spreading peace, life, and love to everyone and praying for everyone, not “making choices” about who we would like to pray for. The third track “I am Happy” is a mantra Yogi Bhajan gave to the children to use when their parents were fighting or in crisis so they could have an experience of remaining stable and unaffected. Simple, catchy, and upbeat, it’s an instant favorite! Track 4 “Gobinday” celebrates the eight aspects of the Infinite. Things really start to get groovy in track 5 “Make the Love Grow!” One of my favorites to have mamas dance to in prenatal yoga, this song starts slow and sweet and gets you up and bouncing and swinging your hips all the while grinning as you sing along “This is the way we make the love grow!” Track 6 is a wonderful song for improving self esteem and honoring one’s self with “I am the Light of the Soul.” Track 7 “Sa Ta Na Ma” celebrates the cycles of life and makes a classic Kundalini Yoga mantra more accessible for children. Track 8, “Adi Shakti” creates awareness of and honors the divine Feminine force of the Universe. And finally, the last track is Snatam’s lovely kids version of “Long Time Sun.” I love to end my Mommy & Me classes with this one!
Parents with older children will also appreciate “Shanti the Yogi: Mountain Adventure,” a kids yoga dvd with Snatam Kaur as teacher. Incorporating storytelling, simple yet elegant imaginative drawings, mantra, movement, yoga and meditation, Snatam leads the children through a beautiful kundalini yoga practice in real time as they use their imagination to follow Shanti on her journey up the mountain.
Often times the first thing I hear from a mama after her first prenatal yoga class with me is, “Wow! That song at the end of class was amazing, where can I find it?” That is, if they aren’t too choked up and teary-eyed by the pure blissful joy and beauty of experiencing it for the first time. In fact, Snatam Kaur’s version of the “Long Time Sun” song is part of the reason I fell in love with Kundalini Yoga to begin with.
This year at the Summer Solstice Sadhana in New Mexico, I had the opportunity to tell Snatam a story about how a student of mine who had to have a planned c-section for medical reasons arranged for her baby to born to the “Long Time Sun” song as part of her efforts to create the “best c-section ever”, and how special that song is for all of the students who come through my class. Then she told me about her new album, “Divine Birth“, and how she and her mother, Prabhu Nam Kaur included special mantras specifically for pregnancy and birth, ones that she had used herself during her recent pregnancy. Ever since our conversation I have looked forward to hearing it for myself. I even entered a contest to win it on my friend Rajdev’s blog, and shortly after was approached by the sweet folks at Spirit Voyage to write a review for it.
Today I received my copy of “Divine Birth” in the mail, and this evening I used it for the first time in my prenatal yoga class. As I taught the exercises, I played the first two tracks in the background, and let the mamas know that I was about to write a review for this album and to note any feelings they had about the music and let me know after class. As in every masterpiece released by Snatam, her angelic voice soars and dips (along with her mother’s equally beautiful voice), touching your very heart and soul and helping you find your connection to the Divine. The instrumentals in the background accompany beautifully, moving effortlessly from sweet support to intricate melodies between vocals. The first track is a prayer for the child’s protection and blessing, and the second track blissfully proclaims the importance of recognizing each soul as a gift from the Divine. Both are sung in Gurmukhi, an ancient sacred language derived from Sanskrit, and the sound current of the mantras coupled with the instrumental background truly creates a peaceful and nurturing environment for both mama and baby.
The third track is Aadi Shakti, a mantra to honor the divine creative feminine. Often in our prenatal yoga classes, we will practice a meditation with this mantra to call upon that divine creative strength within ourselves. After teaching the meditation with this version of the mantra this evening, I know it will be my go-to version in prenatal classes from now on. The vibration is perfect for the sweet state of pregnancy.
The mamas in class tonight were grateful to hear the new album, and agreed that the music brought them into a relaxed state of mind, allowed them to feel their emotions fully, and helped them feel very connected to their babies while practicing yoga.
I didn’t get to play the last 3 tracks for my class, but here’s a quick overview. Track 4 is the Guru Ram Das Lullaby. If you’re the type of parent that loves to expose your children to many cultures and faiths through music and the arts, this modern Sikh lullaby is sure to be a favorite in your house, with its catchy yet nurturing melody cozily soothing you and your loved ones into a blissful rest.
Tracks 5 and 6 are a recitation of the same mantras that were set so beautifully to music in the first two tracks, perfect for the serious yogini mama to chant along in the original form as suggested by Yogi Bhajan.
You may purchase “Divine Birth” as a CD or mp3 at Spirit Voyage.