Shantala Interview and Insights

Shantala Interview and Insights

We love this interview with Benjy and Heather Wertheimer of Shantala Music. Enjoy! Benjy and Heather Wertheimer, aka Shantala have been leading kirtan for the past 15 years. They are known for sharing their love of sacred chanting with beauty, passion and reverence. Shantala has performed and recorded internationally with such sacred music luminaries as Krishna Das, Deva Premal & Miten and Jai Uttal. In summer 2008, they were named as one of the top “Wallahs to Watch” by Yoga + Joyful Living. In the first part of this thoughtful interview, Benjy and Heather discuss the power of kirtan, explain how chanting supports asana practice and offer tips for yoga teachers to incorporate music into their classes. Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in leading kirtan and devotional chanting. Shantala: The path that brought each of us into this role is somewhat different, but it’s also wonderful how the confluence of our journeys feels like such a powerful and important part of our relationship. For Benjy, the path started nearly 40 years ago with his first yoga practice – the Naada yoga of Indian classical music, sitting at the feet of the great master musicians Ali Akbar Khan and Zakir Hussain. When he and I got to know each other as songwriters – and later as partners in music and life – my background as a yoga teacher, therapist and folksinger helped guide us into our current roles as kirtan leaders. Benjy began recording and performing with Krishna Das in 2001, and shortly thereafter we were asked by yoga teachers we really loved...
Yoga American Style

Yoga American Style

  The Call and Response Foundation sponsored the production of Yoga American Style, by Prem Prakash. From Amazon: “This book is not about another type of yoga, which seems to be multiplying across the country. It’s not about yoga for the aerobic masses that just want to improve their bodies. It is, instead, the timeless essence of what yoga actually is. Written for Americans, it explains the practical philosophy and psychology of the deep spiritual path of true, ancient yoga.” Learn more on...
Hanumen Tour Dates Announced!

Hanumen Tour Dates Announced!

Thursday July 10, 2014 7pm Freedom Yoga, Barrington RI www.freedomyoga4all.com Friday-Saturday July 11-12 Nantucket Yoga Festival, Nantucket MA www.nantucketyogafestival.com Monday July 14 All that Matters Wakefield RI 7:30pm www.allthatmatters.com Tuesday July 15 Private event for Save the Children www.savethechildren.org Wednesday July 16 Kaia Yoga, Westport CT 7pm www.kaiayoga.com Thursday July 17 Connecticut Yoga Center, Middletown CT   7pm www.connecticutyogacenter.liveeditaurora.com Friday July 18 Cornish Yoga Starlight Dinner and Kirtan Cornish NH 6:30pm https://tickets.brightstarevents.com/event/3846705/tag/fbog Saturday July 19 Newburyport MA 7:30pm Newburyport City Hall produced by Roots to Wings Yoga & Healing, An Evening of Peace, Love, and Healing in Greater Newburyport – A portion of the funds raised support the work of the Pettengill House and Jeanne Geiger Woman’s Crisis Center    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=35897 Sunday July 20 Dragonfly Yoga Barn and Retreat Center 6:30 potluck 7:30 kirtan 280 Bennett Street, North Sandwich, http://dragonflyogabarn.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/the-hanumen-are-coming-720/ Tuesday July 22 Shri Yoga Montreal QC 7:30pm www.shriyoga.ca Wednesday July 23 Workshop: Ancient Stories for Modern Times Shri Yoga Montreal QC 4-5:30pm www.shriyoga.ca Friday July 25 Yoga Class and Kirtan   http://tickets.rmanyc.org/public/auto_choose_ga.asp?area=19 7pm Yoga 8pm Kirtan location: Rubin Museum of Art NYC in partnership with: Yoga Maya NYC www.rubinmuseum.org Saturday July 26 YogaMaya NYC 8-10pm www.yogamayany.com Sunday July 27 Satsang Yoga 7-9pm Westfield NJ www.satsangyogastudio.com Monday July 28 Yoga Mandali Saratoga Springs NY 7-9pm www.yogamandali.com Tuesday July 29 Private Outreach Event HopeGateway Portland Maine Wednesday July 30 Open to Public Kirtan Hope GateWay 509 Forest Ave, Portland ME For pre sales: Lisa @207.233.6846 Thursday July 31 Darrows Barn Damariscotta ME 7:30pm 3 Round Top Lane Damariscotta, Maine http://www.damariscottariver.org/RoundTop.html Friday to Sunday August 1-August 3 Hanumania Retreat Damariscotta ME: https://www.facebook.com/events/1430488400539193/...
Kirtan at Shakti Fest

Kirtan at Shakti Fest

Would you like a unique opportunity to connect with an international kirtan community? Win two free passes with camping to Shakti Fest, May 16-18 in the beautiful desert of Joshua Tree, CA. Join Call & Respose Foundation for 3 days with an unprecedented line up of internationally renowned kirtan artists, yoga teachers and workshop leaders. Enjoy over 40 hours of kirtan, practice asanas in any of the 50 unique yoga classes, and deepen your awareness through 36 innovative workshops offered throughout the weekend. Visit bhaktifest.com for details and to purchase...
How Does the Bliss Happen?

How Does the Bliss Happen?

by Jo Meszaros My experience of kirtan has been participating in the call and response chanting of Sanskrit mantras set to music. It usually starts out slowly and methodically. The person leading the kirtan begins by constructing the mantra  in small sections. She begins calling out a few words, and the audience echoes it back. The series of deliberate harmonious repetitions continue and grow: call and response, call and response. The waves of this musical back and forth, again and again, slowly build, and the mantra evolves. I liken my experience to standing on the sandy shore at the onset, and with each movement of the waves onto the shore, and then back into the ocean, I move gradually deeper into the ocean with them. I move gently further in with each wave and each repetition of the mantra. As the melody progresses, my thinking diminishes. I focus on the slow steady waves. Feeling expands. Soon, the once unfamiliar words flow easily off my tongue, and I let go of trying to remember what the mantra means. I understand the essence of what they all mean: love. My right brain wins the tug of war as my left brain finally lets go. Eventually, everything else falls away, and I completely embrace feeling. I am fully present, safely riding the ebb and flow of the waves deep in the ocean. The tempo and the volume rise and continue to build. My sense of joy and community expands. Collectively, we are chanting, singing, feeling, and many are moving. We are there together experiencing this bliss. After building to a crescendo, the...

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