Review

Finding abundance in the desert – Shakti Fest 2015

 

Karnamrita Dasi on stage

Karnamrita Dasi on stage

The Joshua Tree Retreat Center was filled with smiling faces who had ventured out to Shakti Fest in the High Desert last weekend to enjoy yoga, kirtan, workshops, healthy foods, and fabulous vendors. Shakti Fest is the springtime version of Bhakti Fest, which will take place in September. In the picture above, one of my favorite Kirtan artists, Karnamrita Dasi is teaching us some beautiful chants. Her magical voice always carries me to a higher realm. Check out her amazing album DASI Prayers by Women. I’m hoping for her new CD to be out, soon.

Shakti 2015 Uta & Sri

Uta with Sridhar Silberfein, Founder and Producer of Bhakti Fest

Here is a shot with the founder and producer of Bhakti Fest and Shakti Fest – Sridhar Silberfein, as we were enjoying the passionate music of a group of talented musicians who had gathered for a spontaneous kirtan. Thank you, Sridhar, for making these events happen! It was through Sridhar’s inspiration that I learned about Ram Dass and his brilliant works on life and spirituality. I will write more about my encounter with Ram Dass and his Guru in another post. Make sure you get a copy of Conversations with Ram Dass: Interviewed by Sridhar Silberfein. His insights into life that are revealed in the book are very inspirational – to say the least.

 

Shakti 2015 Uta & Mark Whitwell

Uta with Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell taught a lovely class, reminding us of the basics of any yoga practice – the combination of breath and movement. I highly recommend his book Yoga of Heart: The Healing Power of Intimate Connection.

You don’t want to miss Bhakti Fest in September – featuring headliners such as Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, DJ Drez, MC Yogi, Karnamrita Dasi and many other great artists. There will be fabulous yoga teachers such as Tim Miller, Shiva Rea and Mark Whitwell. Workshops with Radanath Swami, Krishna Das or Swami Chitananda might blow your mind. If you are traveling from afar, join The OM Home retreat surrounding the festival. Spend some time with Troy and me before and after the festival for yoga and an exploration of spiritual sites in San Diego and Encinitas. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot. For more information click here or email us at info@theomhome.com.

Love, Uta

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Yoga in Amsterdam – What Else?

In continuation of Troy’s last post I can tell you this much – he eventually made it to Germany and we had a lovely time visiting with family and friends. To make his return trip as smooth as possible, we had booked his ticket from Amsterdam, with high chances of making it on a flight for the U.S. We embarked on an eight hour train ride across Germany to reach the capital of the Netherlands. We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon, which would give us some time to explore the city before our departure on Thursday morning.

Since I was busy working, I had asked Troy to do some research on what to do, where to stay, and of course, where to practice yoga. He found a very nice Airbnb accommodation for us with a couple that was also practicing and teaching yoga. The Nataraja statue in the pictures on their site quickly convinced us that it was our kinda place. And of course the hosts were very pleasant and made us feel right at home with freshly made smoothies.

After our train ride we were ready for a yoga class. Among the many offerings, Troy had picked out Svaha Yoga in Jordaan for us to visit – mainly because their schedule announced the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa on Tuesday evening after practice. I love the Chalisa and frequently chant it, and usually carry a pendant of Hanuman and Neem Karoli Baba around my neck.

2015 04 Svaha Yoga

When we arrived, I noticed the sign on the door to remove shoes – as usual in yoga studios – and decided to take of my shoes before entering from the street. It was to the utter surprise of Patrick, the director of the studio, who immediately asked if we had been to India since nobody ever actually removed their shoes until after they had entered. At the front desk we received the most friendly welcome I have ever received at a yoga studio. I noticed all the familiar images of saints and deities I like to hang out with around the studio. Class started, and Patrick led us through a sweet, yet no less invigorating practice. While we were resting in Shavasana he walked around and gave some of us a little adjustment. He noticed my necklace and after ending the class pointed out to me that he was wearing the same one. Hanuman – in the form of Troy – had once again led me just to the right place.

After chanting the Hanuman Chalisa with Patrick, Gösta and a small group of practitioners, we managed to convince the two directors of Svaha Yoga to pose for a picture with us. It was a lovely experience and we will be sure to visit again when back in Amsterdam. Or maybe at their new retreat center in Suriname, South America…

2015 04 Svaha Yoga 2

Upon Patrick’s invitation we returned for a practice the following morning and then made our way to the van Gogh museum to marvel at this tormented genius’s art. Our visit came to a close with a delicious home made vegetarian soup from our Airbnb host Bastian.

Bye voor nu!

Uta