Kirtan

First OM Home retreat to Bhakti Fest

Yvonne, Troy & Uta at Bhakti Fest 2015

Yvonne, Troy & Uta at Bhakti Fest 2015

For the past five years I have been attending both Bhakti Fest in September and Shakti Fest in Spring. It has been my dream to share this extraordinary experience with people. For the first time, Troy was able to join me to the festival, and our friend Yvonne made her way to California from Germany, to join us on our ventures to the California desert.

Relaxing between yoga classes at main stage

Relaxing between yoga classes at main stage

 

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to take classes with most of the yoga teachers at the event, so this time I decided to dedicate most of my time to listening to Kirtan and chanting along. Yvonne and Troy explored some yoga classes with teachers they hadn’t met, such as a Kundalini class with Kia Miller and various workshops.

 

 

Chanting the Hanuman Chalisa with Tim Miller

Chanting the Hanuman Chalisa with Tim Miller

It was a privilege for me to assist in Tim Miller’s classes on Saturday and Sunday. Quite a big crowd of curious students found their way to the Ashtanga classes, although they most likely were the most challenging option on the schedule. In honor of Hanuman’s weekday Saturday, we chanted the Hanuman Chalisa together with the whole group of students. Message us to join us to one of the festivals in 2016!

Love, Uta

 

 

 

 

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Enchanting weekend with Krishna Das, Tulku Sherdor and Tim Miller

 

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Tulku Sherdor teaching Buddhist Chants at the Garrison Institute

Kirtan with Krishna Das

Kirtan with Krishna Das

Barely returned from our trip to Hawaii, I packed my bags again to head to the Garrison Institute in Upstate New York for the Heart of Devotion retreat. The lineup was phenomenal: morning yoga classes with Tim Miller (Timji), afternoon sessions on Buddhist chanting with Tulku Sherdor, Hanuman Chalisa’s with Nina Rao, and stories and chanting with Krishna Das, aka KD. The evenings were reserved for Kirtan. I took this picture when KD was chanting during the first night – check out the beam of light shining down on his harmonium!

 

It was an absolute honor and delight to be assisting Timji during the yoga classes in the morning. Not everyone who attended was an Ashtanga practitioner, and especially to someone new, this practice can be intimidating. I absolutely enjoy assisting people in their practice – especially beginners – and offering modifications to make the poses more accessible. Krishna Das had joked he would attend the Sunday morning class, so we had saved him a spot right in front. As you can see in the picture, the spot stayed empty 😉

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Intro to Ashtanga Class

Leslie, Uta & Timji

Leslie, Uta & Timji

Tulku Sherdor gave a very special workshop on devotional tibetan chanting (picture at top of post). You can watch the full workshop here.

Another highlight of the weekend was to meet Leslie Kaminoff, who stopped by to catch up with his friends KD and Tim Miller.

Krishna Das will be taking a sabbatical next year, let’s hope for a repeat of this lineup, soon!

Love, Uta

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