Holi is a Festival of Colors, celebrated on a full moon night at the approach of the vernal equinox. It is based on a lunar calendar and therefore, it falls on a different date each year but usually, it falls on a fullmoon night in March. It is a festival that celebrates the end of winter, the beginning of spring. There are various folk lores associated with the festival in different parts of India. One such lore celebrates the win of good over evil. Another celebrates love in its various forms. However you wish to celebrate the approach of Spring, enjoy the new beginnings and let go of the unwanted burden.
The mala is held in the right hand draped over the middle finger and beads are moved using the thumb. Some malas have a different colored bead at certain intervals, usually 27, 54, and 81 which could be used as counters. Most malas have a ‘guru’ or a ‘meru’ bead which is the master bead at one end of the the mala which has a tassle attached to it or is larger than the rest of the beads.The mantra repitition is started with the bead right next to the guru bead and when the guru bead is reached again, the mala is turned (without crossing over the bead) to begin a new round. Each bead is moved after one recitation of the mantra. The japa mantra can be repeated in one of three different ways: audible sound, whispered sound or a mental repetition. An audible repition is the best way to use the japa mala and the mantra as this will help the mind stay focused. It is also advisable to stay with one mantra for an extended period of time to be able to tap into the mantric energy as well as its transformative power.
A Japa Mala is a string of beads, usually 108 in number, that are used as a tool for meditation. Each bead is used as a counter while chanting a mantra. Japa meditation is used in many traditions worldwide.
Japa is a simple repetition of a meaningful word or a phrase – also known as a mantra. Mantras are typically repeated for a specific number of times – could be hundreds or thousands of times!! The Mala, (a garland or a necklace) helps to focus on the meaning of the mantra rather than keeping track of the number of repetitions during japa.
Japa Malas can be made from various different materials – seeds of rudraksha tree or a lotus plant; wood from the tulsi (holy basil) plant, sandalwood tree, and bodhi tree or, semiprecious stones which can have specific healing properties associated to them.
As a part of the UN International Peace Day, Unity North Church on Sandy Springs Rd. in Marietta is offering a Yoga Mala event. There will be yoga (108 Sun salutations), Kirtan (chanting as a call and response; with live music), and guided meditation. Check out their website for more information and to purchase ticket/s. It is a local event and I have attended it in the past – you will definitely have a wonderful experience if you decide to attend.
Waking: A Memoir
Last week, I was fortunate to have attended a lovely workshop presented by Mathew Sanford. He led a few weekend sessions with a focus on ‘Adaptive Yoga’. The experience was insightful, energizing and inspiring. Mathew has a wonderful, humorous way of delivering the most simple truths of a yoga practice.
He has a new book out titled Waking : A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendency. Give it a read. The book is available on Amazon or, you can find out more about Mathew, his nonprofit corporation – Mind Body Solutions and the book on his website: http://www.mindbodysolutions.org/content/matthew-sanford
Spring is in the air.Time for regrowth and renewal!
Hello fellow Yogis,
I am back in town and ready to get back in the groove. Come join me on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays @ 9am!!
Ann, Lisa and Kira will be covering my classes while i am away in India. have fun. See you in September.
Nchanting Yoga’s goal is to help you achieve personal physical, emotional and spiritual health through Yoga.