Still Loving Yoga
Carolyn Relei


Carolyn, 2016
Palm Desert, CA
Shankar Prasad Organic Farm and Ashram, Karnataka, India  This is Swami Yogaratna's place near Gokarna, India.  Swami Yogaratna is a Swami in the Bihar Yoga lineage.  Australian by birth, she has lived in India since childhood and has been dedicated to the yoga path for decades.  She speaks English and has accomodations for guests.  Her chanting is sublime!  And she does yoga teacher training workshops and is a specialist in teaching pranayama.  It was when staying at her place that I realized that the best we can do in the west is touch on some aspect of the enormously rich yoga tradition.  There are so many different teachers, lineages and styles and types of yoga.  There are hundreds or thousands of chants.  Some say there are 840,000 thousand postures!  Truly, the story from India of the blind men and the elephant is appropriately applied to people arguing about which type of yoga is more "real" or authentic.  Yoga is way too big to be confined or adequately imparted by any single of its adherents. 
 
Allen Ginsburg and Swami Bhaktivedanta introduced Kirtan (chanting of the Maha Mantra) at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco in 1967.   Chanting is now a well known and popular form of meditation/group singing, with many musicians producing albums of chants and songs which foster spiritual awareness.

My favorite edition of the Bhagavad Gita is very simple and short, not translated by a known yoga guru, but by a scholar.  (Beware, Amazon offers a kindle edition on the same page, which is by a different translator.  I am recommending the paper version, translated by Juan Mascaro, because it has a non-sectarian simplicity that speaks straight to the heart and soul. )
The current link is:
The Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics) translated by Juan Mascaro
And while I am recommending books, I also recommend the Dhammapada and the Upanishads, translated by Juan Mascaro, featured on the same Amazon page.   All three of those volumes will take up almost no space on your bookshelf, but if you read them and  memorize some verses from them, you will have riches that will serve you well in times of pain and change.
By the way, an insightful way to read these volumes is to read a few verses at a time, quiet the mind and sit in meditation for a while after, let the verses sink into your consciousness, where their wisdom will unfold.





I've taught individuals and classes since 1969.