A fundamental practice of Bhakti Yoga, Kirtan chanting is the easiest and most joyful way to achieve peace of mind.

 

Popularized by the Bhakti movement of medieval era Hinduism around the 6th century, the foundations of this tradition are found in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna describes Bhakti Marga (path of loving devotion) as a means to liberation, alongside Karma Marga (path of action) and Jñana Marga (path of knowledge).

 

In Maharashtra, where Saraswati grew up, Kirtan includes story-telling and a call-and-response chant, led by the main performer (the kirtankar) and accompanied by traditional indian musical instruments such as the harmonium, tabla and karatalas (cymbals).

 

Kirtan is for everyone. Its practice dissolves the notion of separation by connecting us to the moment through sound, guiding us deep into our heart. It creates a sense of connection and unity : at first, when the kirtankar sings a mantra and you sing it back, you are aware of yourself. But as time passes and you relax into the chant, your perspective shifts and your sense of “me” evaporates.

 

Some experience this as joy and ecstasy, others describe it as boundlessness or timelessness…

 

In a world filled with messages about how we’re separate from each other and separate from the divine, chanting mantras together unites us in a way that no other form of Yoga does.

The next Kirtan will be during ADATA on Saturday, August 8th 2020 — RSVP now on the Home page. 

 

A voyage into mystical India, where storytelling and music transport you on a soul-stirring journey… Opening with legends from the Hindu mythology passionately retold by Saraswati, the program continues with a deeply emotional concert of traditional Indian music.

 

The first Welcome to India event was held in November 2017.

Since then, we’ve had the great privilege of welcoming such remarkable artists as : 

 

Sitar pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt, a disciple of Ravi Shankar whose virtuosity and originality have earned him worldwide fame. 

 

Sarod-player Sougata Roy Chowdhury, one of the most talented young classical Hindustani musicians of his generation. 

 

Imran Khan, musician and composer, the 9th generation of the lineage of the Sikar Gharana — one of the greatest and most respected musical families of Rajasthan. 

 

Nicolas Delaigue, concert performer, trained by great masters of the sitar and a European reference in the teaching of classical Hindustani music. 

 

Nihar Mehta, hailing from one of the most prominent families of philosophers and musicians of Ahmedabad and remarkable international tabla player.

 

In 2019, the photographer and author Olivier Remualdo exhibited powerful portraits of Sâdhus as part of the event.

 

The next Welcome to India is planned for November 8, 2020.

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting isolation, Saraswati is holding regular facebook live Satsangs on the Welcome to Yoga page — click here to access it.

 

The word Satsang comes from Sanskrit Sat (truth, absolute reality, Brahman), and Sangha (company, union, assembly). This translates to “being in the company of truth” and by extension “company of the wise.”

 

She is seconded in this by Olivier Remualdo, who contributes assistance, translation, and personal experience. Together, they offer a different perspective on the situation.

 

Make yourselves comfortable with a nice cup of tea and join us — your shares and questions will be very welcome.

The isolation being over in France, Satsangs will now be held during ADATA and no longer on facebook.

You can RSVP for ADATA on the Home page.

 

Welcome to A Day At The Ashram!

Ashram means "anti-fatigue" in Sanskrit : a refuge, a place of spirituality where weariness is replaced by serenity and inner peace. A privately-owned house situated close to Nice on the French Riviera, the Ashram is the residence of photographer Olivier Remualdo, whose intimate connection with India have brought him powerful experiences and profound insights. 

 

For many years, he has been exploring through photographic projects the spiritual and mythological dimensions of India. His multiple adventures took him on a quest for the mythical river Saraswati, and a few years later a Yatra (pilgrimage) through the Himalayas, walking 600 kms towards the source of the sacred river Ganga.

 

Along the way he met many Sâdhus, spiritual descendants of the first sages of humanity. He spent time with them, striving to capture the essence of their wisdom, and made them a promise : to share their message in the West.

 

He published the book Sâdhus, the Holy Men of Hinduism in 2013, in which he shares some of his encounters with them.

 

In 2019, he met Saraswati during a Kirtan program in the South of France. Raised in Swami Muktananda's ashram in Ganeshpuri, India, and daily absorbing the teachings of this great master on Bhakti, Jñana and Karma Yoga — the paths of devotion, knowledge and action — her entire life has been a practice of finding beauty in what is.

 

She now teaches Yin Yoga, Gentle Hatha, Yoga Nidra and the Philosophy of Yoga, and regularly holds programs during which she shares the sacred wisdom of Hinduism with those who seek joy and inner peace.

 

A Day At The Ashram (ADATA) was co-created between Saraswati and Remu (Olivier’s nickname) in 2019. 

 

ADATA’s programs start at 10am and finish at 10pm — they include Yoga, Meditation, two delicious meals (prepared by Remu with fresh produce grown in the Ashram’s vegetable garden), Satsang, Kirtan, and Puja in the evening around the Dhuni, the sacred fireplace. 

 

Guests are invited to contemplate on a given theme and enjoy sweet silence in the beautiful scenery of the gardens, in the company of pet hens (who enjoy being picked up and cuddled), a duck, frogs and friendly fish (also pettable) — and of course Kali the cat and her son Laddu, who has now become bigger than his mom. 

 

ADATA always includes a period of Silence, during which communication happens without words. Looks, smiles and hugs are exchanged, gestures or written words are added to convey more detail.  


The day ends around the fire with a Bhandara feast, eating a variety of delicious homemade Indian vegetarian dishes, lovingly prepared by Remu and Saraswati.

The next ADATA will be held on Saturday, August 8th 2020 — RSVP now on the Home page.

© 2020 by Welcome to Yoga

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Photo Credits : Tara Kauffmann - Olga Trofymenko - Olivier Remualdo - Kisha Dacevic - Olivier Benarroche - Unsplash - Depositphotos