Ask Parvati 34: The Journey to YEM – Part 1: Early Beginnings

Ask Parvati 34: The Journey to YEM – Part 1: Early Beginnings

Thank you for sending in questions while I was away performing in Florida. This week, I answer a more personal question about how I came to develop my yoga practice. Please keep sending your questions. I enjoy both receiving and answering them. Send yours by Thursday to [email protected] to be answered by lottery beginning next Sunday.

Enjoy the entries this week!

Parvati

Dear Parvati,
I have recently bought your YEM DVD. I really enjoy your teachings and all the amazing information that the DVD offers. I have found the exercises are really starting to sink into my daily life. Thank you! I would be interested to find out a bit more about you. Would you be wiling to share a bit more about how you came to YEM and what Yoga means to you?

EARLY BEGINNINGS

When I was a child, as early as I can remember, I was aware of “otherness”. The unseen world, a place that children know and adults forget, was a place where I felt safe and comfortable. I saw spirits in our house, beings without form. I saw shapeless presences of immense light I called angels and spoke with them. I played in my room with my tape recorder creating songs to communicate with them. I composed musical scores, played my wooden soprano recorder and sang. Though I sang as part of various choirs from a very young age, I felt I sang for the angels. Sound was a way of prayer, a way to communicate with God. It was how I felt connected and alive.

I would lie awake for hours and hear the nighthawk sing in the summer sky. I saw nature as alive. I remember lying underneath the massive maple tree in our front yard in Montreal and feeling my body dissolve into the grass and my spirit commune with the life force of that tree. It was my guardian and my friend. In nature, I found a purity of expression that grounded me and supported me to feel safe and fluid as I communicated with a world without form.

I grew up in a spiritually aware household. My parents were both Christians. Unlike many people who follow organized religion, my parents encouraged me to connect to spirit in whatever manner I felt comfortable. They just wanted me to connect. They wanted me to know that life extended far beyond the tangible. Family dinner conversations revolved around spirituality, art and culture. I was exposed at a young age to Church and went weekly, but also I was brought to Synagogues and other places of worship, as well as places of need, such as long term care facilities and food banks. Despite my parent’s open-mindedness, it was challenging for them to comprehend my comfort with the unseen world.

As with most children, I found out that it was not “cool” to be spiritually connected and see things that “were not there”. With the desire to fit in at school, I began to suppress my joy and natural connectedness. I did not speak about what I saw. I suppressed what I felt. Yet as spiritual things are undefinable, so are they unstoppable. Spiritual guidance still crept in.

I became aware of Yogic arts when I was about 10 years old. When I was over to play at my school friend’s house, I saw her mother, a tall, beautiful German woman (who I remember as having perfect skin and deep turquoise eyes) quietly excuse herself to go into a room in the house for some time. I was never invited into that mysterious room. When the room door would open, it seemed that it pulsated with something I only now understand as the spiritual energy I have seen in a yoga studios and meditation halls. After what felt like an expansive, infinite amount of time, my friend’s mom would come out of the strange room and somehow, she seemed magically transformed, radiating, brighter, glowing. I wondered what went on in there. It seemed somehow the fairies were in there helping her with something. All I knew is that I liked it, and wanted to be part of it.

Later I found out it was not magic or mystery that made that room seem so special, but a systematic, disciplined practice and life science called Yoga. She knew that if she did certain breathing exercises, calmed and focused her mind, allowed her body to move into certain positions, she was boosting her life force energy, vitality and sense of inner peace. I later found out she was a long time practitioner of Iyengar Yoga, which I later ended up practicing quite extensively.

Around that same time in my life, each year at Christmas, my grandmother from Edmonton would come stay in our Montreal home for a month or so. She was my first spiritual teacher, more consciously so in my mid-teens. My grandmother had a special light. She spoke about her choice to cultivate “quiet assurance” through sitting each day in meditation to “connect with her Maker”.

Though she had a Christian background, she had long since found the politics in churches dissonant with her joy for mysticism. She had lived through hell and back when she lost her husband around World War Two, and faced a debilitating disease herself that confined her to bed for a full year, without money, no husband and three young children. But she had a deep faith in a God that provides. Faced with what seemed like an incurable illness, she said she just knew that she had to give her whole life over to God, and go to bed and pray for a cure from the disease. At that time, there was a knock at the door. A woman who had also lost her husband in the war was without a place to live. She became the guardian for my grandmother’s children, my mom and her older brother and sister. A year or so later, my grandmother was “miraculously” cured.

Through adversity, a deep faith in God, a daily practice of what I now know to be meditation, my grandmother had found and exuded a spiritual fluidity and grace. I wanted to know how I too could find that. Each year she came, we had longer discussions about yoga, prayer, spirituality and meditation.

Upon this intimate foundation, inspired by “otherness”, meditation and nature, my life flowered in reverence to the mystical. I learned to see that whatever happened, we were part of a much greater whole. I was taught from a young age that we were close to the Divine, something we could embody when we open in humility. Spirit and matter were not two but one along a continuum. From these teachings, YEM would eventually emerge. These early years were just the beginning.

(Continued tomorrow with Steps Towards Yoga)

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WHY YOGA IN THE NIGHTCLUB

I am often asked what inspired me to bring yogic expression into the club scene. I answer easily. Yoga In the Nightclub is a natural expression of who I am as a musical artist and dedicated yogini. Yoga is not a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. As such, yoga is everywhere. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected to that very life force. Yoga In The Nightclub is a celebration of life and a reminder that we can find awakened presence everywhere.

Yoga in the West is mostly known as a series of bendy physical exercises. Yet there is much more to it than fitness. Yoga’s systematic breath and body exercises, designed to clear the subtle channels in our energy system, prepare us for meditation, through which we may experience a life inspired by our interconnected, multidimensional true nature. Our body, that once was seen as “mine”, is no longer our identity, but a gift on loan from the divine. We care for it, but we are not attached to it. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience the transmutation of matter into pure light, embody the multidimensional and rest in the eternal.

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

Hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is just one of many aspects of yoga, which range from selfless service to astrology and prayer. The Sanskrit word “yoga” most simply translates to “union”, implying that the practice of any yoga will bring together our perceived sense of separateness. As a whole, yoga is an ancient science of life. It is a practical method of shedding excess and bringing us back from the self-delusion of separation from the divine so that we may realize our inherent interconnection to and ultimate oneness with it.

As we begin to understand that yoga is everywhere, we come to see how we are all connected in vast ways far beyond the limitations of our personal will and ego. What I do affects you, and vice versa. We are one earth family. At the heart of it all, we share the same heartbeat. Breathe to be. We are one.

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AWAKENED LIVING

When we are open, life blossoms, just as a flower opens to welcome the morning sun.  We see that the sun, though it is millions of light years away, has a tender yet powerful relationship with the flower, as do the rain and the clouds. From this perspective we see that we are part of the whole. Life is a symphonic masterpiece with which, when we are open, we are completely resonant.

As we come to understand our oneness, we can revel in it with wonder and joy. We can consider in awe how immense it all is. We can let go of the idea that an illusory, isolated sense of self could possibly be in control, and open to an exquisite unfolding of life in absolute perfection. Our actions become not about “me” but about the whole. Each moment is integrated within the whole. No one decision is separate.

When we begin to see that each decision we make affects not just ourselves but everyone and everything on the planet, we act with more compassion. When we have more compassion, we realize the impact of our actions and we naturally want less and practice more kindness. As stewards of the Earth, we each are called to learn to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and our planet. We all breathe the same air and live on the same living organism, our planet. Varied in race and creed, we are all one family, children of the same mother, the planet Earth.

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THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

In each moment, there is infinite grace. By becoming more conscious as we practice yoga on the mat, at work, at play or in the nightclub, we let go of the unnecessary and develop greater internal spaciousness which blooms throughout our lives. In this space new life and possibilities arise.

As we rest our awareness on the simple purity and grace of the breath, we realize - we are alive! We let go of wanting things from the future and the past and open to what is here and now. We feel as vast as the sky and rooted in the richness of this moment.

When we “breathe to be”, we understand our interconnection. We see that we are not the doers but a part of the whole, the same energy that is in the flowers and in the stars. We know that our essence is divine - from which we have come, to which we return.

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REQUEST DVD
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WHAT LIGHT GETS YOU THROUGH YOUR DAY?

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PARVATI'S NEW SINGLE - MARCH 2016
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I AM LIGHT

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Feel free to follow up with us directly at any time:

Rishi Deva, CEO, Kupid's Play Records
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Pranada Devi, Communications Manager, Kupid's Play Records
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Let me know how yoga and YEM have touched your life. You can send a link to a video by you if you would like. Comments may be shared on my website if you check the "permission to share" box.
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SHARE YOUR YOGA
I am light!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gone, gone beyond. Oh what awakening!
Gone, gone beyond. Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
I am the light, liquid gold light
I am in delight! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

I am the light (gate gate), liquid gold light (paragate)
I am in delight (gate gate) transforming the night (paragate)

Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Oh what awakening! (paragate) (I am)
Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight
I am light, dancing through the night
I am light, in delight
I am light, dancing through the night

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (gate gate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (paragate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light

I am light!

© 2015 Parvati Devi
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