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Fire Puja – what?

Some years ago at the BYC I found the word „Fire Puja“ on the schedule.
It was something that was supposed to be early in the morning around 6:30. I thought it might be a special kind of meditation and since I was in the mood of starting the day early and to do meditation in a group, I decided to go there.

The Sanskrit word for “offering” is “puja” or has also the meaning “to please.” So a puja is a traditional ritual of healing and purification.

A fire puja is more specific and is a buddhist ceremony that is used to cleanse the environment and beings in this environment.
It is said that it grants blessings and done on a regular basis can stimulate peace within and even peace on our whole planet. It also can build up immense merits of wisdom and compassion towards ourselves and others.

The main intention of the offering is to dissolve obstacles to enlightenment and to eliminate imperfections. Imperfections that can be occur by any kind of harmful actions, for example broken promises.
Also I was told it can be an ideal ritual for sick people to purify from decease, negative karma and is also done to receive a higher rebirth.

So generally spoken it can support the prevention of all negative conditions in daily life.

As I approached the yoga village I saw a small group of people sitting already there in a circle. I got more and more curious and joined them silently, not knowing what is going to happen. I can remember that we were sitting and waiting for quite a bit and I decided to meditate on my own until we were going to start.
When I opened my eyes again I saw a man, building up a tiny altar out of sand and flowers in the middle of our circle. I was wondering what this is going to be and stopped my meditation to watch the process.

There were some small bowls and cans with oil and ghee and also a bigger one with brown earth or dust. After the small altar was finished, the guru startet to mix oil, ghee and dust together. The fire was already burning and I remember the smell of a nice but strong incense, I couldn’t define.
Then everything started. We were chanting and reciting mantras in a call and respond way with the guru, while watching the fire. At some point everybody was allowed to throw a little portion of the „oil-earth-mud“-mixture into the fire.

To be honest, it is very hard to explain what we were doing, but I found it very special and yet comforting. Therefore I would highly recommend to visit one of these pujas or rituals if you ever happen to have the opportunity.
I attended some pujas during my travels to India as well and I guess every guru or spiritual teacher has his own way to do it. 🙂

Find some links here for a short overview what a puja can look like:

Source: BYC Blog

The day I fell in love with Kirtan… <3

The first time I came in touch with Kirtan and Bhakti Yoga was in 2016, which was also my first time at the BYC.

To be honest before that, I thought singing mantras is not for me. I thought it doesn’t fit to my yoga approach, which I to that time considered as „very modern“, „not very spiritual“ and „more into fitness“.

My friend suggested to visit one of the Kirtan workshops with him and since my body was already a little bit tired of practicing asanas for so many hours, because I didn’t want to miss out on anything, I agreed to join.

I was sceptical. Really sceptical. Doubting if I would stay there more than 10 minutes, but I still wanted to give it a try and be open for something new.

There were two people sitting on the floor on yoga bolsters. A woman and a man… I am not sure if he or she played the harmonium, an instrument I maybe had seen before once or twice, but I had no idea how it sounds or how to use it. The other person had a guitar and both of them were equipped with microphones.
Next to the couple there were 2 or 3 other guys with drums and percussion instruments and also two small children were playing on the floor next to the musicians.

I started to observe this group of people… eager to hear them sing and play, eager to find out about what we will be doing next.

After some time more and more people joined and when the workshop started, there was a nice group of maybe 20 or 30 people sitting in front of the musicians.
They started with a short explanation of what Kirtan and Bhakti Yoga was. I knew a little bit about it from my YTT, but it was nicely explained and made me want to know more and dive deeper.

After that we started singing … actually they started singing, because first I was not sure if I would sing too. But 5 minutes later I joined the choir. I simply couldn’t help. I stopped thinking and started feeling.
I was just caught by the music, singing the Sanskrit words and sharing energy with complete strangers and it was beautiful.
So beautiful that I found myself crying. That was the last thing I would have expected, but I was not the only one, so I told myself I don’t have to be embaressed and kept singing. I felt so cleansed and happy afterwards, that I just was wondering what kind of magic this group of Bhakti yogis just did to us.

After that beautiful workshop I decided to learn more about Mantras, Kirtan and Bhakti. I joined the concert of Jai Uttal the night after and I promised myself to keep joining workshops like that. The next year I attended a Krishna Das concert in my home town Vienna and was so happy to find him at BYC again and enjoyed a wonderful Workshop with him as well.

Playing the harmonium, singing mantras and attending kirtans now has become a part of my yoga practice.
I stopped consindering my yoga practice to be a certain way and started to enjoy the wonderful journey.

Thank you BYC.

Source: BYC Blog

Lucid Flow with Daniela

The most difficult part of attending Barcelona Yoga Conference is deciding which class to take. With over 25 diverse classes a day and an endless array of interesting and qualified teachers, deciding my schedule for the weekend was the most intensive effort of the day. So after about 20 minutes of debating and researching and trying to find the exact class to join, I just let go a little, looked at the schedule and thought the name of a particular class sounded pretty badass- Lucid Flow Yoga… seems trippy and mystical! I imagined my body warping through a flow with two feet on the ground while my head suspends in the clouds in lucid yoga flow bliss! Yea, that sounds like my vibe- sign me up.

Lucid Flow Yoga is a vinyasa style class that also incorporated a “Mandala” sequence. Mandala means “sacred circles” and mandala yoga guides your body to create a 360-degree rotation during the sun salutation and subsequent flow as if your body movements were painting a mandala onto the floor and the space around you. A main component for Mandala Yoga is the pulsating movement present in the asana, thus eliminating any static energy and encouraging your skeletal and muscular system to be in a steady rhythm of fluidity and flow.  Its actually quite beautiful to imagine your limbs gliding through space and leaving an imprint, culminating into a imaginary self-created mandala circling your being.

Lucid Flow was taught by Daniela Garza and this was my first class with her so I went in with no expectations or preconceived notions. Daniela is tiny but fierce, focused yet fun. Honestly, she just has a cool vibe- this blend of playfulness yet discipline that I cherish in a yoga teacher. And once Marvin Gaye started seeping out of the speaker mid-way through the sun salutations, I knew I had found my yoga teacher spirit animal.

I grounded, I flowed, I laughed, I cried, I shook my booty up, down and allllll around. But above all, I felt fun, vibrant, open energy surrounding me the entirety of the class.

If you want to take a little piece of the Lucid Flow class home with you, the playlist can be found here on Spotify titled ¨Byc¨ by Daniela Garza Ríos. It combines modern electronic-infused influences like El Búho and St Germain with more traditional and soft meditational songs and brightens up with punches of just pure musical magic such as Sun Is Shining by Bob Marley and Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye.

It was a lovely surprise to be introduced to Lucid Flow and Mandala Yoga and even more of a blessing to connect with Daniela. It was the little spark of inspiration that set the tone for the remainder of my time at the Barcelona Yoga Conference. I hope you too can cross paths with her and experience the flowing, grooving, uplifting practice of Lucid Flow. So to learn more about Daniela and future classes and workshops, visit her website at danielamandala.com or on Instagram at DanielaMandala.

Source: BYC Blog

Krishna Das íntimo

En la conferencia tuvimos el enorme regalo de contar con la presencia de una de las figuras más importantes del Bhakti yoga de nuestro tiempo: Krishna Das dio no solo un concierto espectacular de unas 3 horas de alta vibración musical sino también dos workshops magistrales donde tuvimos la oportunidad de conocerlo de cerca, preguntarle nuestras inquietudes y cantar juntos bellísimos mantras .

Cuando uno esta cerca de estos maestros, algo mágico sucede en el ambiente. El tiempo se detiene y nos sumergimos en el más intenso y placentero de los presentes.

Cuando llegamos al workshop, no sabíamos muy bien que esperar , por su puesto sabíamos que íbamos a cantar con el pero quizás no esperábamos que nos dejaría abrir las puertas de su corazón y nos regalaría decenas de anécdotas sobre su maestro, viajes a india, historia, filosofía, muchísimas bromas y la más cruda verdad que un ser puede compartirle a otro.

Uno sentía estar en la presencia de alguien que realmente vivió su vida a pleno, y que jugó sus fichas a todo o nada, y esa forma de vivir la intensidad de la vida es el alimento que ahora el nos comparte con su música y sus palabras motivadoras . Todo el tiempo el nos animaba a a vivir al 100% nuestra vida, a que soltemos las cadenas de la mente y a que vayamos tras nuestros genuinos deseos.

Sin duda tocó de cerca el corazón de todos los presentes que escuchaban sus palabras como quien escucha a un sabio, con respeto y admiración. Su visita por el Barcelona Yoga Conference fue realmente una fiesta donde todos fuimos invitados a participar en un viaje a lo profundo de nuestro ser, con alegría, paz , humildad y amor.

Gracias a la hermosa familia de organizadores por este inmenso regalo…

Namaste.

Source: BYC Blog

Dear BYC… Thank You

Dear BYC,

A week ago I didn’t know you but now I feel like we are dear friends. Thank you for filling me with light. And for making my muscles sore, then relaxed, then sore again, all accumulating in an expansive exhalation of release. Ahhhhh.

And thank you for holding my heart in your hand. I was feeling a little empty and lost when I arrived. But here I am on the last day, feeling more vibrant than ever. Thank you for creating this space, this home, this sanctuary of peace. Thank you for bringing together so many different cultures and languages and wisdoms- all pulsating together in unison.

This is what we are searching for when we roll out our mats. This is the nectar we seek to sip. So until we meet again, my sweet kindred friend, I will keep you in my every step…

Shine on, Analisa

Source: BYC Blog

¡Gracias Karma Yogis!

Los karma yogis vinieron de todas partes del mundo para poder dar servicio en la conferencia. En la tradición india esto se llama SEVA: servicio desinteresado. Es dar por el simple hecho de dar, sin esperar nada a cambio. O como Arjuna decía en el Bhagavad Gita “trabaja por el trabajo en sí mismo y no por los frutos de la acción”.

En este festival, donde el Bhakti Yoga es protagonista, el servicio desinteresado es otra forma de devoción: servir a los demás es un camino directo a servir a Dios.

Mientras este festival va llegando a su fin, y tenemos la oportunidad de agradecer por una experiencia tan transformadora, es sobre el momento de pensar en la cadena de personas que lo han hecho posible. Desde la familia creadora del festival, los maestros, los artistas, sonidistas, cocineros, hasta cada uno de estos 160 karma yoguis que cada día se despertaron muy temprano y se acostaron muy tarde para que el festival pueda funcionar a la perfección y todos lo podamos disfrutar. Agradecer a todos los artesanos, diseñadores y vendedores que han compartido sus productos sustentables y nos han enseñado con ellos, nuevas formas de vida. Agradecer a todos los participantes que han permitido que este hermoso encuentro se haga.

Y son muchos más quienes han hecho esto posible, si seguimos yendo en la cadena hacia atrás, ¡el agradecimiento es infinito! Gracias a todos los maestros que han pasado la tradición del Yoga, de boca en boca, de maestro a alumno y que han permitido que los conocimientos lleguen hasta nosotros el día de hoy.

Source: BYC Blog

Más diversión

“Todos somos artistas, y también atletas” estas son palabras de David Kam, el profesor de yoga más divertido que hayas encontrado nunca.  Su misión ayudarnos a redescubrirlo a través el yoga y del juego consciente. Al ser seres de movimiento nuestro cuerpo es nuestro principal medio de expresión. Así que debemos celebrarlo, debemos conocerlo y, sobre todo, debemos jugar con el.

Las clases de David Kam son, sin exagerar, juegos unidos a través de retos, respiraciones, risas y músculos activos. David es capaz de llevarte a lugares desconocidos de tu cuerpo y de tu mente con simples juegos como tocarte la nariz y la oreja de forma dinámica alternando tus manos. Parece sencillo, ¿verdad? Inténtalo! Y vuelve a intentarlo mientras estás de cuclillas. ¡Y ahora haciendo sentadillas!  Las posibilidades del movimiento son tantas que parece imposible que nadie nos lo haya enseñado antes.  Gracias a David aprendes movimientos que nunca antes te habías planteado, tu cuerpo se te presenta como un abanico de posibilidades y diversión.

La curiosidad, la sencillez y el humor son los ingredientes necesarios para que David haga una clase magistral.  Con solo un zapato es capaz de entretenerte durante minutos. Aquí te explico cómo: túmbate boca arriba.  Estira las piernas y coloca tu zapato en uno de tus pies. Ahora, sin que se caiga al suelo, intenta ponerte boca abajo. Os juro que es posible y más sencillo de lo que puede parecer. Lo único que necesitas ser consciente. Consciente de tu cuerpo y de sus movimientos. Creativo con tu mente y con su forma de pensar.

David Kam es un profesor necesario. Muy curioso. Menos serio. Más humano. 

 

 

Source: BYC Blog

Yoga para todos

El lema de esta Barcelona Yoga Conference podría definirse como yoga para todos.
La clases de Patrick Broome y su “Yoga for Everyone“, han sido un ejemplo de humildad, donde la sencillez ha sido sin duda el lait motiv de cada clase. Sin ninguna postura complicada su práctica y sus enseñanzas son accesibles a todas las personas. Y de hecho esa es la esencia del yoga, concienciar a las personas de su totalidad, de su cuerpo, de su respiración, de su espiritualidad, de su unión con todos y de su unión con el todo. Y tal vez por ello, porque cada vez hay más personas conscientes, esta Barcelona Yoga Conference ha presentado proyectos y plataformas con un mismo objetivo: unirnos y hacer que esta maravillosa práctica sea cada vez más generosa, más accesible, más compartida.
Happiness.com es una organización que ofrece una plataforma o red social para compartir cursos, proyectos, retiros, o información que pueden sumar a nuestra búsqueda espiritual, que puedan hacernos más felices.
Recién salida del horno, Yoga Sin Fronteras se presenta como una organización sin ánimo de lucro cuyo objetivo es llevar el yoga a los colectivos vulnerables o en riesgo de exclusión social. Han trabajado en orfanatos, centros de mujeres, residencias de la tercera edad y con personas con discapacidad mental. Este verano se van a la isla griega de Lesbos, donde cada día siguen llegando refugiados que se juegan la vida en el mediterráneo. Ellos también se merecen yoga, aseguran desde la ONG. Y razón no les falta. El Yoga es y debe ser para todas las personas, es una herramienta imprescindible para la vida.

 

Source: BYC Blog

Un gran rezo colectivo

A medida que los días pasan, los participantes del festival nos vamos conociendo. Todo es puras sonrisas y complicidas en las áreas comunes. Nos vamos convirtiendo en un gran comunidad unida por los principios del Yoga: no violencia, compasión, pureza, verdad, fuerza de voluntad, desapego, etc.

Entre todos estamos aquí para hacer un gran rezo colectivo: que todos los seres del mundo sean libres, felices y encuentren la paz. Que nuestras palabras y nuestras acciones contribuyan a ello. 

En cada clase, en cada concierto, los maestros y artistas han cumplido su dharma, haciendo el servicio de expandir mensajes de amor y caminos de autoconocimiento para que todos nos inspiremos.

El día 3 de la conferencia fue una profunda experiencia de Bhakti Yoga: el Yoga de la devoción. Con los kirtans de Marcus Flesner, el maravilloso workshop de Bhakti Yoga de Mirabai Ceiba, Tina Malia y su voz mágica haciéndonos bailar al ritmo de los mantras y finalmente el rey del Bhakti, Krishna Das, deleitándonos con su forma única de acercarnos a la divinidad.

Que todos podamos volver a casa y compartir estas vibraciones con quienes no han podido estar aquí. Que todos podamos ser mensajeros de este rezo colectivo y sigamos haciéndolo crecer.

Source: BYC Blog

You’re Never “Alone” at the BYC

When I received the news I got accepted to blog for the Barcelona Yoga Conference I was thrilled. Yoga, music, workshops- all in my favorite city in the world.

But as the event drew closer I began to have a bit of anxiousness set in. I realized I didn’t know anyone going to this event. And being my first time attending I wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course I felt secure I would not be left alone in the corner while the whole group was enjoying together- it was a yoga event after all. But I am somewhat a quiet and introverted person so I feared maybe I would just get lost in the big mix of it all.

So the big day arrived and I went to the conference, alone. I entered, breathed in and… Nothing. But. Love. From the reception desk to the teachers to the the fellow yogis- everyone was nothing less than welcoming and loving expressions of light.

At the BYC, you don’t pass a person without exchanging a little smile or warm feeling. And while I took a more introspective route at the conference, reading and writing between the classes instead of a more outgoing vibe, I still felt welcome and accepted and appreciated every moment. And if you are seeking to make new friends and have social interactions then you will have endless opportunities as well.

You see, it was not about how many classes you could attend or how many people you met but more so the creation of a safe space to just be. To me, thats what the Barcelona Yoga Conference is really about-creating a space for all different types of people to come together to celebrate yoga in whatever way they feel comfortable. Practice, play, make 100 friends, rest, read, talk to everyone, talk to no one, write, sing, dance, eat, sleep, lay in the sun, get a massage- do whatever speaks to you! I found a beautiful freedom while being there, surrounded by so much knowledge from different perspectives, all coming together in the name of Yoga.

So if your a social butterfly or a more reclusive little lone wolf like me, I assure you that you will feel welcome, loved and at home at the Barcelona Yoga Conference.

Shine on, beautiful souls…

Source: BYC Blog