Sing to your hearts content

Posted on June 16th, 2015


Offerings in Thai flower market, Chiang Mai

Open up your voice and sing from your heart to infuse your spirit with the joyful abundance of Summer.

I took this picture when I was in Thailand in 2014 studying Thai massage with master  teacher, Pichest Boonthumee. My favorite thing to do when traveling in Asia is to get up early and walk through the open air markets. The streets and markets are buzzing with life and vitality. Our first day studying thai massage with Pichet, we were to arrive at 9am with offerings- flowers, incense, and fruit. So I got up early and went to the market. I was mesmorized by the intricate beautiful flower offerings that were on display. People of all walks of life were purchasing them on their way to work. The daily flower art offerings hung everywhere, on the mirror in the rickshaws, on the bow of the boats, in the restaurants, on the spirit houses and temples. Gratitude in the form of these beautiful ephemeral works of flower art were lusciously everywhere. They make me so happy.
As the Summer solstice is here, I share with you the beauty of these flower offerings. Our gardens are blooming and the bounty of the Summer is shining everywhere. According to Chinese Medicine, Summer is the time to nourish the heart and small intestine. When talking about the heart, Chinese medicine includes the physical heart as well as the mind or consciousness of our being. The heart circulates the blood through the body, houses the spirit, and is responsible for maintaining awareness. The heart-mind is said to sprout at the tongue. Speech and song emerge from the heart center as fragrant blossoms emerging from the stem and root. I am reminded of our phrase in English “Sing to your heart’s content”.

People with a balanced heart-mind shine not only through their generous, joyous, loving presence but also through their clarity of speech and thought. They are good communicators, highly articulate and aware. For most of us, unfortunately, our heart-mind’s are scattered and confused. Constant media stimulus and the fragmentation of our modern lives leaves us with frighteningly short attention spans, and a constant stream of agitated, anxious thoughts whirling in our mind. Our thoughts become diffused, disjointed, and our speech confused or rambling. These are signs that our heart-mind is out of balance.

To strengthen the heart-mind and gather your scattered thoughts, sing and explore voice centered practices this Summer. It is the perfect time to delve into the beautiful Indian devotional chanting practices of kirtan, and mantra. Chanting in the sacred language of Sanskrit helps focus your mind and invites forward your innate state of spaciousness, clarity and pure awareness. Chanting is like a vibrational form of flower offerings-strings of sacred sound garlands offered from the heart.

“The word mantra is derived from the words manama (‘thinking’) and trana ( ‘liberation’). In other words, a mantra is a potent form of thought, an instrument of conscious intention.

Georg Feuerstein, “The Yoga Tradition”

‘Because the mantra is an expression of a more evolved consciousness, it offers a unique link with that higher level. For this reason, it not only makes the path to higher consciousness clearer by replacing interfering thoughts, its gradual incorporation pulls consciousness toward that state.’”

Swami Rama, “Yoga & Psychotherapy”

Join us for joyful sonic explorations this Summer through our Art of Sound Module!

leigh laughing with grafetti_opt








Freeing your voice as a yoga teacher

Posted on June 5th, 2015


One of the most unrecognized areas in many yoga teacher trainings is the development of the voice of the teacher. Many people are drawn to become a yoga teacher for the physical practice, internal spaciousness and peacefulness it awakens inside. However, as they begin to teach, they quickly realize that most of their communication with their students comes through their voice. Many people are not used to talking in front of a group of people. They don’t have the vocal support to sustain their voice for a 90 minute class. Many yoga teachers often loose their voice because of the strain of teaching two or three 90 minute classes a day several times a week. Unfortunately one of their weakest skills, their voice, is one of their most important tools as a yoga teacher. In response to this need, I have created a module in our Yoga Sukhavati Advanced Teacher Training entirely dedicated to freeing the voice of a yoga teacher-The Art of Sound.

The Art of Sound immersion will help you free your natural voice. Awaken your voice so that it becomes a powerful vehicle for communication for you and your students. Explore your voice through exercises designed to open, support, and strengthen your voice. Dive deeply into your divine self through the ancient devotional vocal practices of kirtan, mantra and the beauty of the sanskrit language. Bask in the sonic healing vibrations of gong baths and awaken pranic pathways, energy channels and organs, through using your voice in asana.

Join us for the Art of Sound immersion starting with a delicious evening of Kirtan Fri. June 12!

leigh laughing with grafetti_opt

love & light!