Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Here’s a good combination. Pregnant, and making a children’s yoga DVD. And yes, that was me a few weeks ago. Every time I wanted to complain I just had to look at the Director of the film, Alessandra, who is about two days more pregnant then I! We weren’t quite at the waddling stage… but close enough. I still can’t believe there is a point when you can’t see your feet when you are walking. Anyway… back to the DVD….
To give you a little background, this DVD is a combination of a yoga class, a story, and songs set to celestial communication. For those of you who haven’t heard of celestial communication, this is a kind of dance to bring emphasis to the words of a song, and incorporate the energy into the body, and in this way “communicate” with God, the angels, and divine energy. In a way, this combination of story, yoga, and movement is how I grew up doing yoga. My spiritual teacher once said that children’s yoga should be first and foremost fun. As you’ll see in the DVD we have some pretty ridiculous moments.
As we toured around the country these past seven years, children kept coming to our concerts. We would invite them up on stage to sing with us at times, because they just were so cute and beautiful. I admit it, I couldn’t resist. Pretty soon, I began to realize how much the kids were connecting with the spirit in the music, so we developed a whole children’s yoga program to give them a more direct experience of that spirit. We delivered this program all over the world, and so we decided to make a DVD out of it for kids that couldn’t make it to our programs.
We looked around our home town of Espanola and neighboring Santa Fe to find children to be in our DVD. Fortunately, the kids who came to do the video were in top form on the day of filming. A few days before the filming, we had a set of rehearsals with the kids. Mind you, I believe (in my haven’t really experienced being a mom sort of way) that we had very good children. But, it was the combination of probably our adult nerves, and the sheer fun of being kids, that created a slightly unruly rehearsal situation. We quickly realized that the sheepskins for the yoga class would become airborne on the day of the filming if we didn’t tape them down. Already, one boy had a dirt mark on his nice white yoga pants after only wearing them for 5 minutes for our fitting. My niece Siri Atma was doing the Def Leppard hand symbol (we think it came from her father) during the celestial communication for the song “I am Happy, I am Good”. At one point I told myself “At least the kids were bonding and having a good time”… as all of the children were on the floor in a massive wrestling pile completely ignoring my adult implorations to have them come sitting up to do more yoga.
The night before the filming, I earnestly looked at my husband over dinner and said, “We should probably reschedule everything, give a few more weeks to practice with the children.” I know, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this… you probably would just like to see the finished DVD and just see it as a yoga class. But, hey, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes… get a little personal with it.
Anyway, my husband looked at me with his big blue eyes, and said with all of the confidence that I wish I had, “the kids will be fine, you’ll see.”
On the day of the filming, the crew showed up, and set up the lights and cameras. The kids arrived at 8:30 in the morning, and let me just say it was a new day. They walked in with all of the confidence and calm that I had imagined that they would have all of these months in preparation, and we began filming. We went through each posture, and celestial communication movement, sometimes more then once, and the children were beautiful. I couldn’t believe it… that’s why in the video I’m smiling so much… it really was because of the children… and maybe because I’m pregnant. Alessandra, in her very cheerful yet authoritative voice led us through the whole day. We finally let the children go that evening, after awarding them with special crystals.
Currently, our music producer, Krishan, is working in LA to create the final music mixes. We have some very talented children singers that came into his studio to sing. We also have an illustrator working on some amazing illustrations for the story. I can’t really tell you any more then this… top secret stuff. No just kidding. But, look out for our new DVD which plan to release this October.
Monday, August 04, 2008
This blog entry is dedicated to the sevadars (those who serve selflessly) who make our tours possible. These gems of humanity see God in the hearts of others, and have no duality about giving themselves fully. I am more than just grateful to them for helping make the kirtan happen each night, which is the obvious result, I am inspired by their consciousness in action, and this helps create the humble, devotional space for the kirtan to flow.
At each stop along our tour, there will be one, maybe two or three, sometimes too many to count, sevadars who show up and make us all smile. They come with purity of heart, and I remember God in that moment, when I see someone present with us, just there to lend a hand. There were so many during our two tours in 2008, I'd like to talk about a few of them with you.
Jaspreet Singh and Robin are pictured here.
We spent nearly a week in the San Francisco bay area, and Jaspreet Singh was there at 4AM sadhana playing his sitar, and he was with us at 1AM arriving back home each night after our 4 kirtans and 1 childrens program. He rode with us in the van, made jokes with us, and then simply said "Sat Nam" after one week of serving us. We felt his presence with us for the rest of the tour. Another all-star sevadar, Robin, showed up for the two concerts that her husband Ramesh joined us on percussion. God sent her with a big smile on her face and asked us if we needed anything. We quickly sent her here and there, Radioshack and the chai-shack. She helped set-up and break down without us even asking her.
Beyond the actual lifting of things, long hours, and so forth – is the heart of this experience - the smile and subtle energy of these sevadars - that makes the impression, and makes all the difference, between simply lifting things from here to there, to having a joyous experience. I have learned the incredible, transformative power of a smile! I put one on, and the world smiles with me.