5 Presenters From The Hanuman Festival On "Raising The Vibration"
By Ashley Shires
The Hanuman Festival is a four-day celebration of yoga, music and community in Boulder, Colorado, June 15-18, 2017. The festival, founded in 2010, draws an amazing and diverse line-up up yoga instructors and musicians. This year, we asked several of the presenters to contemplate the festival’s theme, “Raise the Vibration.” We have compiled a range of inspiring responses from Jaya Lakshmi, Rod Stryker, Gina Caputo, Janet Stone and Sianna Sherman.
SF Yoga Magazine: In your personal experience, how does yoga “Raise the Vibration?” We'd love to hear a story about how yoga has raised the vibration in your life or in the world.
Jaya Lakshmi: Life is full of challenges on so many levels. Physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, etc. I feel like I’m in spiritual warrior training this lifetime! Yoga has given me a way to handle all this energy, a way to ‘surf the big waves’ (that just seem to get bigger!). Through yoga I have learned to consciously cultivate the positive aspects of my being and to transform the more difficult, darker experiences into love, on all planes. It is the art of alchemy. I always feel lighter and more clear after my morning practice, guaranteed. Through daily practice, I give myself the opportunity to let my divine connection flood in like a river, cleansing and refreshing my attitude, outlook, and all the cells in my body. The practice reminds me why I am here: to heal and grow, to serve love and celebrate life!
Jaya Lakshmi, renown for her melodic voice, has been performing kirtan since 1992. Along with her musical partner, Ananda, she has released eight albums ranging from kirtan to healing mantra music to Kirtronica, a creative kirtan and electronica fusion. To learn more visit: jayalakshmiandananda.com.
Rod Stryker: When Yoga is practiced with purpose and when informed with authentic understanding, then there can be no doubt that it changes how you see, think, speak and act. Over time, as you accumulate experience in yoga, you become less fearful, less small-minded, less preoccupied with selfish concerns. You are more inspired, more creative, tolerant and capable. Encouragement, strength and the positive force of will power replace old, less than constructive tendencies. Darkness and a lack of clarity fade in the light of who practice is shaping you to become.
As the breath of yoga practice fills your sails, you are less shaped and driven by self-limiting ideas, whether self-imposed or informed by external sources (parents, society, friends, media, etc...). Yoga sheds light, bit by bit, showing you the way to step into a greater version of yourself.
You become an island of excellence––kinder, more aware, more intuitive, joyous, productive, positive. Of course, the more any one of us taste this kind of grace, the more the people around us are inspired to search for their own version of awakened power, capacity and joy. Yes, yoga elevates those whom it directly touches––that is to say, those who practice it as well as those whose lives are touched by those who practice it.
Rod Stryker has taught yoga for more than thirty-five years, integrating ancient yoga wisdom into a broad array of modern-day applications. He is widely considered one of the West's leading authorities on yoga, tantra and meditation. To learn more visit: parayoga.com.
Gina Caputo: Though yoga asana is a practice we often share with others, ultimately it is an inner practice, like meditation is, that helps us to become aware, to understand impermanence and to become free from attachment and aversion. In studying ourselves from the skin to the soul day in and day out, we cultivate a better understanding of each other and our interconnectedness and the nature of all things. With this expanded consciousness, we may choose to be more intentional with our thoughts, words and actions, make a stronger commitment to activism and social education and engage in more selfless service. The global vibration rises when we each individually take responsibility for ourselves, become more discerning with where we put our energy and recognize the inseparability of all living things.
Gina Caputo is an engaging, inspiring and playful yogi, the Founder and Director of the Colorado School of Yoga in Boulder, CO with affiliate locations throughout the country. She has a deep and sincere passion for yoga education and empowering teachers to share their unique offerings far and wide. To learn more visit: coloradoschoolofyoga.org or ginacaputo.com.
Janet Stone: "Raise the Vibration" is a contemporary term in yoga that I interpret as relating to the long and potent journey of releasing some of our grip on our "lower" attachments of greed, selfish pursuits, sexual endeavors, etc.
We can relate to the notion of giving oneself to the journey of living the Yamas and Niyamas, which provide an ethical road map to clean up our actions and behaviors in our lives. This can open space to sit in meditation with more clear seeing both inward and out and less delusion and myopic projection onto the events that unfold in our lives and the world around us.
On my particular journey, it has been important to tap into each and every vibration, to learn about my own and human kinds' "lowest" most shameful nature/actions so we can heal from a dualistic High/Low value system, to move toward integration with bringing our base desires to meet our highest visions. Quite honestly, this comes to me through chanting, mantra, bhakti practices. When I'm feeling stuck in my "small self" experiences and begin to chant either alone or in community, I remember something larger than my momentary drama.
Janet Stone has been dedicated to path of yoga since her first trip to India in 1996, the birthplace of her grandfather. Based in Bali and San Francisco, she leads inspiring immersions, retreats, workshops, blending the the alchemy of her own practice with decades of studentship. To learn more visit: janetstoneyoga.com.
Sianna Sherman: We are all woven of Energy. We are manifest Beings of vibration in physical form. We say things like, “My energy is so high right now,” or “I have such low energy these days.” When we have so-called, “low energy,” we feel more stagnant, dull, lethargic and unmotivated. When we have “high energy,” we feel more enthusiastic, vital, hopeful and with a lightness in our Being.
Raising the Vibration is to take accountability for our own state of mind, physical and energetic bodies, and then amplify Love into the world! Yoga does this in a grounded way. We get rooted in our lives and say yes to the gift of our physical embodiment. As we undergo the great alchemy of yoga from within, we experience life in a grounded way, yet at the same time with a soaring sense of freedom. My best way of saying this is: “Roots & Wings.” We descend into our power, center in our heart, clear our mind and ecstatically expand our Heart Wings into the world to collectively Raise the Vibration!
A deeply personal experience for me is that my teenage years were filled with angst, depression, low self-esteem, body dysmorphic tendencies and substance abuse. I felt very low much of the time and I began to pray for real help. My prayers were answered and the Universe wildly opened up to me. I was guided to meditation and yoga, which completely recalibrated my mind, heart, body and soul. That was 30 years ago! By raising my personal vibration, I have been able to truly serve this world in a way that feels genuine, authentic and happy for my whole Being.
Sianna Sherman is an internationally renowned yoga teacher, community activator and passionate speaker. She is dedicated to the empowerment of women as community leaders and offers high vibration gatherings, teacher trainings, workshops, sacred site retreats, and pilgrimages. To learn more visit: siannasherman.com.