Archive for September, 2011

Reflections on Om from the Upanishads

Janet Abel a   Hampton Roads, Virginia based Yoga Alliance registered instructor, La   Yoga Loca, because life gets crazy


The Upanishads are ancient, Indian philosophical texts. This summer, Elizabeth shared an Upanishad which Carol Spano was kind enough to type up. You can download it in pdf form here or in word doc form here. Or you can just read below:

from “The Upanishads” Selections Translated by Alistair Shearer and Peter Russell, page 37.





The imperishable sounds, is the seed of all that exists.

The past, the present, the future-all are but the

unfolding of OM.

And whatever transcends the three realms of time,

that indeed is the flowering of OM.


This whole creation is ultimately brahman,

And the Self, this also is brahman.


This pure Self has four aspects:


The first is the waking state.

This is the experience of the reality common to

everyone, when the attention faces outwards,

enjoying the world in all its variety.


The second is experience of subjective worlds, such

as in dreaming.

Here the attention dwells within, charmed by the

mind’s subtler creations.


The third is deep sleep.

The mind rests, with awareness suspended.

This state beyond duality-from which the waves of

thinking emerge-is enjoyed by the enlightened

as an ocean of silence and bliss.


The fourth, say the wise, is the pure Self, alone.

Dwelling in the heart of all, It is the lord all, the

seer of all, the source and goal of all.

It is not outer awareness, It is not inner awareness,

nor is It a suspension of awareness.

It is not knowing, It is not unknowing, nor is It

knowingness itself.

It can neither be seen nor understood.

It cannot be given boundaries.

It is ineffable and beyond thought.

It is indefinable.

It is known only through becoming It.

It is the end of all activity, silent and unchanging,

the supreme good, one without a second.

It is the real Self.

It, above all, should be known.


This pure Self and OM are as one; and the different

aspects of the Self correspond to OM and its

constituent sounds, A-U-M.

Experience of the outer world corresponds to A,

the first sound.

This initiates action and achievement.

Whoever awakens to this acts in freedom and

achieves success.


Experience of the inner world corresponds to U,

the second sound.

This initiates upholding and unification.

Whoever awakens to this upholds the tradition of

knowledge and unifies the diversities of life.

Everything that arises speaks to him of brahman.


The state of dreamless sleep corresponds to M,

the third sound.

This initiates measurement and merging.

Whoever awakens to this merges with the world yet

has the measure of all things.


The pure Self alone, that which is indivisible, which

cannot be described, the supreme good, the one

without a second, that corresponds to the
wholeness of OM.

Whoever awakens to that becomes the Self.

On Sunday the 23rd of October, there will be a Community Day at Turtle Haven, Elizabeth’s studio in Deming. Among the options for the day will be a class from 10 am – 1 pm, (exact subject to be announced soon), a lunch potluck, and then a Kirtan guided by Paul Millage from 3 to 5 pm.

For more about Paul, please see the earlier blog post here or Paul’s own website here. To read details of the previous Community Day go here.

Latest Updates!

I am excited to post these details for the coming week-end, when we will have a special event at 8Petals on Saturday night… please come, and bring all your friends and family who may be interested!

Foundations of practice and the paths of yoga: Talk and kirtan with James Boag 7-10pm Saturday 10th September, 8 Petals, Bellingham. Class and kirtan by donation. Suggested donation: $10-30

Talk and discussion: 7:00-8:30pm: As the practical school of Indian philosophy, yoga offers the means to cultivate greater awareness, skilfulness and joy in all that we do. With reference to the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, this talk will clarify what it means to practice yoga, and how, by working with the foundation practice principles of the yoga tradition we can bring its rich and nourishing influence into all aspects of our lives. We will also consider different approaches to yoga and how what are sometimes seen as different paths of yoga are actually mutually complimentary and supportive aspects of practice.

Kirtan: 8:30-10:00pm Join James in the blissful practice of Kirtan and gain greater understanding of Kirtan as a rewarding and powerful part of yoga practice.

The evening will continue with kirtan: call and response chanting. James will introduce the practice of kirtan and situate it within the broader picture of yoga. We will then experience the practice, singing together for the rest of the evening.

About kirtan

Kirtan is a simple and powerful yoga practice that uses sound as the focus or support to facilitate a state of deep integration. In Indian systems of philosophy, sound is recognized as subtle and all-pervading, Western scientists recognized last century that essentially we are space, filled with vibration. Kirtan then offers a very fast and effective way to facilitate transformation, change our vibration and deepen our experience of yoga. Some participants describe kirtan like ‘bathing in sound’, refreshing and cleansing the system not just at the superficial level, but right into the core of our cells, literally raising our vibration.

The word kirtan comes from a Sanskrit root ‘kirt’ meaning to recite, to praise, to glorify. During kirtan we sing in call and response Sanskrit names of the divine, names full of positive energy corresponding to those divine, positive qualities which exist within us. As we sing and call these names, we cultivate those positive, transforming energies, calling forth and unveiling our own inner glory, the energy of our true selves.
Everyone welcome. Do not worry if you are not a virtuoso singer.
The joy of Kirtan is open to everyone!

About James Mysore, where he is now working towards an MA in Sanskrit, while also leading kirtan and courses on the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras attended by international students of many of Mysore’s renowned yogasana teachers.

To listen to recordings of talks, classes and kirtans James has been giving recently in the Northwest, go to the James Sharings page on

James is known for bringing the traditional, scriptural teachings of yoga to vivid life, in ways which elucidate their relevance and practical application in our lives today. His powerful a capella kirtans invite participants to bathe in rich sound: cleansing, energising, and heightening awareness of the depth and glory of our inner selves.

James’ practice and teaching grow from their roots in the Shankaracaraya Vedic tradition and the school of Kashmir Shaivism. His classes are infused with the ‘ras’ or flavour of joy associated with the devotional practice of kirtan, and of the bliss which is seen as underlying everything in the beautiful teachings of Shaivism.

He has been teaching yoga and leading kirtan regularly since 2003 and teaching since 1993. In 2005, while he was teaching English at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, James began studying Sanskrit. Since 2008, James has spent over half his time in