Gopi Kallayil, author of The Internet to the Inner-Net and the soon-to-be released The Happy Human, is blending his passions for yoga, sacred music, and meditation in a self-described experiment set against the backdrop of Shangri La.
“I’ve had a vision for a while of something centered around these three domains,” he says of the upcoming Bhakti Yoga and Music Celebration hosted the weekend of September 7-9. “Esalen is the perfect setting for this experiment. It’s like going on a pilgrimage — once you get there, you break through the clouds and you are in Shangri La.”
The property-wide experiential celebration features two musical ensembles, Fanna-Fi-Allah and the Kirtaniyas, representing different aspects of sacred music: qawwali and kirtan.
Fanna-Fi-Allah perform a form of Sufi devotional music dating back more than 700 years. The Canadian-American group includes the first female tabla player to be initiated into the lineage of qawwali.
The Kirtaniyas combine the traditional call and response signing of ancient Sanskrit mantras with electronic dance music. And even if you don’t understand Sanskrit, the vibrations are powerful.
According to Gopi, the 60/80 beats a minute resonates with that of the human heart beat. “Many nursery rhymes and lullabies follow the same rhythm,” says Gopi.
The weekend is designed for first-time practitioners in yoga and meditation as well as more experienced individuals. For those familiar with the traditions, the weekend is an opportunity to nurture yourself through the practice of bhakti yoga elements and honoring the mind, body, and spirit. “If you are not as familiar with these elements,” adds Gopi, “this is an opportunity to peer into this world in a way that is beautiful and easily accessible no matter what culture you’re from.”
“It’s an interesting juxtaposition,” observes Gopi of the musical collective. “It is rare that on the same stage there is sufi qawwali music with classic kirtan from a Hindu tradition. Even more beautiful is that we can find commonality through two independent music traditions in a modern world.”
Reserve your spot for the Bhakti Yoga and Music Celebration, September 7-9, 2018.