8 Day BHAKTImmersion

8 Day BHAKTImmersion

March 14-21, 2015 Downtown

w/ Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band

BHAKTImmersion cover 2015BHAKTImmersion 2013 jam 1

Bhakti Yoga & Soul Celebration In The Heart Of New Orleans with Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band

PLEASE NOTE: Space is limited. Last year’s BHAKTImmersion in New Orleans SOLD OUT. Early registration highly recommended. 

Sing your heart out, rekindle your soul, awaken the gods and goddesses within you, tap into your inner poet, dance like a child, feel your fingers tickle the harmonium as you accompany your chanting, get your hands on a drum and find your rhythm, explore the beauty, romance, and celebration of New Orleans, rejoice in the awakening of your unique voice and creativity. Join us for our annual 8 Day BHAKTImmersion in New Orleans March 14-21, 2015!

Enhance your connection to Life through Bhakti yoga and kirtan. This 8 Day Intensive is for anyone who wants to steep in bhakti- the yoga of the heart, for yogis who are seeking to deepen their practice, and for yoga teachers who want to learn how to share more singing and bhakti in classes.

The week opens with Sean & The Wild Lotus Band performing at The New Orleans Sacred Music Festival on Saturday, along with artists from many other traditions and cultures. Mornings are focused on self-exploration and satsang through singing meditation, interactive chanting, exploration of the archetypes of the gods and goddesses, guidance on how to bring more bhakti into your life; dancing, storytelling, mythology, journaling, and love poetry from the Bhakti tradition. Through the week there will also be a couple of  bhakti on the mat asana practices led by Sean and accompanied by Alvin and Gwendolyn. Afternoons include more kirtan and supportive instruction in: basic harmonium with Sean; basic rhythm and drumming workshops with Gwendolyn; and basic guitar-and-bass-for-kirtan with Alvin. Evening celebrations include opening dinner gathering; house party with live local music; and NOLA music outing with Gwendolyn. Participants may wish to stay Sunday for The Congo Square Rhythms Festival.

Register online at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=32131 Underneath the WORKSHOPS AND COURSES tab you’ll see an option to change the location. Change ‘UPTOWN’ to ‘DOWNTOWN,’ then click on ‘WORKSHOPS AND COURSES” and scroll all the way down the list of workshops till you get to BHAKTImmersion listing. Click on “SIGN UP NOW,” or call (504) 899-0047.

photo by Brenda Patoine of The Bhakti Beat

Location

All events will be held at Wild Lotus Yoga- Downtown on the upper 2nd floor of The New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St Claude Ave at St Roch, unless otherwise noted. We have been closely involved with the creation of the Healing Center over the last 5 years and it opened this past year. In addition to Wild Lotus Yoga, this 55,000 square foot, 4 story building also houses The New Orleans Food Co-Op Grocery; Fatoush a Mediterranean restaurant/coffeeshop/juicebar; Crossroads Arts Bazaar; Cafe Istanbul performance hall; AHA affordable healing arts center; Island Of Salvation Botanica; The Street University; Maple Street Bookstore; interfaith space; The Building Block, an incubator project for businesses specializing in sustainability and green projects; ASI Credit Union; Downtown Fitness Center; police sub-station; and more. The New Orleans Healing Center is one of the most ambitious and progressive recovery projects in New Orleans, and we are thrilled to be a part of it and for you to experience it.

Housing

For those of you who are interested, we have set up a discounted community housing program with local hosts in town for $25 a night who provide a simple private room with clean sheets and towels and access to kitchen. The earliest registrants will be eligible for this community housing. Some of you have requested housing within walking distance of The Healing Center. Please know that the neighborhood around the center is a funky, urban, residential environment with lots of historic New Orleans ‘shotgun-style’ houses, and home to many artists, musicians, bohemian characters, and street life. We also have housing in other New Orleans neighborhoods, best accessed by car.

If you’d prefer to stay in a b&b or hotel, there are many in the neighborhood around the Healing Center. B & B’s in the Marigny neighborhood would be very close by. B&B’s or hotels in the French Quarter are also an option. AirBnb.com is a great resource.

Transportation

If you are interested in seeing more of the city and getting around with the most ease, renting a car will be most ideal, especially if you’re not staying near the Healing Center. Public transportation in New Orleans is not as convenient or easy as in other big cities. If you are staying nearer to the Healing Center, some of the B&B’s have bicycles for their guests to use. You can also rent a bicycle at Bicycle Michael’s.

photo by Alicia Patrice

BHAKTImmersion Schedule:

Schedule may change slightly in the flow of the week.

Saturday:  The New Orleans Sacred Music Festival  begins at noon on the ground floor of The New Orleans Healing Center and goes till 9pm. Feel free to arrive anytime after noon. There will be many performances and prayers from a wide variety of artists and musicians from different cultures and traditions. See all the details, lineup, and schedule at www.NewOrleansSacredMusicFestival.com.   A ticket to the festival is included in your BHAKTImmersion experience and your name will be at will call.

At 12:30pm, we will open our studio at Wild Lotus Yoga on the upper 2nd floor and have snacks and refreshments for all BHAKTImmersion participants to enjoy. If you’d like to take a break from the festivities downstairs and come up anytime after 12:30pm, please feel free. This is casual and not a formal part of the BHAKTImmersion, a place for you to come and relax and meet each other, otherwise we’ll be grooving to the music downstairs together. Last year the set time for our kirtan inside Cafe Istanbul, a performance hall on the ground floor of the Healing Center, was 4:25-5:25pm. 2015 set time TBA. We’re looking forward to having all of you there to help us raise the roof!  After our kirtan and we move our instruments back upstairs, we will have our first formal BHAKTImmersion gathering- an orientation- at approximately 6:30pm upstairs at Wild Lotus Yoga. There will be tea and snacks available for you while we set up our instruments and plug back into our p.a. Important: please bring your altar offerings to this meeting. If you are bringing your own instruments, there’s no need to bring to studio until our Sunday meeting.

Sunday: (10am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10:30am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break. 8pm – 10:30pm / DINNER GATHERING at Sean’s family home

Monday:  (10am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10:30am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break. 10pm til / optional LIVE LOCAL MUSIC night on the town

Tuesday: (10am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10:30am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION

Wednesday: (10am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10:30am – 5pm  / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break.  8pm til / DINNER & HOUSE PARTY at Gwendolyn’s with live music

Thursday: Free Day to explore New Orleans. (7:30-8pm  doors open, snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 8–10pm / BHAKTIMMERSION evening session

Friday: (10am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10:30am – 5pm  / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break

Saturday: (10am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10:30am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break

NOTE: As an option, not formally  included as part of the BHAKTImmersion, on Sunday is a free music festival The Congo Square Rhythms Festival in Armstrong Park, not far away from The New Orleans Healing Center.  You may wish to stay and enjoy this.

Photo by Brenda Patoine of The Bhakti Beat

Food

We will be providing a yummy homestyle vegetarian dinner at our Sunday night and Wednesday night gatherings with a local vegetarian chef, as well as simple healthy snacks during our daily gatherings. You will be responsible for all the other meals. There is a restaurant and food co-op grocery in the building and dining options in the neighborhood. We’ll also be providing a list of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood and around New Orleans for you to explore.

Guidebook

At the Saturday evening orientation you will receive a guidebook binder which will include bhakti-related materials we’ll be working with during our time together as well as a map, guide to local attractions, and more. This book will be a great resource to help your bhakti practice once you return home as well.

NOTE: As an option, not formally  included as part of the BHAKTImmersion, on Sunday is a free music festival The Congo Square Rhythms Festival in Armstrong Park, not far away from The New Orleans Healing Center.  You may wish to stay and enjoy this.

Asana Practice and Yoga Classes

There will be some bhakti-based asana practice incorporated into the program, but the main emphasis is on other bhakti yoga practices. You are welcome to take any yoga classes while you are in town at either the uptown or downtown studio for a special 30% discount. See our class schedule at http://www.WildLotusYoga.com.

Bodywork and More

Massage and other healing arts practices are available right next door to the studio at AHA (Affordable Healing Arts). The spiritual readings downstairs at Island Of Salvation Botanica also come highly recommended.

Tour

Sean’s father Bruce is a certified New Orleans tour guide with lots of knowledge of the city and some unique perspectives. From time to time he takes small groups out for custom-tours of New Orleans. We will  help arrange a tour for those who are interested on Thursday.  The price of the tour which runs for 3 hours is $30 per person.  If you wish to take a tour, we will make arrangements for your to pre-register during the week of the BHAKTImmersion.

To Bring

• altar items: we’ll be making a community altar at our Saturday orientation so please bring a few meaningful items or images that reflect your heart and soul

• journal and pen

• a favorite poem or quote that opens your heart

• a set of colored markers

• a drum, if you wish to focus your time on rhythm

• a harmonium, if you wish to focus on harmonium (we will also have several harmoniums there for you to share if you don’t have one)

• guitar, if you wish to focus on guitar for kirtan

• any other instruments you wish

• comfortable walking shoes

• warm and lighter clothes- it’s also possible it could be mild, so bring a few layers so you can improvise with the weather

• at least one set of festive clothing for our Wednesday night house party

• umbrella, particularly if you’re going to be on foot

• water bottle (we have a reverse-osmosis water dispenser at the studio for you to refill you personal bottle)

• yoga mat (we also have a few mats at the studio you can borrow)

• yoga clothes

• cushion or backjak to sit on (optional, as we have plenty of blankets and bolsters as well)

Investment:  Space is limited and this past BHAKTImmersion SOLD OUT. Early registration highly recommended. Early Bird Special: $875 if registered by Nov 15th, 2014. $975 if registered by Feb. 1st, 2015. After Feb 1st:  $1075. Register with a $500 non-refundable deposit. Full balance due by March 1st. Price includes BHAKTImmersion experience plus guidebook, daily snacks, two dinners, and admission into the New Orleans Sacred Music Festival.

Register online at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=32131 Underneath the WORKSHOPS AND COURSES tab you’ll see an option to change the location. Change ‘UPTOWN’ to ‘DOWNTOWN,’ then click on ‘WORKSHOPS AND COURSES” and scroll all the way down the list of workshops till you get to BHAKTImmersion listing. Click on “SIGN UP NOW,” or call (504) 899-0047.

E-mail Teamlotus@WildLotusYoga.com with any questions.

What others say about the BHAKTImmersion:

“I feel I received so much, each day was so full and satisfying. My experience was nothing short of amazing and as it continues to unfold and flourish in me I realize the many implications of all that you offered.” – Jeannie, Hilton Head, SC

“I was truly impressed and appreciative of how much thought was given to each element of Bhakti, and how to share it with our group. I loved the blend of learning scales, morning singing, encouraging each one of us to sing or lead a chant, the sharing of the band’s chants each day, and I have to say most especially the story-telling. Sean you are such a wonderful story teller, and with a live sound track included, how can it be beat? I really appreciated learning the meaning behind many of the symbols or characteristics of the deities, the relationship between them. I also thought it was wonderful for us to get to choose a different musical focus each day between the three of you to get a taste of which instruments might or might not call to us. In addition to this I think the inclusion of evening social events and dinners really allowed all of us to get to know one another better and relax outside of sessions and absorb in the joy and magic of the Bhaktimmersion.” – Vanessa, Portland, MN

“The Harmonium lessons were critical for me . I was stuck on just a couple of chords and the lessons again gave me the bravery to go beyond and try something a little deeper. I learned alot from how you kept reviewing from the previous day and then took us a bit deeper. The immersion was beyond my expectations. I went there so open and ready to receive. I could feel that you were sincerely supportive of each and every person in that group. You provided a space for me to discover more ways of singing, playing and writing. I am grateful to you, Gwendolyn and Alvin. I could feel the authenticity and careful consideration of making this event special. The group around my studio keep telling me I am glowing. Sometimes I find myself at a loss for words when asked how it was. You are an inspiration and I thank you so very much.” – Vicki, Hilton Head, SC

“I really loved every aspect of the Bhaktimmersion. All the singing and voice training we did every morning helped me find my voice and feel the joy in letting it come through. I knew virtually nothing of the deity stories, so enjoying the sweet gift of your storytelling, along with the ambient music of the band, helped me enter into the story, which is way different from reading it in a book. It brought it to life for me. The binder is packed with incredibly useful information that I continue to use daily. All the percussion and rhythm sessions with Gwendolyn were fantastic. The meditation from Alvin was really beautiful and helped me open my heart even more. And all of the things you guys did outside of class inspired me hugely. You and Gwendolyn opening up your homes and all three of you being so giving of your time to keep the community experience tight was very important to me and taught me so much about service. This was a life-changing experience for me. My heart is open so wide and filled with deep gratitude for all you guys did to make this experience possible for me.” – Carie, College Station, TX