Spring 8 Day BHAKTImmersion

Spring 8 Day BHAKTImmersion

March 12-19, 2016 Downtown

w/ Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band

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

See Also: Fall 2015 BHAKTImmersion from Sept 26th-Oct 3rd. 

PLEASE NOTE: Space is limited. The last two BHAKTImmersions have SOLD OUT several months in advance. 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.

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 seeking inspiration in integrating more bhakti into their 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.

Starting on Sunday, 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.


Sean Dancing Teaching Harmonium BHAKTImmersion 2015photo by Bonnie Gustin Photography


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; Cafe Istanbul performance hall; AHA affordable healing arts center; Island Of Salvation Botanica; The Street University; 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.

Leeza Coloring BHAKTImmersion 2015photo by Bonnie Gustin Photography


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 up until housing is no longer available. 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 also a great resource.

Susan Dancing BHAKTImmersion 2015photo by Bonnie Gustin Photography


If you are interested in seeing more of the city and getting around with the most ease, renting a car is highly recommended, 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.

Sean Teaching Harmonium BHAKTImmersion 2015photo by Bonnie Gustin Photography

BHAKTImmersion Schedule:

Schedule may change slightly in the flow of the week.


10:30am- 9pm: The New Orleans Sacred Music Festival, featuring music from a wide variety of cultures and traditions, begins at noon on the ground floor of The New Orleans Healing Center. If you are registered in the BHAKTImmersion, your name will be on the will call list. 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.NewOrleansSacredMusic.org. A ticket to the festival is included in your BHAKTImmersion experience and your name will be at will call.

Mid-Afternoon (Specific time TBA when Sacred Music Festival schedule is set) doors open to Wild Lotus Yoga on upper second floor of Healing Center, tea and snacks.

Mid-Afternoon (Specific time TBA when Sacred Music Festival schedule is set) BHAKTImmersion Welcome & Orientation at our studio Wild Lotus Yoga- Downtown on the upper 2nd floor of the Healing Center. Depending on your interest in the festival, you don’t need to arrive until this meeting. Important: Please bring your altar items to this meeting.

Late Afternoon/Early Evening (Specific time TBA when Sacred Music Festival schedule is set)  Our set of mantra music as part of the festival inside Cafe Istanbul downstairs.

There will be plenty of other music for you to enjoy throughout the day. If you are bringing your own instruments, there’s no need to bring to studio until our Sunday meeting.

Sunday: (9:30am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Important: please bring your altar offerings. Session: 10am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break. 7:30pm – 10pm / DINNER GATHERING at Sean’s family home

Monday: (9:30am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break. 10pm til / optional LIVE LOCAL MUSIC night on the town

Tuesday: (9:30am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION

Wednesday: (9:30am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break. 7:30pm 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: (9:30am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break

Saturday: (9:30am: doors open: snacks, tea & settling in) Session: 10am – 5pm / BHAKTIMMERSION with lunch break.   Hand Rhythm Circle BHAKTImmersion 2015BHAKTImmersion Boodie Shake 2015

Photos by Bonnie Gustin Photography

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.


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.


At the Sunday morning orientation you will receive a guidebook binder which will include bhakti resource materials we’ll be working with during our time together including articles by Sean; singing, harmonium and rhythm exercises; a list of other bhakti resources, and more. This book will be a great resource to support your bhakti practice once you return home as well.

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 schedule of over 60 classes a week at both locations here.

Goddess Costumes BHAKTImmersion 2015photo by Bonnie Gustin Photography

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.


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 $35 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 Sunday morning orientation so please bring a meaningful item or image that reflects 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:  Early registration highly recommended. Early Bird Special: $975 if registered by Nov 15th, 2015. $1075 if registered by Feb. 1st, 2016. After Feb 1st:  $1175. 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 bhaktimmersion@WildLotusYoga.com with any questions.

 Photo by George Long Photography

What others say about the BHAKTImmersion:

“I go back home to Europe soft-hearted, inspired, lighter, richer, at ease. Everybody taught me to trust my own intuition, my inner voice. A suitcase full of Love.” – Tina, Germany/Sicily

“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, ME

“I thought I was coming to the BHAKTImmersion to become a better harmonium player and find my true voice. That happened. What I didn’t expect was the deep opening of my heart, in ways that words cannot give proper justice. This immersion broke away the walls of my heart and build my heart back up again, graced by love, compassion, connection, and Bhakti devotion.” – Christina, Los Gatos, CA

“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 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 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