International Day of Peace

photo-1468818519844-64bc429824de.jpgOn this International Day of Peace, we would like to share these words from Paramahansa Yogananda, and recommend that you meditate on them throughout the day:

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International Day of Yoga 2016

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In celebration of the Second Annual International Day of Yoga, we would like to encourage all aspiring and seasoned yogis to spend 

at least 15 minutes in yoga meditation this morning and again this evening, and perhaps turn today’s experience into an everyday 

 practice.

Among the guidelines that Paramahansa Yogananda offered to begin a meditation practice are to:  select a quiet peaceful place where one can be secluded and undisturbed during meditation; sit in the correct posture with spine erect, sitting either on a straight chair or cross-legged on a firm surface, stilling the mind and body; close the eyes with the gaze lifted to the point between the eyebrows, the spiritual eye of divine perception; and to silently chant or mentally pray to the Divine.

 

Following is a meditation from Paramahansa Yogananda’s book Metaphysical Meditations to inspire you during your practice of meditation. 

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National Day of Prayer

Prayer For a United World

by Paramahansa Yogananda

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May the heads of all countries and races be guided to understand that men of all nations are physically and spiritually one: physically one, because we are the descendants of common parents ― the symbolic Adam and Eve; and spiritually one, because we are the immortal children of our Father, bound by eternal links of brotherhood.
 
Let us pray in our hearts for a League of Souls and a United World. Though we may seem divided by race, creed, color, class, and political prejudices, still, as children of the one God we are able in our souls to feel brotherhood and world unity. May we work for the creation of a United World in which every nation will be a useful part, guided by God through man’s enlightened conscience.
 
In our hearts we can all learn to be free from hate and selfishness. Let us pray for harmony among the nations, that they march hand in hand through the gate of a fair new civilization.
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National Poetry Month - Songs of the Soul

April is National Poetry Month, celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture and expression of the human spirit. Paramahansa Yogananda was a prolific writer of spiritual literature, essays, and commentaries. A selection of his poems are featured in his book 1651.jpgSongs of the Soul, an outpouring of his direct perceptions of Spirit – in nature, in humankind, in every day experiences, and in the spiritually awakened state of samadhi meditation.

Many of his poems reflect what he saw during his extensive travel throughout the U.S. during his early years in the West, and the inner experiences that were evoked by his perceptions.

To commemorate National Poetry Month, we would like to share with you one of his uplifting poems from his collection Songs of the Soul:

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Interview with Veda Mela Founder Dr. Siva Mohan

With the November 7th inaugural of Veda MeLA fast approaching we are excited to have had the opportunity to sit down with Veda MeLA's founder Dr. Siva Mohan to find out more about what attendees can expect from Veda MeLA and what inspired her to create such a unique event. (The AWAKE film team along with certain interviewees and monastics from Self-Realization Fellowship will be holding a special panel at Veda MeLA on Sunday from 2 to 3:15 PM.)

 

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“Yoga is now a household name, but there are misconceptions about it. Yoga is really about finding yourself. There is a spiritual revolution happening, and Yoga is an important vehicle of that.”  -- Siva Mohan, M.D., founder of Veda Mela

 

Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Siva Mohan is one of many authorities in the field who has recognized the critical role that Yoga can play in one’s life. So this November she is launching the inaugural event Veda Mela (www.vedamela.com) in downtown Los Angeles, and we are delighted to be a part of it with a special AWAKE panel discussion – in which we will be joined by SRF monastics and some of the other interviewees from the film – exploring some of AWAKE’s provocative topics. 

 

Veda Mela will take place at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8.

 

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Kimberly Snyder on Inner Beauty and Well Being

The moment renowned nutritionist Kimberly Snyder read the Autobiography of a Yogi, something sparked inside of her, a spark that would lead her to inspire hundreds of thousands of people around the world to bring beauty into their lives from the inside out.

"Before and during college and for some time afterward, though I put up a good front, deep down I was actually totally confused to my purpose and direction. I tried to find a sense of belonging through constantly going to parties...periods of regularly consuming vodka and beer..."

"...but a shift happened, gradually. I read the books Scientific Healing Affirmations and Autobiography of a Yogi, both by Paramahansa Yogananda., and they changed the direction of my life. I was inspired to seek the inner joy that Yogananda spoke of, the joy that was possible from spending time being still and meditating."

IMG_7669.JPGKimberly Snyder, C.N. is a certified nutritionist and recurring health expert on the Today show and The Dr. Oz Show, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Beauty Detox SolutionThe Beauty Detox Foods and the just released The Beauty Detox Power (2015). 

Kimberly's effective holistic and spiritual approach has made her 
the go-to-nutritionist for many of the entertainment industry top 
celebrities. 

A yogini herself, Kimberly maintains that her philosophies work because they are based on aligning soul and body. She explores this alignment deeply and personally in her latest book, The Beauty Detox Power

A huge thanks to Kimberly Snyder for letting us feature a few quotes from her book below:

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Guest Post: Sacred Music

With the upcoming release of the AWAKE soundtrack album, we are pleased to follow composer Vivek Maddala's guest blog, with another from composer Michael Mollura.

SACRED MUSIC

By Michael R. Mollura

Tatra.jpgSacred music that informed the work I composed for Awake: The Life of Yogananda was derived from two primary sources: Firstly, the mantra (a word or formula chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer),derived from spiritual paths originating in India, and secondly, the Sufi tradition of mystical music from Middle Eastern traditions. Both approaches to sacred music have their foundations in spiritual practice, providing vibrational accompaniment to prayer and meditation as part of an effort to access the Self as a manifestation of divine peace and wholeness.  

In approaching the music for this project I was inspired by the meditative dream-inducing components of Yogananda's writings and the images in the film.  I felt that Yogananda's most profound impact on spiritual practices was his ability to communicate the importance of transpersonal meditative states of consciousness which could be sustained not just through practicing meditation, but by mere being. In every word and image of the film, I was drawn inward towards the psychological nature of the work.

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Guest Blog: Music and Emotion

 With the upcoming release of our soundtrack album next month, we are pleased to host a guest blog from one of our composers. 

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 MUSIC AND EMOTION

By Vivek Maddala

 

Music has been described as “sound organized to affect a listener’s emotions.”  Many visual art forms are capable of affecting a person’s mood or state of mind, but none has the power to elicit subjective emotion the way music can.  Psychology researchers at the University of London have determined that music is unique—among all methods of communication—in its ability to transmit precisely tuned emotional information to a listener. And composers like myself are especially adept at creating emotionally evocative stimuli.  But why does music have this power? 

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International Day of Yoga: 108 Screenings of AWAKE


 
On June 21, 2015, the world will celebrate the first-ever International Day of Yoga –– and we invite you to participate in a special commemoration of this singular convergence.
 
Last year, after an address at the United Nations by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, members of the General Assembly voted in unprecedented numbers (over 90%) to honor this sacred tradition worldwide on the Summer Solstice. 

In his speech, Prime Minister Modi, a practicing yogi, said:
 
[Yoga] embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.
 
Modi went on to suggest that by changing our lifestyle and fostering global consciousness, Yoga can help us deal with climate change and the myriad other challenges we face.
 
Paramahansa Yogananda, himself, said:
 
May the heads of all countries and races be guided to understand that men of all nations are physically and spiritually one… Let us pray in our hearts for a League of Souls and a United World.
 
To honor this notion of our global unity, we invite you to participate in a special initiative by hosting screenings of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda across the U.S.  Our goal is have 108 screenings (a sacred number) between now and the Summer Solstice, and we need your help in achieving this.

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Awaken the Peace: Insights from Paramahansa Yogananda

AWAKE_2_FILMMAKERS_PAOLA-150x150.jpgPeace is that underrated quality, the one we sometimes don’t realize we’re living without. Given the myriad distractions of modern life, it sometimes takes a major wake-up call to remind us to stop and tune in.

In 1946, one of the great spiritual teachers of our time, Paramahansa Yogananda, broke with tradition by publishing Autobiography of a Yogi, a book about his mystical experiences with saints and seers in India. These secret teachings had been passed down exclusively to ascetics in ancient times, but due to a special dispensation, Yogananda and his lineage shared the age-old practice of Kriya Yoga with everyday people. In 1945, as Yogananda was putting the finishing touches to the book that would transform millions of lives, we deployed the Atomic bomb as a weapon for the first time in human history. Yogananda, foreseeing what was to come, wrote: “The human mind can and must find within itself energies greater than those within stones and metals, lest the atomic giant, newly unleashed, turn on the world in mindless destruction.”

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