Mantra & Melodies for Navaratri, 9 Nights of the Goddess​

What are your current intentions for what you are creating? Share them here with Priya Deepika Mohan live as we celebrate Mantra & Melodies for Navaratri, 9 Nights of the Goddess​. Mantra & Melodies for Navaratri: Nine nights of Invoking the Feminine Divine You are invited to an ancient tradition of celebrating the nine forms of Mother Goddess bringing balance between Light and Dark, and getting to know the eternal energy, Shakti that lives within and all around.  Shakti is the link between the worlds of our being with breath and sound as conduits for energy to move into our awareness and experience. From Shakti, the feminine rises into form bringing through all aspects of manifestation, qualities and expression through form.  Navaratri celebrates the nine forms of the feminine divine, from the perfection of innocence to knowledge and prosperity to the fierce protection of her children. She is celebrated as her 1008 names from the Sri Lalita Sahasranama, Durga Devi, Lalita Tripura Sundari, Kamakshi Devi, Maha Kundalini, ParaShakti are recited and invoking her presence and protection. The many faces of the Mother Goddess are as distinctive as the regional and linguistic practices and emphasis representing the diversity of Hindu and Yogic cultures across the South Asian diaspora.  Over the last few years, I’ve grown a personal relationship with the Autumn Navaratri as this time of year is a time of rebirthing for me. With the close of summer I tend to take account of the activities from the year and structure how I want to approach my remaining commitments on ongoing projects. This is a time of purification, activation, healing and creativity. Whenever I surrender into the arms of my practice, especially through yoga and mantra, singing in this practice is powerfully transformative. Two years ago during this time is when I walked into the studio with my producer as we began to lay down the structure for my songs, moving from the ambient esoteric to greater form and distinction. This creative process is the ultimate dance of Shiva and Shakti, moving from energy to form. In fact, the first song of my album Invocation was literally born out of the energy of Navaratri, invoking her names, sweetness of energy and the devotion that sets the tone for the album.        

Culture Shift~ Yoga in West Virginia​

Last week, I traveled to West Virginia to play, perform and teach at my first Yoga Festival!  Yep, it was an awesome experience! Wanderlust Snowshoe in West Virginia was a beautiful event. We had instant rapport with staff and artists on our ride up from Pittsburgh to Snowshoe setting the tone for a wonderfully inclusive experience over the weekend. I found the festival participants so gracious and appreciative of the music, education and experience I brought to the classes and performances. It was a lot of fun to customize the blend of traditional Indian raaga and contemporary sounds of the album to match the tone of each yoga class, enhancing their experience on the mat. I wasn’t always keen on playing at Yoga festivals, mainly because of my own bias on how I experienced the Yoga community in Los Angeles;  like the portrayal of yoga as fitness and fashion & cultural appropriation of Indian traditions, such as wearing bhindis and Henna as “temporary tattoos”.  When I was growing up in Southern California I was made fun for just being Indian, asking me what tribe I was from, mocking the food I would bring to school, having Henna on my hands from my Indian classical dance performance. Then all of a sudden in high school it became popular and trendy to wear bhindis and Henna, using Sari as decor materials, displaying Hindu deities on t-shirts, kirtan as the signature representation of Indian music in the yoga scene and the list goes on.  While I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years, I stayed on the periphery of what felt like a yoga scene.AND, at the same time, I may not have had the opportunity to practice as a young woman, since in my family “only boys are allowed” to practice Yoga (unless you are married and your husband give you permission ;)  As an American woman, I have had the privilege to set my own conditions and terms for my spiritual practice, to choose and decide what is right for me. Over the last 10 years my practice expanded from Yoga as asana and meditation to include Naada yoga & Shabda yoga – Sound yoga. I have cultivated my music through the container of yoga, as sound healing with classical Indian music as a strong foundation. As a musician I have been committed to bringing authenticity to the culture of Yoga, particularly in the west and what has now expand back into India.In 2010 I was encouraged by my friends to bring my voice and sound to the surface. I decided it was time to stop judging and embrace the open container of transformational community where I could make an impact in bringing authenticity and having impact in how we respect traditions and culture. Teaching and performing at Snowshoe as my first Yoga festival was empowering and  healing of any residue bias I held onto when I was younger. I worked alongside teachers like Kia Miller and Yotam Agam who have decades of learning, practice and experience with Yoga and Indian culture. They were both so loving and gracious in their authentic approach to the practice. I also felt embraced what I was bringing in my musical expression and vocal education. So this brings me into a full circle, creating a new experience of witnessing Yoga in the west,  beyond the fitness or diluted trends, I find authenticity and receptiveness to the art and science of Yoga lineages. As I align with my own purpose of self-expression and devotion through music, I come into gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to an audience who is ready to receive, listen and practice with me. ​

JUNE 9-11 • Wanderlust Festival • West Virginia

Wanderlust Festival at West Virginia was awesome! I performed during the opening ceremony of WLWV. I accompanied​ Kia Miller during her yoga classes on Friday and Sunday mornings. I also playing a listening session with Yotam Agam whose guided us through a sound healing meditation with his sound frequencies.  

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PRIYA deepika