Awareness Connection Experience
By Ivy Xie-McIsaac, E-RYT200, YACEP
It has been more than 22 years since my first Yoga class in 1996. After I came back from Tibet in the summer, one of my colleagues gave me a book called “Lotus Fragrance”. The book introduces the great Tibetan Yogi Milarepa. That was the first time I encountered the word Yoga. Then in November of that year, my twin sister asked me if I would like to attend a Yoga class at the YWCA in Guangzhou, China, where we lived.
Our teacher, Mr. Tan always started the class with a half-hour meditation. His approach was simple, play Yoga music. Music from a Bhakti Yoga band (Wai Lana). Even though I didn’t understand what they were singing, the affection that they expressed touched me. It only takes a few minutes to feel the calming effects of meditation with the power of sacred sound.
Different forms of Yoga work on different fragments of the Self; some forms emphasize the body, some emphasize the mind and consciousness, and Bhakti Yoga directly works on the soul which is located in the heart.
To fully understand Bhakti Yoga one needs extensive knowledge, but knowledge is not a must to practice Bhakti Yoga. A main form of practice with others is through Kīrtana. Kīrtana means “mentioning, repeating, saying, telling”. It uses sound vibration to glorify and describe the Absolute Truth.
Anyone who is willing to share the love of the Divine and is willing to communicate by the heart can practice Bhakti Yoga together. Through Bhakti Yoga, the formless spirit can be seen, the heart-touching love can be felt, and the omnipresent Supreme God can be revealed in our own eyes. We will recognize that we are not a moving machine. We are a human being that has a soul in the heart. We are part of the Divine. What we need to do is participate, either sing along or listen quietly to the chanting. This is the way to connect with the Divine and gradually foster love of Divine Presence.