Johanna at Bhakti Fest 2019

A Bhakti Fest Fall + Musical Instruments and Meditations

A funny thing happened on my way to Bhakti Fest last week. Or maybe not so funny. As I got out of my car at the beach, I noticed a red baseball hat in the dash of a nearby car. I started chatting with my friend Chad about the current political situation, something I rarely do because it’s hard to keep up with it all when I’m on the road. The owner of the hat must have heard us because he started pointing his one good arm at me and yelling, saying hippies are responsible for everything. He started following us. We walked faster and made it across the traffic lanes before him. Right after we got across, trying to protect my tiny dog Coco, I lost my footing and took a big tumble.

As I picked myself up and looked at the boulders where I had fallen, I was grateful that my spine was spared. I was pretty banged up, however, and I spent most of the festival, when I wasn’t leading yoga or kirtan music, resting for the next event. I’m so grateful for all my friends in the Bhakti community who took care of logistics and details so I could take care of me.

Yesterday, the festival over, I spent some desert hot springs time and got a little help from some healing hands, and everything just seemed to pop back into place. I’m so grateful for the shift back into a healthy body, and for community. It’s important to remember how few people I have come across in the last three years of travel throughout blue states and red who have offered me anything but kindness. The grand total is one. I will keep that knowing in my heart as I head back to the Heartland in the next month.

I’ll be spending some extra time in IL with master instrument builder Nick at Old Delhi Music. If you’re thinking of treating yourself to a harmonium, a sitar, or other string or percussion instruments, you can get 5% off with the coupon code johanna5. Go for it now, or share this with anyone who might be looking to find a gift that will last a lifetime.

Call me a hippie, if you want. Please. It’s so important during these times that we find ways to tap into sources of love, peace, yoga and music and support people who make their livelihood doing this. Head on over to Insight Timer, a free website with a global following of meditators and yogis. My version of “Om Mani Padme Hum” was just featured on their homepage carousel. People have been writing glowing reviews about it and several of my other tracks there. Go on over and add your words, if you’re inspired.

And don’t forget about the folks at YogiTunes. They’re doing a great job of spreading da love through music. They now have my Beyond Love album available for easy streaming.

Grateful today to be in the safe and loving company of my people, as we remember what matters and support each other in the remembering.

Johanna Dharma Drops podcast

Johanna on Dharma Drops Podcast

I had a great conversation with Rebecca Warfield of Dharma Drops Podcast in late August and our episode just went live! We talked about yoga, feminism, integration of the genders through spiritual practice, the idea of a dharma path and what it looks like, the nervous system benefits and differences between powerful/asana practice and subtle body / breath work / restorative / sound healing practices.

Check it out: Episode 21: Bhakti Yoga, Music, + Devotion with Johanna Beekman

 

Insight Timer app

Can Insights Be Timed?

I don’t know whether the big insights that can show up and change a life can actually be contained by a timer. But I do know that the Insight Timer app offers multiple ways to clear the mind, which makes insights far more likely. The app offers thousands (literally) of meditation, music, and mantra offerings, featuring some of my favorite teachers and musical/devotional artists, all for FREE. And it offers more in-depth classes as a part of its subscription service.

Insight Timer has become one of my most trusted traveling buddies. And what it offers goes way beyond timing meditation. It enables me to listen in and relax into my body with guided meditations and pranayama breathing, binaural beats, yoga nidra, and mantra music. As a teacher focused on assisting students to calm the nervous system with Lullaby Yoga, I’m grateful for the guided meditations and binaural beats and the teachers who help me find my way back to sleepyland when I’m staying in a noisy campground or hotel.

And, THIS Just In! As of today, SEVEN of my most-requested songs are available right here (with more to come):

https://insighttimer.com/johannabeekman

Glowing reviews are coming in for most of the music. Within a week, Om Shanti and The Light Inside have each touched about 1000 people all around the world, many of whom have left sweet comments. Once again, I am moved and humbled by all the creative and spiritual support that shows up. Grace. Amazing Grace. Now that sounds like a good song title!

Spirit Song Soul and Mantra Soul albums

Two New Albums in the Works!

“I’ve been working in the studio and performing with Johanna Beekman for several years now. She is a fantastic singer and great songwriter. I mixed her album “Heart Beats One”, and produced, recorded and mixed her album “Beyond Love”. We are currently working on another album of groovy, uplifting jams. Please check out her fundraising video below and donate to help bring this album into the world. Thank you!!!” – Ben Leinbach, Grammy-nominated producer, composer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist

In the last few years, with a lot of help from my friends, I’ve released two albums of inspirational music in sacred languages. Since then I’ve been crisscrossing the country, sharing practices and music with all you openhearted people all along the way. This has inspired two exciting new projects.

Mantra Soul, the first album, gathers chants and songs from my travels that are often requested but not yet recorded. It features Shakti United, a song dedicated to a project I sponsor for empowering women and girls around the world. Proceeds from this song will go directly to educating children in Nepal.

The second CD, Spirit Song Soul, reaches into the broader world of universal inspirational music. It will include new songs and fresh recordings of some of my most frequently requested inspirational songs from other albums, taking me back to my roots in soul, gospel, world, folk and pop music.

Both albums are produced by award-winning producer Ben Leinbach and feature an amazingly talented collection of musicians.

We’ve already done much of the writing and recording, but to finish both albums we need your help. You can pre-order albums and other goodies here, or head over to GoFundMe if you’d just like to make a donation. Share it with your friends. Spread the word.

When we work together on projects like these, our hearts truly beat as one. I hope to see you you in coming season as we share da love here on this amazing planet!

A few of the available items:

  • Signed albums
  • T-shirts
  • Shakti United! gift bags
  • Private Lullaby Yoga™ or Soul’s Voice sessions
  • Custom mantra tracks
  • Live private or group events

See all the options here

From the bottom of my heart to yours, thank you!

 

Butterfly wings and sun photo by Alan Alcid, design by River Ananda

Shakti United

As I’ve toured the country, I’ve been amazed and touched by all the heart-centered healers I’ve met. But what got my attention most is the abundance of powerful women deeply rooted in their practices and offerings in their local communities. I felt a longing to bring these modern-day priestesses together to share their incredible voices to bigger scale, to see and support each other, and to rise to our Shakti potential.

And so, returning to home base this winter, I launched a Facebook group called Shakti United! I envision it as a place to empower sisters to share events and to celebrate Shakti in all her forms. We welcome devotees and practitioners of all kinds who are dedicated to healing and supporting the divine feminine creative force.

All devoted to the divine feminine path and healing the female cultural experience are welcome to join and share this in this group.

Please go to the group and add yourself so you can stay in touch with women around the world, share your inspirations, passions, and healing work, and hear others as they share their heart’s path.

Our goal is to offer our first few mini-events in the coming months, evolving into a sort of traveling “Spiritual Lilith Fair,” where we can all come together as one heart, in one loving song. Our first event will be March 30th in Eugene, OR, featuring the amazing Jaya Lakshmi, Matura Seva & Bhakti Shakti!

We can do together what one cannot do alone. We’re donating a portion of every “Shakti United” event or retail sale to Mitrata-Nepal, a small and personal organization focused on education for young girls, empowering and supporting them so that they, too, can rise.

One Heart,

Johanna

Johanna on the lake

On My Way Back Home…

I’m going home. And I’m also bringing my home with me. Both are true. This Bhakti Bus I call Daphne has taken me across the country for the last four months. By now most of her moving parts have been replaced, including her engine. And she’s been a good sport about it, mostly just rolling along.

Wherever I go, I’m nourished by the meeting of hearts as we move our bodies and raise our voices for love and hope. Everywhere we’re greeted by a radical hospitality that shows me again and again the True Nature of the human heart that we’re celebrating. I sometimes think of my journeys as an opportunity to stitch all of us who think this way together. As I move (and as I am moved), I am blessed by each of you who have brought me tea or food, helped me with my engine crisis, listened and shared from your hearts.

By Christmas Eve Daphne and Coco Bean and I will be parked back in Oregon to cozy up with family and friends around a warm fire. We’ll be celebrating the new year at a new ashram retreat center near Portland. And then we will be still for a while during the dark and cold time of year, fed by the energy of all the generous souls who have brought us this far.

Breitenbush Hot SpringsTo celebrate the return of the light in late January, we’ll be hosting RhythmAsana at Breitenbush Hot Springs in the Oregon mountains. I’m looking forward to sharing this magical place with friends from near and far as we move into deep joy together, feasting on fabulous organic food and soaking in the hot pools and dreaming our deep winter dreams.

Deep peace of still times to each of you, Beloveds. We will meet on the Bhakti path next year, perhaps, but for now, I wish you a resting place in your hearts, in our shared heart, beating as One.

Flaunting my Inner Flamingo

Johanna flamingo on stageI’m about to leave on a four-month national tour of festivals West to East and everywhere in between. There’s one thing I was hoping to leave behind, a habit. Ever since I started singing and playing while standing, I have a tendency to lift one leg as the energy builds. Even though I’ve tried to keep both feet on the ground, one of them (usually the right one) just wants to pop up when I forget to focus on keeping it down.

One of my friends at a festival recently said  “I’ve figured out your Medicine Animal. It’s a flamingo!” I didn’t know what to think. I had thought that I’d been hiding my “bad habit,” and here she was naming it.

Later she sent me a link to a podcast called Don’t Underestimate the Flamingo. It turns out they’re amazingly tough birds who can fall asleep standing up in frozen Andes marshes, and then wait for it to thaw before taking off, among other things.

She also sent me a link about the “flamingo spirit totem.” It was also full of good news. Almost eerie, as a matter of fact, a summary of my life path.  In a few words: social, sometimes flirtatious and flamboyant in dress, balancing a busy lifestyle and relationships. But most of all, what I know to be true: “Decisions and life directions usually come from the heart.”

Suddenly the habit doesn’t seem so bad, after all. I discovered a long time ago that it’s the struggle to change something that keeps it around, I’m embracing the toughness of the bird and the power of the heart. I’m bringing her along with me for this tour.

Festival of Colors

Festival of Colors

I had the honor of welcoming the spring this year in a truly memorable, vivid and joy-filled event. I performed and celebrated along with 37,000 others at the Holi Hai Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork, Utah. People of all ages and backgrounds gathered to sing and dance and revel in bright primary colors, dowsing each other with chalk-based powder. The overall energy was indescribable. Imagine moving to high-energy beats of kirtan and sacred music, eating vegan Indian food, and watching peacocks display their plumage. That’s just a start.

Johanna with Caru Das

Festival Owner Caru Das Introducing Johanna at the Main Stage

One of the best parts is that tickets are only $5.00, plus the cost of colorful powders and food. Last week’s festival was timed to coincide with Holi Hai, a holiday celebrating the arrival of spring and the passing of winter in India.

But the fun isn’t over yet. The event was the first in the US Festival of Colors Tour, which I’ll be joining monthly in various locations on the West coast: Las Vegas (Apr. 15th), Salt Lake City (June 10th), Reno (Aug. 19th), Sacramento (Sept. 30th), and Santa Cruz (Oct. 7th). Check out all the dates and places and see amazing video footage here: http://www.festivalofcolorsusa.com/home/

Beyond Love

Big News: The Lullaby Yoga Project

Traveling from town to festival to town this fall, I’ve become so aware of the support all around me, every moment. My little van/RV, my autumn home, supports my body with a safe and cozy place to nest and to cook nutritious meals. I arrive in towns where kind yogis and artists receive me with their big generous hearts and voices. I have such a strong desire to pay it back and forward and left and right and up and down.

Hearing people talk lately about losing sleep over the state of the world made me realize I have something to offer. In my travels over the last couple of years I’ve been offering classes in Lullaby Yoga, guiding people into restorative poses and singing soothing songs and chants to take them into deep rest. I’ve had so many people tell me that they find the music deeply relaxing and wish they could take it home with them that I decided to create an album of Lullaby Yoga music to help people find this peace anywhere.

For the last few months I’ve been working with Ben Leinbach, the award-winning musician/producer who did the final mix on my Heart Beats One album (and dozens of other albums you probably know and love). Together we’ve created the framework for a beautiful Lullaby Yoga album. But the remainder of the project will cost quite a bit more than I can raise hopping from town to town in my yoga van.

So I’m reaching out to you to ask for help. I’ve set up a GoFundMe site to make it easy to give any amount to support the project. I’m offering all kinds of thank you gifts, from early release copies of the CD to private house concerts and voice lessons. I can even write a custom song for you.

Please consider contributing, even if it’s just a few dollars, and please spread the word to others. After all, adults need lullabies too.

I really believe in the power of this music to soothe the soul, and I want to express my gratitude in advance for your help in making this music more widely available. You can watch a short video and read more about the album here.

The Magic of Bhakti

I’m just returning from a two-month tour to and from Shakti Fest in the California desert. This was a healing trip for me, because part of my focus needed to be on getting help for the concussion symptoms that had forced me to shelf my regular life for the last six months. The travel included lots of time with amazing chiropractors and healers, and they became part of what I’m calling Bhakti magic. Bhakti yoga is translated to “yoga of the heart,” and it’s the magic of this loving and supportive generosity that helped me with housing, food, and generous hospitality wherever I went.

Govind das and Radha

Govind das and Radha

Southern California is a major hub of Bhakti yoga, and most of the action centers around Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica. I found welcoming arms and a home there immediately, starting with a CD release for Radha, one of the dedicated and musical owners of the studio.  Soon I began singing with her and her partner Govind das whenever I could, including their headlining Shakti Fest set and anniversary kirtan.

Dave Stringer and Johanna

Dave Stringer and Johanna Beekman Gospel Kirtan set at Lovelight Festival, Maryland, August 2016

Near the end of the first leg of my trip, a couple of long time yoga and kirtan icons, Dave Stringer and Saul David Raye, showed up and joined in the chants with the rest of us. More Bhakti magic.

Jo Saul David Ray Jim Beckwith Sukhdev Jackson : AYKANNA recording

Jim Beck with, me, Sukhdev Jackson / AYKANNA, and Saul David Raye

Before I knew it, Stringer invited me to come to the studio and harmonize on Saul David Raye’s new musical project, a CD I’d been eagerly awaiting for the past few months.

So there I was, a month into my Bhakti journey, singing along with long-time wallahs and respected pioneers of the chanting community. We ended up sharing the love of music of the heart, and I returned again to work on another track a week later.

Next thing I knew, Saul David invited me to join him at the Bhakti Fest Midwest Retreat, June 24th to 26th, to collaborate and share music.

I’ll be singing with him Saturday night at 11:00, and I’ll also offer support for his yoga classes and share my own music. And the Bhakti magic continues . . .