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 . . .