There is a moment in yoga practice when the act becomes transcendent.
All thoughts of this world drift away, and we become lost in the rhytym of the movements, lost in our breath.
It’s in this transcendence that the real healing, and growth, happens. As our minds rest, our spirits soar.
PranaMuktiBhakti is a wonderful facilitator of this cosmic transcendence.
PranaMuktiBhakti is a three-woman Kirtan band devoted to “liberating the Life Force through devotion one chant and mantra at a time.” Made up of locals Liz Sanderson, Kim McCoy, and Neleh Poletsky, PranaMuktiBhakti awakens the spirit of the Goddesses and Gods at every yoga class they grace.
It all started over bagels. Sanderson and McCoy bumped into each other at Yorgo’s, and got to talking about music and yoga. They decided to jam, along with Poletsky.
“We all really meshed well with instruments and voices and magically, PranaMuktiBhakti was born!” said Sanderson, who genuinely has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. “Very synchronistic and effortless, really.”
Everyone in the band is multi-talented. Sanderson plays drums, harmonium, flute, and singing bowls; McCoy plays bass, harmonium, flute, and singing bowls; while Poletsky plays ukulele, kartals, bells, and singing bowls.
Everyone sings, in glorious harmonies.
“I believe that the vibration of music is healing and therefore is complimentary to the many healing benefits experienced through yoga,” said Poletsky. “Think about when you sing or hear a song you really love, especially at a live concert, and how that makes you feel and then being able to practice yoga at the same time. It’s like a double rainbow experience.”
The group has played all over, including at Atma Bodha Yoga Studio, Breathe Yoga Center, The Space Above, Yoga Nook, Torch Hot Yoga, Sattvic Space, Wells Therapeutics, and at beach classes at the Oceanfront.
If you’re a yogi who has never done a class with live music aligned to the teaching, it truly is a divine experience. The chanting of the Kirtan connects to a holy vibration.
“I feel that music helps us connect with a universal language,” said McCoy. “With live music, I feel that we can connect with the feeling of being on a deeper level than just the mind and body. As yoga also connects the practitioner with the deeper self, I believe the combination of the two help us experience ourselves in a very authentic and inspiring way.”
All three members of the group are accomplished in their day job careers, with McCoy a longtime member of the Virginia Arts Festival team, Sanderson a massage therapist for ten years, and Poletsky a photographer and mother to a newborn son. They are each yoga teachers who live their practices.
“To me, yoga is like water,” said McCoy. “The practice first showed up like a refreshing spring rain and then turned into a little trickling stream. The more I returned to the practice, the stream became a river and eventually became the ocean…the effects of the yoga practice is as vast as the ocean and all you need to do is just show up. Connect with your breath and take it one step at a time. Don’t push it, just be where you are and allow the yoga to happen.”
Your next opportunity to check out PranaMuktiBhakti will be this Sunday at the kick-off of Norfolk Yoga Month at Commune, where they’ll be playing at the family style vegan dinner. Show up ready for a truly special experience.
“After Kirtans or performances people have shared their experiences of feeling deeply connected within themselves and to what they consider to be the Divine, they’ve experienced visions and even have come to terms with certain inner conflicts,” said Sanderson.
“It’s pretty fascinating! I experience a deep sense of joy, connection and knowing when I am singing and playing that at times brings me to tears. My hope is that the feeling within me extends out to whomever is able to receive — whether they are in the room or on the other side of the world — and for that to help heal them and anyone else that they come in contact with.”