How It All Began

Greetings! This is Justine here, but to my yoga family, I am called Anjali Om (which means ‘offering’). I have chosen to write this account through my personal perspective, since I happened to be present throughout each step of the OMBuds’ journey; however, that is not to say that I hold any member of this group any less significant, regardless of when they came into our entourage…we are all one and the same and the gifts that each one brings to our ensemble is invaluable. 

Sri Dharma Mittra

I have been a practitioner and teacher of yoga since 2005, and, upon first discovering Sri Dharma Mittra (known to many as ‘The Rock of Yoga” and a master teacher of teachers) in 2007, have been exclusively following him ever since. What drew me to the Dharma Yoga lineage was its great depth and emphasis on honouring the traditional methods and teachings of Hatha-Raja yoga; however, Sri Dharma Mittra’s brilliance lies in his ability to make those ancient practices and philosophies still relevant and accessible in this modern day and age. In addition, seeing as every being has a unique way of learning, he encourages us to explore the different branches of yoga; the more the path resonates with us, the more inclined we are to stick to it.

The ways of Bhakti (devotional) yoga and Karma (Selfless service) yoga have always formed a strong part of the Dharma Yoga culture. Every kirtan
hosted by the Dharma Yoga Kirtan Band that I attend brings about an indescribable sense of harmony and bliss and an outpouring of love….so how could I not feel compelled to share these amazing benefits with everyone?

I felt a distinct calling to act on this, even though I had no idea how I was going to pull this off. However, I guess the Universe must have heard my prayers and was in agreement with this initiative…and it was not long afterwards that I was unexpectedly gifted a harmonium! Clearly, I no longer had any excuse to stall. So, along with Fred (my music collaborator at that time), we set out on our plan to incorporate kirtan into my yoga events.

That first fateful kirtan was back in January 2016, in which there numerous fumbles, plenty of nervousness on my part, and really not much singing going on by anyone else besides me…and after awhile, that, too, waned as a result of pushing my voice to make up for the lack of audience participation! Since then, I’ve seen phenomenal growth in our repertoire, the quality and maturity of our sound, our ability to follow one another more closely, and our creative expression.

Some musicians have come and gone, others join on an occasional basis, and a precious few have stuck with me for considerably longer, making the considerable trek out to La Pêche every week to rehearse and co-create, and playing on a fairly regular basis at local and out-of-town events. There are truly no words to express my infinite gratitude and love for these amazing, dedicated kindred souls – Melissa, Andrew and Bill. Every uplifting moment that we share together is genuinely a blessing, and many a moment outside of these practice sessions are spent doing individual practice, composing music and writing lyrics, and thinking about how we can expand our offerings further afield. We are beyond excited about continuing to deliver this divine service of love to as many beings as possible!