UMF celebration features Kripalu instructed workshops


For more information on Bhavani’s yoga sessions, visit her website at

FARMINGTON — A joyful celebration of all that the University of Maine at Farmington and the local community have accomplished together is the basis for four days of workshops featuring yoga, meditation and sound.

The public is invited to attend the events free of charge thanks to an anonymous donation.

Kripalu Yoga teacher Bhavani Lorraine Nelson will bring more than 40 years of meditation practice and teaching experience to the workshops Feb. 8-11 at sites around campus. The celebration is for Theodora J. Kalikow’s leadership during her 18-year tenure as UMF president.

While all yoga highlights a balance through physical postures, there’s really a great deal more than that in the different yoga practices, Bhavani said Wednesday from her home in Massachusetts.

Kripalu Yoga is a yoga of compassion and conscientiousness with an emphasis on one’s mind being in the same place as the body, she said.

“It’s simply compassion to accept where you are when you do yoga,” Bhavani said. “You might like to be more flexible but may not be able to be on certain days. It’s simply being good to yourself and not beating yourself up if you’re not doing what someone else is doing.”

Legally named Lorraine Nelson, Bhavani is the spiritual name she’s had for 24 years and which she prefers over her English name.

“It’s a reminder what I’m doing is working on my spiritual growth and I’m on a path,” she said.

The ancient practice of meditation is appropriate for our times, she said. The simple repetition of sound, chanting to drums, can be soothing and can regulate breathing.

Bhavani also teaches sound-play — the freeing of the voice. The Kirtan (call and response) sessions center on the sound of singing, breathing in and sounding out to free the voice.

The sessions are part of a larger meditation workshop broadcast to more than 34 different countries.

“It provides an opportunity to learn more about the energies we evoke when we do chanting,” she said. It’s based on love and wanting to be more compassionate with ourselves and others.

She will help people learn to reach a meditative state on Friday; Saturday will be devoted to looking at techniques to relieve stress.

“It’s a helpful day,” Bhavani said. “People will go away with practical tools” for transforming stress inside and out.

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