I’ve traipsed through India; soaked up the spiritual energy at the glorious temples from Chennai to Trivandrum to Goa and Mumbai. I felt deep appreciation and peace in each sacred space.
When I travel stateside, I also try to fit in spiritual outposts or events. No five-star hotels. No malls. No cineplexes. No fancy dining. I fill my soul, and my belly, with a bit of spiritual healing.
Next stop: Houston, Texas. Home of big oil and bhakti (devotion).
Houston is the site of the sixth annual Texas Yoga Conference, February 20-22. You don’t have to be a yogi to participate, either. This year’s venue is the newly completed 24,000 square foot ISKCON Temple and Cultural Center on West 34th Street.
I’ve visited the ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) center in Mumbai and was in awe. My favorite place to eat, shop, and sing kirtan (devotional chants) in Dallas is the ISKCON temple. Both of these temples feature elaborate sanctuaries filled with three-dimensional deities and walls painted with images of Lord Krishna, Radhe, and others. It’s not just for Hindus. Anyone can enter and experience the divine peace and energy within, and outside of, the walls of these palatial shrines.
The Houston center is the latest and greatest in the Americas. Construction began in 2004, and the grand opening was ten years later. Leaders from each faith community made prayers of invocation in their own faith language and tradition to bring blessings and goodwill to the Houston center.
This is the first year the Texas Yoga Conference will be held in its new home at ISKCON, Houston.
“The ISKCON temple is a beautiful cultural center organized and developed by some of the most supportive and loving people in our community,” said Jennifer Buergermeister, founder of Texas Yoga Conference. “We are honored and blessed to be invited into their amazing space – a home of absolute devotion to the path of acceptance and love. If you like to walk on rose petals and feel absolutely seen and accepted for who you truly are, regardless of race or religion, join us and let’s support a movement and walk together along on the path of grace.”
Buergermeister expects plenty of people from outside the Houston area to be drawn to her weekend event which offers full conference passes, day passes, and single activity admission. Basically, something for everyone. Concerts. Cooking demos. Lectures. Yoga sessions for beginners or advanced practitioners.
“I always find it surprising and exciting when I find attendees from all over, including other states,” she says.
Participants or visitors will have several opportunities to hear Vish from The Mayapuris perform. The popular traveling bhakti (devotional) kirtaneer was at the Houston ISKCON grand opening, and performs yearly at BhaktiFest in California, among other places.
Dini, who lives in Dallas, has seen Vish perform four times. “Vish’s kirtan opens the heart letting The Divine infuse you with true love. He beautifully fuses the ancient sacred mantras and tunes with contemporary influences bringing kirtan to new highs. You won’t be able to resist the urge to dance or sing along,” she says.
The Bhakti House Band will perform fusion percussion-driven instrumentation and rich harmonies that enlighten the soul. Since the 2011 release of the Bhakti House Band’s first award-winning album, Nada Bhakti: The Sound of Devotion, they have gained thousands of loyal fans in more than 50 countries.
The concerts are open to the public with tickets priced at $10 pre-paid, $15 at the door. To reserve your tickets, view the complete schedule, or register for the conference, visit www.texasyogaconference.com. For information on the venue, visit www.iskconhouston.org To read about India, yoga, or Kirtan, log on to www.TheNamasteCounsel.com
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