Aum Pendants

Aum (also Om, Devanagari) is a mystical or sacred syllable. It is found at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a sacred exclamation to be uttered...

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Soul Symbols

Throughout history all cultures have honoured natural gemstones for their ability to enhance the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual attributes of the body...

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Ganesha Pendants

Elephant-headed Ganesha is Lord of beginnings, and he himself is symbolized as a transition point for he is neither man nor elephant.

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Malas

Japa is the repetition of sacred mantra either by chanting vocally or mentally, usually with the assistance of a mala (prayer beads)... Chanting manta is the...

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Jalanna Louise Lloyd-Smith has been designing jewelry since 1984, when she blended her interest in fashion and art. She has actually had a life-long interest in art, and began her studies as a child at the Montreal Museum des Beaux Arts, when Arthur Lismer, Group of Seven, was still teaching. A graduate of the University of Guelph Fine Art program, Lloyd-Smith continued to explore many aspects of art through the Toronto Three School of Art.

Although her extensive art training never included formal jewelry classes, the numerous courses in sculpture and multi-media formed a base for being self taught in jewelry design. Her early designs have incorporated various materials ranging from shell found on beaches, leather, bone, Mirano glass, silver, and semi-precious stones.

Throughout the 1990s, Jalanna Louise worked intimately with both Canadian designers Marilyn Brooks and Linda Lundstrum creating jewellery for their fashion boutiques. She also sold her work in 15 other top ladies wear shops in the Toronto area including Creeds, AGO, and the McMichael Art Gallery. Her designs have also been offered in many silent auctions organized as fundraisers, which include benefits for Julliette's Place (shelter for women and children in transition) Toronto; Parkview Services for Seniors, Stouffville; Evergreen Hospice, Markham; Toronto Liver Foundation; Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre; and the Toronto Heart & Stroke Foundation.

In May 2000, Jalanna started a company called Soul Symbols, and has focused her jewellery interests exclusively on gemstones and their corresponding crystalline energies. This decision came from her many years of studying yoga, which she started when she was 21 years old. Jalanna took her Yoga Teachers Training through Yoga Centre Toronto, in 1984, specializing in Iyengar training. She has studied directly with Mr. B.S.K. Iyengar through his International Teachers Conferences. Jalanna has also learned about the subtle attributes of the human body through studying Shiatsu massage at both the beginner and intermediate levels (1989-1990); Reflexology (1995); Therapeutic Touch (1996); Bach Flower Remedies (1996); Crystal Healing (2000); Hasta Samudrika Sastra Level 1 (2009), Level 2 (2010).

 

Personal Spiritual Journey

Spirit and I have been chasing each other for many years, and I have devoted much of my adult life to the study of the timeless wisdoms based on the subtle energies of the universe as honoured from ancient cultures. Soul Symbols is the culmination of my life experiences bringing together various teaching which are rooted in a classical yogic foundation. I count many of the great yoga masters as my mentors and guides. The richness of these esoteric teachings, has brought a depth of understanding to life, which never would have been obtained with their guidance.

Swami Muktananda Swami Muktananda

I started my yoga asana training back in the late 1970s, long before the study of yoga became a trend. There was no social incentive to study yoga at that time, because few people knew about the magnificence of these classical teachings. There were almost no magazines that were offering articles on yoga back then, and speaking about yoga or its benefits was just not part of western culture. My mother had given me a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda, and after reading his life story, I was intrigued to discover what yoga had to offer.

Luckily, I chose Toronto Yoga Centre to begin my yoga journey, which had a firm rootedness in Iyengar Yoga. There was a strong respect for the purity of the yogic teachings which B.K.S. Iyengar had to offer through his books, his Iyengar Medical Institute of Pune, and his Iyengar International Teaching Conferences. There was no question as to the purity of the lineage or traditions being followed within our classes. All the teachers at Yoga Centre Toronto, were highly qualified instructors with a rich background of yoga asana studies gathered through direct classes with B.K.S. Iyengar. Respectful attitudes towards tradition was vital, and we chanted the invocation to Patanjali at the beginning of each class. Learning was slow, and required diligence, with students progressing through from beginners, to intermediate, and onto advances studies under strict guidelines. In order to qualify for the Teachers Training Program, it was required that 2 years of asana study be completed at the advanced level. This offered a framework for following teachings with proper content that integrated ethics, psychology, and physical well-being.

The importance for having traditional and classical knowledge well taught was truly a gift and a spiritual boon for all the students who attended the center. The understanding of yoga asanas, and its effect on the body, mind, and emotions has shaped my life in many ways. Having grown up within a family that was firmly based in western medical science, integrating yoga concepts into my own life resulted in a complete transformation in terms of how I wished to address my own needs.

One of my personal highlights through my studies at Toronto Yoga Centre was attending workshops with senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher Father Joe Pereira. Almost each spring time Father Joe would come and offer his own unique perspective on Iyengar yoga through his personal teachings gleaned from our guru. He spoke about breaking his back working with Mother Teresa. The doctors had informed him that he would need surgery and permanent metal supports would be inserted to steady his spine. He thanked the doctors, and took all the x-ray scans to BKS Iyengar. Mr. Iyengar looked at the scans and after careful considerations said, 26 asanas. Father Joe spoke of his own deep respect and trust for the traditions that yoga had to offer and practiced these prescribed asanas each day for two years to restore his natural health. Listening to his deep commitment to following Iyengar tradition, it was firmly understood that the study of yoga was a slow and methodical field of study with a proven track record.

One of the challenges with interfacing between traditional systems of knowledge and our modern society, is the need to fix things quickly and our modern desire for instant results. We move so quickly through our lives, and we have the desire to have everything now. We live in a society that likes to have immediate gratification. If we are hungry, we are conditioned to grab some prepared foods, rather than taking the time to cook nourishing meals in the privacy of our own homes. If we are unwell, rather than rest and nurturing ourselves with proper diet, we look a pill or a quick answer.

Our current modern society has such a multifaceted array of distractions, that we have a tendency to spend most of our time living very superficially, unless we are offered the teachings of a spiritually based practice. The essence and importance of lineage tradition means that the student has the integrity and wisdom of the teachers and gurus that have followed a proven path, rather than following an isolated way which is not rooted in tradition, which may or may not bear good fruit. We learn from the interactions with others, and from the examples that others set…..by the way they teach, and by the way that they live their life away from the teaching environment.

My personal journey has also involved the study of a number of courses regarding the subtle energy centers of the body. My interest in alternative health practices have included the study of Shiatsu massage; certification in both Reiki and Reflexology; Colour Therapy, through Colour Institute of Canda; Yoga Therapy, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine; and the study of flower remedies, Bach Flowers with Tamara Penn.

In 1993 I was introduced to Siddha Yoga and the teachings of Swami Muktananda. The structure of Siddha Yoga has offered wonderful support and helped with keeping a disciplined mantra and meditation sadhana. It has been the practice of sacred Sanskrit mantra chanting that has assisted me the most in clearing the energy fields in my own body. Understanding the power of sound vibration, and how it effects all of matter has been a wonderful teaching. As Sanskrit is an energy based language that is completely founded on the knowledge and understanding of vibration, the discipline of mantra chanting has helped with facilitating the resonance of the Divine through my own physical body. Daily personal practice has offered fascinationg insights into the mystery of our spiritual potential.

International Iyengar Yoga Conference with instruction by BKS Iyengar

Most of us need the connection, the teaching, and the grace of an evolved teacher if we are to activate the higher visions inside ourselves. Similarly, since 1993 I have been involved in a guru-disciple relationship through Siddha Yoga. In the Siddha Yoga tradition, the spiritual attunement and initiation offered by the guru is of particular importance. Both Swami Muktananda, and Swami Chidvilasananda (Gurumayi), specialize in transmitting their own spiritual power to their disciples through a process called “shaktipat”, which literally means the descent of spiritual energy. Shaktipat and the awakening of “kundalini” bring the energy of the spirit dramatically into the foreground of our lives. This shifts our priorities and creates a deeper understanding of the unfoldment of life, tuning the body and mind towards a more subtle awareness.

When we invoke the guru’s presence into our daily yogic practices, we are asking for the guidance of the guru’s own inner state of experience, clarity of vision, and compassion, to protect and open ourselves to connect to the spiritual light that is also within ourselves. The spiritual path can be very narrow and precarious, it is so subtle that you need the guru’s help to discern the truth and right directions to take.

Although the spiritual growth and attunements have been most profound through Siddha Yoga, I have also received initiation through studying the Kalachakra with the Dali Lama. This is a very dedicated commitment of a 10 intense participation, with the sacred blessings of the Tibetan monks to create the spiritual force to facilitate the initiation.

My interest in yoga was started through the readings of Paramahansa Yogananda, and his life story. It has been relatively recently in my spiritual questing that I have dived into his ocean of wisdom and studied his teachings on Kriya Yoga through the Self-Realization Fellowship based in Encinitas, San Diego. Meditating in the adjoining gardens of the hermitage where he wrote his autobiography, is an experience which I will treasure all my life.

Apart from the ancient studies offered through the East, I devoted roughly 8 years’ experience (1994 – 2002), to the sacred study of the Native Medicine Wheel and Sweat Lodge through the participation in group circles and ceremony offered by Ojibwa elders.