How it all began

A few years ago [2011], I was going through a phase of wondering whether there might be more to life than just entering a corporate career (which I was getting into like all my peers) and to just dive into a life of busyness. Something in me was saying there’s just got to be more than this!

That’s Swami Kriyananda

And through all that I came across my spiritual path and family at Ananda Sangha and had the blessing to connect with Swami Kriyananda. With his friendship and guidance I was completely sold on the thought that there is something more to live for. We can live life to our fullest potential, in communion with something higher within us. There’s a way to live a more fulfilled life and share that with others. Shortly after I was completely sold on this idea, he left his body [2013] and I moved into our community in Ananda Pune, India where all my friends were doing exactly this: living by higher ideals, always trying to include others happiness in their own, living a life of service to God and therefore to humanity. It was a beautiful experience where I saw firsthand examples of how through all the difficulties we face in life one can develop the ability to think of others first rather than ourselves. And I started to see the joy and freedom of spirit that comes from living this way!

There were moments of loneliness though – it wasn’t all easy and joyful all the time. The difficulties were mostly due to the harsh realities one finally saw in oneself and had to except and work with honestly, sincerely and one step at a time. The usual distractions to escape from myself {such as through television, going out with friends, loud music} were removed from my life.

Art by Swami Kriyananda

I had chosen to work on myself.

And at the end of the day, when I returned to my tiny cottage in the woods where I stayed alone, it was just myself that I had to face, to learn to be with, enjoy the company of and befriend. And there were tendencies that came through – some harder to accept than others. At times this was very difficult. Granted that I had wonderful company around me who helped me keep going and were living examples for me and working on themselves in similar ways, we still each had to make our own individual effort! This is when I decided to buy some paints, sheets of paper and canvas and I dove into art as a way to make friends with this process. There were many inspiring thoughts, songs, lyrics, chants, ideas that I was bathing in the entire day and art became a way for me to process them, to make them my own and most importantly to have fun in a higher way! I started to learn a priceless lesson – to truly enjoy my own company.

That’s Asha 🙂

My iPod saved me, ofcourse, because it allowed me to keep the company of my guru Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda or Nayaswami Asha {another dear friend who helped me along this journey in a hugeeeee way and she has a website filled with a treasure of classes and talks on these life transforming teachings – you’ll love it!} Now with regard to art, I don’t have official fine art training – it’s been mostly self-taught and self-discovered. An interesting incident occurred when a guest who visited our retreat found out that I paint. She asked to see my work and she saw connected with one piece that struck a chord in her and asked for a print of that work. Perhaps because I was diving deep into my soul and trying to portray from that point of origin, it touched something in her in and brought out some inspiration in her. This was when I realized the transforming power that art and creative activities can have when expressed from within.

Art by Dana Lynne Andersen

Since then, I had the opportunity to spend an entire summer [2016] in our Ananda community in Assisi, Italy where another dear friend – Dana Lynne Andersen has started an Art Academy as a way to enable people to discover the transformative power of the arts. Bathing in her approach for 3 months helped me find my own unique expression which was trying to come forth over the last years but now finally received a boost of energy! I then returned to India and I have been sharing my process through these workshops, courses, blogs and artwork on exploring something that I hope to make a huge part of my life – to learn how to take the inspiration I feel inside and express it creatively. This is example Swami Kriyananda set for us through his life – he composed over 400 pieces of music, wrote over 150 books, founded communities, worked with each individual in a unique way, he was ever fresh in his approach to life – he really did live life to his fullest, and he hoped people would take inspiration from how he did it and try to do it in their own way.

So that’s  a little of the background story to Joyful Aspiration and this work – which has been created with the hope to share ways in which we can all live creatively from inner inspiration, and as we try to do so, our lives become so much more enriched and we begin to grow as instruments of a higher potential in us!

“In order to grow, you have to express yourself – creatively as an instrument of the divine.” – Swami Kriyanada

(Here are a few more amazing devotee artists who I had the chance to spend some time with and learn from – Jyotish Novak, Dana Lynne Andersen, Mantradevi, Carianne. You’d love to see their work, it is full of light!)


How I hope to help you:

My aim it to offer you a few tools, suggestions to use art as a way to bring higher inspiration into our lives. My strength lies more in helping you activate your creative energy, which will then find its way into everything you do! Any techniques you add on after that will have something that is truly you in it!

For more information Click Here…