I had the ultimate joy of sharing the stage with my daughter at the kirtan festival over the summer. A full 30 minutes where she sang with me the whole time! I wanted to wait to tell you this because she sang so well that I decided to record her vocals and add them to 2 songs from my latest album. The first one is Forever Pure which you can see the video from the festival below, and We Shall Overcome.
What makes it even more special is that Forever Pure is a song I used to sing to her so often when she was a baby falling asleep in my arms. To hear her sing it with me, to me, and to all of us, now with such ease and grace, creates a magic that I never dreamed was possible. And to hear her sing the words to We Shall Overcome gives me so much hope for humanity. When you hear it, you'll know what I mean! :)
I invite you to listen to the newly recorded songs on the album page here (track 2 and 9) and enjoy the dimension that she brings in: innocence, youthfulness, and eternalness! While you are there, download the album, there is no charge!
It feels that all the work as a father for 8 years of her life culminated in those 30 minutes on stage. She made me so proud and the audience loved her. She received so many smiles and hugs afterwards, it warmed my heart to see her bring so much joy to others.
On my next email in the coming months, I will have more good news to share with you. Stay tuned!
With much love,
I have another new recording for you!! One that was also sitting on the shelf (like the He Yama Ho song from my previous email). I said, 'ok it's time for you too to get finished so that others can listen! So here it is!! It also features Océane Carpentier and it holds the most beautiful message for you. It is based on the Ho'oponopono mantra from the Hawaiian tradition and it includes the meaning in French and in English:
Je suis désolé pardonne moi je t'aime merci
I'm sorry please forgive me I thank you and I love you
And I also added the mantra:
Om Namo Guru Dev Namo
This mantra from the Kundalini Yoga tradition "asks you to believe in your own internal wisdom; to trust and listen to your inner guidance. It states that you are your own best teacher and you must trust yourself and your own wisdom. Another rendition of the translation says "I bow to the Divine Wisdom within myself." (from the website Katia Yoga)
These 2 mantras I believe are amongst the most powerful we can sing to raise our vibration. The Ho'oponopono practice of forgiveness when applied with self, family and friends, and all the people we may have difficulty with, can bring so much healing and peaceful relations. And the Om Namo mantra highlights our true nature as divine sovereign beings.
To further explain the significance of this mantra I want to bring your attention to my previous email. I mentioned I would explain what singing sacred mantras mean for me now and why I took back the artist name of Ganesh. The deepest significance and probably the hidden meaning behind these mantras is that we are the gods we are singing to. We are the ones we've been searching for. All the divine aspects of the higher beings are in us. In our human infancy we externalized them and worshipped them, but now in our evolution we have awakened to our true nature and grown up.
I believe the Om Namo Guru Dev Namo mantra highlights this most. We have the divine wisdom within us. We don't have to submit ourselves to anyone or anything anymore. We have all the tools to do what is right for us, our families, and our communities. When it comes to our health and the choices to our livelihood, we must decide for ourselves. This is what it means, in my opinion, to be sovereign. Of course we seek advice and we do our research, but in the end we must be fully responsible for our own choices. No one can coerce or manipulate us against our will. No one has the right to impose their will upon us or judge us unless it can be proven we have done wrong to another and infringed upon their rights.
In the Bible we hear the assertion that we human beings have become like the "powerful ones" (Elohim) in knowing good and evil. We were created in their image. We are not an inferior or a slave race. We don't need to be told what is right or wrong, or how to live our lives, much to the chagrin of the ruling class who throughout history have subjugated us, and as we shall see more and more of today, are imposing their "new world order" or "great reset" that takes away our freedoms and dignity and gives them even more powers. But that is more of a discussion for another time. Suffice to say for now that we can choose for ourselves how to live because we have the right and we have the power. Om Namo Guru Dev Namo!!!
By chanting sacred mantras we bring attention to ourselves of our godly attributes and focus our awareness to our higher states of consciousness. We raise our vibration and lift our spirit as so many can attest to when we sing in a group at kirtans.
As for the name Ganesh, in the Hindu tradition, it symbolizes the wise, compassionate, and powerful elephant. At the time that I dropped the name a few years ago, I did so because I wanted to dissassociate from any religious ties but now after what I have learned these last couple of years, I want to re-connect with the metaphor as the "elephant in the room". What people ignore or cannot see, even though it is staring them in the face, is represented in the expression, "the elephant in the room". I want to be that elephant and remind people of what is truly important through the music that I play, through these types of emails, and through personal discussions and relationships.
So now it's time to let the music do the talking! It actually can convey more than what words can. I invite you to scroll down and listen to Ho'oponopono by clicking on the link. I added the track to my latest album, The Return. I remixed the whole album which was an EP (less than a 35 minute album) when I released it in April 2022 but I have since added 3 extra songs, I Am, He Yama Ho, and now Ho'oponopono. So it is a regular LP with 10 songs and over 50 minutes of music. I also remixed the Ascension of Ganesh album and added words to the song, Come Dance With Me, so that it reflects more the message I was trying to convey but which I coudn't articulate when I wrote the song in 2018.
You can stream or download all my music at no cost. I put everything free for you and if you want to offer a tip it is entirely up to you.
If you have any questions or comments, on anything I wrote or what you think of the music, please do let me know. Reading your replies is always welcomed and appreciated, and I invite conversations to further our understanding and deepen our connection :)
Also, before signing off, a reminder that I will be in Ontario this weekend at a yoga music festival and in Mascouche the following weekend. I invite you to read my new bio that I made for these events. Just keep scrolling further down to see.
Oh and by the way, if you want to attend the festival this weekend and have not yet purchased your tickets, I have discount codes! Just let me know and i'll be glad to share them with you. If you live a bit far away from the festival grounds in Ontario, download my music and listen to it in the car! It makes for a perfect road trip :)
Thank you for reading through. I look forward to seeing you!
With much love,
I'm back! It's been such a long time! I hope you are doing well and that you are having a wonderful summer.
I decided to use again the artist name, MJ Ganesh, and in a future email I will explain why. But for now I have new music to share with you and two festival events to invite you to.
In August, I will be offering a sacred chant concert at a festival in Ontario and one in Mascouche, Québec. You can see all the details by clicking on the pictures below.
It will be special to go back on stage and play songs and mantras that have a new meaning for me after this long break. I will discuss more in that future email but suffice now to say that living through turbulent times, you are forced to introspect and re-evaluate what you believe in. I have gone through changes and my guess is that you probably have to.
As a bhakti artist, it is my wish to convey the depth and richness of songs that connect us to our essence. That is why chanting mantras is so powerful and why we feel good afterwards. We become aligned and in harmony with our spiritual heart. Attending a weekend festival with such music can be so uplifting to the soul. I have done it many many times before and I highly recommend it to you. We have two wonderful opportunities this summer. Please do check the events.
The new song that I want to share with you is one that I started recording last year before my break. It was too good to leave it sitting on the shelf, so I decided to finish it now. It is a perfect example of how repeating sacred words can lift our spirit. It features Océane Carpentier whose angelic voice will transport you. Click on our picture below to hear the song. The title is He Yama Ho, and the words are from a native American tradition with the following meaning:
Gratitude for existing here and now
Gratitude for every moment
If there is anything I have learned through all the teachings and practices I have come across over the years, it is being present and being grateful. Even when you experience things happening around you and within you that you wish didn't, having gratitude shifts your perspective to see what you can learn, what you can overcome, and what you can do to become a better person.
Enjoy the song. I included it as a bonus track in my most recent album, The Return, which by the way feels much more like a "return" now after such a long break! Feel free to download it or the whole album at no specific cost. Sing along and may it bring joy to your heart.
With much love,
I'd like to say these last words to you
These words from my heart to you my friend
Farewell and God bless
Be safe and be strong
Be happy and be free my friends
Until we meet again
Some sunny day
When we'll all be finally free
To be who we are essentially
I never thought I would say these words that I wrote about 2 years ago here in this context. (Or maybe my subconscious mind knew all along.) I feel the time for me has come to say goodbye, at least for now. I am taking a break from Facebook, and from yoga and a community I have become disconnected from. I must find my voice and calling through a new path more authentic to who I want to become.
Hence I will drop the name MJ Ganesh and go back to my birth name, Marc-Joseph Chalfoun (you can still call me MJ :)). I am very proud of what MJ Ganesh has done in the last 7 years, creating 3 albums and inspiring many to sing their heart out and experience the spirit in action. The music will live on forever, and one day, I will have a new artist name and create more music to inspire, to empower, and to touch the heart.
I will be rocking it out one last time in Montreal with sacred chants and a cacao ceremony on March 7. I will be with my daughter who is celebrating her 5th birthday on March 5 and I will be turning 50 on March 12. Yes, 5 is the big change for both of us, and I feel I owe it to you my friends and fans to share with you one last time.
I will still be available for invitations to play at your events and gatherings as a hired musician. My account will be temporarily closed after this week-end but you can reach me via my messenger or email.
Namaste dear ones.
When I was asked to write a blog about how yoga has helped me as a parent I declined wondering if yoga had helped at all. I was not in a good space. I felt nothing really helped me in my struggle as a parent. I had been separated from the mother before the birth of our child and it was very difficult to see the baby as much as I wanted to. I felt my rights were violated, I felt frustrated and I felt bitter. I started to understand how people and nations fight to defend their rights. My anger turned inward and isolated me from others. I experienced what is called the dark night of the soul, and I began to question everything including my own sanity. How could it be possible for someone who has been practicing and teaching a spiritual discipline like yoga and meditation for the last 10 years be unable to find peace and understanding in order to have a hand in raising my child full-time? In my despair, I lost my passion for yoga. I did however keep my meditation practice regular and continue to teach yoga classes as this was my main source of income.
A week after the request to write a blog, I thought it over and accepted to write something. I realized that yoga had indeed helped me but not in how I had initially believed it should have or in the way I had thought of yoga and parenting.
At first thought, yoga was the asana practice (physical part through postures and stretching), and unfortunately my practice ran dry. I had reached a plateau. Having taught asana yoga since 2006 and at times up to 13 classes a week in gyms, studios, and at the corporate level, my practice seemed to have run its course. I started loosing the joy I first had when I began many years ago. Thankfully, there was another yogic path I had discovered that sustained and inspired me in my darkest moments.
The yoga of devotion known as bhakti yoga became my main spiritual practice. Singing mantras with others in gatherings known as kirtans and creating music to accompany these sacred chants gave me the fuel to carry on. I recorded my first album entitled Birth of Ganesh and every month I would offer kirtans sometimes to as many as 30 strong voices. The energy, the joy, the upliftment was exactly what I needed to remain hopeful and positive. Apparently we are all in a vibratory state along with everything else in the universe, and the sound that yogic mantras and music in general makes somehow shifted the frequency I was in. It simply made me feel better when all else failed. I realized that when you feel better within yourself you become better equipped to deal with your challenges and handle your responsibilities. That is how Bhakti Yoga helped. It provided me an avenue to unleash my creativity by composing songs, release my emotions by chanting with others, and inspire me to a better future with sacred music.
With a faithful practice of devotional singing that lifted me to a higher vibration and carried me through periods of difficulty and doubt, I now have a stable relationship with a little 2 year old girl that brings so much joy in my life. I would like to share a couple of videos of her growing up. The song featured in the latest video is a mantra and a children's song I put together and recorded with a few of my lyrics halfway through. Nell-Anne, my daughter, has a way of touching my heart and reminding me of how magical life can be. The song is a testimony of how music and sacred mantra can bring you the inspiration to carry on.
Yoga philosophy in harmony with other spiritual teachings tell us that there is a greater purpose, a big plan, a higher self. When I was stuck in my little mind, the ego, I felt anger and bitter. When I stepped out and trusted in the bigger picture through devotional singing combined with meditation, counseling, and a little help from my friends, I found comfort in ways that kept me going. I still feel unsure at times about how things will turn out but I know all is unfolding exactly the way it ought to be. As I raise my consciousness, so does things around me change. The proof is that I found a beautiful home at an opportune time where I can bring my child and enjoy fatherhood with her. To see her growing up healthy, happy, and full of life is very satisfying. It also warms my heart to hear her chant the songs I have been singing to her since her birth! I have much to be grateful about. Shared custody is soon to happen and I can now reap the full joys of parenting.
I would like to close with a Christian prayer that brought me solace during the most difficult times. I have known it since childhood, and the words resonate well with me. I sometimes amend the words here and there to fit my yogic worldview. I provide these extra words in parentheses below with the traditional prayer. I believe the prayer is very devotional and in harmony with bhakti yoga. Through devotion, our inner vibration rises and our consciousness expands. And through the chanting and repetition of the sacred names, our passion is fueled. The prayer begins by praising the name of God as does all the sacred mantras in bhakti yoga. Both the Christian prayer and bhakti yoga highlight love and forgiveness which make healing and personal growth possible. These characteristics are the quintessential human qualities that nurture the human heart in the face of suffering.
Our Father who art in heaven
(Our Mother who art the earth)
Hollowed by thy name
(Through your many names and forms I sing praise)
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
(Let my higher divine self influence and inspire my physical/mental body)
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us
Lead us not into temptation (ignorance) and deliver us from evil (ego)
MJ Ganesh (Marc-Joseph Chalfoun)
Are you enjoying the change of seasons? One thing I have noticed as the colors change and the weather gets colder is that changes are occurring within and around us all the time. Yet somehow the mind likes to hold on and imagine things to remain the same. The warmth of summer, the stability of a job or relationship, a youthful vibrant health -- are some of those things we wished remained forever. Yet life is always changing, our circumstances, our health -- that is the nature of this physical world. But if there is one big lesson we can learn and appreciate from all the changes is that there are opportunities laden in them to help us rise above and see the place beyond that is changeless and miraculous. This is the place of mystics, where the healing of the soul takes place, so that while the outer withers and fades, the inner draws closer to its true nature. From that place and perspective you are happy, aware of who you are and of the meaning of your life.
I invite you to take a moment now to rediscover that place. You had glimpses of it in youth, in dreams, in celebrations and epiphanies, in quiet contemplations and musical pieces. It is always available if we would only steer our attention away from the plethora of mundane distractions that serve as monsters and demons and willfully take the time to cultivate our own intuitive and spiritual antennas.
As an aid in your reflections and a tool in your development, I invite you to join me for my next sacred chant event (kirtan) on Halloween night. Saturday at 8pm I will be at a new yoga studio in Cote-St-Luc for an evening of powerful spells (i.e. chants) to release the emotional and archetypal monsters and demons that bring fear and illusion into our psychic lives. The mantras we use are like mask removers: they penetrate those self created ego driven monsters that have become our masks and personality costumes. The deities the mantras honor and point us to are our guides that help us out of the darkness of ignorance and into our true nature of light and love beyond the mental and social constructs that have polluted our projections.
Your are welcome to join us in this celebration. Bring a mask with you as a reminder of your own ego mask and of the changeability of the outer costumes and roles we put on, and be prepared to expose your true nature!
To register for the kirtan please visit my page here. Your registration helps me to organize the event, know how many musicians to hire, and prepare the space accordingly. We will also have some Halloween treats for you!
Also, there is still space available for our meditation retreat in December. Maybe a full weekend of meditation in the beautiful natural surroundings up north, with insightful reminders and mindful practices throughout the program, is just what you need to realign with your inner true self that is from above.
Looking forward to seeing you as we shift together into the change of seasons.
A few weeks ago I created a profile on ReverbNation, a music website, and posted short song clips from my album Birth of Ganesh. Then, a couple days later, I received an email from Landmark Events, an organization that offers independent artists the opportunity to play in mid-size venues and in front of music industry reps. They heard my music and offered me the chance to play at their next showcase festival in Montreal! Oh my!! I was so nervous and almost declined, but this is what I was intending when I recorded my album, to bring Birth of Ganesh out into the world. And so here is my chance!
On October 23 I will be with 15 other local artists from various musical genres and playing a set of 25 minutes to a wider audience that are not from the yoga community, including music industry professionals who will be selecting the top artists, rewarding them with grants and the opportunity to continue playing at other mid-size venues across North America.
I am writing you today to extend to you the invitation to come and support kirtan music and my intention to bring it to a wider audience. If you enjoy what sacred mantra music has done in your life, then please come help share the vibes to others. The tickets are only $13 general admission or $12 to stream it live from anywhere in the world! You can always watch it at another time if you are not available on Oct. 23. The time of my set will be selected depending on how many tickets I sell, anytime from 3pm to midnight. I will let you know a day before. Again though, which ever tickets you buy, I will make sure you get a link to watch it online in case you cannot attend.
As a token of my appreciation for purchasing a ticket, I will send you a free download of the album if you do not already have it. Just send me a note once you have purchased your ticket. Thank you!
Here is the link for purchasing the tickets. You will see the option of choosing my name for the artist that you are supporting:http://www.ticketscene.ca/events/14044/
Here is the website for Landmark Events:
Facebook event page with a more detailed description of the festival:
Here is my profile on ReverbNation:
Thank you so much for your support! I will very much appreciate you there along side me, whether in person or in spirit.
I have a few things I would like to share with you today. First, I have a new website design and address. As you may know, I was using www.yogafornewtimes.com as the address for a couple of years now. In the back of my mind, the name, Yoga for New Times, was something I was preparing for a future time: preparing the body, the mind, and the spirit, to grow and evolve in order to reach an optimal state of being with the tools used in the practice of yoga.
Well folks, the time has arrived. I feel that after this productive summer with festivals, retreats, and personal practice, and an eventful year with the birth of my child, the birth of my first album, the changes with musicians, friends, and family, and all the challenges that came with it -- all this has lead to this moment where I feel fully in my power and in a new identity. Yes, practice does pay off as does patience and perseverance.
A name says it all. The name MJ Ganesh was something I was toying with and even shying away from. Ganesh was a name given to me years ago. I didn’t like it but after a while it grew on me. I have come to love Ganesh and what he represents: compassion, tenderness, yet powerful and wise. I can relate to the elephant totem embodied in Ganesh as I feel a special bond with all animals. Being vegan and an animal rights advocate, I champion these creatures especially those who cannot defend themselves.
So, I am now ready to assume my new name and identity. My website now reflects this new role. The site address is www.mjganesh.com. I offer services that I am comfortable with, good at, and love.
Music is my first priority. Having grown as a musician and more recently into a kirtan artist. I accept this role fully. It’s what drives me. You are invited to come and taste this passion of combining music and chanting together at the next kirtan. It will be held at Happy Tree Yoga on Friday September 18. Check out the details and join along. The fire of energy we experience at a kirtan is priceless.
Next, I offer Thai Yoga Massage, a dynamic yet deeply relaxing message. If you have yet to try it, check out the video on the site and accept a $10 rebate on the listed price for your first massage with me. We all need a massage once in a while to release tension and to spoil ourselves too.
I also have 2 yoga classes that I will be teaching, one in the Montreal and the other in Kahnawake. The class integrates all that I have learned over the years, from traditional postures, breathing practices, to meditation and chanting. Registration is now open for these classes which will begin next week.
And finally, I offer meditation retreats. I think the summer retreat just 2 weeks ago was the peak experience this year that brought it all together. We were a full group, 15 participants, together in a week-end that went smooth, quick, and effectively. We all benefited. We all changed. We all received something valuable to bring home with us. Here is what one person said, "What a profound experience the retreat turned out to be for me. It really ingrained in me some good habits on mindfulness and helped me reconnect on a deeper level to the Source. Most importantly, it reminded me of my spirituality and I have really enjoyed incorporating all of the tools I learned into my life each day since I've been back."
The next meditation retreat will be on December 11 to 13. Please accept a $30 rebate on the list price by registering before Oct. 1.
Take a moment to visit my website, and check out all the services offered. And listen to the album! If you don't have yourself a copy yet, please accept 10% off the listed price. Just write a comment below letting me know what you think of the website, and I will send you a code to redeem the discount. Thanks!
It will be my privilege to share these services with you and to assist you on your spiritual journey.
Best on the path,