Shivali Bhammer is a British-Asian singer. After graduating in Economics and Philosophy she left her job at an investment bank to pursue her artistic passions. Her euphonious voice and boundless talent has made her the most liked and followed devotional singer globally. She also holds a diploma in acting, Kathak, ballet and has released two devotional albums, The Bhajan Project and Urban Temple. Shivali is now setting the stage to be one of the youngest female Indian motivational speakers.
Tell us about your interest in devotional music and how it all started?
My interest in devotional music started naturally from when I was perhaps three years old. Apparently, I was quite an animated child and just naturally loved devotional music and then it really solidified at the age of 15, when I decided that Bhajans were not being produced to the highest standards possible. The format had been pretty much the same all the time – harmonium and then usually a male singer comes in. When we have such wonderful production in Bollywood why do we not have the equivalent for devotional music? If you’re going to sing for the lord then you should give him or her consciousness just the best possible sound experience, attract into spirituality and devotion and make that music accessible.
How can one be a spiritual Urban Yogi?
If you are spiritually inclined it is because you’re on a quest for the truth, it doesn’t make you any better or superior to anybody else. It’s simply that you are trying to find the truth within yourself, your relationship with the mind, body and spirit and tap into a deeper authenticity. My life is kind of defined by my spiritual practices and through attaining knowledge special intellect and things like that and I guess that’s how you choose to be what. It just finds you.
How did the journey from investment banking to music, dance and spirituality happen?
I like many Indian kids I was taught to be academic from a young age and I always had a real interest in finance. I studied economics and philosophy but I guess an artistic person is always going to be an artistic person and just like a comedian is always going to be funny, even if they’re not recognised as a comedian and it just pours out of you. At the age of 22, I got signed to Sony music in India and came up with a concept that had never existed before that’s when my whole life shifted. I like to think that the door kind of opened for me. I realised that you can work really hard, struggle and push a lot of things, ultimately the universe has to support it.
How would you define your music?
I’ve tried to make my music really accessible and tried to make it pleasing, with a lot of positive sounds, so that you can feel uplifted. The Bhajans don’t feel monotonous. I tend to teach a lot about living in the present moment, practicing gratitude, creating discipline and frame work to your life so that you can have better control when you feel like the world is falling apart and you create power by having a disciplined life whether that’s waking up early, doing exercise, reading before you go to sleep, it’s basically about keeping that energy and higher vibration constantly flowing. It’s designed to calm the mind, but not so that you just have to sit in one place and just meditate all day or not see anybody or become a hermit. It’s about being able to be calm, cool and collected and waltz about your daily life and business with ease.
How do you manage to do multiple roles as a singer, spiritual urban yogi, motivational speaker, and writer?
I managed to do a lot of things because these things come naturally to me. It’s like how some women manage to run a business and be a mother, look after their children, cook for their husbands too. Lots of women in India multi-task all day long and all the time and they fulfil so many roles. It’s easy for me to manage all of these roles because they’re all intertwined. Honestly, it’s because I just don’t go out on the weekdays and make sure that my evenings are available to do this kind of work which is important to me.
What do you feel about being a female Spiritual Yogi in a male dominated world?
It is a male dominated world and you have Deepak Chopra, Jay Shetty, you constantly have a lot of these male figures. I feel great that I am a female figure and known for this kind of work and it’s amazing we have some amazing female spiritualists like sister Shivani from the Brahma Kumaris, female Sanyasi in Chinmaya mission and there are a lot but yes you’re right, there aren’t many. Hey, it’s a woman’s world now and it’s time for things to change and the female voice is a powerful voice you only need to look at recent politics and the way female prime ministers and presidents have handled the Covid situation in their country’s compared to male governed countries. We just haven’t been listened to for hundreds and hundreds of years and yet what we have to say is transformational and it’s exciting to be a female in spiritual work.
What is visualisation meditation and how one can practice it?
The idea of visualization meditation is to basically close your eyes and create different possible scenarios that I actually guide you through where you can learn to really tap into your creative spirit and so as you learn to create imaginary positively inclined scenarios like a child within your mind and you’re sort of re-establishing in truth and your purpose in the way you wish your life to go so if you’re feeling negative about things outside what you do and try and use the mind to create a different set of emotions that take you away from negative ones to positive ones.
I’m releasing a 7-day visualization meditation where I go through it through 7 completely unique ways off and visualising a different scenario, whether it’s dealing with relationships, attachment, pain, loss or anxiety. This is going to be on the “Think Right App” in India.
Tell us about the evolution of Physical Yoga to Knowledge Yoga
Physical Yoga is a preparation for the body and it’s leading to still the mind and control the senses you know. Physical Yoga basically is a form of discipline it pushes that Prana that the energy that force that vital force through your body it creates a sort of harmony where all your body is connected and once your body is connected and truly sort of in touch with its own self that it’s able to go much deeper and that’s when everything that you are taken through the mind becomes a lot more easier and accessible. So, knowledge-based Yoga, Yin based Yoga is the act of acquiring knowledge from scriptures or Podcast. It’s listening to speakers, it’s just about learning more about the relationship that you can have with your own self. So knowledge based Yoga is the relationship that you can have with your mind and with the world outside.
Can you share some insights on what you feel about “The Hindu Mythology is for the Modern Minded Human”.
Hindu mythology is absolutely amazing if you read the Mahabharat, Puranas, Gita. It shares the conflict that never actually grows old. It’s the conflict that we have today it has every kind of characters, a scenario that you can imagine addiction, lust, loss, fear, greed, pain, gluttony, consumption, materialism, and everything exists within a Hindu mythology that we are going through on a constant daily basis. It is always relevant, it is absolutely fascinating and you have characters which you can debate whether it’s Ram Bhagwan and Seetha. They’re not perfect characters they are even if the manifestations of the consciousness in the human birth they have chosen to be very human and the lessons that they teach are all relevant until today. When you have a modern relationship or you know when you’re going through work conflict, family issues, you can find all answers within Hinduism. If you’re just willing to look and if you’re just willing to read and be fascinated and it’s given in such a great enriching story format which makes it highly charged.
How should one identify the purpose of their life?
It’s very difficult to identify the purpose of your life. In Sanskrit is known as your ‘Swabhav’ it is your natural state of being what you’re naturally drawn to and you’ll understand your purpose by what gives you joy. And what you’re good at and what you don’t need to fight too hard against or doing something which just doesn’t come naturally. Your purpose can constantly change we have many purposes in life. Hinduism talks about 4 different stages of life you may feel that your purpose. When you’re in your twenties you want to be a trader, accountant, and have certain life goals career goals. When you have a family the purpose will change suddenly you’ll feel that your purpose was to be a father or mother, to be a partner to somebody and so you have many different purposes. I think what you have to do is just make sure that you’re being authentic and true to your own self and doing things just to please others, because it’s looking good, for any superficial reasons or you doing it because it aligns with who you are. I think that is what you need to figure out.
How and why should millennials approach spirituality?
I think spirituality is really important for millennials, because we’re living in an increasingly materialistic and superficial world that is governed a lot by computers, internet and social media. Spirituality really teaches you what tools to use in life to give yourself happiness and to give yourself peace of mind, how to be able to concentrate on career, education, and relationships without so much noise. Millennials have more to deal with in terms of outside external noise like we have access to weigh more news feeds, we know so much about our friends and celebrities there’s just a lot of noise that can feed on mind. It’s very hard for millennials to try and govern their own lives.
What are your future plans?
I am featuring on a number of Podcasts about visualization meditation 7 days on the ‘Think Right App’. I’m also planning my third album the Bhajan project, which should be coming out hopefully this year.
During this Covid19 pandemic, many are depressed. Tell us how can one overcome negativity and obtain true peace?
It’s a really difficult time that the pandemic and has closed depression for people globally so to overcome that I suggest the below:-
• Wake up early- oversleeping actually causes you to feel low and you get into a rut if you have a oversleep so you should try and not sleep more than 8:00 hours
• Exercise- first thing in the morning why because it releases all the endorphins into your body and you feel like you’ve accomplished something so even if nothing goes right for the rest of the day you still feel like, you have this winning attitude.
• Pray / meditation – You should set aside at least 10 minutes if you can for prayer or meditation so that you can calm the mind it’s basically preparing the mind for the day ahead and as you calm the mind and you begin your day that way it means that there will be less noise so keep emptying the mind of all of the rubbish that it contains on a daily basis and you have to do that first thing in the morning so that actually you can fill your mind with very positive things.
• Another important thing to do is to write in a gratitude book 7 good things that happened throughout the day and we have to be grateful for that. Being more grateful every day to oneself constantly unfolds.
• Limit the time that you spend on social media- it doesn’t necessarily make us feel good to constantly see achievements, glorification of other people’s lives which aren’t necessarily a true reflection of reality. We are already going through a hard time so it’s better to focus on yourself than elsewhere.