Thursday, December 29, 2011

Music for Relaxation

The first time I met Craig Kohland I felt an overwhelming sense of warmth emanating from his heart and into mine. I was hired to be his sound engineer for something called Zen Dancing... a seminal experience in the Los Angeles yoga and ecstatic community created by yoga teacher - Micheline Berry. It's an improvised live music ecstatic dance journey that featured Craig's band: the Shaman's Dream World Groove Ensemble

Little did I know as I was helping to prepare the sound for that night that this would become my first real yoga music family. I also had no idea that Craig and I would go on to produce household records in the yoga music community and spawn project after project with teachers, musicians and other talented yogis that ultimately would culminate in the launching of this website together.

What I also didn't know at the time was that Craig was a master of creating music for relaxation. His three albums Breathing, Bindu and Prana are staples in many a yoga teacher arsenal. They've also been extensively used in other healing arts such as massage, meditation, hospice care, tai chi, qi gong, and birthing work.

I found a great article online that talks about the power of relaxation and why it's so important in the yogic system. The following is an excerpt from it that talks further about the state of rest in our modern culture -

"Nature teaches us how to relax and rest to perfection—the infant is a past-master in the science. But as we have grown older we have acquired many artificial habits and have allowed Nature’s original habits to lapse. And so at the present time the people of the Western world may well accept from the Yogis a little teaching along the lines of this subject.

The average physician could give some very interesting testimony on the subject of the failure of the people to understand the first principles of relaxation-he knows that a large percentage of the nervous troubles of the people are due to ignorance of the subject of “rest.”

Rest and relaxation are very different things from “loafing,” “laziness,” etc. On the contrary, those who have mastered the science of relaxation are usually the most active and energetic kind of people, but they waste no energy; with them every motion counts."

If you've ever had the joy of playing or making music with Craig you'll know that when it comes to laying down a rhythm... creating a melody or finding harmony, every motion counts. Craig is a master of getting rid of what's unnecessary until you're left with a masterpiece. Just like the sculptors from the romantic period, he knows just what to pull away so that everything that is there, really should be there.
In this day and age of so much noise, distraction and unnecessary production of 'things', this gift in-and-of-itself is relaxing. Then take into account the way in which he blends together music from different cultures into an exotic melange of spicy beats and tasty soundscapes, one is always left feeling deeply relaxed, nourished and rejuvenated after listening to one of his albums.

The feature for this article is PRANA:

"An alluring journey into world fusion trance music, Prana brings you hypnotic melodies and rhythmic grooves featuring master musicians, traditional chants and exotic environmental sounds from many countries."

The opening song from this album is perhaps one of the most popular yoga songs in existence... I can't tell you how many times i've walked into a yoga studio somewhere to take a class only to hear the teacher begin by playing the title track "Prana". It's just simply the bomb. So if you don't have it in your collection yet, go ahead and treat yourself... you'll be happy you did, I promise.

Commentary by YogiTunes co-founder/CEO Rara Avis.

No comments:

Post a Comment