Thursday, January 19, 2012

Music, Yoga and Spiritual Practice

We all know that we love music, and especially music that supports our yoga practice. But what is it about music that makes us love it so much?

I wonder this myself as I think of the playlists I create to support yoga classes I teach in Portland, and I also wonder why I am drawn to compose and record yoga music myself. How does music fit into a spiritual practice?

I asked myself this question and am still asking it, because in my spiritual practice and yoga practice, there is an emphasis on quieting the mind. It is the almost incessant chattering of the mind that distracts us so and prevents us from seeing our true selves, according to current and traditional non-dual teachings. And the Yoga Sutra, verse 2, states, “Yoga is the cessation of mental modifications.” The translation of this sutra might vary a bit, but the basic meaning is the same: quieting the mind and its preoccupations with past injuries, future calamities, and creation of a false identity, will allow our real nature to shine forth. Our own experiences meditating, in reverie, in moments of stillness and during Shavasana bear this out.

So how can music, or sound for that matter, help us to quiet the mind? This is the question I plan to answer or explore in my next few entries, so please stay tuned and check back. Meanwhile, you can explore my website,, to sample yoga music, find books and apparel for yoga, plus more.



Check out Bodhiron's Effort & Release playlist!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dave Stringer LIVE in Denver Friday Feb 10!

Dave Stringer, an internationally-beloved chant artist, is coming to Denver's Temple Event Center on Friday, Feb 10 to perform at Friday Night Yoga Club.

Tickets are available for a yoga and live music class followed by a concert or as a concert only ticket. Catch the live music/yoga class with Denise Cook and Hilary O'Toole at 6 pm or come for the concert only at 8 p.m. Tickets for yoga and concert are $25 adv/$30 night of. Concert only tickets are $20/adv/$25 night of.

As always, yummy organic food and drinks, free massages and wellness sessions will be offered. Also, 10% of net proceeds benefit the Chanda Plan Foundation. Please bring a cushion, blanket and yoga mat. More info is available here, limited amount of tickets are available here. This event will sell out! Use the CODE 'EARLYBIRD' by Jan 25 to save $5!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Documentary Film Review: Yoga Is

Yoga Is: A Film About The Transformational Power of Yoga

Yoga Is is an inspiring, quick, 60-minute documentary on what yoga is all about. The filmmaker, Suzanne Bryant, found herself lost after losing her mother to breast cancer so she set out to explore and learn more about the ancient practice of yoga. Along her journey, both East & West, she met with some of the most prominent Western Yoga Gurus, teachers, and celebrity devotees such as Russell Simmons, Christy Turlington Burns, Michael Franti, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Alan Finger, Ana Forrest, Baron Baptiste, Cyndi Lee, Sri Dharma Mittra, Eddie Modestini, Elise Browning Miller, Erich Schiffmann, Gurmukh, Krishna Das, Nicki Doane, Robert Thurman, Saul David Raye, Shyam Das. Through her journeying, she attained much enlightenment (as one could imagine conversing with such great teachers, in such spiritual places!).

What I loved most about this film was how much emphasis was put on yoga being SO much more than just a physical practice on a mat. I found myself jotting down memorable quotes that were so uplifting and true. When we step onto our mats to stretch our bodies, calm our minds, and deepen our breath, we are connecting ourselves to a higher power whether we realize it or not. We're connecting with the earth, grounding, and recharging ourselves. When we do this, we become clear. Yoga fulfills us from within, and shows us that we don't need external things to make us happy (as we're conditioned to believe through the media).

Of course, I loved how much footage was shown in India, the motherland of yoga. Any shots of India reminds me of my trips there and how simple yet beautiful their way of life is. Love and beauty is literally gushing out of every smile there. Simplifying and letting go is a huge part of yoga. India helped me understand this concept, allowing me to return home and practice it.

Music-wise, the tunes were right on. There was a continuous flow of awesome tracks from beginning to end and each made a perfect back drop to all that was being discussed. Check here for the complete list of songs.

A refreshing documentary on yoga for beginners, intermediate or advanced yogis to be inspired by. I give it a solid thumbs up, check it out!

Be well,
Lauren Forney

Lauren Forney HHC, RYT founder of Center Your Health, is a Holistic Health Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher based in Red Bank, NJ.