Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Sacred Marriage of Music and Yoga

I still remember my very first yoga class…the one that seemed to drag on forever, with the clock ticking backward in my ears. The one where we did only 10 poses; the one that seemed like it would never, ever end!

I traveled from the 80’s with big hair, loud music, bass thumping aerobics, headphones in my ears on the elliptical to the 90’s, sitting in a silent Iyengar Yoga class watching my nails grow.

What a rude (but much needed) awakening! Yoga was quite a challenge for me right out of the gates! I would fidget, laugh, talk to my neighbor, get up and go to the bathroom…anything to avoid the silence.

There are two things that are REALLY funny about this now…twenty some odd years later. One is that I CRAVE silence! In fact, I tell my daughters, who are seven and nine that after 15 questions …their quota for the hour has been reached. I can’t possibly take in that much information in one hour. The second is that I can’t imagine a day going by without some sort of yoga asana practice. AND presently, for me personally, it HAS to be set to music.

I have ALWAYS loved music…always. There’s a potential story behind so many songs isn’t there? I mean, how many times do you hear a song and it brings you back to a high school dance, a party, a lover, a trip, an event or maybe something you can’t quite put your finger on but you still get goosebumps when you hear it? Most of you could probably create a playlist for your entire LIFE and reminisce about every important event that went on. Music brings you back to a FEELING you had in significant moments.

This IS the power behind music…it gets into our cells, into our subconscious and our hearts. Music is very, very powerful.

So it’s no surprise that when I was introduced to a Vinyasa Flow class set to music for the first time, I fell COMPLETELY in love! Lock, stock and barrel…GONE… in love... never going back to the gym, to running, to any machine… nope. It ALL became about yoga and movement on my mat to my favorite songs du jour.

I blame my obsession to yoga and music as an inseparable couple to first, my love for music but a close second to the art, science and pure magic of yoga. I believe that movement of the body frees us on as deep a layer as we are willing to excavate; exposing our hearts and true selves.

I can’t see one without the other anymore to be honest. And that’s not to say that yoga in silence with the hum of breathing isn’t amazing; I’m just saying that music and movement, for me, is like peanut butter and jelly.

I think I speak for other yoga instructors who use music in their classes that, yes we want to cater to our “audience”. We also enjoy promoting local artists because we know how hard they work to get their stuff out there. I also think it’s important to acknowledge the feeling behind any given song we choose for our playlist. And…it goes without saying really that WE ourselves, strive for that connection to the music. Because when we can connect our own bodies to the song du jour, our movement becomes pure meditation in motion and not a scripted practice.

We can then allow our bodies to move in synch with not only our breath but also with the beat of the music. This marriage becomes sacred and embedded into our cells … shifting our body, minds and spirits to collide.

Try it. See what happens when you compile a playlist that speaks to your heart. Then add some backbends … I dare you! Put on some tunes that are soul shakin’, hard core rockin’ and challenge yourself in a seemingly impossible arm balance. Try it!

It’s true… I promise … it’s ALL about the playlist.

Dana Damara, ERYT

Check out Dana's new playlist!

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