Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stream of Consciousness: Music and Yoga, Silence and Sound

I was trained in a style of yoga that requires no music. I loved my training. I honor my teachers. I love yoga. And…

I LOVE MUSIC. So for my classes to be the most full expression of myself –“Let the Drummer Kick” (Citizen Cope)…

It happens like this in my head: I’m writing something, or talking to someone, or just walking down the street, and a song pops in. What I wanted to say right there was “Let there be Music” – which it turns out is also a song (of course) by “Orleans” produced in 1975… but I had never heard that song until I just Googled it. How lucky are we that we have access to so much music at our fingertips? We have the ability to create the soundtrack of our lives.

Afterall, “Everyone Deserves Music” –Michael Franti. Oh how I adore you. When I need to “Shake It” up or feel the “Sound of Sunshine” this is my man.  Feel a sound you ask? Why YES!

And that is one of the things I find so fascinating about music. How it can make you feel… I was teaching a class the other day which I begain with Rara Avis’ “Vibarsonic”: “You are now entering a world of vibration. The sounds you are about to hear will take you deep. Deep inside yourself.” If we believe in quantum physics and want to get all scientific on ourselves, we are all just a bunch of matter - vibrating at different oscillations. If you want to feel different, change your vibration. Listen. Respond. Listen. Move. Listen. Breathe.

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” -Bono

Listen to the silence as well. What I find particularly amazing is the contrast between silence and sound. I do love silence. A lot. Some people like to have loud music playing as often as possible. I cherish my peace and quiet. And I love the sounds of nature and the world around me. I don’t listen to music when I work. I don’t have headphones in every moment I walk down the street. But even without the “real music” playing every moment, there is a constant soundtrack to my life. Right now, for example, it is just the thoughts running through my head and the quite click of the second hand making it’s way around the clock behind me like a metronome measuring my keystrokes.

And then boom, another song enters my dome. “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkle. And I imagine “People talking without speaking” and I’m transported to moments with lovers where conversations are had in a glance. Connections are made without words. Music does that. It transports us and connects us. You know when you’re at a concert and there is someone on stage - they’re singing their song and the whole space is filled with listening. In that deep listening you are connected to everyone else there. You are hearing, feeling, and sharing and experience. You aren’t even the one singing, but you’re sharing in the listening and being and experiencing.

That. That’s what I like to bring to my yoga classes. An experience. Sharing in listening: to the music, to our bodies, to our experience. I find that often times the music can help to transcend physical limitation, or bring more energy when it is lacking, or sometimes it can give thoughts a place to dissolve into.

"One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain." -Bob Marley

I love to use music to encourage rhythm and flow. I see it as a fun and easy way to weave more harmony, love, grace into my yoga classes. I feel so lucky to have access to world class DJ mixes on Yogi Tunes and can’t wait to hear what they come up with next!

~Jenn Perell, Yoga Teacher and Conscious Consultant

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yoga is Sound and Sound is Yoga

Yoga is sound and sound is yoga. The connection between breath, movement, and sound is a very powerful combination. When combined correctly, the pulse of the music matches the flow of breath and movement and true yoga magic happens!

Being a sound healer, music is very important to me and is a big part of all of my classes. My classes are called "yoga and sound" and are a blend vinyasa flow with elements of sound healing in the form of planetary gongs, crystal singing bowls, tuning forks, and chanting. The addition of recorded music adds to the practice and I choose music that compliments the flow and theme of the class. Most of the music I use in class is from the YogiTunes DJs, as their songs blend beautifully with the gongs and bowls. I am a huge proponent of carefully chosen music combined

~Jamie Bechtold, Sound Healing - Sound Baths - Yoga

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love at First Sound

I couldn't imagine my sadhana without music after diving deep into the amazing sounds that have been created by talented musicians, DJ's and vocalists from around the world.

The vibration of music can inspire and ignite a fire of passion within my practice and classes, as well as calm, cool and soothe the deepest of releases. After teaching and living on the island of Jamaica for over 6 years I connected with the vibe of music found everywhere and realized it was a gateway into the depths of the culture. As Bob Marley says: "One good thing about Music, when it hits you, you feel no pain"....let the sounds take you deeper inside. Peace!

~ Sienna Creasy , yoga teacher

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Sacred Tool for Soul Connection

My name is Nathalie Croix, I have lived with music in my life since I was a very young child. I started taking dance lessons when I was 5 years old; music was a big part of the process of being a dancer and it has forever stayed with me.

I am a yoga teacher - I believe that through the practice of yoga, through breath work and through the rhythms of sounds and music we and all beings can delve into deeper levels of awareness, awareness of our own inner selves. I believe music is a sacred tool for soul connection, for deep transformation. It is a powerful and magical combination to unite the practice of yoga to the beat of instruments and vocals in sound - the results can only be extraordinary.

~Nathalie Croix, Creative Director and founder of Shanti Yoga Shala

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

At the Edge of the Ocean

I have heard this music before, saith the body.- by Mary Oliver
Sound--the waves of the ocean, the heartbeat of our lover, a child's laughter--speaks directly to our body.  It is not our rational mind that listens, but our wise, remembering body.  Music moves awareness from our rational, thinking brain into our intuitive moving body.  Music evokes emotion, awakens awareness and invites us to a more expansive and present state of being.  Asana also moves through our bodies in this way.  These body mudras evoke a deep remembering within us.  As we take these archetypal shapes we remember within ourselves the strength and stability of a mountain, the steady oceanic rhythm of ujjayi breath, the spontaneous uplifting of the victorious warrior. And through this dance, we return to our original states of being, before our thoughts, before our history, even before we existed, these states of being existed.  And through music, or through our practice, sometimes through both, we are moved--moved out of our contracted individual consciousness into states of being that are transpersonal.  United through vibration in a present moment reality, we transcend our individual story and move together in a collective wisdom and natural intelligence, remembering our deepest potential.
~ Gioconda

The 3rd Language

My yoga journey began in a gym and blossomed into a life altering, cascade of fortunate circumstance and passion.  After 5 years of personal practice (and 3 months before my own wedding!), I booked a 28-day yoga teacher training in Baja California at a lovely, mystical spot called Yandara.  My now husband surely thought he was dealing with a run-away bride, but upon my return there was a noticeable shift in my happiness and my ability to deal with stress.  Now we are living a happily ever after with our wonderful 3-year old, a solid yoga practice, and great yoga music as the soundtrack for our life.  

My father’s family has a lineage of musical talent stretching way back to the beginning of American history.  My father plays saxophone and sings and one of my cousin’s composed a symphony at age 12. Music has always been in me.  I do not sing or play an instrument, unless you count a hippie shake of the tambourine or the occasional drum beat on my Djembe, but I can dance with wicked beats and shake it like nobody’s business.  But something always held me back, the little voice of others that rings out, “you aren’t good enough,” “this is silly,” “what if someone is watching.”  When I truly merged into yoga practice and discovered new rhythms, more confidence, and less mind chatter – I was free – Moksha.  

There was one particular moment in our training that married music into my practice.  We enjoyed nightly Kirtan and one evening, the band (Jaya), laid out all sorts of instruments in the middle of the room.  There were drums, tambourines, stringed instruments, sticks; a real cornucopia of possibility.  What happened next can only be described as musical magic.  We were instructed to add our instrument one at a time into the beat.  With nearly 30 people, this easily could have sounded like noise, but little by little, our sound grew into a beautiful harmony of people passionate and in love with the moment.   We were in yoga – not asana, but total union as a group.  It was like a radiating heartbeat of our time together, creating a bond that breaks time and space. 

There are times to practice yoga in silence, if that is your intention, but bringing the harmony of music into the classroom to share with students allows a deeper bond to form and community to blossom.  In training with Shiva Rea at Kripalu, she said “Music is the 3rd language in the room; it communicates the energy of the class more clearly than any words or instruction.”  When you are bringing seekers together in Yoga, the right music can overcome any barriers to understanding.  
Namaste and may a world of music light up your life and practice.

~  Kirsten Hedden, Midwest Yoga Teacher, Music Lover