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