Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Music of Yoga & Meditation

I am often asked about the music I play in class. The soundtrack to the yoga experience is quite important to me, so I am very careful in my selections. I find that music can really help to calm an active mind or uplift a sluggish body, deepening the yoga or meditation experience. In general, I prefer music that does not have vocals, especially in a meditative practice. Sometimes, if the practice is more introspective, I will practice simply to the music of my breath, or the sound of ocean waves. The practices that are intended to uplift and move energy will have heavier beats and some singing - sometimes it will even be popular music (gasp!). Here are some favorite CDs that I recommend... just in time to put them on your holiday wish lists:
  • Shamanic Dream by Anugama: good "chill" instrumental for slow flow, yin/restorative or meditation
  • Anjali by Benjy Wertheimer & Michael Mandrell: good instrumental for slow flow, yin/restorative or meditation
  • House Made of Dawn by Coyote Oldman: beautiful wind instrumental good for yin/restorative or meditation
  • Shaman's Vision by David Gordon, Steve Gordon: mellow chanting and rhythmic beats good for slow flow, yin
  • Dakshina, The Essence, Moola Mantra all by Deva Premal: incredibly beautiful vocals good for uplifting flow, yin/restorative (this is the artist I am most asked about)
  • Drala by Drala: good instrumental for uplifting flow, yin/restorative
  • Bali Dua by Jalan Jalan: Eastern "chill" with a few dreamy vocals good for yin/restorative or meditation
  • Yoga Rhythm by Soulfood: mild vocals and rhythmic beats good for uplifting flow
  • Deja-Blues by Steven Halpern: hypnotic beats good for slow flow, yin/restorative

Meditation tool
So Hum is a mantra, a tool to help with meditation. It is an easy way to settle your mind to one thing, listening for the sounds that already exist in the breath. Begin by taking a meditation seat (see last month's blog) and start to breathe slowly and easily. On the inhale, gently hear the breath creating the sound "sooooo"; on the exhale, gently hear the breath creating the sound "hummmm". This tool anchors an active mind, giving it discipline and direction as a you would when training a puppy to heel. Detach your internal critic and have patience with your puppy mind. For more information about this mantra and others, please click here.

Schedule updates and events...
Saturday, December 5th 1:00-3:30pm Soothe Your Soul, a Therapeutic Workshop for ALL! Part restorative yoga, part gentle yoga, part meditation, this workshop is all about dissolving stress. Open to all levels and abilities and no previous yoga experience necessary. $40 pre-reg, $50 day of; register at Willow Glen Yoga. Consider this workshop a gift to yourself or a loved one. Register now, only a few spots left.