Rock, Metal, Yoga

January 31, 2010

Coming from the mindset of rigorous workouts building lean, hard muscle slowly over time, certain aspects of yoga poses are always a breath of fresh air for me. When I’m in the gym, motivational music can be very helpful to get through my workout goals.

When I’m learning asanas that are challenging, motivational music can have an equally beneficial effect. For example, one of my favorite poses is headstand. When doing headstand, ten seconds can be very strenuous if you concentrate on engaging multiple muscle groups while concentrating on the lift at the shoulders. I found that playing some of my favorite rock music at the time that only had 2-3 minute songs was a good way to get both motivated and encouraged by the attitude of the songs. I didn’t worry about how long I’ve been in the headstand because all I had to ask myself was whether or not a whole song went by to gauge time. Soon enough I felt confident in a good headstand posture without strain or uneasiness, and I didn’t need the music anymore, enjoying the silence within.

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Sounds are around us always. You can close your eyes and block vision from affecting your mind as an outside stimulus, but how do you close your ears? When performing asanas or dhyana, choices can be made to include sounds or not. Even with the choice not to include sound, there will be sounds in our environment we have no control over. This contrast can be applied to your choice of sound to be considered. For example, I’ve made simple stereo recordings of waves crashing on a shore at night for the purpose of listening back when I was nowhere near a beautiful beach. This kind of sound is more universal than something like the sound of a piano or trumpet, and deep in our minds we have a closer connection with the sounds of the earth that have been there since before a piano or a trumpet was invented. The waves are soothing to my mind because I have learned through my experience with the beach to feel that way. Therefore, it is a good choice for me to include this facsimile of an outside stimulus to still my mind during meditation.

Music, in terms of what we buy to feel a certain way, doesn’t have to be the only kind of sound to consider or avoid when meditating or creating a mood. If your asanas are in need of outside motivation to push you through them, music that physically motivates will make it a positive experience for you. Or the sounds of birdsongs may have that affect on you. Everyone’s ear-brain is different because it is based on individual unique life experiences. Think about what soothes and motivates you in terms of available sound and ask yourself if you’re willing to incorporate that into your practice. You may surprise yourself.

Yoga And Sound

January 27, 2010

What sounds are appropriate for you while doing yoga? If you are in a class setting, the teacher may set the tone with no sound, meaning the instructor will not introduce sounds willingly, or perhaps sound is an integral part of the class, as in kirtan. Music is a very personal thing. Yoga is a very personal thing. I’m open to listening to any form of music, but maybe not so comfortable with someone else choosing what I listen to while doing yoga. Enter Metal Yoga.

My music of choice is Metal. And the philosophy behind Metal’s genre applies comfortably to my yoga practice. Those of us who listen to Metal understand that behind the aggressive sounds comprised of forceful drums, thick staccato guitars, and earth-shattering bass rumble, resides a place of inner peace and transformation of negativity into realizations of victory. Through Metal we turn anger into motivation to realize positive goals, and live in moments of self-empowerment through being surrounded by these sounds and feeling their energy.

Maybe simple droning sounds or relaxing tones, either natural or synthesized, are all you want and need for your yoga. Maybe yoga is just a thing you do for a set time with a certain frequency during the week, then you don’t think about it until you do it again. Or, maybe when you’re done and roll up your mat you are still doing yoga, walking, talking, working, going to bed doing yoga, dreaming yoga. It’s your choice. No answer is the wrong answer, no way is the wrong way. Your way is the right way.