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30 Songs in 30 Days (Another 2015 KISS MY ASANA Prequel)

The 2015 KISS MY ASANA campaign official starts in April; however, some of us are getting started early in our efforts to raise money and awareness for Mind Body Solutions, as well as to encourage more people to participate in next month’s yogathon. Hence, this 2015 prequel sequel…30 Songs in 30 Days.

Even when I teach classes without music, I find myself making musical references. Music is just part of who I am. This is not a surprise to anyone who regularly attends my yoga classes. In fact, the only surprise is what I’ll play next. (NOTE: When I don’t buy music in a store, I usually download from Amazon, GhostTunes, or CD Baby. For your personal use, you may also be able to download music from your public library’s website.)

Enjoy!

March 1st – Music, Music, Music.

March 2nd – Alone In The Ring.

WHY: I love composers! (This may become a familiar refrain over the month.) The reason I love composers is that they make a career out of creating emotion through sound. Hear me now, cause this is a double entendre: they not only create something that sounds like the way someone or something would feel, they also make the listener feel it. Bill Conti is one of the modern world’s master composers. He has created some iconic, soul inspiring music – and when he strips it down (as he does in this first piece) it’s like he’s stripping you down to your soul.

WHERE: At a little over one minute, “Alone in the ring” is great introduction/meet & greet music at the beginning of practice. It also works well to move into or out of Savasana at the end of practice.

BOTTOM LINE: At some point in your practice, it is just you, yourself, and your Self. Strip away the trappings of a particular style or tradition, where you practice, or with how many people, and you’re left with your will/determination to be your best Self. You can get there through abhyasa (constant practice) and vairagya (non-attachment), two core principles in the yoga philosophy. But, to get there you have to show up – even when everyone else is asleep.

March 3rd – Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor “Quasi un fantasia” (1st movement).

 

WHY: Ludvig van Beethoven published his “almost a fantasy” sonata today in 1802. Here is a prime example of emotional music. The question is, “What is the emotion?” Beethoven may have said he was capturing the emotion of sitting next to a friends deathbed, but most of us know the haunting melody as his “Moonlight Sonata” because (5-years after Beethoven’s death) a German critic and poet compared the 1st movement to moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne.

WHERE: Depending on the variation, the “Moonlight Sonata” can go almost anywhere. I have played it at the beginning or the end of a vigorous vinyasa practice (or both if I use different versions). For slow flow, restorative, and deep tissue practices some versions work everywhere.

BOTTOM LINE: There is a reason why this is one of the most popular/recognizable pieces of music; regardless of the tempo, the listener reaches a point where the light shines through.

March 4th – Power Of The Gospel.

WHY: Once upon an October 28th, I told a class we were going to get “seriously funky, in more ways than one” and then proceeded to play a whole class of Ben Harper. (Afterwards, one regular said, “Boy, you weren’t lying!”) . Harper and his music are just one definition of “funky” – however, the more you listen the more you realize that every one of the man’s songs is a different definition of “funky” and “soulful.”

WHERE: The lyrics (“but you’ve got to have the gospel/when you start out on your way”) pretty much beg to be placed at the beginning of the practice. And with 3 minutes of soul-inspiring instrumentation before the lyrics, “The Power Of The Gospel” lends itself well to any practice inspired by sacred text…or big-T Truth. (I’ll be honest {smile}, I have played this towards the end of a practice – and almost every time I wish I’d kept it at the front.)

BOTTOM LINE: Many people will hear the word and immediately think big-G Gospel (meaning one or all of the four (4) New Testament books pertaining to Christianity). At the same time, gospel means truth and may refer to any spiritual teaching. More importantly, as the song says it’s all about, “the gospel that’s inside of you/the gospel inside of me.” Need more? Mahatma Gandhi said, “God is Truth.” Later in his life Gandhi said, “Truth is God.” Either way, you find Truth at the beginning (and at the end) of the yoga philosophy.

March 5th – Dogs.

WHY: How can you resist a song about a girl who does yoga? Especially when that girl seems to embody the niyamas (yoga’s internal observations)! This Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan melody is beautiful and fun, but doesn’t get in the way of the practice. (Unless you’re like me and occasionally start with the volume too loud because it starts soft.) The only thing that would make it “better” would be if one time the chorus included “the boy who does yoga.”

WHERE: “Dogs” is a great song to break down a flow or just go with the flow. I typically put it at the beginning of a vinyasa practice, after the integration, for Surya Namaskar.

BOTTOM LINE: “And she gives/I get/without giving anything to me/Like a morning sun/Like a morning/ Like a morning sun/Good good morning sun” – sounds like a riddle, but maybe it’s just a koan leading to one of the profoundest teachings in yoga and Buddhism.

 

March 6th – Be Here Now.

WHY: Hmm, where to begin? Ray LaMontagne‘s voice? His music? Nah, let’s begin with the message. Just a few years after I started teaching, I attended a workshop where Kim Jeblick, a Dharma Yoga teacher, suggested focusing on the first word of a sacred text when engaged in svadyaya (the internal observation of self-study in the philosophy of yoga). Kim had us consider the possibility that the first word embodies the whole teaching. The first word of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is ATHA (“now, at this auspicious time, having been prepared”). So, there you go: In one song, LaMontagne boils down the whole practice.

WHERE: Asking where to put this song is like as asking when to put this song. Ummm, how about NOW?!?! What about HERE?!?! (I’d ask if you feel me, but who doesn’t feel this song?)

BOTTOM LINE: To paraphrase Ram Dass, this is good advice on and off the mat.

 

March 7th – Yesterday Was Hard on All Of Us.

WHY: It doesn’t matter if we’re talking individually or globally, we’ve all had a day in the past that was hard – in every way imaginable. And, it’s those hard days that bring us to the practice. “Where do we go from here?” Fink asks. We go to the mat. Doesn’t matter if we’re remembering the Troubles in Ireland, the struggles of the Civil Rights movement, the condition of being a woman (all over the world), the lost and stolen, or a personal grief so fierce we don’t know how to share it; when we get to the point that we want to tap out, we need to remember to check in (with ourselves) and trust what we find (inside).

WHERE: The pace, melody, lyrics, and soulful comfort of “Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us” makes it a good starting point – or counterpoint. I’ve used it as part of my Integration; to breakdown and flow through Surya Namaskar; and to transition into the surrender portion of the practice. I think I’ve even used it for some peak poses!

BOTTOM LINE: I can’t get enough of Fink!

 

March 8th – Bad Day.

WHY (& WHERE): When you’re having one of those days, you can “sing a sad song just to turn it around” or you can practice some Dancing Warriors to Daniel Powter‘s popular little ditty. I learned the power of flowing to this song about a year before it had any U. S. radio airplay. (Thanks Rie!)

BOTTOM LINE: Good pace; catchy tune; amazing visuals; and a message that can help put things in perspective without being preachy. Plus, it makes me smile!

 

March 9th – God Put A Smile Upon Your Face.

WHY: Heart rate is up; drum beat is up; time to lift the corners of your mouth up! Coldplay knows how to work a hook and (musically and lyrically) it’s the hook which pulls you.

WHERE: The eighth song on this playlist puts us at around 38 minutes, definitely the peak of something. “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face” works as the last bit of Surya Namaskar for a 2-hour class – or the end of a 1:1 flowing Dancing Warrior sequence in a 60-minute class. Even though the drum is driving you, the music and beat aren’t so over the top that you can’t practice moving to your breath. In fact, that’s the kinda the point.

BOTTOM LINE: Even Charles Darwin recognized the importance of a smile.

 

March 10th – Baba Hamuman.

WHY: It’s doubtful I can do better than the liner notes from Krishna Das’s website: “The best of the three worlds: the passionate magic of a live kirtan with Krishna Das…recorded in the ultimate environment of Hollywood’s famed Cello Studios…produced by rap/rock legend, Rick Rubin, known for his transparent, essential sound. Add in to the mix the contributions of a stellar group of supporting musicians, including Ty Burhoe (Tabla), Steve Gorn (Bansuri), Lili Haydn (Violin), John McDowell (Hammond B3, Piano, Djembe, Gorong, Tana, Shakers, Tambourine), Benmont Tench (Hammond B3, Piano) and Benjy Wertheimer (Esraj), along with the heartfull singing of the 50-strong Kosmic Kirtan Posse-the result is both transcendent and exquisitely embodied.”

WHERE:I’ve heard of people putting this at the end of a practice, and I can feel it at the beginning of a practice. For today’s classes I put it in the middle, somewhat elevated – moving the practice from a surya namaska mandala into a Dancing Warrior Mandala.

BOTTOM LINE: Duh, it’s DJ Double R’s birthday! Time to get out of the box! Plus, I love telling bits and pieces of Hanuman’s story. This song is like a sweet little taste of The Ramayana.

March 11th – Time To Go Inward.

WHY: There’s a little bit of Hanuman (see previous song) in all of us; however, to find that piece we have to go deeper. In one song, Rodney Crowell tells us exactly where to dig the well. Cowboy wisdom meets yoga and you’ve basically got the theme song for the final three (3) niyamas (internal observations) which make up Kriya Yoga, as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (YS 2.1).

WHERE: I’ve put “Time To Go Inward” just about everywhere! Before class, after class, top of the class, and in the middle (somewhat elevated). The only place I haven’t ever used it is during (or going into) Savasana.

BOTTOM LINE: Exploration of maya? Check! Call to serve and live according to your sva-dharma? Check! A koan or two? Double Check! “Jesus and Buddha and Krishna and Minnie Pearl” too? Quadruple check!

 

March 12th – Strength, Courage and Wisdom.

WHY: When you go inward you will find exactly what you need to overcome obstacles, achieve great things, and be exactly who you are meant to be. India.Arie breaks it down on a soul level; however, for anyone who is not spiritual or religious, she also breaks it down on an everyday practical advice level.

WHERE: “Strength, Courage and Wisdom” goes where ever it’s needed. In fact, the song title could just be another way to say Surya Namaskar, Dancing Warriors and Peak Poses.

BOTTOM LINE: “Look what I have found” – it’s the soulful Serenity Prayer.

 

March 13th – Put Your Lights On.

WHY: When you go inward you will find a point “free from pain, grief, sorrow, or suffering” / a point of “luminosity, inner light, supreme or divine light” – and this is a great place to meditate. When I say YS 1.36 (see link above) reminds us there is a light inside us that burns bright no matter how dark it appears on the outside, it’s almost like I’m quoting Everlast as he talks about this hit duet with Santana. (Note: This is the first time I’ve heard this Everlast interview, but what he says is right there in the song, and right there in the sutras!)

WHERE: “Put Your Lights On” is another great song for Surya Namaskar or for a Dancing Warrior sequence. I love that you can break down a sequence to this song, rock out some “knee to [something]” core work, and/or balance without losing a beat – or a breath.

BOTTOM LINE: Focus on your inner light until you shine on the outside!

 

March 14th – How You Ever Gonna Know.

WHY: It’s Garth. And, as folks who know me well will tell you, I can find a Garth Brooks song for any occasion. Granted, sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch – but not this time. First, Patanjali tells us there is an inner light (see YS 1.36 link above); then, he tells us we can uncover the inner light by working with our breath (YS 2.49 – 2.53); and, finally, he tells us our breath work (pranayama) prepares us for ultimate knowledge (YS 3.17 – 3.55). Garth starts off with “that old wind” and then uses the light to illuminate all the ways we could shine.

WHERE: “How You Ever Gonna Know” can go in a lot of places during a vinyasa practice, but it’s one of a series of songs pretty much screaming for a peak pose sequence.

BOTTOM LINE: “…it’s the fire inside your heart / That’s gonna lead you to the light…”

 

March 15th – Try (+words of wisdom).

WHY: Every series needs an anthem – and P!nk‘s song is the anthem for getting fired up and trying something. While the song lyrics and a very wise teacher’s words (see second link above) may seem like oxymoronic, yoga is a practice where fully committing to a modification (what some folks might call “trying”) can be more beneficial, more appropriate, and a deeper pose experience than “doing” what we see in a book or a magazine. The most important thing is being present – and then getting fired up about it!

WHERE: Anytime you need a little extra energy to push you, try P!nk. For me it can be “core” work, a series of push-ups, or a challenging flow. While the rhythm can drive/motivate you, the song also fluctuates enough to keep you present, centered, and grounded – so you’re on the edge of your comfort zone, but not going over it.

BOTTOM LINE: In Proverbs 24:16, King Solomon says, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…” P!nk sings, “You gotta get up and try, and try, and try….”

 

March 16th – Yoda’s Theme from The Empire Strikes Back.

WHY: As I mentioned in the March 2nd post, I love composers. And, since I love science fiction, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that some of my favorite composers write music for science fiction movies, television shows, and video games. Even if I didn’t love science fiction, Jedis are yogis and Yoda is one of the greatest yoga teacher ever – plus, there’s just something special about John Williams conducting John Williams!

WHERE: If you’ve practiced with me for a bit, you know that every once in a while, Yoda makes an appearance (and it’s not always on May the 4th). So, after some words of wisdom from a teacher (in whom the force is strong), it’s good to have a wisdom theme. “Yoda’s Theme” works well during the Integration portion of a practice, and as segue music between sequences.

BOTTOM LINE: “For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.”

 

March 17th – Big Fat Heart.

WHY: It’s St, Patrick’s Day and we’ve reached the heart track(s). Well, theoretically, every track can (and sometimes is) a heart track. However, by the time you reach the last part of the practice, the heart is pretty expanded – physically, metaphorically, and energetically. And, since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, the first heart track is by one of my favorite Irish rock bands, Hothouse Flowers.

WHERE: This track comes in handy when you’re doing back bends. Also, if you focus on supporting your “Big Fat Heart” when you’re doing arm balances, forward bends, and standing poses you will find you go deeper every time.

BOTTOM LINE: I’m not gonna lie, when Liam sings “I’m gonna spread this heart around the world” (in the live link above), he may not be talking about the same loving-kindness mentioned in the Yoga Sutras, the Diamond Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita, and in both the Old and the New Testaments – but, then again, maybe he is.

 

March 18th – Listen To Your Heart (D. H. T. version – featuring Edmee’s Unplugged Vocal Edit).

WHY: It doesn’t make a lot of sense to tap into your heart energy if you’re not going to listen to it.

WHERE: If you “Listen To Your Heart” energy, at any point in the practice, you’ll have a deeper practice. When it comes to listening to the music, well…this is a battle of the bands. The D. H. T. version (featuring Edmee’s unplugged vocals) works well as the practice slows down. It can also work well at the beginning of the practice. However, if you’re starting off a high energy, heart-centric practice, go with the original: Nobody does it like Roxette!

BOTTOM LINE: Your heart is always calling to you.

 

March 19th – Where my heart will take me (Theme from Enterprise).

WHY: When you start with a composer whose name relates to living with your whole heart, at some point you’ve just got to go there – wherever “there” is. Thematically, Diane Warren‘s song, as sung by Russell Watson, rounds out the heart-centric portion of the playlist. It’s the natural progression of things: get everything lined up so you can feel the heart energy; listen to it; see where it takes you. Above and beyond all that, Star Trek and it’s music have a special place in my heart.

WHERE: “Where my heart will take me” has a rock edgy without being over the top, and generally works where ever you need to reinforce the importance of supporting/following the heart. Again, that’s pretty much everywhere.

BOTTOM LINE: Maybe it’s a generational thing, but the opening credits of Enterprise (Seasons 1 & 2) pretty much says it all for me.

 

March 20th – Orchestral Suite From The Inner Light (theme from “Star Trek: Next Generation” Season 5, episode 25).

WHY: Jay Chattaway‘s alluring theme makes the cut even if you don’t know the back story you’re hearing. (And you definitely hear a story!)**SPOILER ALERT** Once, you know, however, that this song breaks down the story of a man trying to distinguish “real life” from “illusion” and/or “memory”  – while simultaneously illustrating the very yogic idea that “you are the one witness of everything” – this song fits every yoga playlist. (In fact, there are years where it has made 95% of my yoga playlists.)

WHERE: I typically play “Orchestral Suite From The Inner Light” as the last track before the Savasana track. I’ve also played it as the Savasana track, and (for inner light focused practices) I’ve been known to start the practice with this track.

BOTTOM LINE: I can’t decide, so you pick one: Tao Te Ching; George Harrison; Kataan wisdom (scroll to #4); Talmudic wisdom; all of Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead; or just an excerpt from The Brief History of the Dead. (Please note: “Any road’ll take you there.”)

 

March 21st – I Will Be Light.

WHY: In theYoga Sutras, Patanjali describes the end goal of yoga (union with divine) as Samadhi – a state of perfect meditation or concentration; complete absorption; a state of being together, and firmly established, with truth; enlightenment (whatever that means). Well, quite literally, the word “enlightenment” means to be in (or to cause to be in) a state where it is possible to see/understand things (as they are). Matisyahu sings of being in this state.

WHERE: I originally played “I Will Be Light” as a thematic highlight for Chanukah. Since those first classes, I have also played it for Days 5, 14, and 15 of the Lunar New Year; Vegan MoFo; Diwali, December 12th miracles; and any number of “light” related classes. Since it works for pretty much any sequence (although I doubt I’ll ever to use it for Savasana), I typically consider (a) where it thematically fits in the overall story of the practice and (b) where it musically fits with the other songs around it. For this particular playlist it easily fits before or after “Orchestral Suite From The Inner Light” (see March 20th, above).

BOTTOM LINE: “You’ve got one tiny moment in time / For life to shine, to shine / To burn away the darkness / One tiny moment in time”

 

March 22nd – Apocalypse, Part II (from “Battlestar Galactica – THE PLAN”).

WHY: First, I love, love, love, love Bear McCreary! (That’s one love because he’s a modern composer; a second love because he scores sci-fi; a third love because he marries Raya Yarbrough with taiko drums, classical musicians, Oingo Boingo. and Sanskrit mantra; and a fourth love because all that is only the beginning of his appeal!) The second reason I picked this song is because one of the leitmotifs underscoring The Plan soundtrack is the Gayatri Mantra, a mantra dedicated to the light. You can feel the vibration of the mantra even in the songs without the lyrics.

WHERE: “Apocalpyse, Part II” contains some of the lightest musical reference notes related to the Gayatri Mantra and, therefore, works well as the practice starts to wind down into meditation/Savasana. (NOTE: In addition to using this song to mark the beginning of the Surrender sequence, I have remixed the entire “Battlestar Galactica – The Plan / Razor” soundtrack as the playlist for some vinyasa classes.)

BOTTOM LINE: Hello – Bear, taiko drums, and the adorable light! Duh.

 

March 23rd – Common Threads.

WHY: The philosophy of yoga is full of threads – we have sutras and gunas, and we like to weave them together. But, the Ashtavakra Gita (2.5) reminds us, “Consider a piece of cloth. It is only threads! So, all creation, when you look closely, is only the Self.” My class themes give people a thread they can pull, while on the mat – and then weave into something useful for their lives off the mat. And Bobby McFerrin‘s vocalizations provide the perfect opportunity to tie all the threads back together.

WHERE: So far, “Common Threads” is one of two (2) songs from Medicine Music that I occasionally weave into class. Since I find his vocal presence beautifully, immensely, and intensely calming, I place McFerrin towards the end of the practice.

BOTTOM LINE: I like a good story – with a solid through line – because stories takes us deeper into ourselves and brings us closer together.

 

March 24th – Peace.

WHY: George Winston provides the perfect (musical) soundtrack for the end of class. After all the hustle and bustle, after all the challenges, after all the thoughts, words, and deeds, the mind-body-spirit is ready for a moment that is quiet enough and still enough to just be. To just breathe. But, since we live in a world where true silence and stillness is a commodity, we find music which creates and holds the space (to just be, and just breathe).

WHERE: “Peace” works as well as the interlude before Savasana, as well as the actual music for Savasana. It can also work well as an integration piece (at the beginning) for a peace-focused practice. When I lead classes with an “In Memoriam” moment towards the end of class, “Peace” serves as the segue music before “Last Post” and a moment of silence.

BOTTOM LINE: It doesn’t matter the season, George Winston’s music makes you take the deepest breath you’ve taken all day.

 

March 25th – Shanti (Peace Out).

WHY: Once you get a taste of peace, you just want more! MC Yogi mixes the most sublime vibration and music (with a message) in a way that makes you feel “OM Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi OM” – peace within you, peace all around you, peace to and from everything and everyone you encounter” – on every level of existence.

WHERE: “Shanti (Peace Out)” is one of my go to selections for Savasana. Sometimes, for certain peace-focused classes, I use it for the beginning and end of class.

BOTTOM LINE: “Peace In / (Big Sigh) / Peace Out.”

 

March 26th – Le Départ.

WHY: The first time I played Alexandra Streliski‘s Pianoscope one of my regulars said it felt like the music was holding her. After a 2-hour practice you may want to be held; but you may, simultaneously, feel like you’re already being held – and you may want to hold on to a little bit of both feelings.

WHERE: “Le Départ” is aptly named, and works well as the last few minutes of a class. I personally would love to use this as my alarm clock – it seems like the perfect “awakening” music!

BOTTOM LINE: I just can’t resist departing with a modern female composer.

 

March 27th – The World Exploded Into Love.

WHY: First and foremost, it’s Bob. Second, in the nearly 30 years that my college buddy J. Ben (see March 1st post, above) has been one of my musical gurus, I’ve only musically scooped him once – and it was Bob. Finally, people who regularly practice yoga, at some point, experience “… a feeling, if you know what I mean //… It can’t be described, can’t be explained…” but when you feel it “[you] have to smile.”

WHERE: At the end of every playlist I add the music which, thematically, could have made the list but (because of time, tempo, sequence, etc.) didn’t make the cut. The very first of the extra songs, what people hear as their getting ready to leave, is a little subliminal message – a reminder to take from the mat, to the world. Plus, “The World Exploded Into Love” makes good lagniappe, because when I include it in the mix, I keep trying not to cue over the lyrics.

BOTTOM LINE: Four states, six cities, three Batman shirts, one natural disaster, a bar room brawl, a G-string (not to be confused with a thong) – and the Frunk still blows me away!

 

March 28th – Give Me Love (+ a wee bit of Irish before you go).

WHY: One of the soul’s four desires is to be known (seen/heard) and to be loved. Combine that truth with music that makes you hum; lyrics that tell a story; and a voice that makes angels cry – and you have everything I love about music. No surprise then, that I love singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who can make you sing, laugh, cheer, and dance while you’re crying. This song is like hearing every inner voice in the world singing. No pretense, and no holds barred. (Then, when you’re raw and exposed, there’s that secret track at the end, which is just a wee bit of Irish comfort.)

WHERE: As a bonus track on my March playlist, “Give Me Love” builds the energy up (for people who are leaving) and “The Parting Glass” strips everything down (for the people who are just arriving and settling in for class). The only time I play these tracks as they appear on the album is as bonus songs. Otherwise, “Give Me Love” works well for a peak vinyasa sequence (when you move from breaking it down to flowing one-breath:one-motion); and “The Parting Glass” works well as the practice moves into Savasana.

BOTTOM LINE: Ed’s music is an elephant!

 

March 29th – Nothing Else Matters (Apocalyptica version).

WHY: It doesn’t matter if you pick the original Metallica or the string-enhanced Apocalyptica version, this song is pure genius. It applies to romantic love; love between all things/beings; love towards oneself; and the importance of being authentically yourself/your true Self.

WHERE: Either version of “Nothing Else Matters” works as a bonus track. (Officially, I’m using the strings for this playlist. Unofficially, I’m using both – starting with the classic!) I play the Apocalyptica version in class a lot, because it works (for any theme) as an integration track, a segue between sequences track, a drive the point/theme home track, and a prepare for Savasana track. I could use it for Savasana, but the end makes that choice a little tricky. I occasionally use the original Metallica version as an integration track, a Sun Salutations track, or a winding down track during a love-theme class.

BOTTOM LINE: “Couldn’t be much more from the heart / Forever trusting who we are / And nothing else matters….”

 

March 30th – Om Narayana.

WHY: Om is the vibration under everything; every plane of existence, conscious/subconscious/unconscious mind. Narayana is one of the many names of God; however, it is a name which directly points to living beings. In addition to being described in sacred texts as “the absolute,” the word “narayana” translates to “The One who rests on water” and seen as “the resting place for all living entities” (especially when you consider how much of us is water). The root word “nara” means human and “ayana” means a place of refuge or a direction/goal. In some sacred texts, Nara and Narayana are presented as twins (or close friends), one leading the other into the highest experience of life. Wade Imre Morissette combines mantra with music and little glimpses into the experience of living with the awareness that we are all divine.

WHERE: As a bonus track, “Om Narayana” works as a tuning track – clearing out negative thoughts and distractions from the day and preparing you, on an energetic level, for the physical practice. During a class, it works well as heart opening/back bending music towards the end of practice – especially when the practice focuses on compassion/loving-kindness.

BOTTOM LINE: “Om Narayana Shanti Om” Peace to all living beings.

 

March 31st – Suite for Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 (1. Prelude).

WHY: I seriously considered repeating a musician; in the end, however, I decided that since I started as I intended to go on, I should end with a composer. (Did I mention I love composers?) Johann Sebastian Bach‘s suites for unaccompanied cello are so popular they’re learned by anyone who picks up a cello – and they’ve been transcribed for almost every instrument known to the modern world. Yo-Yo Ma won a Grammy for one of his Bach cello recordings, but I usually play Mischa Maisky in class.

WHERE: “Suite for Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 (1. Prelude)” works anywhere – and I have played it everywhere during a practice. By and large, however, what connects this piece to the pieces around it are either another cello, something that continues the feeling of arpeggiated scales, and/or a big breath before something a cappella.

BOTTOM LINE: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. [Or…] the recreation of the soul; where this is not kept in mind there is no true music, but only an infernal clamour and ranting.”

 

 

 

~ NAMASTE ~

Don’t forget to check out last year’s 30 Yoga Poses in 30 Days or my 2014 KISS MY ASANA wrap-up post.  
 
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