Ashtanga Taboo: Playing Music
I know. Touchy subject.
There are lots of reasons why it’s a touchy subject. It’s not traditional. It’s distracting. It drowns out the sound of your breath. I could go on.
But my early Ashtanga teacher, Shayna Liebbe, played music. And I don’t mean ambient groove or chanting. Shayna played Pink Floyd and Tool.
Eventually her students started making mixes for class—me included. I made maybe over a dozen mixes for Shayna. She often took requests from the class. But it wasn’t all fun and games. She managed to get us through the entire First Series in the hour and a half allotted to her by YogaWorks. She made us recite the Yamas or the Niyamas during navasana. She read us the Yoga Sutras in savasana. But her class was always fun. We still miss her, Steve and I.
Shayna got some push back for playing music, but it was the reason I kept doing Ashtanga. I was down to the wire: Either yoga was going to help, or I was going to get spinal fusion surgery. I was in intense pain all throughout practice. The music gave me a place to go while I learned to get control of that pain. The music was an asana delivery device for me.
Flash forward. Here I am with a mostly home practice. I’m long years away from those first, agonizing forward folds; I’ve spent hours in silent Mysore practice, listening to the breath. But it’s tough—as a lot of you know—to motivate yourself to roll out the mat, face the front, begin, and stay going right through the closing sequence.
So it was yesterday. I had a thousand things to do. I was tired. My knee hurt. I didn’t wanna do anything. Then, a memory of something Nancy Gilgoff said came back to me. “I practice at home. Sometimes I have trouble getting started,” someone remarked. “Music helps,” Nancy said, “I listen to Santana.”
As a result, I felt pretty justified when I sat myself down, opened up the computer, and made myself a playlist. I rolled out my mat. I said the opening prayer, and hit play (the list is below if you’re curious). Thanks, Shayna. And thanks, Nancy.
Would That Not Be Nice, Divine Fits
The Wolves, Ben Howard
River to Consider, White Denim
Summer-Blink, Cocteau Twins
Black Tin Box (feat. Lykke Li), Miike Snow
Mausam, Nitin Sawhney
No Diggity, Chet Faker
Nothing But Our Love, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Unto Caesar, Dirty Projectors
100 Other Lovers, DeVotchKa
Bittersweet Symphony, The Verve
Ritual Union, Little Dragon
Champagne Coast, Blood Orange
Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car, Iron & Wine
Bring the Mountain Down (feat. Grant Lee Phillips), Carmen Rizzo
City Don’t Cry, Page & Plant
Over the Ocean, Here We Go Magic
Beloved, Anoushka Shankar
Tambura Evening Meditation, Harish Johari
Posted by Bobbie