[Continued from The Power of Yoga]
YOGA IS A PRACTICE
Healthy In the Midst of It All
We are organic, dynamic beings that are meant to move and flow. Enduring long touring car/bus/plane rides, or long stints in the studio, we need to move and stretch regularly to keep our muscles limber and fit for shows. I describe life as producer and touring musician being like moving from zero to 100, when we have to quickly shift from more sedentary creative and administrative work, to jumping up on stage and giving the performance of our life that will woo our fans. We need to learn how to make our life flow with more wholeness and fluidity if we are going to last through it all.
The physical exercises found in Hatha Yoga are a series of bodily postures that transition smoothly from one to the next. Each pose is like a position in which we may find ourselves in life. The child pose, for example, when you curl up, folded inward with your head on your knees, shins on the floor, is introverted and rejuvenating, a bit womb-like. We have all been there, and we need to go back to that inner child, in our inner space to create and rejuvenate.
Tadasana, or mountain pose, is a standing position we find ourselves in when we stand anywhere, say for example, when waiting for a bus, standing in line at the supermarket or proudly at the podium receiving our Juno award. But standing with awareness makes the difference between sore feet, knees and back, and effortless and strong presence.
Learning to move smoothly and mindfully between poses in our yoga practice helps us to remember that we can flow through life, not push or pull at things. When we push or pull in a yoga practice, we can injure ourselves. Similarly in life, pushing or pulling at things can cause eventual headache and heartache for our selves and others.
Breathing Is Living
This is where the breath comes in. The breath runs through all living things. It reminds us that we are not isolated islands, but all interconnected. When you think about it, we all breathe the same air – everyone on the planet. This helps us remember to live with greater awareness and responsibility. It also gives us energy, because we are tapped into a collective whole that is so much bigger than our limited ego.
The breath is involved in everything we do. It literally keeps us alive. Yogis say that our life can be measured by how many breaths we have. So in yoga, we learn to watch our breath, be mindful of how it flows and if it carries tension. This also gives us amazing power. When we notice, for example, that our breath is tense, we can see that we are losing energy in that tension. When we allow ourselves to relax, the energy that was trapped in tension becomes available for creative use.
When we practice yoga and move from pose to pose with awareness, noticing our breath, we are in fact practicing how to live a healthier, more grounded, whole, purposeful and happy life. Yoga does not remove us from life, but teaches us to live life with eyes open so we can enjoy it all.
Now that you know a bit about Hatha Yoga, are you ready to try out a few poses with me? Join me next week for some simple yoga exercises that you can do anywhere to stay fit. After all, YOU are the most important instrument to keep in tune for the success of your music career.