Canadian Musician: Finding Balance in a Rock ‘n’ Roll World

 
 

CANADIAN MUSICIAN April 2013

FINDING BALANCE IN A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WORLD

PART ONE: THE POWER OF YOGA FOR MUSICIANS

by Parvati Devi

The music business is built on rock ‘n’ roll ethics – partying hard and living large – as aspiring stars and executives strive to make their immortal mark on the world and live like gods. When injuries, exhaustion, discontent, overdoses and addictions set in, all artists and business heads must make peace with the sobering fact that we are actually part of nature, and as such, must live by earthly, mortal laws.

For some, that may sounds like a drag. But the good news is, living in alignment with nature lets us tap into an infinite well of power and creativity, the very life-force that continually creates this amazing universe in which we live. So why not trade in the never ending, rollercoaster search for temporary highs for a life that welcomes eternal bliss?

Trade in Fools Gold for the Real Thing

If you are tired of fool’s gold not delivering the goods you seek, take a look instead at a radiant, ancient practice and science of life that is making strides all over the world. The yoga market in 2012 was a staggering 27 billion dollar industry in the USA, as compared to the 32 billion music industry. (www.statisticbrain.com) Statistics alone show there has to be something to this yoga stuff.

The cream rises to the top and now yoga is at the top of our world market, right alongside our favorite artists. If U2, Sting, Alanis, Madonna, Maroon 5, Moby and The Flaming Lips are into yoga, why not give it a go?

What is Yoga Anyway?

The art and science of Yoga reaches far beyond the impressions most Westerners have of it being a series of bendy, physical exercises. Yoga is a systematic body of knowledge and practice that teaches integrated living, while living our highest good, following our deepest joy.

While yogic knowledge spans the breadth of spiritual study, herbal medicine, astrology and such, what we mostly know of yoga in the Western world is one small branch of it, called Hatha Yoga, which concentrates on the health and purity of the body. Whether you are doing Kripalu, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Kundalini, or any other kind of yoga in a local yoga studio, you are likely doing some form of Hatha Yoga.

The goal of Hatha yoga is the purification of subtle channels that run through the body, so as to live a life of unending bliss. It is understood that our ego and our attachments are in the way of this fountain of joy, and as such, clog our ability to tap into true abundance.

Say Goodbye to Stress, Strain and Side Effects

If you no longer want the stress and strain of fighting for what you want, and are ready to ride the natural tides rather than push or resist the flow, if you are ready to embody your true awesomeness without fanfare and exhaustive effort, yoga can help you touch the eternal and channel the bliss you have always wanted. And the best part is, there are no negative side effects. In fact, the opposite is true. All side effects you get from yoga and meditation only serve to boost your creativity, increase your stamina and anchor your self-esteem as you face the most challenging times in your music career.

Less Effort, Maximum Gain

Whether you are on the road, on stage or in the studio, yoga and meditation can provide you with simple, effective tools to help you get the most out of your valuable life-energy and time. Think: less effort, maximum gain.

As a singer-songwriter, performer and producer who is heavily into yoga (ok, I am currently working on a book, working title “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie” – yes, I am seriously into it), I will share some of the amazing things yoga gives me on a daily basis as I face the extreme and unique demands of the full-on music business. From tips for keeping you fit and centered when touring, to how dealing with performance jitters and how to avoid that sore back you get from too much computer work, I have been living it all, ran into walls and had to find my way out, thankfully, through the life-saving practice of yoga and meditation.

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 issue 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.

 
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WHY YOGA IN THE NIGHTCLUB

I am often asked what inspired me to bring yogic expression into the club scene. I answer easily. Yoga In the Nightclub is a natural expression of who I am as a musical artist and dedicated yogini. Yoga is not a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. As such, yoga is everywhere. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected to that very life force. Yoga In The Nightclub is a celebration of life and a reminder that we can find awakened presence everywhere.

Yoga in the West is mostly known as a series of bendy physical exercises. Yet there is much more to it than fitness. Yoga’s systematic breath and body exercises, designed to clear the subtle channels in our energy system, prepare us for meditation, through which we may experience a life inspired by our interconnected, multidimensional true nature. Our body, that once was seen as “mine”, is no longer our identity, but a gift on loan from the divine. We care for it, but we are not attached to it. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience the transmutation of matter into pure light, embody the multidimensional and rest in the eternal.

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

Hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is just one of many aspects of yoga, which range from selfless service to astrology and prayer. The Sanskrit word “yoga” most simply translates to “union”, implying that the practice of any yoga will bring together our perceived sense of separateness. As a whole, yoga is an ancient science of life. It is a practical method of shedding excess and bringing us back from the self-delusion of separation from the divine so that we may realize our inherent interconnection to and ultimate oneness with it.

As we begin to understand that yoga is everywhere, we come to see how we are all connected in vast ways far beyond the limitations of our personal will and ego. What I do affects you, and vice versa. We are one earth family. At the heart of it all, we share the same heartbeat. Breathe to be. We are one.

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AWAKENED LIVING

When we are open, life blossoms, just as a flower opens to welcome the morning sun.  We see that the sun, though it is millions of light years away, has a tender yet powerful relationship with the flower, as do the rain and the clouds. From this perspective we see that we are part of the whole. Life is a symphonic masterpiece with which, when we are open, we are completely resonant.

As we come to understand our oneness, we can revel in it with wonder and joy. We can consider in awe how immense it all is. We can let go of the idea that an illusory, isolated sense of self could possibly be in control, and open to an exquisite unfolding of life in absolute perfection. Our actions become not about “me” but about the whole. Each moment is integrated within the whole. No one decision is separate.

When we begin to see that each decision we make affects not just ourselves but everyone and everything on the planet, we act with more compassion. When we have more compassion, we realize the impact of our actions and we naturally want less and practice more kindness. As stewards of the Earth, we each are called to learn to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and our planet. We all breathe the same air and live on the same living organism, our planet. Varied in race and creed, we are all one family, children of the same mother, the planet Earth.

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THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

In each moment, there is infinite grace. By becoming more conscious as we practice yoga on the mat, at work, at play or in the nightclub, we let go of the unnecessary and develop greater internal spaciousness which blooms throughout our lives. In this space new life and possibilities arise.

As we rest our awareness on the simple purity and grace of the breath, we realize - we are alive! We let go of wanting things from the future and the past and open to what is here and now. We feel as vast as the sky and rooted in the richness of this moment.

When we “breathe to be”, we understand our interconnection. We see that we are not the doers but a part of the whole, the same energy that is in the flowers and in the stars. We know that our essence is divine - from which we have come, to which we return.

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PARVATI'S NEW SINGLE - MARCH 2016
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I AM LIGHT

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Feel free to follow up with us directly at any time:

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Let me know how yoga and YEM have touched your life. You can send a link to a video by you if you would like. Comments may be shared on my website if you check the "permission to share" box.
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SHARE YOUR YOGA
I am light!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gone, gone beyond. Oh what awakening!
Gone, gone beyond. Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
I am the light, liquid gold light
I am in delight! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

I am the light (gate gate), liquid gold light (paragate)
I am in delight (gate gate) transforming the night (paragate)

Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Oh what awakening! (paragate) (I am)
Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight
I am light, dancing through the night
I am light, in delight
I am light, dancing through the night

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (gate gate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (paragate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light

I am light!

© 2015 Parvati Devi
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