An Emotional Yoga Practice

This is dedicated to a dear and good friend of mine, Georgey.

It’s amazing how one song can affect a person. I simply cannot resist the perfect combination of harmony, melody, rhythm and timbre. The music and the lyrics go hand in hand. If there ever was a perfect “couple” in this world, it’s the pairing of music and lyrics. There is one song in particular that I’ve always loved, but have been listening to an extra much lately.

Planet Caravan, by Black Sabbath

I’ve been listening to Black Sabbath for as long as I can remember, but I won’t forget the day I heard Planet Caravan for the first time. It was October 2007, and I was working on a project for my Sound I class. I’m a little ashamed of sharing this with you, but here goes… I didn’t know the lyrics to the song until yesterday. In fact, I never understood a single word!

When I practice yoga on my own, I like to listen to music. Sometimes I make a playlist with a random pick of songs I like, or I listen to Tina Malia. I prefer having something, or someone, to listen to during my routine. So if it’s not a yoga teacher, then it’s a song. I don’t mind a combination of both, as long as it’s balanced! Meditation was the topic of focus during today’s class. We went through a couple of meditation exercises. In one of the exercises, I kept going through the lyrics of Planet Caravan a number of times, focusing on my breath, my alignment, my comfort, and the song. It seems like so much to be thinking about during meditation, but they all seemed to connect and flow. Just when I thought I reached a state of pure happiness, Georgey pops up in my thoughts and it’s almost as if I could see him in the distance wearing his Black Sabbath jacket, rushing towards me screaming “JAY JAAYYY!!”. And so, I smiled, and my smile kept getting bigger.

Somewhere along the line during class today, we talked about an emotional yoga practice. Should you, or should you not make your yoga practice emotional? What does meditation mean to you? Peace, focus on breath, focus on one thought, letting go of your inhibitions, allowing all sorts thoughts to swim around in your head? Meditation can mean anything to anyone, it can also represent more than one thing at a time. Everyone who practices yoga has a reason , or a goal. Your reason, your goal, your achievement can be anything, as long as yoga helps you on a personal level. That being said, it is OK if your practice becomes emotional at some point. Yoga gives you the opportunity to balance your feelings. In many instances on a bad day, I found myself running to yoga class. Once I was there, I’d set up my mat and miraculously restart. I would practice my Ashtanga routine, focusing only on my teacher’s soothing words and guidance, restricting me from thinking of anything else simply because if I did, I’d lose control of my breath, lose my balance and mess up my practice. In the end, during meditation or savasana, my bad day pats me on the shoulder. I think about it, I deal with it in whatever emotional manner I choose, I pat it back on the shoulder, and I leave class happy and relaxed. My emotional yoga practice helped me on a personal level, and that’s why it was perfectly fine for my yoga practice to be emotional.

So here I am, always waking up with a smile on my face – thanks to the great opportunity and experience that I love to call my job, and my devotion to yoga.

 

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