Eoin Finn has been our ambassador almost as long as we've been making black stretchy pants. In preparation for a summer full of outdoor yoga and music, Eoin takes a look at the relationship between the two and how they have evolved together.
music and yoga: a strange evolution
The yogis who practiced in the palaces of Mysore, India in the early 1900s probably never expected that yoga would be taught at the top of a ski resort in Whistler or Tahoe to the sounds of Thievery Corporation, yet the evolution seems so natural when you step back and look at it. When I presented at Wanderlust last summer it felt like a modern Woodstock.
Both Wanderlust and Woodstock have music playing late into the night, along with vendors and caravans of smiling, free-spirited people talking of peace and love. What’s different? The brown acid of the 60s has been replaced with downdogs, Trikonasanas and Tantric philosophy.
yogi rock stars
Even though many in India view yogis as wandering ascetics in spiritual pursuit of Moksha or “release” from the trappings of material possessions and the ego, there are armies of “yogi rock stars” who are content in the limelight, sharing their passions around the globe. You’ll see them hobnobbing with musical celebrities at yoga festivals this summer, no doubt.
No matter what your opinion of Yoga Rock Stars, the fact is that yoga and music are both great gifts for the elevation of the spirit.
Think about the many days you've found yourself in a mundane space and then that perfect song comes on the stereo that stops you in your tracks, and has you singing along in your head or even out loud. Your heart feels lighter, your pain fades away and gravity somehow tugs you down less.
This is the great gift of yoga, as well. Like music, it too restores our positive perspective, celebrates the splendor of life and the radiance of the heart. After just a few sun salutations all of us have wondered, “What was I worried about today, anyway?” Our body becomes an antenna that picks up the music of the soul.
My current personal definition of yoga is that “Yoga is the art of getting out of your own way.” Good musicians know this, as do artists and athletes. When they are in the zone and playing something powerful, you will notice their eyes are closed. They are open to something coming through them. Reflecting back on these moments they ask themselves, “Who was playing this music?” They are masters of being a conduit.
And this is what I tell people in our Blissology Yoga teacher trainings. Of all the things a yoga teacher has to perfect, the main one is how to be a conduit for the force of love, joy, awe and bliss. I think that the best yoga teachers, like great musicians, get out of their own way. They are not encased in ego, but they let something powerful flow through them.
This is why one of the best Savasanas I had was accompanied by musician and yogi Michael Franti on the Jivamukti Yoga DVD. He channels something in his music that is also there in the words and energy he uses during Savasana.
Let’s celebrate this great union of music and yoga. In the words of Hafiz, “let’s set this dry, boring place on fire.” If you attend one of these great music and yoga festivals, you will see that the Cosmic Dance of Shiva has evolved to the beat of our modern era, and it’s a great thing. I say, “Let’s ROCK!”
Come rock out with Eoin Finn at Wanderlust Whistler this summer or visit him at blissology.com for inspiration, teacher trainings, workshops and more.