Even before I opened my laptop to pen down thoughts for this blog, I instinctively grabbed my earphones and then settled in a cozy, quiet corner of my home. Thanks to the creative genius of so many music artists, I could pick an inspiring tune from a wide array of soulful music available digitally. The atmosphere for my ideas to flow was set. Everyone connects to music in their own unique way. Depending on what phase of life you are in or at what juncture in the day, music has the power to motivate, pacify or enliven moods. Soothing music permeating in the background provided me with the substratum for creative flow.
I am a yoga teacher and remain a lifelong student of yoga studies and philosophy. As you walk into my yoga studio, either for an energizing morning class or in the evening, to unwind and restore, tranquil music welcomes you. During practice, soothing sounds of nature blend with breath and creative flow of postures, harmonizing your soul. In the rhythm of this flow, the power of yoga unfolds and you enter a meditative realm.
Many artists when completely engrossed in music, experience a meditative state of mind. However, such an uplifting experience requires unflinching concentration and dedication to the art-form. Can we train our minds to achieve consistency in practice, instill discipline, develop focus and inculcate patience? Absolutely! This where yoga can step in. Using breath techniques, mindful movements and working with our limitations, yoga leads to positive self-transformation. We recognize our inner strengths and learn to persevere in difficult times. We become open to experiences. In a 2014 article in Psychology Today, Garth Sundem discusses the value of cultivating basic openness to experience to help increase an individual’s creativity and divergent thinking. While music offers me the substratum for creativity, my yoga practice fosters my will to persist, especially on days that don’t seem to be on my side!
Understanding Oneness: A Spiritual Journey
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj, meaning union. One of the explanations from ancient texts interprets it as the union or oneness of body and mind with breath. Similarly, music in Sanskrit is called Sangeetam, made of two Sanskrit words Sam+Geetam, Sam meaning absolute or complete, geetam meaning music. It was expounded thousands of years ago that both yoga and music can elevate you to the state of oneness. In music, oneness is achieved when melody is in unison with the rhythm of your breath. Oneness in yoga unfolds with the union of mind, body and breath. The pauses between postures encourage us to slow down and befriend the present moment. It is in the gap between thoughts that we find our inner silence.
To explore my own musical abilities and to add another dimension to my spiritual journey, I have started learning the Indian Veena, an ancient South Indian string instrument. Learning anything from scratch as an adult can be daunting. I attribute my efforts of learning this ancient and divine instrument to my practice of yoga. My practice has given me the capacity to focus, the courage to learn a challenging art-form and the will to persist.
Finding out what sparks our passion is a worthwhile pursuit. Some of us are naturally inclined towards an art-form and some discover our passions as life unfolds. Our starting points may vary but in this process of self-discovery we unearth treasures within us like grit, compassion, forgiveness and adaptability. Life becomes a celebration!
"Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration. "
Author : Deepti Gupta
All of us have a story to tell. Turning ideas into words and life's experiences into stories is empowering and fulfilling.