I get lost in music. I’m thinking back to particular moments during “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber, “He Shall Purify” by George Frideric Handel, that Beastie Boys concert in Denver… We aspire for those moments in our yoga practice. We call it ‘samadhi’, absolute absorption. You’ve probably experienced it yourself; running, dancing, meditating, praying, chanting. It happens, we lose track of time, place, even ourselves. Everyday that we get on our mat or cushion, we’re laying the groundwork to invite Samadhi. Yet we can’t plan for it or force it to occur. Samadhi just happens. And boy, do we love it when it does!
An awakening took place in my practice and my teaching in 2003 when I attended my first Jivamukti yoga class on Lafayette Street in NYC. Upon completing our opening chants and pushing up into our first down-dog, the play button was pressed and viola – there was sound! We glided through a beautifully fluid sequence of sun salutations, standing poses, headstands and backbends; all the while motivated and inspired by a clever arrangement of tunes that drew from soft sitar and Hindi chants to rockin’ U2 stadium anthems. Before I could say ‘paschimottanasana’, we were lulled into a luscious shavasana that was made even more delicious by the drone and vibration of subway trains passing underneath the building. I was lost.
My teacher encourages simply the sound of our own beautiful, albeit sometimes off-key, voices as we chant invocations at the beginning and OM together at the end of class. Our asana practice is done to the sound and steady rhythm of our ujjayi breath. Up until ’03 I had no idea that music could lend itself so effectively to my practice. Hatha yoga is a tool used to still the fluctuations of the mind. Music has that same power. Combine the two intelligently and you end up with something quite extraordinary.
This summer, the state of Oklahoma is in for something quite extraordinary indeed. For the past 7 years, Tom and Angie Green have shown the spotlight onto our humble state through DFest; a 2-day music conference and festival that places emerging artists on the same bill as the big boys. Music and yoga jive so well together; both allow for enormous creativity, both are capable of bringing about revolution, both can take us to a higher level of consciousness, both are opportunities to lay the groundwork for Samadhi.
It makes perfect sense then that this year, the 8th Annual DFest Music Conference and Festival is partnering with Art of Yoga (OKC), Inner Peace Yoga (Tulsa) and The Canebrake (Wagoner, USA) to bring you Oklahoma’s very first DFest Yoga Conference and Festival! For two days in July, the Crowne Plaza in downtown Tulsa will play host to our very own, home-grown, Okie Yogis from across the state showcasing what they love; the practice. Taking over three conference rooms, the grand ballroom and the courtyard, DFest Yoga Conference and Festival will provide plenty music, asana, panel discussions, lectures and even a room dedicated solely to the art and sounds of silence.
The brainchild of visionaries Aprilhelen Morgan (Art of Yoga, OKC) and Angie DeVore Green (DFest Co-Founder, Tulsa), the 2009 DFest Yoga Conference and Festival will provide a rare and rich opportunity to learn from the best our state has to offer, and believe me, it’s dern good! Live musical performances will accompany many of the group asana classes, panel discussions will take place on such topics as Conscious Consumption, Alternative Health and the Merging of the Music/Yoga Communities, and a ‘Yoga Medley’ will offer demonstrations of the many different styles that are out there. Here’s just a tiny sample of the teachers, styles, panelists and musical performers that await you at The Crowne:
HereiiHere/Live music & Kirtan * Andrew Eppler /Ashtanga * Billy & Jane/acoustic music for classes
Dr. Ammit Gumman/Ayurvedic medicine * Dr. Saskia Lyttle-Vieira, DO/Osteopathic medicine
Faith Dyson/Drumming * Gwen Ingram/Kundalini * Jennifer Engleman & Aprilhelen/AcroYoga
Karen Prior/Samatva yoga, Mamaste * Martha McQuaid/Anusara * Richard and Kate Haas/The Earth Deli & Grocery
* Robin King/Singing Bowl Meditation * Roger Jaeger/Sitar * Stacey Prior/Iyengar
What an excellent opportunity for new yogis and seasoned sadhakas alike as we hone our skills and nurture relationships with fellow revolutionaries. Join us as we explore how both the yoga and music communities work and play together in harmony to lay the groundwork towards higher coinsciousness.
It could happen to you…
Lisa Bracken owns and teaches at The Canebrake (www.TheCanebrake.com). As a youth, she thrashed about to the rebellious sounds of Agent Orange, The Clash and Social Distortion; she now practices asana to the smooth sounds of Krishna Das and Jai Uttal. Oh, and the Beastie Boys too.