April 7, 2012

Smoking Pot, Trey Anastasio & the Tadasana Festival of Yoga & Music.

I just awoke from a dream…

I was sitting with Trey Anastasio, lead guitarist/singer of the extraordinary band known as Phish, and looking over the latest in his string of extraordinary creative pursuits—an exquisite comic book series (think: Neil Gaiman) that he was about to put out. He was looking for my opinion on the project. “I wasn’t aware you do comics, Trey,” I told him, “but these are incredible.”

And they were. Amazing, provoking graphics seemed to leap right up off the page. It was impressive. In the back of my mind in the dream, which obviously means in the front of my mind in real life, is the fact that I am busy seeking the right artist to perform at the yoga and music festival I’m co-producing called Tadasana…in a little over two weeks! And, of course, Trey is the right man for the job.

The idea is to have some outstanding artist perform for 90 minutes within the context of a yoga class taught by one of the top yoga teachers in the world. It is meant to be a sort of musical meditation where the artist and teacher collaborate, synching with the vibe of the class and laying down an aural tapestry moment to moment—a true improvisation.

Well, even in the dream, I am acutely aware of the gauntlet of managers and agents, nay-sayers all of them, that would never allow Trey to do something like this. I could hear a cacophony of their voices in my head—the same voices I usually hear in real life when I approach agents with creative ideas.

“How much are you paying? You want what? We don’t do yoga! Impossible. Our artist is performing five years from now at The Hollywood Bowl. We’ve got a six-year exclusivity clause there. Could f*ck up the next album release. Everything is wrong with this! Two weeks from now? What are you, an assh*le?”

Yet, there I am in the dream with the man himself. I’m past the gauntlet having a direct connection with Trey Anastasio and not as someone trying to pitch an idea. Trey and I are just hanging and I’m checking his thing out. All is good in the world.

Organically, without any pretense, Trey says, “So what about this thing you’re doing?” “Yeah man, thanks for asking…”

So I lay it out for him with all the passion I have for this thing , which is epic, and about five minutes in, I start to realize that Trey really is the right choice, not because I think so, but because he thinks so. No one’s ever asked him to do this kind of thing before and he’s into it. He digs the creative nature of the gig—90 minutes of improvisation in a very different setting than the normal concert. He gets off on the idea of adding his creativity into the experience of bliss found in a yoga class. “Yeah, I can do that. Sounds cool,” he says.

And then…I wake up.

My mind is racing with the idea. Wow, Trey Anastasio at Tadasana Festival. That’s deep. How do I get to this guy? We did go to the same high school. He got kicked out for smoking pot the same year I arrived. I almost got kicked out for smoking pot two years later. Maybe I’ll call his manager and lead with that story and he’ll pass the phone to Trey. “Hi, I went to high school with Trey and we smoked pot…Anyway, I’m producing this yoga show…”

It’s 5:00 a.m. and dark outside here in Venice, Calif. My incredible wife is next to me and all really is good in the world. I’ve got a first-year show called the Tadasana Festival of Yoga and Music coming in 16 days with 60 top yoga teachers and 30 amazing musicians playing in classes. It is going to be mind-blowing. I still can’t tell you who will fill that 90-minute slot of pure improvisational bliss and I have no direct line to Trey Anastasio. Ahhh! The absolute powerlessness of it all!


Tommy Rosen is a certified Vinyasa Flow and Kundalini Yoga Teacher and a leading authority on addiction and recovery, with 20 years experience helping others to overcome addictions of every kind. He is one of the pioneers in the relatively new field of Yoga and Recovery, which utilizes yoga and meditation to help people to move beyond addiction and build fulfilling lives. Tommy teaches yoga at Naam Yoga LA and Bhakti Yoga Shala, and is the co-founder and director of the Tadasana Festival of Yoga & Music. His writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, the Daily Love and Yoga Mint. He has published articles in LA Yoga, Yogi Times and the Aquarian Times. Tommy lives with his wife, yoga instructor Kia Miller, in Venice, CA.

Photo courtesy of flickr user Dan Shinneman.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

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