August 12, 2013

Yeezy & Yoga? That Sh*t Crazy. ~ Carla Berkowitz

Sorry Enya & Deva & Krishna & Jai etc…hip-hop, elecronica and yoga…the best kept secret no longer a secret!

Traditional Yoga music is so over…that it’s over…I mean over!

Yoga music needs to be changed up, especially after science has revealed, as you might have suspected, our emotional connection to the music we listen to can cause major changes in the way our brains work. Peace and serenity can be found in the most unusual of places caused by the most unusual of sounds.

Few yogis know more about leaving one’s comfort zone musically than Dido. After Eminem recorded his song “Stan” using her hit “I’m Sorry,” she felt a connection to the song in her musical soul, highlighting a shift in how she interacted with rap and hip hop music.

The songs that comprise the “soundtrack” in my classes bring on meditative states just as deep and powerful as what a chanted mantra can produce.

They are, like Indian ragas, made up of small pieces of music, repeated and overlaid with a melody and lyrics. In hip hop, the vocals are themselves like a percussive instrument, with a definite rhythm and meter which can affect your mental state almost independently of what the lyrics actually say. In techno, the lyrics are often a single phrase or two, repeated over and over like a mantra, and forming a melody inseparable from the electronic instruments in the background.

What’s more, the tempo of the songs mimic the human heart’s natural beat of between 60-120 beats per minute (BPM).

You can hear it today in songs by Daft Punk, Gorillaz and Kanye West, or in oldies like Snoop Dog and Tupac. The strong bass beats could have practically been made for inducing a trance-like state. I took notice quickly. Scientific research into the effect of music on the human mind found a constant beat at or near the human heart rate could induce an effect known as “entrainment,” in which the heart rate and brain waves synchronize with an external audio signal, causing intense relaxation. So there it is “Intense Relaxation.”

Much music culture revolves around concepts of Peace, Love, Unity and Respect (PLUR). While your students will appreciate it if you don’t take an ecstasy pill before class, the sentiment is quite compatible with yogic philosophy.

So here are a few of the songs from my latest soundtrack, I change often but these have stuck for a while.
Hear me out please…no pun intended.
I begin Pranayama with:
  1.  Kaskade- One Last Chance (to breathe)
  2.   Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
  3.   The Gorillaz – Feel Good, Inc.
  4.  The Luminaries ft. Trevor Hall – Be The Chang
  5.   Aerosmith – Dream On
  6.   The Postal Service – Such Great Heights
  7.   Jay-Z/Kanye West – Ni–as in Paris
  8.   Kanye West – Runaway
  9.   Stan – Eminem FEAT. Dido
  10.   Matisyahu – One Day
  11.   Rihanna- Feat. Kanye West – Diamonds REMIX
  12.   A Thousand years- Christina Perri
  13.   Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

If you want, start by sampling some of these classic rap, hip hop and techno tracks. Like any new stimulus, it takes time to get used to a new genre of music, and the rewards are quite tangible and easily attained.


Peace Out. Keep it real. So that not sound crazy.

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Assistant Ed: Dana Pauzauskie/Ed: Bryonie Wise
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Carla Berkowitz