The Yoga Music workshop on Saturday was an absolute fun, fabulous and inspiring day! The ever-smiling Sangita helped us all to explore our musical hearts. She took a bunch of absolute beginners – musically-speaking – and after a few hours we were making beautiful, REAL music!
We learnt four chants (songs of just a few lines that are repeated several times), and we learnt to add different drums, rhythms, and then even harmoniums to the mix! The first chant we learnt was arranged by Deva Premal – she added her own music to the ancient words. It is a yogic daily chant sung in Sanskrit, which is the ancient language of India in which the vibration of the word matches the vibration of the object or action that it represents:
Om asato maa sad gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrityor maa amritam gamay
Lead me from the unreal to the real
From darkness to the light
From death to eternal life
Another chant was in a Native American language and praised the sun (Let me be one with the infinite sun…) while the other two were sung in English and were written by the kirtan musician, Peia. (She’s worth looking up on YouTube – her music is absolutely beautiful!).
As I mentioned in the blog last week, chants are usually of a spiritual nature, and each of the chants we sang echoed the message of what yoga is about: that life, including this planet that we call “home” is precious.
Then we had lunch – all deliciously healthy and vegan – and a sit on the shaded grass getting to know each other. Lunchtime was followed by “play” time!
Imagine four harmoniums facing into each other, and four very worried people sitting in front of them, wondering how to use them. This is where Sangita made the day shine: she gently showed us how to move the bellows, and how to hold the drone notes, and then we were all magically musical – singing and chanting and harmonium-ing together!
Added to this were the different percussion instruments, woodwind, guitar and harmonising voices. I think we were all a little stunned that it came together as beautifully as it did, and that those were our hands and our voices making the music. We ended the day with a concert; we played and sang all four chants in succession, swapping instruments around and everyone having having a turn on those glorious harmoniums.
I think everyone felt elated – I know I certaintly did! People who had thought they were deprived of any sense of musicality found that they had rhythm, music and a voice.
It was so beautiful – and happy and friendly and relaxed – that several times I was near to tears. I’m really looking forward to inviting Sangita back later on in the year, so that more of us can experience the power of yoga music.