Why I recommend yoga and meditation. A singer-songwriter’s perspective.
When I’m lost in the process of creating something, I am distant from all other things. That is why I like making things; it’s like a retreat into the world of infinite magic and possibility that exists in our imagination. Making music and lyrics is what I have become the most intensely involved in over the last twelve years of my life, I love the art of songwriting so much that for a long time now I have, knowingly or not, more or less devoted my life to it. I have become part of it, as it has become part of me. We are one and the same. This is what I perceive passion to be. I place it on a pedestal, at the heart of my existence. I love it and want to feed it, and make it grow. It’s like a tree, a beautiful tree that can sprout colours I would never have otherwise imagined, through the channelling of sensations that I may never have otherwise understood.
It’s a practice that, like most artistic or creative activities, relies greatly on intuition, lucidity and open mindedness. When I started doing yoga I was fully aware that it had multiple benefits, but over time, and the more I did it, the more I understood why. Of course your body thanks you, you can feel it smiling. It makes me feel stronger, as well as more in tune with my own strengths and weaknesses. In this way I feel steady, balanced and able. I now can say that my yoga practice has become an equally essential part of my being. Sometimes we forget to breathe properly. It sounds strange to say but it’s true that we are often so preoccupied that we never slow down and bring our concentration back to the most basic and brilliant elements such as the rhythm of breath, the sound of being alive. Yoga reminds me of this every time, it brings the focus back to your inner strength and calm, that which will always be there throughout your life, supporting you beneath each and every strain you experience in that time. That is why it’s important not to neglect it, but to nurture it.
I feel as though yoga and creative energy occupy the same place in my life. They share the same stillness and faithfulness, the same godly energy. The difference is that yoga accesses it mainly through physical processes, and in music I access it largely through mental processes, which I can then translate into the physical aspects of playing an instrument, controlling a machine or writing down words. But that is all part of it. It’s the truth of the experience that enraptures me. Yoga and meditation seem to strengthen the connection between body and mind, and thus intensify the flow of ideas and facilitate the decision-making of the artistic process. In a beautiful radiating armchair of oneness, the ideas find you, and you no longer find yourself searching them out (although that may also be partly due to the increase of patience). They both require connection with feeling.
In many ways I think it’s the strength that yoga gives me that helps the most with creating music; the physical and emotional strength. It gives me confidence in my ideas, and I trust them even if they seem weird at first, the point is that I trust the place it came from. Songwriting is still a mystic thing to me, since I was young I’ve always felt like there’s another being inside of me, with its own agenda, who I can’t control, and who I would do best to believe and trust. This voice definitely finds comfort in the yoga practice, and I owe a lot to it for diversifying my creative output. I used to feel very tortured and depressive, and songs were a way of expressing or releasing this often inexplicable feeling that lived within me. Although yoga and meditation have opened windows and let light flood into my perception of the world, they can awaken all of your senses to an alarming degree, and this sensitivity can uncover a vulnerability to the emotions that you do experience. But it makes you more able to accept them, understand them and move on from them, allowing yourself to return to a more earthed and wise place. One thing I’ve noticed over time is that I normally end up writing a song about something only after the emotional drama of the experience, big or small, has settled, and my mind can process it into a different form, such as a song. It may be different for other people, but this is how I have found it to be for me. Even if you don’t have an artistic passion I think there is a lot to be discovered through spiritual practices, I recommend it to everyone. I think the world would be a better place if we were all more in tune with this steadiness and strength- if our actions and reactions were less governed by the irrationality and extremity of emotions. Of course we need to experience emotions in order to learn from them and grow, but it is what we do with them that is important.