Yoga Journal: the music issue

The September 2011 issue of Yoga Journal is “the music issue.” It contains a home practice sequence synced with an MC Yogi playlist, interviews with musicians who do yoga, and a look at the kirtan spectacle in America. The online magazine offers Funky Love Songs, “some of the grooviest, most genre-bending forms of mantra music in the yoga world.”

Should we care what Alanis Morissette (cover model), Bonnie Raitt, Moby, Ziggy Marley, and Maroon 5 band members say about yoga? Well, I’m a willing listener of stories and opinions (on yoga, on whatever)—if someone has something to say.

I wrote about doing asana to music in The trouble with mixing yoga and music: Part I (featured in WordPress’s Freshly Pressed and by far my most-viewed post) and Part II. Nothing much to add; I said my piece then.

But I want to share a video of Maty Ezraty, interviewed by Michelle Myhre of Devil Wears Prana, on being a “good” teacher versus being a “popular” teacher. When asked about authenticity and teaching real yoga, she advised against trying to please students just to be popular. At one point (1:30 minutes in), she suggested not playing music in classes:

“… [W]hen the music is on, [the] mind identifies with the music and it doesn’t really go in. You don’t really listen to what’s going in there. It’s not very pleasant always to listen to what’s going on in there, but that’s the yoga: dealing with it, seeing it, to get free of it.”

Maty’s straightforward, clear ideas (and easy smile and laugh) impressed me.  I don’t know her but I’ve long recognized her name and face. She studied directly with Pattabhi Jois (and initially with BKS Iyengar) from her early 20s and founded original YogaWorks studio in Los Angeles, although since selling the company in 2005, it’s become the Starbucks of teacher training. She mentored many celebrity, conference-circuit teachers, including Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Kathryn Budig, and Natasha Rizopoulos. Considering her influence, she keeps a relatively low profile in the yoga “scene” and I respect her for that. When she and her partner Chuck Miller moved to the Big Island of Hawai‘i, I was somewhat intrigued because it’s my home island and my beat for Lonely Planet.

The clip is the second of a two-part interview worth watching. In Part I, she talks about her mentors, about today’s overemphasis on asana and the physical part of yoga, and more.

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5 thoughts on “Yoga Journal: the music issue

  1. This post brings up such important points. Thanks for post, and for sharing the Maty Ezraty interview. Great reminders that yoga is about authenticity, about staying present and not about zoning out. And it’s good to be reminded of the distinction between “good” and “popular” in any area!

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