Healing through music 🎵 🥰 new practice series!
9:30 Club, Lord Huron, Circa 2015

Morning, friends!

Quick announcement! I'm leading a 3-week long yoga series that starts next Monday all about healing common areas of tension in the body (sore neck, shoulders, low back and other areas of instability). There will also be sweet tunes included, and it's very friendly for beginners, off-the-wagoners, or yoga skeptics. I hope you can make it! More details on that are below.

On to today's reflection...

A few weeks before I moved to Tucson two Octobers ago, I got invited to a house concert by a singer whose band was performing there. This invitation made me feel very hip and cool, mostly because I'm neither of those things, but it ended up conflicting with my writing class — so I had to miss it.

A couple months later, I met a first date at Hotel Congress, where we planned to catch my date's friend's band performing. But we got so caught up in conversation, we never made it to the stage.

These two moments sprang to mind as I sat down to write and tried to remember the last time I experienced live music. (That was when "next time!" was a promise that could be fulfilled at an actual real date, and "soon" wasn't laced with tenuous platitudes.)

It's perhaps indulgent to grieve tiny joys lost over the last year, especially as people are struggling to meet their most basic needs and rebuild post winter storm Uri, while average people step in to help.

But indulgence has its place in healing. For me, music is a path. For me, there are a handful of things that make life worth living, and music is one. Live music for me is about broken hearts processed, dancing with friends on the lawn of Merriweather, Kirtan with yogis from D.C. to NYC to AZ, dive bar tunes in Dallas, crowd-surfing at Warped Tour at 16, getting swept up in the intimacy of orchestra at 6th and I, and every 9:30 Club show, sometimes arm-in-arm, sometimes alone, but always with that sense of primal connection.

We've made a lot of strange moves along the way as a species, but we got a few things right, and music is one. On a biological level, we know music heals, we suspect that even plants can detect music, and we even know it can help us to manage pain.

I mean it when I say this: let's meet up for a show one day, when it's possible again.

For now, my coping mechanism has been to listen to entire albums from start to finish at home, on my yoga mat. For years I've been curating music for yoga classes in this playlist, and occasionally emerging artists will reach out to share their work, which always makes me reflect on what makes for good back-drop music for my practice. I suppose it's more of an inner truth that shines through, a relatability, a sense that there is a margin within the vibration of the songs to move through pain or discontentment. The music must not be too coy, but it must not dominate. Like any good teacher, it holds space for imagination and failure. On special occasions, I'll turn an album on, and let it play straight through. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. But when it works, hoo-baby, it's nice! I am absorbed completely, I lose all sense of time.

Below is a round-up of the albums that have clicked for me as "Do A Whole Yoga Practice Start-to-Finish" material, alongside selections of lyrics that strike a chord. Sometimes, it's more like yoga+dance mix. This is entirely subjective, of course, and not exhaustive. I encourage you to embark on your own search for the album that holds you for an hour or more as you move. Feel free to let me know if you find anything good.

Until then,


Albums to Listen (and Dance, Yoga, Move) the Whole Way Through

Aisha Badri, Pendulum
Have you seen the girl with the mind on fire? / She set out to tell the world how they suppress our desires / Said she wouldn't back down till the rules were amended / And she didn't give a fuck who she offended

Gaelynn Lea, Learning How to Stay
Don't tell me we've got time / The subtle thief of life / It slips away when we pay no mind. (Her Tiny Desk concert is worth the watch.)

Sylvan Esso, What Now
But it feels so good when we begin /  So let's freeze it now before it ends / Let's never stop starting

Victory, The Broken Instrument

Oh He Dead, Self-titled
And even when she goes, I'm still burnin' like candlelight

Lo-Fang, Near Other Worlds

Florence + the Machine, High as Hope
Lord, don't let it break this, let me hold it lightly / Give me arms to pray with instead of ones that hold too tightly

The Touré-Raichel Collective, The Tel Aviv Session

Maggie Rogers, Heard It in a Past Life
Oh, I could feel the shadow comin' / Straight on down the line / Masquerading like he was a friend of mine

Trevor Hall, In and Through the Body
How ya gonna get free this time? / Falling into a blue sky mind /  Came to me in that song my friend / I just wanna go back again

Kishi Bashi, Sonderlust
In my dream, you split apart the ocean, in a single heated motion, and we settled in agreement. / With glee, our dangerous liaisons and clandestine creations were fine with me.

Joe Kaplow, Time Spent in Between
And I just wanna know you just like the first time / But my home is a fleeting moment / Another moment gone by

Tracy Chapman, Self-titled
She's got her ticket / I think she gonna use it / I think she's going to fly away

Lord Huron, Strange Trails
Was he unforgiven or just tired of living a life that never felt like his? /  Though I was was worn and weary, I thought I'd bury him / and lay his soul to rest out in the desert night.

New Yoga Series: Back to Body (Starts March 1!)

Achy back, shoulders or neck? Weak in places you're usually strong? Tight in places you never felt tight before? Just feel overall disconnected from your body? Have you "lost" the ease in yoga poses that used to feel easeful?

This next series will be one you'll love. I'm super excited for it. 
Join the series
Recent love note from a current student:
"Quick note to say I'm loving every moment. I teared up during tonight's session (in a good way) — relief and gratitude."


Tears are welcome here! Have a wonderful rest of your week. 
I hope you find something so beautiful today, you don't wanna hit skip.

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