I’ve been playing instruments as soon as I could lift them up. But when I was ten and my dad put a guitar in my lap, everything changed. Like being struck by lightening, in a flash I understood the guitar and knew that I would be a professional musician. The first time I practiced yoga, same feeling…an entire path opened up and swallowed me whole. I wasn’t looking for these Portals, they found me.
When I started practicing yoga in 1996 I was running a studio on 5th avenue. By being at the center of studio activity, I came to know everyone really well. I kept seeing was artists coming to practice yoga and then giving up their art to pursue self-transcendence on the mat. A deep part of my heart threw a red flag and so I made a pact with myself to never step off the path of the musician. I resolved to keep music a priority even though the yogic practices created a similar state of self-transcendence and euphoria.
It makes total sense that the centering/euphoric/performance/steady paycheck aspects of teaching and practicing yoga would be seductive and comforting to an artist in the city but I felt I would come to regret giving too much of my time and energy to yogic studies at the expense of maturing as a musician.
Mr ‘Follow your bliss’ (Joseph Campbell) said it best, ‘I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.’
So after over 30 years of being a musician and nearly 20 being a yogi what have I learned? Yoga is just another word for being in ‘the Pocket’. For musicians ‘the Pocket’ is that sweet spot where you’re no longer thinking but have spontaneously entered a state of channeling the Muse. The 10,000 hours of training collapse into a timeless moment of Unified Mind. There are INFINITE entry points into the present moment. Diversify your interests, go deep with the ones that turn you on, know when to step away and refresh yourself so you may bring more beauty and profundity to this world through your passions!
Recent mix from SXSW :: https://soundcloud.com/djnagual/sxsw-at-sukha