“Music is the language of the Universe. By creating good and harmonious sound-vibrations, we should, therefore, extend and expand our mental horizons even while sitting quietly in our home instead of wasting time on cheap entertainment like cinema and TV, which besides making us addicts through systematic brain-washing and slow poisoning, adversely affect the clarity and transparency of the mind. By our noble thoughts, benevolent aspirations and harmonious sound-vibrations we are able to help even plants, flowers, birds and animals.”
Jivamukti Yoga places high importance on music, as David Life and Shannon Gannon discovered when creating the practice. The two came from deep musical roots, with Jivamukti their love for yoga and music meshed.
“Let’s look at the lyrics in the Beatles’ music; lets listen to what Van Morrison is singing about; lets be inspired by the fusion of Eastern and Western influences in the music of John Coltrane and Bill Laswell,” music bridges the gap between the ancient teachings of yoga and the modern world, Life and Gannon write, in their book Practices for Liberating Body and Soul: Jivamukti Yoga. Music encourages enlightenment off the matt; listening to uplifting music when not in asana or meditation help one to keep within the Self in day to day life.
Life and Gannon feel that music’s importance extends on the mat. Jivamukti classes are filled with the lovely sounds of music containing beautiful uplifting messages. In Jivamukta teacher training, Gannon and Life place huge importance on the music played during a yoga class. Abby Bechek Hoot from House of Yoga inBerkleyMichigan, says that it can take her eight hours just picking music. “Music is the backbone to the flow,” says Hoot, her class’s music selected even before the asana.
Gannon and Life influenced their ‘trainees’, teaching a love of music, and the important role it plays in class. With Ashtanga yoga roots, which encourage no music but the sound of the breath, the new importance of music added a different twist to yoga. Jivamukti Yoga teacher trainees frequently leave wanting to begin in their own uplifting musical bands, Hoot included, she now has a group called Vishnu Blue with Dave Tomaszewki.
Sound vibrations play a major role in yoga and the path to enlightenment. Music gives those who practice the freedom to ‘maintain their internal heights’ even while not on their mats, or zafus, by listening to uplifting music, yogis are constantly reminded about their path to enlightenment.
Swami Nirmalananda, excerpted from A Garland of Forest Flowers, 1993 http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=10150142237495779 (April 2011)
 Gannon, Sharon and Life David Practices for Liberating Body and Soul; Jivamukti Yoga