Friday, February 13, 2009

Astanga

Fridays are a day off teaching for me and tend to be a combination of recuperation from the busy week and preparation for the coming weekend. I usually do the cleaning, tie up loose ends for the financial and scheduling sides of my business, cull my to-do list (and add items for the following week) and pack my bag for the weekend. I also set aside time for practising music.

One of my resolutions this year was to make music a daily part of my life. I own so many musical instruments that I'm a bit embarrassed to 'fess up, but the instruments that aren't in storage are my Djembe (African drum), shruti box (Indian instrument similar to the harmonium) and guitar.

The drum usually languishes in the winter because the drum circles move indoors and I lose motivation to practice. This winter, I decided to learn some new rhythms and I've been trying to practice (with a sheet stuffed inside the drum to reduce noise) three times per week. My goal is to attend an indoor drum circle sometime this month.

I started playing the shruti box this fall to augment my chanting practice. I took a series of classes, so I have a decent repertoire of chants to draw from. I usually play my shruti after yoga practice and before meditation. I've been playing about three times per week. I find it very soothing and since I already love chanting, it's a natural off-shoot.

The guitar is an area of deep guilt for me. I bought my guitar three years ago and after a few months, it ended up in the closet. After one of the strings broke, it seemed destined to stay there. This year, I resolved to learn to play it. My father played a classical guitar when I was a child, often sitting in the cockpit of our boat and quietly singing me to sleep at night. These are some of my best memories of my father. I'd like to learn the instrument to honour his memory.

A couple weeks ago, I bought some new strings and, using YouTube videos as a guide, I restrung the instrument. Then I searched for and found a fabulous guitar teacher. I had my first lesson last Monday and this week I've been learning to play a song! It's really amazing how quickly I'm catching on. I think it would be a hoot to learn some yoga chants accompanied by guitar!

Today, I had a good chunk of time in the afternoon to practice, so I did the full primary series, start to finish. It was an intense, sweaty practice. I can feel some of these poses coming back to me. I'm very, very close to binding again in Supta Kurmasana. Bujangasana is back. Halasana feels heavenly.

4 comments:

lizw said...

I love the sound of shruti boxes! Our teachers at our yoga centre use them in meditation classes and in satsangs.

Michelle said...

What a great balance you are creating for yourself in this life.

hiphopple said...

Oh! Please tell me more about the shruti box. I tried to find a decent electronic version to use in meditation and chanting classes but struck out. Is yours the real thing?

Kaivalya said...

Hiphopple: Yes, mine if the 'real thing' :-) My shruti is a C-to-C octave MKS box imported directly from India. Before I bought my Shruti, I used drone sound files on my iPod. I can attest that absolutely nothing compares with playing the real thing! It has transformed my chanting practice. I love it!