Music for The Chakras

This month we have been wrapping up our chakra journey through full body chakra practices. Its been so fun to take the specialized work we’ve done in each chakra over the course of the last six months and now see that unfold in a full  practice. One of the key elements to a chakra practice can be finding music that helps you connect with that element. Whether its music that resonates with the emotions and issues of that element, or in the case of the lower chakras, music that reminds us of the element itself. Below you will find some musical recommendations for each chakra to continue your journey.

1st Chakra: Root (Earth)

chakras

  • Chigumbo by Ben Leinbach & Geoffrey Gordon
  • Inion by Afro Celt Sound System
  • Kothbiro by Ayuba Ogada
  • The Rhythm is Not Mine (Instrumental) by John de Kat
  • Earth Album by Alex Theory

2nd Chakra: Sacral (Water)

  • Watermoon by Bernard Scholl
  • Orcadrift (Remix) by Adham Shaikh
  • Natural Healing by Shajan
  • The Yearning by Kamal
  • Samadhi by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Down Temple Dubs: Waves Album by Desert Dwellers

3rd Chakra: Solar Plexus (Fire)

  • Nomad by Niraj Chag
  • Durga Shakti by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Dreamcatcher by Bhramja & Maneesh De Moor
  • Down Temple Dubs: Flames Album by Desert Dwellers

4th Chakra: Heart (Air)

  • Geometry of Dreams by Gretchen Yanover
  • Cedar by Gretchen Yanover
  • Gobinday Mukunday by Shashara
  • Shiva’s Flute by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Sun Will Set by Zoe Keating

5th Chakra: Throat (Sound)

  • Radiance: Prayer to the Goddess Saraswati by Jai Uttal & Ben Leinbach
  • Guru Brahma by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Mala by Ty Burhoe
  • Invocation to Water by Cynthia Bourgeault
  • The Healing Waters by Kamal

6th Chakra: 3rd Eye (Light) 

  • Untitled by Chinmaya Dunster (from Buddha Moon)
  • Horizon of Gold by Ben Leinbach
  • Khumjun by Ben Leinbach
  • Walking into the Himalaya to Meditate by Nawang Khechog
  • The Heriophant by Ben Leinbach
  • Celestial Abode by Todd Norian

7th Chakra: Crown (Akasha)

  • Silence

Diving into the Waters: The Second Chakra

This week began our exploration of the 2nd chakra. In Ayurveda,  the 2nd chakra is ruled by the element of water. Which, even on a physiological level, makes sense to me. The second chakra is located in the low back/sacral region and in the low belly, below the belly button. It rules the sexual organs and the emotions. All things, very connected with flow and movement in life.

I love working with the second chakra and deeply connect to the energy of water, yet, for me it is place where I have long had holding and I feel this speaks to my tendency (and our tendency as a culture) to shut down emotion. We lock emotion up and it stays held in our bodies, taking the form of tight hips, low back issues and injury and blockages in sexual energy and our ability to release emotionally, muscularly or structurally. Connecting with water helps us find the flow once again, to find movement out of stagnancy and helps us to bring greater health and wellness to our 2nd chakra.

Here are some practices to connect you with breath, the water element and to bring you into the flow:

Ocean Breath

Remember as a child, finding shells on the beach and holding them up to your ear to hear the ocean? This breath practice invites those same principles into the body. Find a comfortable seat and close the eyes. As you begin, connect with the breath. Notice the rise and fall of the breath in the body and notice how the breath is moving through you as you sit on your mat. Bring the hands or fingers up to cover the ears, drowning out any outside noises and amplifying the internal noise of the breath. Listen to the breath, like waves. As you inhale it is like a wave rolling into shore, and as you exhale, it is a wave rolling out to sea. Spend 2-5 minutes listening to the breath, notice how it fluctuates and changes the longer you spend with your focus on it. As you feel ready, lower your hands and notice your connection to the breath. Feel the breath in your body and as you are ready, open your eyes.

This practice is wonderful as a seated meditation, I also like to bring it back into my asana practice as I continue. Pausing in tadasana during sun salutations to take 5-10 ocean breaths or pausing prior to balance poses to engage this practice. It calls us back into the water-like nature of the breath and it also invites us to ground into the deeply calming aspects of the breath.

Audible Exhales: Finding the Flow

If you’ve ever taken class with me, you’ll notice how often I encourage exhaling through the mouth. I’ve found that often times we tend to hold back our breath and hold back our sound, whether we’re embarassed about making too much noise or are simply unable to connect to our breath in that way. The more we can facilitate deep and audible breath, the more we can also let go of other things that are locked down (such as emotions or the physical body). In this class, I invited students to take several different flow practices with an audible exhale through the mouth. It allowed us to all find the cadence of our breath and also to begin to breath together as a class. Some poses I like to flow between are:

  • Table Top→ Cow→ Cat→ Prayer
  • Raising and lowering in Cobra Pose
  • Downward Dog→ Plank→ Downward Dog
  • Tadasna→ Forward Fold→ Half Forward Fold→ Forward Fold→ Tadasna

Supta Baddha Konasana Water Meditation

image courtesy of durgamama.wordpress.com

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this is one of my all-time favorite restorative poses. I come back to it again and again for is rejuvinative aspects, but also because it feels so lovely! If you’re working with knee or hip injuries, please use two blocks one under each knee or outer thigh, place high enough to give you support.

Take Supta Baddha Konasana with appropriate props and close the eyes. Bring both hands to rest on the lower belly, below the navel center. Breathe into the space under the hands, creating space and opening with each inhale and each exhale. As you breathe, imagine water flowing along the spine as you inhale and exhale. Let it pool up around the pelvis and let the waves of each breath wash over you. As you connect with this movement of breath, connect with other fluids in your body: blood, sweat and tears. Fill its movement in your body and its ability to cleanse, heal and renew. Stay here as long as you like.

And now, I’ll leave you with a little breath focused inspiration from one of my favorite yogis, Rob Lundsgaard, check out his song Breathe (scroll down through the song lists and select “Breathe” to listen to or download). A great addition to any yogi’s playlist!

The 2nd Chakra: Yoga Playlist

This month we begin the 2nd chakra in my Chakra Yoga class at 8 Limbs Yoga. The first week of this class was cancelled due to the July 4th holiday, but I am looking forward to diving into the waters of the 2nd chakra tomorrow evening. In the mean time, I thought I would set the tone with my 2nd Chakra Yoga Playlist, based on the water element. Enjoy!

Invocation to the Water Element: Kerala Dream by Cynthia Bourgeault
Watermoon: Perfect Balance: Musical Healing Volume 2 by Bernard Scholl
Natural Healing: Perfect Balance: Musical Healing Volume 2 by Shajan
Subterranean Sanctuary: Down Temple Dub: Waves by Desert Dwellers
Misty Mountain: Down Temple Dub: Waves by Desert Dwellers
Orcadrift (Remix): Essence by Adham Shaikh
Lotus Heart: Down Temple Dub: Waves by Desert Dwellers
The Yearning: Reiki-Whale Dreaming by Kamal
Let Your Heart be Known: So Much Magnificence by Steve Gold

The Haunting Melody: A Cello Playlist

About a year ago, I was introduced to the hauntingly beautiful cello music of local cellist, Gretchen Yanover. Every time I played her music in class, students always wanted to know who the artist was. To this day, her music brings similar responses in classes.

Recently, by way of a Radiolab podcoast, I found another cello player I absolutely adore, Zoe Keating. Her cello music is astoundingly different but with the same haunting beauty that caught be off guard when I first heard it. I have since introduced her music in classes as well and am enjoying sharing this new exploration with students. Below you will find my Cello x’s Deux playlist, perfect for everything from a gentle flow to a vinyasa class…not to mention an evening by the fire or in the company of a good book. Enjoy!

Cello x’s Deux Flow
Forest Zoe Keating
Greener Gretchen Yanover
Will Gretchen Yanover
Geometry Of Dreams Gretchen Yanover
Frozen Angels Zoe Keating
Don’t Worry Zoe Keating
Optimist Zoe Keating
Sun Will Set Zoe Keating
Cedar Gretchen Yanover
Sequoia Gretchen Yanover
Nocturne Gretchen Yanover

New Yoga Playlist for Spring

Spring has officially sprung, at least here in Seattle. To get you into the movement and flow of the change of seasons here is a new playlist for your home practice. This playlist focuses on a deep rooting in the elements with hints to earth, fire and water. Enjoy!

Opening by Wah! from Savasana
Enter the Sacred, Part I by David and Steve Gordon from Drum Medicine
Temple Dragons by Desert Dwellers from DownTemple Dub: Flames
Misty Mountain by Desert Dwellers from DownTemple Dub: Water
Loveland by Jai Uttal & Ben Leinbach from Loveland
Sunrise by Jeanette Alexander from Still Point
Rain by Jeanette Alexander from Still Point
Orcadrift (ReMix) by Adam Shaikh from Essence
Samadhi by Shaman’s Dream Project from Kerala Dream

Prenatal Yoga Class Playlists

Several of my Prenatal Yoga students have asked me about my yoga class playlists or about particular songs on during class. A student of mine mentioned today that she would like to have some of the songs for during her birth.

Music can be such a great way to reconnect with the body during the painful and frustrating aspects of labor and childbirth. Not to mention something to keep you occupied through the potential hours of waiting. I recommend having quite a few playlists that you can change depending on the mood and space you’re in: a relaxing mix, a sensual mix (my lovely Prenatal yoga instructor Anne Phyfe of 8 Limbs highly recommends setting a similar mood to the one the baby was conceived in in order to give birth) and of course a mix with a lot of rhythm to get you going and breathing!

Here’s a few of my most recent playlists. Look for more coming soon!

Gentle Mix: Playlist 1
Suni-Ai (Listening Meditation) by Snatam Kaur from Shanti
You Can See Forever by Desert Dwellers from Down Temple Dub: Flames
Hey Ma Durga (Compassion) by Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band from Devaloka
Nomad by Niraj Chag from Jala: Compiled by Shiva Rea
Let Your Heart Be Known Remix by Steve Gold from Let Your Heart Be Known
Loveland by Jai Uttal & Ben Leinbeck from Loveland
Remembrance by Various Artists from Jala: Compiled by Shiva Rea

Flowing Mix: Playlist 2
Matriamah by Hans Christian from Slow Music for Yoga
Prana Shakti by Desert Dwellers from Down Temple Dub: Waves
Madrugada by Various Artists from Jala: Compiled by Shiva Rea
Raga Hansadhwani by Ustad Usman Khan from Mystic India
Violet Violin (feat. Joanna Laczman) by Wojtek Urbanski from Freshly Composted 3 – Compost 300
Breathe Me (Ulrich Schnauss Remix) by Sia from Colour the Small One
Comtine D’Un Autre Ete: L’a… from the Amelie Soundtrack
Baba Hanuman by Steve Gold from So Much Magnificence
Mahadeva by Jai Uttal & Ben Leinbach from Music For Yoga and Other Joys
Tidal by Auburn Lull from Alone I Admire
Shabda – The Purity II by Rainer Tillman from Shavasana: White Swan Yoga Masters, Volume 3
Let Your Heart Be Known by Steve Gold from So Much Magnificence

Traditional Mix: Playlist 3
Sacred Works of Liberation by Lama Gyurme from Rain of Blessings: Vajra Chants
Sacred Stones by Sheila Chandra from Weaving My Ancestors Voices
Solar Spirit by Asiatronic from Asana 2: Moving Meditations
Narayanaya by Nada Shakti & Bruce Becvar from from Jiva Mukti
Baba Hanuman by Shantala from Sri
Jiva Mukti by Nada Shakti & Bruce Becvar from Jiva Mukti
Isha Vasyam by Nada Shakti & Bruce Becvar from Jiva Mukti
Breathing In by Shaman’s Dream from Breathing: Music for Meditation, Relaxation
Shanti (Peace Out) by MC Yogi from Elephant Power