Suddenly I understand all those musicians I’ve dated in the past. All y’all bass players and drummers. Ooohkay, I finally get it.
When I was a wee little one, I spent my childhood playing piano for hours on end—to my dismay, without an ounce of pleasure because I was forced to from the very start. It was more of a regime than an act of enjoyment. Being raised by Korean parents straight from the ways of the East while integrating into the Western world means the story usually unfolds something like the kid either plays the piano or the violin—not too many other options. Kind of like how at Christian churches there’s most likely Mountain Dew soda and/or donuts present.
Before I was a yoga instructor and CranioSacral Therapist, guess what I did? I worked as a wardrobe stylist and was a singer in a band. It was that whole typical LA fashion/music lifestyle scene. It was fun for a minute—but got old quick. I liked what I was doing, but there was something missing…my heart wasn’t fully engaged, it didn’t turn me on, it didn’t get my insides feelin’ all wibbly wobbly. AHA! Isn’t it funny though-- how everything in life always comes full circle for the cycle to complete itself?
Playing an instrument and singing was the missing piece to my spiritual practice. I’m so happy I’ve FOUND the link! I just partook in Govindas’ Kirtan Camp at Bhakti Yoga Shala. (Which, by the way, is one of my favorite studios on this planet.) Kirtan Camp was one of the best weekends of my life—I discovered something new that I absolutely love to do! I love it when I realize more pieces of my past were just merely to serve as the training ground for what I am to do here and now. Playing harmonium and singing kirtan or chanting feeds me with something that nothing else in life really touches or gives. I receive so much not only just from the act of doing—but even more from the act of listening. I’m so delighted I’ve found what gives me such joy and elation.
The literal translation of mantra is divided up into two parts. man ~ mind; tra~ technology or vehicle in which. = mantra ~ technology for the mind. The most curious thing about mantra is that it works. Mantras are otherwise known as prayers, songs, words, syllables, vibrations—that have been used, recited, sung and vocalized on the palette on thousands and thousands of tongues from as early as the 4th century BCE. Mantra will raise your frequency—that’s just a fact. You repeat these sounds over and over and over again and something begins to seep deep and settle into your system of your bodymind. Think about it—repeat the word ‘love’ to yourself 10 times a day vs. the word ‘fear’ and watch the ricochet effect that this habit has on the wellbeing of you and your life. Everything’s connected, you just have to trace all the external manifestations back to the source or the root.
2. SING AND GIVE PRAISE
You don’t have to sing mantra if you think it’s weird. Just sing your favorite song with words that you resonate with and like. When I first moved to Bali—that was really the initiation for me into the practice of chanting. I remember the moment as vivid as it were happening well, right now. I was driving my motorbike through the jungle and something arose, from deep within me. A geyser of sound, from the floor of my pelvis singing out, OM NAMAH SHIVAYA. I was shocked! What the hell was that? It was almost as if something was moving through me for these sounds to come out of my mouth. It most certainly wasn’t me—I wasn’t telling myself to do it—it just, happened. And ever since then, I’ve been on an avid exploration of hmm, what was that?! This journey continues to astonish and amaze me.
3. ELEVATE YOUR VIBRATION
Emotions and feelings such as joy, pure love, happiness, devotion and enjoyment raise your frequency. Singing, is already an act of enjoyment—when you add on 1. a song you like, plus 2. a melody that makes your body move, plus 3. words that uplift your sense of being, plus 4. expressing your joy in any way or form = HIGH HIGH HIGH VIBES. That’s just the way it works. Keep enjoying and celebrating everything you do and your vibration will just keep getting higher and higher and higher. * B L I S S *
4. PLAY AN INSTRUMENT
There’s nothing like creating sound. Filling empty space with tangible frequency—you not only just hear it, but you feel it. That’s why musicians are so damn sexy. Cos they’re in tune with themselves and know how to feel. Can’t play music by being stiff and static; you gotta feel it, let it in you, let it move you, let it go through you. There’s nothing like playing what you feel and feeling what you play.
5. RADIATE OUT
Sing with others, play music with others and jam! You think you’re already on a sweet trip? Get together with others who are trippin’ on their own ride and watch the ride get even bigger, better, GRAND, moving up and down the scale of melodies and riffs, with more flavor, texture, richness and fulfillment. We’re here on this planet to share with one another what we love to do. Give one another a peak into our own hearts and step in, step up, show up and support one another in our heart’s song. Start dancin’, raise your voices, and give praise! As Earth Wind and Fire would say, SING A SONG!!!