Ashtangis don’t practice to music. Music in the yoga room pulls me away from my breath and the internal experience of practice. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy music. In fact, I love it. When I’m not practicing, I almost constantly have music on in the background. I listen to everything from bluegrass to black metal, and I love it all. I even used to be a music writer for NUVO.
Even though I prefer a non-musical experience, I recognize that others get a lot of benefit from a few tunes while they bend. That’s why I play music in my vinyasa classes. I think people expect it, and my vinyasa classes are more about helping students enjoy themselves and break a sweat than forcing them to stick to the tradition that I follow in my own practice. For those who want strict tradition, come to my Ashtanga class, or better yet, go to the Mysore program at CITYOGA.
In some traditions, singing, chanting, and music are part of the package. Kirtan is a shared chanting practice that relies on the power of sound to connect students to the divine. The studio where I practice and teach will be hosting a Kirtan soon, bringing a well-known artist into the studio to play during a yoga class as well as hold a Kirtan.
CITYOGA passed on the following press release to me:
Nationally-known Asheville based mantra musician Kristin Luna Ray come to Indianapolis playing at CITYOGA School of Yoga and Health on Saturday, October 11th. Yoga and music will be from 4-p, with Kirtan following from 7-8p.
In 2013 Kristin Luna Ray released her most recent album, One Shared Heart, featuring many of the most well known artists in the yoga and chant world including, Wah, Girish, Alvin Young, and mastered by the esteemed Hans Christian (Krishna Das/Snatam Karu). The release has been in conjunction with a national tour, which is set to come through Indianapolis in October. The album will be distributed by Spirit Voyage, the prominent international mantra based record label. Kristin Luna Ray will be sharing material from the album One Shared Heart, with a blend of world, folk, pop, Middle Eastern and Indian styles merging with the soothing vibrations of the mantras and the exciting element of kirtan. In addition she will be also sharing music from her previous releases and some new unreleased material from her forthcoming album.
In addition, Kristin Luna Ray will be offering Live Music during a yoga class as part of the “Alive Musical Yoga Experience” on October 11th. This is a unique community-wide yoga workshop for all ages, all skill levels, blending together yoga and live music. The “Alive Musical Yoga Experience” is a combination of music, mantra, and penetrating rhythms with a flow style yoga practice that is both highly energetic and heart opening. “It’s a beautiful coupling of sound and movement that hits people on a deeply spiritual level,” Luna said. “People leave feeling really good right down into the core of who they are….no matter their age or experience level. It’s that feeling that makes it such a powerful practice.”
Kristin Luna Ray is part of a fastly growing genre music that brings mantra music into the mainstream. With the rising interest in yoga as not only as a set of postures, but a lifestyle, a growing interest in yoga based music is in demand. The practice of kirtan, a call and response chanting practice in a concert form, has been steadily gaining popularity in the US and has been featured recently in The New York Times, Time Magazine, and NPR’s All Things Considered.
Kristin “Luna” Ray is a singer/songwriter, teacher, and strong advocate of spiritual growth and wellness. She has worked with and shared the stage with recording artists such as Wah!, David Newman, Girish, Jai Uttal, Bhagavan Das, Shimshai and River Guerguerian. She believes music is the sacred soul of the voice and is committed to sharing music in a way that leads to greater understanding of oneself and to our connection to one another and the planet. Luna resides part time in Asheville, NC, and part time in Costa Rica. She is co-founder of True Nature Education (www.TrueNatureEducation.com), a holistic travel education company which has focuses on various international retreats with an emphasis on education, service learning and yoga.
Some of the most well-known chant artists have spoken about Luna. David Newman shares, ““Luna’s music simply put, is magical and luminous. Luna has a unique quality in her voice that transmits something special, a kind of nectar that permeates all.” Wah shares, “Luna has reached a fresh and authentic level of perfection and beauty with her music.”
Catch Kristin Luna Ray and her band live at CITYOGA School of Yoga and Health, 2442 N Central Ave, on Saturday, October 11th. Yoga and music will go from 4-6p, with Kirtan following from 7-8p. For more details visit www.cityoga.biz OR CALL 317.920.9642. Admission is $20/session, or $35 for both.
To find out more about Kristin Luna Ray and the band visit www.KristinLunaRay.com.
I’ve listened to Kristin Luna Ray’s most recent album, and I’ll be using it in my Vinyasa classes. Even though I’ll be out of town for the Kirtan, I’m glad that such a community-focused event is happening in my hometown. The corn-fed midwest is getting cooler by the minute. Want to hear what you’re getting into? Here’s a music video for “Sita Ram,” one of Kristin Luna Ray’s pieces.