I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like the most of us…
Pink Floyd + Yoga =Magic.
Dear Gentle reader, please scroll down and listen to the album as you read. Transport yourself to this experience. Breathe, listen, and read.
Sunday. What a day. I had the pleasure of attending an incredible live music yoga event – the third annual live acoustic Dark Side of the Moon Yoga class at Riffs Studios in La Jolla, California. Two years ago, my dear friend Shannon (whom many of you know well) and her lovely fiance Russell, conceptualized a yoga experience set to the Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon” accompanied by the incredibly talented members of the Routine band. At the time, I was still mourning the loss of my father – he died in 2010 – who was a great lover of Pink Floyd and this album in particular.
The first Dark Side of the Moon class was nothing short of magical – read about my experience here. But this one?
This experience blew my mind.
Pink Floyd has always been close to my heart. Growing up, my dad would get stoned and put on this album. He would turn off the lights and lay down on the floor with the box speakers surrounding him. My sister and I would curl up next to him, one on each side, and let the music wash over us – vibrate through us – and transport us to another dimension. Needless to say, I feel deeply connected to my dad’s spirit when I listen to this album, and this time was no exception.
Even as I try to type this, my mind fails to find words of praise high enough to describe the unity, cohesion, and pure FEELING with which the Routine band and Shannon deliver this live music yoga experience. Dark Side of the Moon has some of the craziest sound effects, voices, and most unique musical stylings – and they not only capture it, but re-create it in the way that only true musicians can.
Long you live and high you fly |Smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry…
I came to the workshop open, full of trust and ready to connect. I wanted to connect with myself, with my father, and with the Source – with God, with the interconnectedness of all beings. My body was ready to move. My mind was open to receive. My heart was prepared to love.
Shannon brought us into the class with a beautiful supine meditation on compassion and a simple three part yogic breath. As I sank into my mat, she invited us to dedicate the practice to someone who may need it. My mind fluttered from my husband, to my sweet friend Megan, to the lost people of the world, and to my late father. Unable to decide, I gave the dedication to God, trusting that God would dispense the compassion and energy to the perfect person at the perfect time.
I kept my eyes closed for the first few songs and let myself slip into the music, into the soundtrack, into the feelings. Memories floated into my mind of the past, and like clouds, I let them float by. Each posture and movement was a wordless prayer, a meditation, a dedication to embody compassion, to embrace love for all the feelings and experiences of my life.
By the time we moved into “Time,” I was deep in meditation – moving without thought, without mind chatter, with open acceptance of all that was, and is, and is to come. Visual patterns behind my eyes were bright colors, moving and swirling and enchanting me.
Together, a group of thirty people moved, breathed, swayed and grooved, guided by their own inner compass yet linked by the music and the moment.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes | I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.
By the time we reached pigeon, towards the end of class, it was as though I was more in my body than ever, yet not in my body at the same time. Sinking into this hip opener, a deep sense of gratitude came over me, and I began to pray. Thankfulness surged through me and I silently poured out appreciativeness for yoga, for music and the people who create it, for the compassion, mercy and grace of Shannon for teaching and Nadia for adjusting. In that moment, Nadia came to me and gave me the sweetest, deepest massage and adjustment as I prayed. What happened next is hard to explain.
I felt as though every part of that moment, every fragment of the experience, was created specifically for me. I felt as though it was a culmination of choices, but also predestined. I felt as though the people, music, yoga, weather, touch, sound, sight, taste, smell, everything – was not only created FOR me, but BY me. I felt as though my intention, my willingness to lead a spirit filled life pointing to unity and LOVE, had brought me into that moment and allowed me to experience it so deeply. In that moment, I understood non-duality. I understood “I and my father are ONE.”
As we transitioned into the end of class, we moved into bridge pose (I think.) My eyes remained closed as I lifted my hips towards the sky and allowed my heart to open even further. As I did so, I felt the oddest adjustment, one I have never received before: I felt a hand, all the fingers together, press down on my chest right below my breasts. The heel of the hand was on my sternum, and fingers pointing towards my belly. I felt a firm yet gentle pressure, like something had come to rest there, and was now going to sleep. The conscious part of my mind noted what a weird adjustment this was, and wondered if it was Nadia or Shannon doing this to me. The deeper part of my intelligence knew there was no human there, that this was a spiritual weight, a presence, or perhaps a shift in the anahata chakra (heart center). Eyes still closed, I wondered at how REAL it felt and thought, “it must be one of them. They are touching me.” Skeptical always, I peeked an eye open to see who had their hand on my chest.
My eyes were greeted not by a human looming over me, but by the blue sky, and the trees above me moving in the breeze. I smiled at my own doubt, and closed my eyes. A loving and amused voice spoke within me: “and even more blessed are those who have not seen yet still believed.” I laughed along in agreement. Perhaps I won’t always be a skeptic.
Everything under the sun is in tune | But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
Savasana came as a gift, as always. Donning socks, jacket, and a blanket, I allowed myself to sink into the earth, consciously surrendering the strange and wonderful experiences I just had, and allowing myself to rest completely in the present moment. It was then that the gratitude poured through me in immense measure, filling me up and leaking out through the corners of my eyes. Tears of joy and humility trickled out and slid softly down my cheeks. I felt my father… and my Father. I felt the loving embrace of Mother Earth. I felt the energy of each person in the space. I felt the web that was woven between us. I felt small. I felt infinite.
More than anything, I felt overwhelming amazement and gratitude for this life – for our ability to create. In creation of this live music yoga experience, something powerful and transcendent emerged. I am still processing the meaning of it all – but I know one thing for sure:
All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”
Tags: anahata chakra, compassion, dark side of the moon, God, God and yoga, live music yoga, meditation, pink floyd, riffs studios, san diego yoga, shannon purves, stoked yogi, the routine, transcendental