5 Questions, 5 Answers: Jivamukti Yoga's Sharon Gannon on her new CD, NYC rock yoga, and hip hop MC Yogi [vid]
Posted Jul 20 2010 11:00am
Lucky for us, Jivamukti co-founder, and inspira-woman Sharon Gannon took the time to answer 5 quick questions for Joy for Life. 1. You've always loved music. Why did you decide to do your new CD, Sharanam? Music is the most direct means to connecting with the spiritual—that which is infinite...Of course most musicians would say, that they make music in order “to inspire,” and yes I would also like to inspire, but I have to ask myself, what does that actually mean? Perhaps the translation of the mantra Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu describes my intention: To contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all beings through creating a mood by means of sound, which might invoke a place of expansive awareness within the listener where the possibility of total acceptance, kindness and love arises, and is felt as totally possible...Being in this state would make one irresistible.
To long to become irresistible to God is what interests me. Music can be a means to that. God is music: Nada Brahman. Originally music was a method to communicate to the divine, but as humanity became more disconnected with nature and spirit the art of music became a mundane means to gratify the senses, a commercial venture or at worst a means to enhance the ego. But with the resurgence of “spiritual music” many people are awakening to the sacred power of music as a means to enlightenment.
2. You've collaborated with kirtan hip-hop star M.C. Yogi. What was that like? Nicholas, aka MC Yogi, is a bright star, a wordsmith, clever, articulate and mercurial--one of the quickest wits I have ever encountered. He gave the genre of yoga music the hip-hop and holy kick it needed. My dear friend DJ Sean Dinsmore suggested to MC that he should invite me to sing on the first album, Elephant Power. I was in SF teaching at a yoga Conference and MC picked me up and as we drove to the studio where he was recording we listened on the CD player in the car some of the unfinished mixes and I was blown away.
We spent about three hours in the studio that day and the result is those two tracks, Krishna Love and Krishna Dub--where I get to sing along with MC and Jai Uttal to the beloved Krishna. He is married to the very talented painter, Amanda and lives with the infamous Moe the dog in the small town of Point Reyes, CA—a real American nuclear family
3. As a performer and yogi, how do these two intersect for you? Performing and yoga don’t intersect much—but performing and teaching yoga—those two disciplines take pretty much the same set of skills, which have to do with communication. The ability to communicate well depends essentially on having something useful to say to others as opposed to just tooting your own horn. It is not enough to just get up there and express yourself, a good performer, like a good yoga teacher, has to be able to enter into the listener’s heart and speak to them from a place where they can understand a place which is real and meaningful inside of them. To be able to do that the performer or the yoga teacher has to be able to listen themselves to hear the needs of the audience or students.
4. Let's compare the yoga scene in New York when you started teaching to today. How has it changed? It has gotten bigger, many more people are practicing yoga! When David Life and I started to teach yoga we introduced music into the classroom. Before that yoga classes were taught in silence, we added the component of music. Now it is quite common to find recorded music being played in yoga classes.
5. If you could tell a room full of 1000 yoga students just one thing, what would it be? Go Vegan. Do yourself a favor, do the earth a favor, do the animals a favor and reduce the amount of violence and suffering in the world. The best way to uplift your own life is to do all you can to uplift the lives of others.