Here's my Q & A with the amazing Cyndi Lee of OmYoga NYC on the what's & why's of her recent CD realease , OM Yoga Mix 2 :
- What inspired this compilation ?
The music, of course! My husband and his artists just keep making such great music and I love practicing with it and using it when I teach. We also got incredibly positive feedback on our first
yoga Mix and were getting loads of requests to do another one and so we just thought it was time to do that.
- Known for her offbeat perspective , true?
Hmmmm....I guess I am known for being a fun, but also somewhat forceful or firm teacher. I like to challenge students to be clear in their practice as far as alignment and focus. I am also known for how I connect the yoga asana practice to the dharma practice, imbedding meditation principles of mindfulness and compassion into how I instruct students to work in the practice -- to take a middle path approach of not too tight, not too loose. Because of my years as a professional choreographer, both in modern dance and for many music videos (Girls Just Want Have Fun with Cyndi Lauper, Rick James, Appolonia, Tangerine Dream, Simple Minds....) my sequencing is pretty creative and at the same time always has a logic to it that is meant to teach students, empower them to own their own practice and properly prepare them for big poses to come.
- Favorite cut - (Aside from David Nichtern's)
OK, aside from The Beyman Bros. which is my husband, David Nichtern, Christopher Guest (yes, that Christopher Guest) and CJ Vanston, I guess that my favorite is Jaadu by Ustad Sultan Khan. When David was making the Rare Elements CD with Sultan Khan I had the thrill of seeing and hearing him perform one night in NYC. He is a rare element, indeed. Known as one of the greatest musicians in India Sultan Khan becomes the music; there is no separation between him, his instruments and the sounds; and whenever I hear his music it becomes elementable for me, too. I l love moving to it! -- which I did on my first DVD,
yoga Beginner/Intermediate yoga class. That DVD offers a class taught by me but at the very beginning I do a little yoga dance to this same music --- love it!
- What is your take on those who are of the opinion that contemporary music should not be used as a soundtrack to yoga practice?
Each to his own! I do think that when music is played in a yoga class it should be a support for the practice, as opposed to a DJ situation where the yoga class feels more like a dance-a-thon! But there are many reasons why people take yoga class and often people find that the music helps them to feel comfortable and helps them to open to new things. I don't think that yoga needs to be heavily serious and soberly sacred although it is good to pay attention in order to get the most benefit from the work. I also kind of feel that yoga should not just be another thing that we get all opinionated and rigid about it -- it's bad enough in politics, right? Yoga truly is an absolutely personal thing and each of us can and hopefully will evolve our practice throughout our lifetimes. We might even find that music is good for our practice one day and the next day we want to practice in silence. There are many options and perhaps staying open to all of that could be considered a kind of yogic approach to all of life.
-Tibetan Buddhist influence on CD is most evident on ____ ?
Perhaps you could say it has some influence on the Kiss of Bliss track because of the bansuri flute playing of Steve Gorn. Steve is a long time Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and although he mainly plays Indian music, his whole sensibility of space and sound -- the natural ability to rest in openness with no need to fill space -- is very Buddhist.
- I like the fact that the selected tracks fuse both Eastern traditional music & contemporary engineering. Is this a keynote to OmYoga Mixes?
Yes, it is a hallmark of
yoga Mix 1 and 2. I love world music because of the range of instruments, the highly skilled musicians, the different kinds of sounds and the evocative nature of the singing which is often due to the fact that the singers are singing prayers, songs from their own practices. But we are who we are, too -- modern day Americans and we like to use all that is available to us which includes electronica, too. That another reason why it's called a mix!
- Complete this sentence : Krishna Das (Kirtan walla KD) is_______ :
The best known kirtan singer in the
today and a really nice guy. He's not kidding when he is chanting. It comes straight from his heart and he has shaped his whole life around this practice and sharing it with others. He's a beautiful cat.
- Lastly, your next trip to LA & perhaps
will be in -
Not sure yet but stay tuned....! I'm contemplating offering an
Yoga teacher training in LA -- do you think that's a good idea, Peter?
Thanks & much love.
Thanks to you, Peter. It was great to work with you last December and I appreciate you including