In Yoga: On Sacred Ground, Chinmaya Dunster’s plaintive violin, guitar and flute bring to life music that ranges from relaxing to invigorating as each successive track corresponds to a different chakra. Excellent not only for yoga practice, this is music anyone can enjoy!
“Yoga is like an art form, with the asanas and the chakras as its poetic expressions. This one hour of music is my personal illustration of those poetic expressions. I have composed it with two complimentary aims. Firstly, to provide music to accompany the practice of Hatha Yoga. Recognizing that each person has their own unique routines for this, I have included both music that is invigorating for more dynamic moments, and relaxing for the stiller ones (and for those who include pranayama and/or a form of meditation in their practice). Secondly, the seven tracks aim to evoke and stimulate the subtle energies of the seven chakras, details of which are given in the sleeve notes for each of the tracks.
If I can be judged to have even modestly succeeded in this aim it is because of my overwhelming debt to the enlightened mystic Osho in helping me to my (limited!) understanding of the chakra system, and more importantly, for having provided — in the form of Osho Commune International in Pune, India — a place for the practical exploration of music as an energy for transformation.
My own experience of Yoga dates back to the 1970s in Kent, England when, under the guidance of an exceptional instructor (whose class I took over as a teacher under her encouragement when she returned after three years to India). I acquired both a basic knowledge of the asanas and a physical flexibility which, I am grateful to say, has lasted me to this day. In the years since, while continuing to practice the asanas intermittently (people who know me well will recognize the irresistible attraction a fresh green lawn has to make me stand on my head). I have explored other forms of movement-based meditation such as Osho’s dynamic meditations, Tai Chi, landscape gardening…Reconnecting with Yoga philosophy in the making of this CD has been a great pleasure for me, one that I hope you will find reflected in the music.” ~Chinmaya Dunster
“The body is just like a musical instrument. It has to be rightly tuned; only then will the higher music arise out of it. If the very instrument is somehow not in right shape and order, then how can you imagine, hope, that the great harmony will arise out of it? Body is a veena, a musical instrument.” ~Osho from “Yoga the Alpha and Omega”
Track 1: NATRANI (Queen of the Dance) – First or Root Chakra
In Hindu mythology the god Shiva Natraj (King of the Dance) is shown creating the universe through his cosmic dance. Ancient traditions of Tantric Yoga, however, portray the goddess Kali dancing on the inert body of Shiva, asserting that it is actually the feminine principle which is the creative dynamic at the root of existence. I composed this track in a feminine Indian Raga (scale), blending the softness of Indian bamboo flute with driving Western rhythms, to invoke the dynamic energy of this chakra at the base of the spine.
Track 2: GRATITUDE – Second Chakra
The water inner world of feelings emanates from this chakra just above the genitals. To me gratitude is the most precious feeling and it is this quality that I have tried to depict on this track, using haunting bagpipes, violin and the human voice.
Track 3: BREATHING – PRANA – Third Chakra or Hara
The Hara at the navel is the source of our individual life-energy. Yoga calls this energy ‘prana’ and associates it with breath. A young child breathes naturally from this point, its belly collapsing gently with each out breath. The sarod and tables, around which I based this track, are Indian instruments that naturally stimulate this “belly energy.”
Track 4: ON SACRED GROUND – Fourth or Heart Chakra
There is a Buddhist saying “This very body the Buddha, this very earth the Lotus Paradise,” that perfectly encapsulates Yoga philosophy. A person with a healthy, perfectly-tuned body cannot fail also to be attuned to a way of seeing the whole world around as holy. This track is pure improvisation, a musical meeting between myself (on sarod) and Prasad (on slide guitar) in which we both felt joined together by a connection of the heart.
Track 5: THE WATCH – Fifth or Throat Chakra
A uniquely human quality first appears in this chakra — the ability to express ourselves through words or the arts. Expression can open the door to the ability to stand aside from our thoughts and feelings as a watcher or witness. Practitioners of Yoga will be familiar with how the mind moves restlessly from one thought or sensation to another during practice. This track moves like that through several stages, from rhythmic to a-rhythmic and back. I have used a mysterious-sounding Indian scale to try to evoke the detached quality of the watcher which is the key to remaining undisturbed by the chatter of the mind.
Track 6: HA-THA (Sun Meets Moon) – Sixth Chakra or Third Eye
Two channels of subtle energy, originating at the root chakra, meet again at this chakra. Yoga practice aims to purify and stimulate these until they merge and open the Third Eye of wisdom. I see this as a peaceful meeting of complimentaries, hence the tranquility of this track which merges the very easter sound of sarod with a purely western backing of drums and guitars.
Track 7: PURNIMA NAMASHKAR (Homage to the Full Moon) – Crown Chakra or Thousand Petalled Lotus
Many traditional Yoga practices begin with the dynamic asana ’Surya Namashkar’ (Homage to the Sun). I have chosen to end this CD with a playful homage to the full moon, in the East a symbol of enlightenment (Buddha attained Nirvana on the full moon in May). To me this track is a reminder that Yoga practice (like everything!) should not be taken too seriously leaving the practitioner feeling light and joyful, like a tiny baby.
“Serious is a sickness… Existence is pure playfulness.” ~Osho