About 18 months ago, I decided to visit the website of yoga master teacher Seane Corn1. I normally don’t like it when a site plays music (I’m usually listening to music on my own and the interruption is jarring!), but the song playing in the background was beautiful. I had to find out who it was and where to get it!
In the bottom right corner of Seane’s website, there is a link that says Music by Suzanne Sterling. The song was called Om Mane Padme Hum. I couldn’t buy the exact version she was singing on the site2, but I found another version and immediately purchased and downloaded it. Om Mane Padme Hum. The first time I ever sang this chant with was that mp3 that I purchased from emusic.com so many months ago. With Suzanne Sterling.
This past weekend, I got to attend a workshop led by Suzanne Sterling! It was called Sing Yourself Awake! and it was life changing. I haven’t sang so much in… ever.
Me and Suzanne
Suzanne taught in three sessions, each one comprised of a lecture, movement and singing, and a yoga practice that incorporated sound.
Here are some of the key points I took away from her workshop:
– The natural order of things is harmony.
– Every living thing vibrates, and those vibrations all give off sound (that we may or may not be able to hear). Those sounds impact us and can cause stress.
– We can use sound and singing to reduce stress and to release energy that is stuck.
– Every sound we make, every sound that has been made, is all out there in the universe. It will be out there forever.
Sit back and think about that for a minute. Pretty intense, huh?
It’s out there, and always will be.
Really makes me think twice about the things I say out loud, and what effect it’s having on the environment and living things around me.
Ever since I started my yoga journey, I’ve noticed that I’m a bit more outspoken, I don’t hold back if something’s endangering me, my way of life, my family, or my friends. I used to be that girl who kept quiet so as not to stir up trouble (well, most of the time), but not anymore. But I’m still inhibited. This workshop is still working, bringing out more of that inner me, the one that hid to keep people from disliking her or being mad at her. ‘Cause you know what? Just because someone told me, when I was 13, that I shouldn’t be in choir or chorus because I couldn’t sing doesn’t mean it’s true. I’m not Beyonce or anything, but I have a voice, an instrument, and I can use it to keep me healthy. I can shut that inner critic (and those old voices) up enough to belt out songs even when I find myself faltering because holy crap I was sitting right next to Suzanne Sterling and singing with her. I’m no longer hiding to please someone else. (You keep compromising yourself–it’ll never be enough for those asking it of you. And then when there is nothing left of you, they typically leave you behind. Sad.) Will I be trying out for American Idol anytime soon? Heck to the no. But I’m not afraid to belt it out, at least, when I’m home alone and there is a cat purring on my lap. And thanks to this workshop, I know how to belt it out safely.
I also got to learn a lot about an organization called Off The Mat and Into The World (OTM for short). Suzanne Sterling and Seane Corn are co-creators. The yoga community going into the world and doing good. It’s grassroots, it’s inspiring, it’s change. My yoga studio, Moksha Yoga, is having a November special. If you purchase a class package, 10% of the proceeds goes to Off The Mat, Into The World. I won’t be purchasing a package because I get free yoga in exchange for the work I do for them3. I want to get involved with this organization and I’m trying to figure out a way to do so that’s more than just sending a donation.
I’ve been thinking about how yoga is so much more than doing poses and bending yourself into crazy shapes. It’s a lot more than just getting into shape and it’s definitely a lot more than stretching. There is so much to learn and I’m ready to do more. Is it something as simple as stepping up practice to four or five days a week instead of two or three? Am I ready to move on to a higher level class (1-3 or 2-3, rather than the 1-2 level that I feel so safe in?) What about teacher training? Hmm. Something else to meditate about.
I’m not really sure where I meant to go with this entry. Have you ever had an experience that hit you so hard, but you just can’t put into words how much it impacted you? That’s how I’m feeling right now. I just don’t know the right words to say to fairly describe how incredible this past weekend was.
I do know this, though. Three times during the workshop, I got to sing Om Mane Padme Hum with the actual Suzanne Sterling. How awesome is that?
What yoga has done in my life has been nothing short of incredible. I’m excited about what’s next.
- I got the chance to study with Seane Corn in October of 2010. I only took one class that particular weekend, but when she comes back next year, I plan to take the entire workshop, even the hard class! I mean, there is always child’s pose if it gets to be too much–but maybe by then it won’t be! ↩
- I later found out why, and it has to do with rights and all sorts of legalese, but Suzanne told me that she has the rights again and that I’ll be able to purchase it next year! YAY! ↩
- If you go to the site and sign up for the newsletter, you can get my handiwork delivered right to your email inbox! ↩