There are a lot of changes happening in my life right now. I am changing my diet, preparing to leave my job, and packing up my possessions for a move to the other side of an incredibly large ocean. It’s quite safe to say I have been feeling a bit up in the air recently. My asana-based yoga practice has definitely suffered, at a time when it would be very helpful for keeping me grounded. Fortunately, I can listen to yoga music anywhere, and there are several artists who are great for grounding and centering. In times of upheaval, music that is calming and uncomplicated is just what the yogi ordered. Here are my yoga music picks for staying grounded when change comes knocking.
Krishna Das has more amazing albums than I can count. But when I am in need of some serious grounding, I always turn to Live on Earth. It’s full of Krishna Das classics and old favorites. The tracks range from the slow and sweet “Jaya Bhagavan” and “Shri Guru Charanam,” to the upbeat “Jaya Jagatambe,” and the ecstatic “Radhe Shyam.” And since this album is a 2 disc set, it’s great for long yoga sessions. Or, more often in my life, long commutes!
Gurunam Singh has a voice like butter. Or maybe it’s more correct to say that his voice turns me into butter, and then proceeds to make me melt. On his album Crimson Sadhana, he sings so beautifully it almost makes me cry. I could listen to his “Guru Ram Das – Healing” all day long, and it would never get old. The clarity and smooth tone of these Kundalini yoga mantras never fail to bring me into the present moment, and to remind me of what a wonderful place the present can be!
I like to take every opportunity to talk about Nirinjan Kaur’s awesome album Adhara. It’s a strong and sweet collection of mantras which help me to feel centered and powerful. One amazing quality about Nirinjan’s music is that each song is so good that it makes me temporarily forget all of the others. I get so caught up in “Jai Te Gung” that it becomes my favorite song ever! Until it ends and “Triple Mantra” comes on. And then “Treasure of Bliss,” and so it goes through the whole album. Nirinjan’s singing creates a sense of calm and peace, making her music a perfect choice for days I’m feeling scattered or disconnected.
Snatam Kaur’s Grace almost needs no explanation. Her beautiful “Ong Namo” snuck its way into my heart long ago, before I could tell the difference between “Om” and “Ong.” This album is also special to me because of the meditations I’ve done using her “Ray Man Shabad” and “Ra Ma Da Sa” – whenever I listen to them it’s like reconnecting with an old friend. Snatam has so many amazing albums, but I always turn to this one when I need to put down roots and be still.
Ragani’s album Best of Both Worlds has what may be one of my favorite kirtan tracks ever. “Rama Rama” is 15 minutes of pure bliss that I never could have imagined possible before I heard it for the first time. It’s so elegantly simple, just chanting “Rama Rama” over and over, Ragani’s voice expertly guiding you from start to finish. The rest of the album is just as soothing, quickly pulling me out of the external world and into Ragani’s world. To me, Best of Both Worlds is like a master class in “classic” American Sanskrit kirtan.