Buy Now! The latest meditative music from the Queen of Savasana! Wah! creates twelve tracks to reflect coherent energy found in nature. Musically and spiritually soothing, the Savasana CDs are used worldwide for yoga, meditation, relaxation, and personal transformation.
I don't score films but The Healing Concert gave me a chance to create soundscapes - 2-hour live soundtracks for meditation and relaxation. It expanded my vision for what Savasana music could be. What a trip! With loops and delays, foghorns and crickets, I started going into another world... It was a fantasy world, but with meditative intentions. The recording studio was a perfect place to dream, fantasize and explore this vision: What would it be like to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra? What could I do with an unlimited budget?
But first, the beginning... One track to my teacher Amma (Tree) was composed in 2009. There was no energy for the project so I put it aside. In 2010, I reinitiated the project with a puja. My friend James Baldwin had become an afficionado in spiritual rituals and meditation, and especially the art of puja. Following the cycles of the moon and worshipping the Great Mother, he continually immersed himself in Her current both physically and spiritually. He suggested a puja in connection with the phases of the moon as a platform for creating and recording higher energy in my music. I was intrigued; we planned it for the new moon of April 2010.
I blocked out 48 hours of studio time. We turned off the studio's wireless modem, our cellphones and landlines. No texting, no facebooking, no emails. We cleaned the space inside and outside, and began the puja, invoking energies of light and love to join us for this project. Our intention (James required a clear intention for the puja) was to invoke energy from the Masters of Light so that the music could be infused with healing vibration, psychic soundwaves, and higher soundcurrents. My song would create a broadband connection to spirit, the puja would widen it and give it a space to breathe and live in. The puja was my container for the Light. I observed silence; the puja altar, flowers and pictures remained in the studio.
It was pretty amazing and the puja planted a beautiful intention for the project but after a few weeks of recording it didn't yield any usable music. When I listened to the tracks 6 months later, they all lacked real acceptance, real vulnerability. I was too focused on singing at the "right" time, getting the project done while the moon and earth were "perfectly aligned." Absolutely everything we recorded in 2010 got thrown out.
In the beginning of 2011 Paul and I reconvened. Recording savasana songs was tricky business. I wanted to put thoughts, or rather thoughtlessness, into the recording. I wanted the healing energy to be present so people could drink in healing through the music. It is a common practice for saints to use music to disseminate spiritual energy; my teacher, Amma and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, saints of this age, used music regularly to infuse spaces and people with their healing energy. Yogananda, Sri Chinmoy... there were countless examples of what I wanted to do. But how to do it in the studio, with all its technical ecnumbrances (headphones, keyboards, isolation booth, effects, headphone mixes and the need for a clean recordings without bumps, clicks, car noises, yawns and lip smacks) and still create meditation?
I tried recording left and right tracks separately (hypnosis inducing technique), I tried recording to 528 Hz and other tones used in European brainwave therapies. I put hours and hours into these experiments, but in the end they were unsuccessful. I had to just be. But how? If we wanted to edit the recordings we couldn't record harmonium and vocals together (a problem called "sonic bleed"- when microphones pick up other instruments). We tried recording harmonium in a sound dampening contraption (which made it almost impossible for me to move), recording with an electronic keyboard (which completely ruined my ability my to hold healing energy wtihin myself), recording a capella or with only a tamboura track (there weren't enough harmonics in the electronic tamboura to give me proper reference to sing in tune)... I even tried recording the old way (vocal and harmonium together) as I had done on the first Savasana album, but it just wasn't right. I wanted to be able to edit the tracks. I settled on an electronic keyboard, barely touching the keys, just enough to indicate chords and keep me on pitch.
On recording days, I replicated the circumstances of yoga class, where savasana music was most often played or created. In 2011, each morning before I entered the studio to record, I practiced an hour of meditation and an hour of yoga and stayed in silence (no phone calls, no emails, no idle conversation) until the recordings were finished. If there were delays in set up at the recording studio, I did alternate nostril breathing. I recorded without warming up or singing scales. This maintainted a certain level of thought and energy in me which held the thread of healing. There was some success in this.
In 2012, in conjunction with Opening to Bliss: The Meditation Music of Wah! (Sounds True) I started performing The Healing Concert, a solo evening of ambient healing music. In some ways, this format had always been there (Savasana music for yoga class, ambient interludes in festival settings), but creating it as a solo concert had great impact. Using what I knew about puja and yantra, I set an energetic mandala in each space, asking the audience to hold energy on the perimeter and lie down in the center to receive healing. The music was easy, it was so easy in fact to fall into meditative states I was blown away. Two hours went by in what seemed like five minutes. Performing these concerts felt as strenuous as drinking a glass of water. Something had shifted. The healing energy was finally able to come through.
I studied audiences, how I could take them down into deeper states. I could at times talk an audience into a relaxed state, and then use live music to induce deep states of healing. My explorations of hypnosis, meditation and yoga nidra gave me some tools to work with. Slower brainwaves, repeating cycles, occasional musical deviations. I had to embody the experience, which was Surrender. Grace. Acceptance. From my years of difficulty, when I couldn't walk and so many ailments had visited me, I learned how to be patient. If I moved slowly, I moved slowly. If I wrecked the car, I wrecked the car. There was only grace. I slept. I painted. There was nothing to do, no business to take care of, no one to call. No one really needed me for anything. I joked with my yoga students during class (in the relaxation in between exercises), "Whatcha doin? Nothin..." I wanted to introduce to people that doing "nothing" was actually a viable activity, maybe evena necessary prerequisite for healing and reintegration.
Moon was the touchstone for this project. Te production of this track came forward way before any other tracks were even recorded. I liked its looseness within a structure; we often worked "off the grid" (no clicktrack, no time grid). Nature sounds, synth pads, and string sections became our tools for creating lush, welcoming environments for healing. It was the beginning of the goddess era for me. Full, empowered expression of the feminine divine, both in my personal life and in my concerts.
My daughter graduated from high school, I left Los Angeles. I worked with Paul Hollman every 3 months or so, moving the project forward in stages. The Healing Concert gave me energy and musical insights. We used Vienna String Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra pads. We created beauty and lucious environments. In addition to touring, I spent a lot of time with saints during this period - Shree Ma & Swami Satyananda, Amma, Karunamayi - and I think that shifted my understanding of absolutely everything.
I present to you Savasana 3: Natural Beauty. Each track is named after qualities in nature which hold coherent energy. It has taken over three years to create. Quietly finding form, reaching out into the new, blessed with openness...
Thanks and praises to the most High!