I took a vacation recently that brought me deeply in to nature, adding a whole new dimension to my explorations in to breath. Replacing the “ surrounding box” of the studio with a living environment brought awareness to new places in my body, filling up the stagnant areas where breath and movement hadn’t occupied for some time, while clearing out many of the anxious thoughts that tend to rattle through the mind.
Writing about his Kundalini experiences in St. Thomas, my teacher Juliu Horvath once said “ To enchanting inner music listening in mesmerizing inner light I take my daily baths”, and there were times out there in the forest that I could swear I was hearing that same symphony.
Every living thing expresses itself, whether we “hear” it or not. As humans, we often struggle to hear other humans over the strong voices of our own thoughts, even when those humans speak our same language. It takes some observational skills to notice the communications of mammals, and even more to sense the language of insects. At some point, the obvious verbal bridges drop away ( try to “listen” to fish) but it doesn’t mean they they aren’t emoting, it just means that we aren’t as fluent in those channels.
In Nature, it is clear that communication is happening all around you, and the more you tune in the more you are able to absorb of it. Not only the animals, but the plants and the trees all seem to be emitting their own vibrations, chattering around you about the sunlight, the beings that share their space, organizing their root systems, etc. However, this type of awareness about communication remains as an “awareness” more so than a recognizable language. So it was to my utter delight when my buddy Nico Georis recently unveiled his latest project.
He has been experimenting with a device called the Midi Sprout, which can measure the biofeedback from plants and with the aid of a synthesizer, turn that feedback in to music. I was fortunate enough to attend a live show with Nico and his houseplants, Shirley ( a Bird of Paradise) and Scooter ( a smaller little shoot), at the Henry Miller Library where we interacted with the plants both physically ( touching their leaves) and sonically ( Nico would accompany them on the piano as they played the MidiSprout). The evening was curiously transformative, as plants have their own rhythm, different than the ones we create as humans. The sounds filling the room gave me the same calm as I had found camping by the Feather River earlier this month, and sounded ( not unsurprisingly) just like the symphony that had filled my ears while I was out there, breathing with trees in Northern California.
So in turn, I have begun to play with using Shirley’s soundscapes while breathing. Using her music to fill the spaces where thoughts usually rattle around in your mind. The plant based background, combined with these breathing techniques, takes you out of fight or flight mode, and allows for your body to gently create movement where stress had locked you down.
This week’s class is different than previous ones, designed more to transport than to educate you. Use it to de-stress, or to strategically prepare your mind and body for scenario that requires some delicate handling. There are times where we are required to be active without being reactive. This is a really sweet way of getting there.
You won’t need to watch the video, but you may want to use some speakers, or better yet, get a set of headphones, go outside, and do this class there.
It’s 22 minutes long.
Give yourself 30.
You won’t regret it.