When my feet hit the ground it signals the start of a new day. Immediately I slip them into a pair of slippers, flip flops or my Birkenstocks. My feet usually hit the ground at the same time, not one foot and then the other. This way I’m ready to face squarely whatever’s in front of me. Each foot feels each foot, and they feel the ground. I’m connected to the ground, and I draw energy from the earth. When I do morning yoga I plug into the ground with my knees, my arms, my hands and my feet. I try and build each pose as I anchor into the ground. I push down with the palms of my hands, squeeze the muscles in my legs and strengthen my core as I twist and turn and reach for the full extension of every asana. In this way, I know my body and I can feel the alignment between my hips and shoulders–it helps me to balance. I turn my head in different directions; sometimes I just release it let it drop down. The key is to engage only the muscles that you need for a particular position—relax the rest of the body.
And then there’s the breath. The breath is everything. You have to breathe through each posture. You never stop breathing. Especially when it gets hard–don’t hold your breath.
I used to hold my breath all of the time. It was the only way I could maintain the intensity of the groove when I was playing the drums. It also happened when it was my time to shine. I would so excited, that I would take short stuttering breaths, and I’d let the air out the same way. I still do this sometimes, but nearly as much as I used to. I’m learning to breath again.
This whole approach: my feet feeling the ground, my body drawing energy from the earth and my breath, keeping it all all in rhythm has become everything for me. It’s an approach that allows me to meditate while I’m doing everything.
I should probably be using the app that designed for using an IPad, but this should be easier. You know how sometimes when you attempt to write an email or post something using your IPad, the cursor doesn’t always follow you commands. Well that happened to me just now. It took a few attempts before the cursor for the keyboard began to work correctly. It’s ok now, but I have to mention that something happens to me on daily basis when I using my first generation IPad. It’s usually my Safari crashing when I try to load a web page that contains a lot of videos and other bells and whistles. As the page loads the web browser quits. Or if the page does load, I’ll start to scroll down and then it usually quits.
My partner has an IPad 2 with the newer IOS 6 operating system, which is compatible on the older devices and this crashing issue doesn’t happen.
So, is it time for a new IPad?
Daily writing for me represents a time when I can reflect on what’s going in my life and to sit with those thoughts during some quiet time in my day. I don’t have anything specific to share, so there’s really nothing to write about. However, I can describe the stillness at this time in my neighborhood. It’s usually full of energy with people moving around and cars passing by, people talking as they walk together, and sometimes some renovation or construction going on – and there’s the occasional siren.
No, today this writing time is just for me and my thoughts: what I did last night, what I’ll be doing today, and where my life is heading – it’s gone in so many directions lately.
So I’m looking forward to doing this more often. I intended to write more, but I got sidetracked trying to get more information about the gathering I played at last night. It was an event marking the progress in making the August Wilson home a historical site. I was part of a production that consisted of monologues where actors became the voices of Hill district residents recalling the rich and controversial history of a legendary Pittsburgh neighborhood. A jazz quartet played musical interludes and my djembe drumming provided the rhythms for the “juba dance” that closed the show.
Happy New Year Everyone,
This weekend I’ll begin teaching a once a month drumming class near the Seven Springs Ski Resort. If you’re interested in attending I’ve included the details below.
Third Sunday of the month West African drumming class at Body in Balance Healing Center located at 9801 Country Commons, Champion, PA 15622 (phone-412-999-3553)
Everyone is invited to join the class regardless of previous experience.
In this class we’ll learn the basics techniques of hand drumming – creating different sounds on a single drum. We’ll learn to play traditional drumming rhythms from Mali and Guinea, West Africa in setting comprised of djembes (hand drums) and dunduns (drums played with a stick). We’ll also learn songs that go with the different drumming rhythms.
Group drumming is great way to relieve stress and a means for people to come together and share in the creation of rhythms that have deep links with the cultures of the West Africa.
Schedule: 2:00–3:30 p.m.
January 20, February 3 and March 17
The cost will be $20 per class.
I’ll bring along two or three loaner djembes; the dunduns will be provided.
Students can bring a small recording device and a pad and paper if they want to document the information provided in the class
Using percussion instruments such as tabla, frame drum, gong, woodblock, cowbell and rattles, I created a unique soundscape at last night’s vinyasa flow yoga class which was led by Mark Staley at Amazing Yoga in Shadyside in Pittsburgh, Pa.
It was an exciting experience as the music, instructor’s directions and the participant’s shifting through their various postures came together in such a way that it became like an ocean, ebbing and flowing. It was rhythm in motion.
The participant’s response was very positive, so I’m sure we’ll be continuing the collaboration in the coming year.
I’ve been putting materials up on my blog over that past few days and I wanted to check and see if you (my students) have been able to access them. Please respond with a comment. It will help me as I proceed with posting more materials.