Elena Brower im Interview


Vor kurzem war Elena Brower in London. Sie hat dort ein dreitägiges Teacher Enhancement Modul und Workshops unterrichtet.  Tanja Katsbert hat daran teilgenommen und Elena zum Thema Musik interviewt. Sie hat ihre Ausbildung im YogaRaumBerlin gemacht und schreibt gerade ihre Abschlussarbeit zum Thema Yoga und Musik.



What connection do you see between music and yoga?

The first Wanderlust festival happened in Squaw Valley (USA) 5 or 6 years ago I forget. The organisers e-mailed me saying that they would like to send me a live musician for my yoga class, a big one I was teaching with Christina Nones. They asked me “Would you like to have this musician from Brooklyn, Garth Stevenson? Here’s a little bit of his music”… And I’ve listened to that and thought “What? Really lovely… Why not? I’ve never done this before, live music. Let’s just go for it at Wanderlust, it’s gonna be crazy, I’ve no idea. Let’s do it”.

I remember distinctly the moment that Garth started playing. And Christina and I looked at each other… ”What is this?..” All of sudden he dropped us into a place of such respect and such reverence. Not just for the room. Not just for the students. For the teachings, for the teachers. We were listening to some ancient sound.

I find that, to be true, whether it’s techno, deep house or instrumental sound there’s something really alchemical about putting music and yoga. I can’t deny the connection. Even if I don’t particularly like the music there’s still something to be explored.

What kind of instrument was Garth playing? 

Double bass. You’ve got to listen to his song “Dusk”.

What kind of music do you prefer to use in your classes? 

I prefer slow piano music. Some classical music. I love Philip Glass and some really obscure instrumental things with guitar, sitar or tabla. I also sometimes love to play “Sister Sledge” and “Soul II Soul”. It really depends.

Can you play any kind of music in your classes, or are there certain “No-Go’s”? 

Deep house I can do. Real serious techno I can’t do. Rock’n’Roll not so much, even if I listen to it while I’m driving.

How can music support the yoga class, in your opinion, or even “destroy” it?

I have had the experience when the music detracts from the yoga class, not so much destroys the practice because we’re still practicing and what a blessing it is to practice… It detracts when it’s too loud, when it’s  overpowering. The ideal scenario is that music complements the teaching. I’ve recently been teaching with DJ Natasha Blank at a New York club. She and I work together on Monday nights monthly. She’s playing deep house music. I never prepare for the class. She starts spinning and I ride her wave.

Sometimes I’m inclined to do pulsing actions in the postures because of what she’s playing, and I make it flow, I make it work, I’m never having problems with what she’s doing. I’m always just trying to work the best with her, and that’s a great challenge. I love that challenge. And everybody loves the class because it is so different and so weird. Sometimes it is almost on the edge, but usually it’s just perfect.

Photo by Pete Longworth

Do you remember any situations when music fostered some emotions during the practice, whether of yours or of your students? 

All the time. Almost daily.

Did it ever bring you to tears?

It does bring me to tears. Almost daily.

What kind of music is this?

Mostly the kind that I mentioned first. Beautiful piano music. Olafur Arnalds is one of my favourites. DJs Above & Beyond did a set for me “Burning Man 2014”. It is very slow. It’s on Soundcloud you can easily find. It did bring to tears several times while I was teaching. Sometimes the music will form what I’m saying. Sometimes what I’m saying will determine what I want to play. More times than that, I’m following music, I’m reverent and deferent to the music. And it makes magic.

What would be the three things you suggest to anyone working with yoga and music?

The first thing is: Use what you like. Use what you feel resonates with your body.

The second thing is: Make sure you’re really in the room and you’re not going to overpower people in the room with your musical agenda.

And I think the third thing would be…If there’s a doubt about if you should use music or not go into silence. The vital silence is always enough.

Interview von Tanja Katsbert 

Pianistin und Yogalehrerin in Berlin.  

Sie unterrichtet Elementyoga und begleitet Yoga Workshops auf Piano. 

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