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Sharon Gannon is a 21st century Renaissance woman, an animal rights, vegan activist and world-renowned yogini, author, dancer, poet, musician and producer—co-founder, with David Life of the internationally influential Jivamukti Yoga Method, a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. She is a pioneer in teaching yoga as spiritual activism—relating ancient teachings of yoga to the modern world. YOGA JOURNAL Magazine has called her an innovator and VANITY FAIR gives her credit for making yoga cool and hip.
1) What is the inspiration for your music?
Sharon: Nature is my inspiration. I live in a 125 acre wild forest sanctuary, a refuge in Woodstock, NY in the midst of oak, white pine, cedar and hemlock trees as well as black bears, deer, foxes, opossums, coyotes, raccoons, porcupines, turkeys, hummingbirds, black birds, blue birds, woodpeckers, nuthatches, morning doves, gold finches, flowers and many elemental beings: fairies and devas, gives me the opportunity to listen to and live with the whispers and songs essential to life.
2) How does your yoga and spiritual life shape your music?
Sharon: Music is invisible, it is not material—it is not of this physical realm. But for us embodied mortal beings, music provides a bridge, enabling us to connect to the spiritual –and thus transcend the limitations of the physical. This is why music can lift your heart and lighten its burdens.
3) Tell us how the practice of kirtan/spiritual music can become part of the life of a woman doing yoga and the benefits of this practice?
Sharon: Singing as well as listening to spiritual music can purify a woman’s emotions and uplift her mind, creating a profound ease in the body. Listening to spiritual music while practicing yoga will help one to delve deeper within, moving into subtle and expanding realms of joy. Matter itself is really made up of sound. Music is so powerful that it can actually alter the form of the body.
4) What do you learn from your music that teaches you about your daily life- please give examples.
Sharon: I want to contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all beings through creating a mood by means of sound, which might invoke a place of expansive awareness within the listener where the possibility of total acceptance, kindness and love arises, and is felt as totally possible. Or in other words the listener would set aside their violent, angry, destructive thoughts, words and actions and move into a place of self confidence where they felt no need to harm another being in any way. They would be in the state of satya-graha, which means to be possessed by truth…a place of ahimsa where love, kindness and compassion prevails.
Being in this state would make one irresistible. I think deep down most everyone longs to be irresistible. But we can become side-tracked and search in the wrong places which often times leads to disappointment. To long to become irresistible to God is what interests me. Music can be a means to that. God is music: Nada Brahman. Originally music was a method to communicate to the divine, but as humanity became more disconnected with nature and spirit the art of music became a mundane means to gratify the senses, a commercial venture or at worst a means to enhance the ego. But with the resurgence of “spiritual music” many people are awakening to the sacred power of music as a means to enlightenment.
5) As a woman musician where do you garner your creativity, strength and endurance from?
Sharon: By remembering God. Immersing myself in positive thoughts, words and music. I love to chant and sing and to listen to other people singing and chanting uplifting mantras—this all help me to remember God—and that is the source of all creative power.
6) How do you find balance in your life?
Sharon: By letting go. When I try to hold my balance I usually loose it—so I try to find it in every moment by letting go into that moment and allow what ever is happening to happen. I quess you could call it surrender. I practice surrendering and being a conduit for energy to pass through me rather than trying to manipulate it—and when you can become a conduit—then as they say “you can-do-it!” On a practical level: Mostly I practice letting go of disappointment—in others and in myself—that’s when I stop toppling over and am able to stand up and balance on the razor’s edge, which is daily life—and this is when it all starts to become fun.
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