What is your Traveling Soundtrack?

by Jasmine Astra-elle Grace

One of my favorite things to do is to travel with a soundtrack. Not a particular artist’s album but a collection of random songs that is created by reflecting on the purpose of the trip or some universal force that has a message for me. I often use iTunes genesis mixes, put on my headphones and float through the airport with the spontaneity of the song. The memories, the thoughts, the feelings, and the spirit—I notice that the pep of my step, the pace, and the attitude a song can evoke. I walk through the airport being completely present, reading the signs, making eye-contact, smiling, being at peace and ultimately treating the airport like a yoga practice without the mat. Being open to what comes up.

On this particular morning I am heading to Estes Park, Colorado, to meet my life-long friend Abby Hewitt for the Sounds True Wakeup Festival. This Rocky Mountain adventure was one of those trips that happened to fall into place effortlessly, like it was meant to be. I am very aware on my behalf, spiritually, and on behalf of Yoga on High that there is something special here to discover. And just seeing my friend will be the biggest gift.

Currently I am listening to Crowded House’s Better Be Home Soon. Perhaps a relevant song on the soundtrack for my trip! Seeing Abby is like going home, but a question I often ponder is where is home? Isn’t it really just a feeling or a place in our heart? I think I gave up thinking home was a place in the world or a building a long time ago. Mostly my home is Savasana on the mat every morning, or being with my husband and daughter in our own little magical world inside a bubble of happiness that no one can pop. Home is my safe place. We are lucky if we find this in our lifetime. There are plenty people, children especially, who don’t have this safe place. That is one reason why I love what the Yoga on High Foundation is doing in schools for children.

On arriving in Estes Park and sitting down to finish this blog I look out over the grounded safety of the mountains. Wow, the energy here is amazing. Abby and I spent the whole day horseback riding and hiking. Our soundtrack was nature and conversation. While in the airport a song that came up on my mix was the Book of My Life by my all-time favorite artist Sting – a very appropriate song considering Abby and I had six years of in-person catch up. One of the lakes we hiked to was called Dream Lake. Here the cool glacier wind blew and we threw our dreams into the wind and onto the lake. I actually said out loud, “let the wind carry our dreams” and it felt like magic. I took off my shoes and in the moment did Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel) on the uneven rock, making a mountain shape and honoring and opening the heart with a prayer, “May I keep this magic in my cells, in my life, and in my relationships, and may my heart be open to possibilities, growth, and healing.”

That night we danced to the soundtrack of the eclectic music of DJ Shaman’s Dream, letting the music guide us, free and alive. Although I do this often with my little girl in my living room there was something about being on a deck surrounded by sunflowers, candlelight and of course the mountains. The next night, after a day spent with amazing spiritual and intellectual presenters, we chanted live with Snatam Kaur and her band. We sat on the floor right at the very front and sang our hearts out. Talk about collective consciousness. We were connected. Abby and I floated back to our cabin singing, May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You. I am so glad we are bringing Kundalini to Yoga on High this fall. Sat Nam.

One of the presenters at the Sounds True Wake up Festival was the poet David Whyte . He spoke his poems out loud. One poem in particular, a soundtrack in itself, pierced through my soul –

Finisterre by David Whyte
The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you brought
and light their illumined corners, and to read
them as they drifted through the western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that had brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you could still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.

And I took off my shoes, opened my mind and heart, and felt a little lighter. I returned to Columbus Ohio for an evening of Kirtan at Yoga on High with local artist Mike Cohen. I couldn’t help but hear the message, keep the music, dance and prayer coming.

I will leave you with the question, what is the soundtrack of your adventures and travels?