Menu

Blog

Slide background
Call Us

Shavasana Disco: Where Music and Meditation Meet

music and meditation event

 

When people think about meditation, the music of pop maestro Prince may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Whale song? Sure, that seems pretty meditation-y. Pan pipes and softly twinkling chimes, that can work too. But the get-up-and-dance, falsetto-laden, downright sexy melodies that defined one of music’s most iconic stars don’t quite gel with our ideas of what meditation is about. However! Our latest Shavasana Disco, which cameto Los Angeles for the very first time just last week, changed all that.

We launched Shavasana Disco as a way to combine our two great loves – music and meditation – and when we came to the realisation that people in today’s extremely busy world rarely get the chance to truly listen to music, even if they are great fans. Music is often the soundtrack to our lives, rather than the focus of any particular moment; even when we sit down to listen to our favourite tracks, our minds are often so busy with worries, to-do lists and self-talk that it’s difficult to let ourselves relax.

Listening to music after meditation, we noticed that it became an amazingly sublime experience, and decided we needed to share it. We organised Sunday get-togethers in our apartment for the people we’d taught, leading a group meditation before appreciating the musical journey that was a full album experience. But once Liam Hart, a former colleague, hit upon the idea of listening to these seminal albums in the extraordinary spaces where they were recorded, Shavasana Disco as we know it today was born.

In London, these sessions involved the much-beloved work of musicians from The Beatles to Massive Attack, and have given people (from experienced meditators to complete newbies) the opportunity to listen in a profoundly calm and focused way – which in some cases has proved transformative. Jumping across the pond gave us the opportunity to bring this concept to the USA, and dedicate a session to Prince’s peerless Purple Rain at Sunset Sound Studio. Which, to be frank, was awesome.


And how many of us would say we aren’t a fan of Prince? Near-universally popular, Prince pulled off the rare feat of being a consummate pop star – and one utterly intent on entertaining during his mind-bogglingly energetic live shows – while also being vastly respected for his originality, musicianship and song-writing prowess. His flamboyant stage presence, talent for creating iconic tunes and astonishing vocal range sets him apart from his peers, and places him firmly in the pantheon of Music Gods – sharing a space with The Beatles, Bob Marley and David Bowie in stratospheric stardom.

Our collective reverence for Prince isn’t only borne from his musical ability and extraordinary performances, but also his career-long support of traditionally underrepresented female musicians, including percussionist Sheila E and keyboardist Gayle Chapman. Putting women onstage and showcasing their musicianship elevated them from the traditional role of “muse” to artists in their own right. This is an especially important move considering that women are rarely afforded the same respect as their male counterparts in the music industry, and are usually perceived as “singers” rather than instrumentalists or writers.

Prince recorded 39 studio albums over his lifetime, as well as touring extensively, compiling near-legendary vaults of unreleased material and writing for other artists under various pseudonyms. In this career of quite astonishing productivity, Purple Rain is widely regarded as his magnum opus. Every song is a classic, and the eponymous Purple Rain is probably one of the most famous songs of all time – with When Doves Cry hot on its heels.

It was extremely special to meditate in the place where such a world-changing piece of art was created, and to experience the full album with the most clarity and perception possible. But while we could ramble on, we think that Instagram user volube.me explained the experience of Sunset Sound’s Shavasana Disco absolutely beautifully:

 

“Last night I was blessed to go to the iconic Sunset Sound Studio where Prince recorded some of the Purple Rain album. We got to be in the studio and meditate, and when our minds had opened, we listened to the whole album from cover to cover. Lying on the floor. In the actual studio.

I have difficulty finding words for how special that was to me.

Not only did it take me back more than 30 years to when I would do the same to fall asleep at night. I would move my mattress close to my stereo, put on headphones and turn off the lights and then be in the music – only interrupted by having to get up after Darling Nikki to turn the record over. I didn’t know back then that “being in the music” was meditating. Letting go of all thoughts and my physical body to be free floating in the sound picture. I know every note, every beat, every sound of that album, and it was amazing to experience it again.

That is what Prince was to me; diversity, inclusion, limitless creativity and courage and love and wit and gratitude and an unparalleled drive to follow your bliss. That permeated everything he did and that spirit was palatable in the studio. I sometimes forget which way to go, but I was reminded last night.”volube.me, via Instagram.

Shavasana Disco is one of our proudest creations. Perfect for those who a rather curious about meditation, but put off by the idea that it’s all pastel-shaded zen with no room for any of the usual pleasures in life, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy this practice . While no one will wake up with a hangover after a Shavasana Disco, it’s a fun yet relaxing experience which leaves attendees feeling invigorated rather than drained.

With more events coming to London and the USA soon, check our Shavasana Disco page for updates –  we’d love to see you attend!

 

This entry was posted in blog.

Why Meditation is For Everyone

why meditation is for everyone

 

Recently, we read about the introduction of meditation to an Alaskan shipyard – workers in this most masculine of professions had started to meditate and stretch each morning to promote wellbeing. This got us thinking: if the benefits found in meditation are universal, and meditation is for everyone, why does it feel so newsworthy when it turns up in the “manly” setting of a shipyard? Do we, as a society, believe that awareness around wellbeing and mental health only really fit in certain professions, and for certain individuals?

There certainly is a cultural idea about the type of person who meditates. While we may have moved on from the general view that meditation is the sole preserve of spiritualists and hippies (who have always been rather unfairly maligned), a new image has manifested itself. Now meditation and self-care are for the most part perceived as feminine, pastel-shaded, and maybe even a little wishy-washy. Perhaps most disturbingly, it’s also seen as a hobby for the fairly well off – as something only successful members of new and forward-thinking industries have access to, especially within the workplace.

The crux of this is that meditation is not widely considered to be something that everyone gets to make part of their lives. Society seems to believe that sensible women, with their feet on the ground and little time for “indulging” themselves, aren’t going to pop along to their local class. And it’s especially not likely to be something that masculine blokes, the type who do blokey things like enact feats of strength and make ambient growling sounds, are interested in.

But then again, our founder Will is a bloke. Thinking about self-care is actually very important for men, and meditation is a great way to handle the stress and upset that some feel they can’t otherwise express. The biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK is suicide, and while for many these emotional and mental health issues will never become that stark, a hangover of our traditional ideas about masculinity means that men can feel stymied in their attempts to look after themselves.

When men do take up meditation (and are lauded for doing so), it’s usually in the context of sharpening their business or creative prowess – such as CEOs of multi-million pound companies Ray Dalio, Bob Shapiro and Steve Rubin. This is awesome of course – meditation does give laser-like focus, improve our leadership skills, and make us more creative. But it also helps us deal with stress, unresolved trauma, and anxiety. Seeing the practice as a way to improve the mental health of men throughout society, from the boardroom to the warehouse, is arguably more important than pure performance.

There isn’t anyone who should be excluded from meditation, or feel that they aren’t the “right” kind of person to pursue the practice. Yes, western culture may be full of intimidating images of meditation-based perfection, where beautifully-dressed people lead unbelievably serene and healthy lives. But in reality, meditation isn’t about separating yourself off from the world in a sublime vision of calm. It can be part of a noisy, normal, earthy life, one where you can throw yourself into the pleasures of the world, and still benefit from sitting quietly each day.

You don’t need to be particularly spiritual either. While we’re totally on board with connecting to the universe if that’s the sort of thing that speaks to you, being interested in the less tangible things in life isn’t a prerequisite for meditation.

If you’re the sort of person who loves nothing more than a Netflix binge and a takeaway pizza, and are about as likely to go to an aura reading as to tell a sweet old lady that her hair looks rubbish, we can’t stress enough that meditation is for you too. There’s room for everyone in the world of meditation, from the deeply spiritual to the people who think chakras are a eighties dance band – and all the lovely benefits apply to all.

If you would like to find out more about meditation, then you can read our introductory pages here.

This entry was posted in blog.