Asanas Ritual, Vol. 1
(Screaming Crow Records)
Yoga has been helping people get limber and find peace nearly since the time of dinosaurs. It’s a practice originated in India and is a powerful tool for your physical and mental strength. Don’t feel ostracized by the yoga lovers that can be seen grabbing their post-yoga studio latté in excessive, neon spandex. It’s not about buying nice workout gear, it’s about relaxing and strengthening your perineum … or at least, that’s one part. Understanding the value of all this and wanting to share it with a punk/metal community, certified yoga instructor Kimee Massie created BLACK YO)))GA.
This niche approach to vinyasa yoga with a drone/noise/stoner/metal has been going with Massie since 2012. Asanas Ritual, Vol. 1 is the first album release from her and the Pittsburgh, PA collective. It is later to be a component with an adjoining DVD so you can stretch out with guidance. Listening to the soundtrack for this new approach to yoga, it wasn’t as meditative as to be expected. My interpretation was that we’d hear slower sounds to move fluidly with.
“The Dark Places in Our Lives” is a beautiful arrangement with a doomful guitar strum, a violin, and female chanting near the end. It’s not a track I’d consider doing yoga with though as there’s too much narrative and sound to accompany a smooth up dog. When someone is moving through classic poses of vinyasa, it can be fluid and fast—and this track has too many elements to trip over. The most successful track for these reasons seems to be “Nest of Thorns.” Subtle piano keys tap in and out of a heavy repetition in the bass lines. The guitar chord progressions nearly interrupt this, but stay secondary just enough to create a lucid, meditative pace.
Yoga is for everyone in the end, even those latté lizards. This is an excellent concept and I am thrilled that Massie is encouraging people to find an outlet they might otherwise think isn’t for them. You can stretch, bend and feel great about it. It’s even okay if you’re accidentally flatulent, people will understand since it’s a relaxing environment. You can equate it to punk rock in that you’re always living in the moment and finding a cathartic balance (read more on Yoga Punks here). (Scott Murry)