A half-hour into yoga class, we were warmed up enough that we could lunge low, but not yet so fatigued that our legs would give way. I had my right foot a yard behind my bent left leg, with the ball of my right toes on the mat as if I were a Barbie doll. The teacher told us to push off, and I did, lifting my rear right leg to parallel with the floor, straightening my left leg, and lowering my torso to form a straight line with my raised leg.
The challenge then, was to remain that way.
“Remember, in these balance poses, it’s all about…”
All about what? I thought. Help me out here before I fall over.
“…all about the harmony.”
As someone who gets paid to make noise for a living, I can understand that sometimes, in the course of talking for hours on end, one is tempted to speak gibberish. I tend to get myself into trouble by actually listening to too many of the things that come out of my yoga teachers’ mouths, rather than just enjoying the sounds of their voices and trying to stay upright.
I think in this case she was referring to the harmony between upper and lower body or something like that. I really don’t know.
Harmony: a : the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chord. (Thank you, Merriam Webster)
Harmony is more than just the sound of a kid banging random keys on the keyboard. It’s more than the solitary notes that I can make on my own. It’s multiple voices, logical progressions of chords, combinations of sounds that end up being more than the sum of parts.
Whether I’m singing doleful or joyous melodies, they are always enhanced and enriched by the presence of other voices, changing my sound with theirs. I can keep singing the same note, and they’ll resolve a dissonance, or change from minor to major.
As we were invited to place our right feet back down at forty-five degree angle and bend our left legs again, I thought maybe it is all about the harmony.
I have no idea, but you can enjoy my share of the world’s…that.
I will take my “harmony” in musical form (being an alto and a former violist, “harmony” is where I live). I did find myself at a complete loss for words earlier todaythough, trying to explain the Verdi Requium to my mother (and why I was particularly enthusiastic to get tickets for Tuesday at the Hollywood Bowl). Perhaps I sounded as nutty as your yoga teacher when I said: “Imagine the Requium Mass, combined with the end of the world…”
Sometines words fail, sometimes they are just noise, though I suspect if you peel back a few layers of Eastern spiritual thought, you’ll find something deeper in that particular “harmony.” Ages and ages hence when I was studying the first half of Asian history, we spent a solid month on the philosophical belief systems. Given how naturalistic so much of what is rooted in Hinduism is, it wouldn’t surprise me that “harmony” would be more than mere empty words.