Devotional: Donna De Lory
“I embrace change and transformation by consciously setting an intention to live in truth without fear, cultivate self-discipline, and learn to accept and love what is.” Here, four artists share the inspirations behind their lyrics and sounds.
Indie Folk: Trevor Hall
“Sometimes I am singing the song and sometimes the song is singing me.”
“Follow your bliss, my go-to mantra, anchors me in a flow state where I’m super creative and feel so much appreciation for life itself—unexpected, amazing things happen!”
See also How Yoga Helps Musicians Feel
The 108-second interview
R&B/Soul: Melanie Fiona
Two-time Grammy-winning Canadian singer and songwriter Melanie Fiona, or “the Singing Nurse,” as she’s referred to on stage thanks to the healing components of her music, unites elements of lyrical storytelling with soothing rhythms. Her soulful vocals are fueled by themes such as living with a higher purpose and becoming more self-compassionate.
Yoga Journal: Who’s your biggest inspiration right now?
Melanie Fiona: Oprah. She has always used her platform to be vulnerable, share her truth, and enrich and heal people’s lives. I also relate to fellow artists Jhené Aiko and Lauryn Hill—two very spiritually powerful women. It’s beautiful to see them share their perspectives and practices through their creativity.
YJ: Can you walk us through your daily meditation?
MF: I find myself interjecting quick moments of stillness and gratitude throughout the day. It can be as simple as saying “I am protected” as I get into my car or sitting still and just breathing for 30 seconds. In the evening, I meditate with my son before bed. We use the Simple Habit app, which offers quick guided meditations for welcoming sleep. We love it because it allows us to bond before bed, and it helps me teach my son about calming and meditative practices at an early age. I also use the app's meditations for waking up with positivity and enjoying rainy days.
YJ: What’s currently helping you to change and grow?
MF: Low-frequency encounters—a.k.a. the tough times. Practicing compassion and patience with difficult situations or people has taught me to be less reactive. A lot of discomfort and un-learning is necessary for real growth. These days, I’m OK with that.
YJ: What’s your go-to mantra?
RA: I am Happy. I am Healthy. I am Creative. These have been the guidelines for anything I do, especially in my career. If a potential opportunity doesn’t align with this affirmation, I will not participate.
YJ: What do you want people to take away from your music?
RA: That there is strength in vulnerability.
The 108-second interview
Sister duo Krewella is a trendsetter in the electronic music scene. Yasmine Yousaf, 27, and Jahan Yousaf, 30, rose to stardom when their hit single “Alive” hit number 32 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 2013. Now, their new album “Ghost” broadens their independent spirits and worldly approach to art while channeling their liberated sexuality and creative experimentation. Expect references to Shiva in “Mana” and hear the sisters’ father sing a Pakastani raga chant in “Ghost”, a melodic framework for improvisation and composition used in the classical music of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Krewella brings their yogic practices into their personal and professional lives through acts of service with their KREWmmunity, a service initiative that invites fans to work alongside Yasmine and Jahan with local nonprofit organizations, and in their daily meditations to center themselves, accept the chaos that is the music writing process, and to feel more attached to their roots.
Yoga Journal: What's currently helping you to change and grow?
Yasmine Yousaf: Breath work as much as possible. Pranayama techniques have been shifting around a lot of stagnant energy within and bringing up questions and thoughts that have been buried inside of me for ages.
YJ: What's your go-to mantra?
YY: “Dedication to self.” If you can put your time and energy into creating the best version of you, the most peaceful and grateful version, that will seep into every other facet of your life.
YJ: Who inspires you, your sound, and your spirit?
YY: Life in general inspires us. Our experiences on tour, the loneliness of a hotel room, the fullness of being with family, and the pain of loss that creates space for newness. Other mediums of art, too—because what humans can create from nothing is boundless and fascinating: love for self, friends, and strangers; connection to nature; and tapping into every living thing in this universe. The list is infinite!
YJ: Why does your spirituality make its way into your music?
Jahan Yousaf: I think often what is expressed creatively are reflections or manifestations of inner dreams, unconscious beliefs, memories, unresolved emotions, or different personalities within the self. Sometimes there is no logical explanation for how an idea, visual, vocal melody, lyrical juxtaposition, or symbol is surfaced. So many of our songs are written in a stream of consciousness and we honor the process of letting the spirit flow.
YJ: What techniques do you use to teach your loved ones about spirituality, mindfulness, and meditation?
JY: My words for others are often lessons for myself, as I will forever be in a student position when it comes to practicing mindfulness. Since I am my own worst enemy on this journey to my higher self, I find myself intervening with my own destructive habits and negative inner voices. Remember: be gentle with myself, patient with change, and guide your actions with love and respect.
YJ: Can you walk me through your daily meditation? Where do you like to be, do you use any props, what affirmations do you recite, how long does it last?
JY: I set a goal to practice 30 minutes in the morning, alone in silence. Most of the time my mind is chattering away, so sometimes I observe what themes keep surfacing, and analyze where the root of those stories are coming from. I do find that I tend to spiral into psychoanalyzing, so I have a personal mantra to re-center myself back to a complete blackout. Somedays I drag my feet into the practice, but when I come out of the meditative state, I am always grateful that I took the time to be with myself with no stimuli to experience rare moments of blissful nothingness.
See also Yoga for Musicians