Miles Davis, arguably the greatest Jazz musician to ever live is quoted as saying of the creative process of performance, “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”
The quip is perfect in its instructional ambiguity. Jazz is an interesting craft in this sense since playing it well literally and deliberately asks one to go off the score, forget the composition and improvise. Improvisation is an art, because it requires a level of mastery and skill, which few of us think we possess. Therefore, we shy away from artistic endeavors, confining our singing to the shower, our poetry to a private journal, our painting to our own living rooms. But who hasn’t wanted to belt out a tune like a torch singer, express deep emotion in verse, or pound out a drum solo instead of “air guitar”? Maybe I just speak for myself?
It is a shame that we see the arts as a venue only for those with special talents, when in fact, we all possess the skills needed to create and innovate.
We are all jazz musicians at heart. It is just a matter of learning how to let go of inhibitions and connect without ego or self-conscious motivation to our essence. This is a yoga practice. Our creations are belted out expressions of ourselves. Just imagining it feels good. This may also be why we associate the arts with “freedom” (in Yoga we call it Kaivalya—absolute freedom). We see those that have the moxy to create as truly free and then allow them greater freedoms than we allow ourselves. How ironic, since it is that very freedom which we envy.
This year, do yourself a favor and “let go”. Not of everything; but let go of some inhibition, some reservation, some fear that is keeping you from enjoying something you think you aren’t skilled enough to do. A mind stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions. Because of their courage, their lack of fear, creative people are willing to make silly mistakes; so make one. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless; so do something potentially frivolous. The creative person is flexible — She is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected; so expect to be surprised.
You may be wondering what this has to do with yoga. Well, in short, everything.
Try yoga or bellydance or meditation at our studio. Get flexible . . . Let go . . . Enjoy. Or come listen to jazz, poetry, enjoy an art show or make your own creation as you move with the rhythm of your breath. Our education and training teaches us skills. Yoga can teach you to express your fullest self- physically, mentally, emotionally.