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Updated: Dec 14, 2023

It's the time of year when algorithms everywhere are telling us what gifts to buy, where to find promotional deals, and how to shop similar items just in case the top 10 of something wasn't enough. But in my family, our favorite commercial outreach comes from Spotify, in the form of a personalized year-end summary called "Wrapped," which not only compiles your year's top songs and artists but also tells how many total minutes you listened and what city in the world listens like you (I'm Ashville, NC).

It was my Wrapped profile which broke the news to me that my listening personality is "Vampire." According to Spotify, my music is atmospheric and moody with streaks of foreboding darkness (this description may or may not be good advertising for Ashville, NC).

But when I listen to my top songs and artists, I don't hear a blood-dripping soundtrack or feel like sucking someone's soul away. I go to a place that includes serenity with its sorrow, that fully encompasses both anguish and calm abiding. Sometimes a song makes me dance, and sometimes a song makes me cry. And if I'm crying, I don't feel completely sad. I feel like I'm meant to be crying, like it's the right time to cry, and like the right people are there with me.

Being with music is not being alone--some songs are old friends that have a familiar texture and flow that bring about a sense of ease and support we don't find anywhere else. A song is somehow both endlessly mysterious and exactly the same, every time. We trust that we can enter a song and not be swept away, or under. After about 3 minutes, we move on. If the song has lyrics, the words are words we are telling ourselves. We let its instrumentation snag on the precise piece of our heart-mind that needs to be touched. And for these few moments, we are listener, singer and song all at once.

I believe that this special process of communication is specifically human. We don't need to understand it, truly. It's something we feel, like a re-union. Not surprisingly, Yoga has had a finger on this pulse for millennia. Whatever you believe Yoga to be (fancy poses designed to frustrate and strengthen, foreign texts that seem inscrutable in today's algorithmic-crypto-chatbot world, or enlightenment while sitting cross-legged on a cushion) all it really is is a method of getting "wrapped."

I bet that if you practiced Yoga for a year in the same way you let Spotify and other programs track your likes, at the end of that year you will have made amazing discoveries. You'll have favorite flows and new friends, you'll have found internal buttons to push that match any feeling whether it's antsy or aggressive, apathetic or afraid. You will achieve a wider range of physical abilities, but also a wider range of acceptance for light and darkness as they present themselves in your daily life. You will feel tapped into something familiar and eternal, but the best tune of all will be your ever-expanding and always-singable self.

Keep up with yoga, meditation, and special winter offerings HERE.

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