I’m taking a new direction in life. I’m on the path to self-enlightenment and lower blood pressure. In order to control the thing we Italians call “agita,” I started listening to yoga radio. No Taylor Swift, no Rihanna, no Coldplay.
Even though I listen to yoga music, I don’t take yoga classes, although everyone I know does and they keep telling me it’s something I should do. They say I need to follow the example of fellow Baby Boomer Alec Baldwin, who is a very tense, high-strung individual who married his yoga instructor as sort of an insurance policy to keep him from attacking paparazzi and reporters from the New York Post.
Who knew such a thing as yoga radio existed? I found it on Pandora. In the olden days, when we listened to the radio, there was a genre called “Easy Listening,” and I’m convinced this is the New Age reincarnation of Easy Listening music.
At work, I play yoga songs on my iPad so I can deal with on-the-job stress. Some of the selections have titles like “Realms of Light,” “The Sound of Light,” “Healing Sanctuary” and “Healing Piano.” You get the idea. There’s a lot of light and healing. There are often birds chirping in the background, along with babbling brooks and crashing waves. It’s all very natural and rustic.
Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m floating through space across the galaxy or spending my day at a California spa overlooking Big Sur with hot rocks on my back and someone massaging my toes … at least until my boss buzzes me.
To mix things up a little so I don’t freak out my coworkers, I alternate the yoga music with Gregorian chant, which brings a whole new dimension to the workplace and makes me feel as if I’m at Chartres Cathedral during vespers. I’ve even tried Tony Bennett, who is one of my all-time favorite entertainers, except when he teams up with Lady Gaga.
I take after my father, who loved to relax. He’d sit in his Barcalounger and do crossword puzzles while listening to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. During my early years, he’d never let me play my Beatles albums on the stereo because he said it destroyed his peace of mind. It’s a good thing he never heard Nirvana or Marilyn Manson.
My colleague Kelly peeked into my office recently and asked, “What’s that music? This place sounds like a spa.”
“Why are you listening to that? You’ll fall asleep at your desk.”
“It works better than medication, especially when I have to deal with annoying coworkers.”
“Are you serving herbal tea?”
In my last job, the union petitioned management to bring in a masseuse to help employees stay calm and fight stress. They didn’t need it, I said, because some of them worked so slowly, I had to periodically check their pulses for signs of life.
Last week, my wife and I went into one of those trendy restaurants where Millennial Generation hipsters hang out and drink Sam Adams, and they serve organic, gluten-free food and beef from cows that have been treated humanely.
The food was great, but the music sounded like the soundtrack for “Clockwork Orange.” It was heavy on Lady Gaga and Rihanna and really nerve-wracking—which is a word my mother would have used.
“Could you please turn that music off or lower it because I’m losing my appetite,” I said to the waitress. “Can you put on some yoga music?”
“Yoga music? What’s yoga music? This is a restaurant, not an ashram. They won’t let me change it. Do you know what it’s like listening to that for a full shift?”
To make matters worse, she was eight months pregnant and I don’t want to think about the effects that rock music had on her baby. A study I once read said that what babies hear while they’re in the womb affects them for life, which leads me to believe Lady Gaga’s mother must have listened to Led Zeppelin.
I’m convinced the solution to America’s perennial problem with stress is simple. It’s better than medication; it’s better than meditation. It’s yoga music.
Where’s my mat?
By Joe Pisani
Joe Pisani, a journalist for 30 years, approaches life with wisdom and wit. He writes frequently for ACT TWO. His most recent pieces for ACT TWO include Age Better with Positive Thinking, The Silver Tsunami, Grandpa? Pappy? What’s in a Name? , When It Comes to Love, It’s a Dog’s World and La Dolce Vita Americana.