juice flavour sap elixir essence joy of being mood emotional relish taste
Rasa is a Sanskrit word which shimmers with multiple meanings. It is taste – in food, and in the sense of getting a flavour or taste from experiences. In traditional lndian art-forms rasa is used to describe the way a performer can convey emotion in music, dance and theatre, and the emotional response this evokes in the audience. It is something essential, even divine, above and beyond everyday experience – an infusion of the joy of being.
About Eleanor Dawson
Hi, I’m Eleanor. I’m a musician and yoga teacher based in Ireland. Welcome to my site. You’ll find information about yoga philosophy, group yoga classes, one-to-one sessions and workshops & retreats. You can also find links to listen to my ambient music here.
My love for yoga and music comes from their ability to help us connect deeply to ourselves. I had a rigorous classical training in both, with a lot of attention to detail and practice. I combine this with curiosity and a playful, creative approach to yoga teaching and working with sound.
The ripple effect
Yoga is an ancient spiritual teaching, but it resonates NOW. We are all more open to change and transformation, probably more so since collectively surviving a pandemic together. We are more open to listening, tuning in to oneness and shifts in our consciousness, for ourselves as well as the planet. Bringing yoga and soundscapes into our daily lives creates a ripple effect of resonance.
Working in yoga and with soundscapes is a communication. Opening up possibilities for us to discover ourselves and what it is that makes us tick.
Yoga taught me to listen more deeply, to trust my intuition and respond to the moment. Through yoga I have been able to find my own musical voice.
Yoga is a practice which is infinitely versatile and accessible to anyone. I began studying Yoga seriously in 2001 with Hanne Gillespie in Dublin and took the Sādhana Māla 750-hour teacher training and yoga therapy course with Dave Charlton and Ranju Roy. Through them, I met the late Peter Hersnack, and studied with him until his death in 2016. Since then I have continued working with his wife, Colette, and Sylvie Palot, together with other former students of Peter’s from around the world.
I teach group classes, individual sessions, workshops and retreats in and around Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland. I have taught in the UK, Europe and Canada, developing workshops specifically combining yoga and sound. The pandemic opened up the possibility of meeting online, and during this time I have launched Yoga for Changing Times, an evolving, online project exploring how yoga can support us and respond to our rapidly-changing world.
I was closely involved in the translation of Peter Hersnack’s book, The Living Breath from French into English and I’m helping with the translation of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra.
I’m also closely involved with the Association for Yoga Studies (aYs)
I love the feeling of close communication with other musicians and the complete immersion in co-creating sound. This in itself is yoga in action.
As a flute-player I spent many years playing early and contemporary chamber music. I also commissioned works from composers, often with an electroacoustic element. I loved the feeling of close communication with other musicians and the complete immersion in co-creating sound. This in itself is yoga in action.
I have also always loved singing. Using the breath in both singing and flute-playing gave a feeling of well-being which I later found in my yoga practice.
In the 1990s and early 2000s I worked on several educational projects with children, helping them create original performances involving music, dance, story and art. These were often based on nature and our relationship with the world around us – themes which I also bring into my yoga teaching.
I’m fascinated by the nuts and bolts of music – time, pulse, pitch and instrumental colour. My work with sound now focuses on combining these elements in live improvisation and creating soundscapes for installations or other settings. I often work in collaboration with artists from other disciplines.
The yoga of sound and music
attuning vibration pulse resonance melody counterpoint harmony symphony
In yoga, sound and the sense of hearing are linked to the element of space – the space through which the sound-waves travel.
The more deeply we listen – ‘tuning in’, the more our actions in the world come from a deeper, more congruent place. In yoga this ultimate truth is ṛtam. Living is then neither a rehearsal nor a performance, but the song of our deepest truth.
I had a classical training, studying music at Oxford, at the Royal College of Music in London specialising in early music performance (Baroque flute) and then in Belfast where I did an MA in 20th Century music. In the 1990’s and 2000’s I worked playing early and contemporary chamber music, as well as with creative educational projects for children.
Working with natural materials through period performance, and, at the other end of the spectrum, in electroacoustic music, came from an attraction to timbre, and to sound for its own sake. Timbre, or colouring, is like the ‘taste’ of sound – the quality of rasa in music.
Through the practice of yoga I began to feel the ‘music’ of my own physiology, and the harmony of the body and breath. This enabled me to begin to find a language in sound which is stripped to its bare essentials – time, rhythm, pitch and timbre. This more intuitive process creates a direct communication and sense of sharing, rather than performing.
I am grateful to Tim Jones, of The Nature of Sound, to Paul Lambillion, and to the yoga teaching of Peter Hersnack, for helping me to get out of my own way and so learning to listen.
Creating soundscapes for specific spaces such as therapy rooms, or other spaces where sound is used to create an atmosphere in an otherwise quiet or silent room. I can visit your space to tune into it, and then create sounds which reflect the quality of the space and what it is used for. Like placing a plant or hanging a painting, these Sounds for Healing Spaces provide support for therapeutic work. Please contact me if you would like to know more.
I have been improvising with flutes in various contexts – in yoga classes and gatherings as well as formal and events with other musicians, visual artists and writers. Responding live to the setting and to the work of other artists involves listening attentively and fine-tuning the relationship with people, places and ambience.
Workshops with yoga and sound explore what sound (vibration and resonance) and musical language can teach us about communicating, particularly the interface between our inner (private) space and our public persona. We work in a variety of ways with resonance, pulse and rhythm, combining individual sounds into counterpoint (interweaving lines) and harmony. Some of this work involves movement and creative approach to yoga postures – some is seated. All of it helps to develop a capacity for listening deeply and connecting to something essential inside.
I love the musicality of the Sanskrit language, the rigour of Vedic chant and the wisdom of the ancient philosophy that comes with a yoga practice
YOGA & SOUNDSCAPES