WATCH: Arcade Fire Violinist Sarah Neufeld Uses Yoga to Inspire Her Art

Do you want to meditate to a sea of rolling Oms kept afloat by the ethereal strings of…

Do you want to meditate to a sea of rolling Oms kept afloat by the ethereal strings of an Arcade Fire violinist? Of course you do. And we have you covered.

This is one of those unrepeatable, only-at-Wanderlust kind of experiences, wherein a personality who you might recognize from one area of expertise (in this case, intelligent arena rock) reveals their deep grasp of yogic philosophy and shares how their own creative process is influenced by their understanding and practice of yoga and meditation.

So, what does a Grammy-winning rock star have to tell you about meditation practice? Sarah Neufeld, who began playing violin at the age of three and now tours the world with Arcade Fire, is, in fact, a very knowledgable yogi and meditation practitioner, being a co-owner and yoga teacher at Moksha (now Modo) Studio in New York City.

“When I began my meditation practice, I realized that I was tapping into this feeling that I also knew deeply from improvisation: this really open, expansive, awareness. And that was exciting for me because on the rare instance that I was able to sit and watch my breath, I came into that similar headspace that I knew from improvising. And I knew that from improvising that if you’re busy caught up in yourself, or thinking about where you want this to go, or how you want it to turn out, you’re totally not improvising and you’re not listening.

I had an ‘aha’ moment where I realized that – even though I had had so much more experience with improvisation than meditation – that this was the same thing.”

Sarah touches on:

  • how her journey with playing the violin at three led to the stringent practice of classical music that ultimately became too rigid for her desire, which was to “play her ideas”
  • how her classical training supported her when she formed a music collective called ‘Bell Orchestre’ whose aim was to improvise as a group and then chip those ideas into something composed;
  • how she ended up in Arcade Fire, and yet when the rigors of touring life led her to leave the creativity-based projects by the wayside, she turned to yoga to fill that void,
  • how her return to the ritual of daily practice deepened her commitment to her music, and fostered the wherewithal to create a solo project;
  • how the yogic principles of abhyasa (consistent practice) and vairagya (letting go) underlie her attempt to embody a “not too tight, not too loose” playing style.

“In improvisation, that practice of vairagya is totally necessary to create authentic work, to be present in your improvisation. letting that principle guide the next note — whether its music, whether its visual art, whatever you’re actually doing, to really open up and be receptive to what’s going on around you. And that sounds exactly like a yoga class, right? How many times have you heard your yoga teacher tell you to notice what’s coming up, let go of it, breathe in to the experience and tune into the experience, so that you can really start to get to know yourself and live with that full awareness.”

Once you’ve absorbed Sarah’s wise words, you could to bookmark this video and skip ahead to the 20-minute mark to make her open-hearted playing and the rolling Oms of this dedicated Wanderlust Speakeasy audience part of a totally delicious meditation practice. And then tell your friends you jammed — and meditated — with a Grammy-winner.