From Yoga Teacher to Songwriter and Musician
Jun 30, 2016 08:41AM
By Lee Walker
Every one of us falls in love, but rarely does anyone fall into a head over heels love affair with kirtan, a form of call-and-response chanting that is accompanied by musical instruments and percussion. Missy Balsam did. The local yoga teacher unexpectedly fell hard and fast for the sound and vibrations she heard coming from a harmonium and the voice of a kirtan musician at her first Bhakti Fest, a yoga, dance, and sacred musical festival. Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion, originated in India more than 500 years ago.
Trained in Baptiste Yoga, a potent physical yoga practice of meditation and active self-inquiry, Balsam has evolved into a songwriter and musician. The purchase of a harmonium, lessons in how to use the chords and listening to well-known kirtan artists such as Krishna Das laid the solid foundation.
“It’s been an amazing journey. I came out of corporate America to find my true calling through yoga, which meant that I had a lot of corporate conditioning to undo. Originally, in 2008, I was only going to teach one night a week. I took a leap of faith, surrendered the security and benefits of the corporate world and began teaching yoga full-time. I’ve never looked back,” enthuses Balsam.
Much like the ecstatic poetry of Sufi mystics such as Rumi and Hafiz, the words and vibrations of kirtan chants are soothing, reassuring us that the divine is always with us. “Kirtan is a yoga practice that few people, even yoga practitioners, recognize as yoga because it’s joyful, openhearted, easy and fun. I’ve integrated it into my group and private classes,” notes Balsam.
Balsam pours out a heart full of love in her debut studio album Revealed, which will be available for purchase on iTunes July 7. It is a potent combination of kirtan and her own lyrics that reflect her personal journey. She gives potential listeners a tempting tidbit in a music video, Unconditional Love, which can be viewed on her website and on YouTube. The video was filmed at the Happehatchee Eco-Spirituality Center, in Estero. “My deepest intention is that my music brings hope and joy to everyone who listens to it,” says Balsam.
To learn more about Missy Balsam and her music visit MissyBalsam.com.