WOR­TON DOES Roots Rock Yoga

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Stephanie Lyew Gleaner Writer

AS YOU en­ter the gar­dens of the Afya Stu­dios, Liguanea, St An­drew, the home of Ja­son Lee Wor­ton’s Wed­nes­day evening Roots Rock Yoga class, you quickly feel the pos­i­tive en­ergy tak­ing over.

Wor­ton, a gui­tarist known for his as­so­ci­a­tion with some of Ja­maica’s well­known reg­gae artistes as a mem­ber of their sup­port­ing bands, says he has been do­ing yoga pro­fes­sion­ally for about six years. This is after train­ing with Sub­hadra of Yoga An­gels, but he re­mem­bers “be­ing in­ter­ested in Iyen­gar Yoga at the age of 10 after find­ing a book about it”.

“Roots Rock Yoga is my Ja­maican spin on some core prin­ci­ples of yoga – the foun­da­tion of your body in a pose or the part of the body that sup­ports you and your weight,” said Wor­ton.

The class be­gins a lit­tle late due to the damp weather. Wor­ton waits a few min­utes be­fore be­gin­ning the ses­sion. Usu­ally, at­ten­dance can go up to about 22 per­sons per ses­sion, but he sus­pects a small class, so he care­fully lays only 10 mats. There are also sup­ple­men­tary ac­ces­sories, such as ver­sa­tile light­weight blocks, elas­tic yoga po­si­tion­ing straps and blan­kets. He then ad­justs the light­ing.

Wor­ton quickly gets into Suhkasana (or Easy Pose), which is the sit­ting cross-legged po­si­tion. He is not with­out his in­stru­ments and soon he re­moves the acous­tic gui­tar from its case, along with a small Ti­betan singing bowl. The sooth­ing sounds of East

In­dian mu­sic can be heard from the en­trance and Wor­ton im­pro­vises by adding a few notes from Black Hole Sun (a sin­gle by Amer­i­can rock band, Soundgar­den).

As more stu­dents en­ter, he re­tires the gui­tar and turns on the stereo, which now echoes an al­bum by the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands roots reg­gae band, Mid­nite. The ses­sion is easy­go­ing. with Wor­ton guid­ing the stu­dents through each pose, adding ad­vice on how to achieve it. The poses are fo­cused on spinal align­ment this time around.

“Proper align­ment and en­gage­ment helps us to get deeper and more com­fort­able in a pose. I find it ex­tra rel­e­vant as a Ja­maican, roots and ground­ing or con­nec­tion to the earth be­ing a big theme in our cul­ture,” said Wor­ton.

“So, Roots Rock Yoga cap­tures that idea and fuses it with the idea of mu­sic be­ing part of this prac­tise that is aimed at heal­ing and strength­en­ing our con­nec­tion to our phys­i­cal and spir­i­tual self,” he con­tin­ued.

Be­fore the ses­sion ends, the stereo vol­ume is re­duced and com­fort­ing gui­tar riffs, ac­com­pa­nied by al­ter­nat­ing har­monic sounds, es­cape the Ti­betan sign­ing bowl as Wor­ton strikes the rim. The bowls are known to be used in re­li­gious rit­u­als, yoga prac­tises, for spir­i­tual heal­ing and mu­sic ther­apy. The par­tic­i­pants are in­vited to re­peat the sa­cred yoga chant of ‘om’ and to fo­cus on the rhythm and breath­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the mu­si­cian has been lead­ing dis­cus­sion/con­cert style work­shops on ‘Sound and Our Re­la­tion­ship To It’, which fo­cus on con­cepts such as na­ture and the def­i­ni­tion of sound and its in­volve­ment in the ex­is­tence of every­thing. He is also work­ing on two al­bums, one of which is a Ja­maican-In­dian fu­sion dub med­i­ta­tional set.

PHO­TOS BY STEPHANIE LYEW

Ja­son Le Wor­ton at his Roots Rock Yoga class at Afya Stu­dios in Liguanea, St An­drew.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Ja­son Lee Wor­ton on stage.

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