Once in a while there are people we come across who are integrated spiritually and physically. Woody Woodrow, the base player of Our Last Night has combined his love for music with his spiritual life. He is teaching a yoga and meditation to his fans while on The Vans Warped Tour. Los Angeles is the home of House of Intuition and artists are flowing in and out of our doors daily. My interview with Woody helps show there's a direct link between creative inspiration and having a spiritual life that suits your personality. Woody is now a role model for young musicians and he's offering a different way to be a bad ass. So here it is, a look into the life of a modern music magician!
Q: Where did you grow up and what introduced you to the world of yoga and meditation?
I grew up in the small town of Hollis, New Hampshire. My Mom introduced me to yoga after I graduated from college. She convinced me to take a class with her and she was buying, so I had no choice! After that, my mind was open to a new world, and the more I practiced, the more I observed the development of a connection between my mind, my body and my breath.
Q: Did you have a big party stage and what changed?
Party on! I started off with a class every Friday night, which quickly turned into multiple classes a week and then into multiple classes a day.
I noticed changes in my physique at first. Better muscle tone and definition, more energy, I felt better, my chronic low back pain went away…and I felt happier.
Above all, the most noticeable difference was in my mind. I was more calm, more collected and more present in my everyday interactions. Almost as if I transformed from a human living to a human being.
Q: What's your top inspirational book choice of all time?
My top choice is “The Music Lesson” by Victor Wooten.
That book is about a spiritual search for growth through music and changed the way I look at music as well as the world…and its written by my favorite bass player.
Q: I hear you're on Vans Warped Tour! Awesome! When will you be in Southern California?
I am! And it has been epic. The routing this year has us ending in Southern California. We will be in San Diego on August 5th and Pomona on August 6th.
Q: You have created something I haven't seen before on tour which is that you're taking the time to teach the kids yoga and meditation. So far, what has the response been with the young people?
I have, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I am a part of an organization on this tour called The Entertainment Institute (TEI), and it makes private backstage lessons possible during the tour. Classes cover a wide range of topics, most based on the host’s passion, mine being mindfulness, my class being “Yoga & Mindfulness in a Chaotic Environment.” The response has been incredible. I’m humbled by the kid’s (and sometimes adult’s) eagerness to learn tools that help transform our lives and impact our world instead of letting the world impact us.
Q: How do yoga and meditation help you as a bad-ass
bass player? Is it not just a chick magnet right?
Haha, nope not just a chick magnet. Yoga has helped me in every aspect of being a bass player. From the mindset to the physicality, yoga has helped me to connect on a deeper level with my fans while playing, feeling their energy, listening to my band mates, and hearing music in ways I never could before. Yoga has helped me find and keep my balance while moving as a form of expression so I can channel my inner ninja-superhero.
Q: You're now a role model and breaking the mold, what advice do you have for people who are afraid to come out of the metaphysical closet?
Stay true to you and let your actions speak louder than your words. We can’t help everyone; we’re not meant to. We’ll know when the time is right.
Forcing and fighting won’t get us anywhere. Try to hold space and learn from everyone. You’ll know when the “right” people are around and when to “open-up” about the “trippy-hippy” stuff we are passionate about. Everyone is on their path for a reason (honoring that has been one of the most difficult things for me) so try to be a bridge rather than a wrecking ball when sharing your beliefs.
Q: How has your spirituality changed the way you deal with situations, your level of happiness and your success?
My peak experience before yoga was onstage during and after a great show. Now I live in that peak experience, and a great show takes me to places I cannot describe with words. Ironically, spirituality has brought forth the values I have always practiced, (treating others the way I want to be treated, helping to ease suffering, and be of service to others) while guiding my belief in powers greater than myself.
Another thing I’ve found interesting is thinking of everyone as a reflection of who we are. If something pisses us off about a person, it's not them, but the relationship we have within that is triggered to the surface. When we look at every interaction as a reflection of who we are, strangers become friends we haven’t met yet.
I like the quote, “If there is no enemy within the enemy outside can do us no harm.” (Eric Thomas/African Proverb)
Q: What's your diet of choice? I know, I know, it's a lifestyle but how do you stay healthy when you're constantly on the road man?
I do the best I can, plain and simple. I have a few values I
won't give in to, like eating animal products, but overall I make the best decisions I can where I am. I am not one who loves the word “vegan” (even though I get excited when I see it because that means I can eat), I prefer to live a “plant-based” lifestyle.
I’ve found myself feeling lighter, happier and less crappy when I stay away from meat and cheese. I also rarely ever get sick now and being on the road (or just being in life) our health is our most valuable asset. So putting dead things in my body and expecting to feel alive doesn’t make sense to me.
Q: I understand you do private Skype yoga and meditation lessons. If someone is interested in working with you, what do they need to do to contact you?
I do, and I love them. Technology is a hell of a thing and being able to transcend time and space turns the whole world into our classroom. My classes focus on tailoring yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to other people’s lives so it can be accessible and powerful the way we need it. Contacting me is as easy as sending me an email at email@example.com
Q: Thanks so much for your time. I have just one more question. You are living the dream. For those who feel stuck in their life, what do you suggest?
Find something you love to do. If that is too vague of a statement, I recommend yoga or meditation because those tools help us find that state of effortless flow. Yoga might not be your jam but we all breathe and on a basic level, meditation is awareness of your breath, so we can all meditate. By taking a few conscious breaths in the morning or evening we can start to tap into the power of our mind/body and allow for a conversation to take place. Not always a literal conversation, but in the listening sense. We spend a lot of time talking and less time listening, meditation helps us listen, and through listening, we have actual conversations with the intelligence of our body, our mind, and forces beyond our comprehension.
So listen to yourself, you will find what it is you are passionate about. Once you do, choose. The universe gets out of the way to people who choose and are moving. So decide and do more of what you love each day. That’s how we can get out of being stuck.