Music to Swell the Heart: Sigur Rós

Close your eyes. Settle into your seat. Imagine the intense glow of the sun warming your eyelids. Hear the hot rush of air bursting through a car window. Imagine you are far, far from home, exploring epic countryside with the love of your life. Breathe in the freedom, the expanse of possibilities in the open road before you. And then, listen… tune your eardrums into your heart. What do you hear?

I hear Sigur Rós.

Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós

It was 2003, and my then-boyfriend, now-husband John and I took ten days to drive out west, exploring the Rockies, Arches National Park, Zion, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns. It was the first time I’d ventured beyond the Mississippi, and we brought film cameras and a car mount to document our journey. The scenery was stunning, the trip was the adventure of a lifetime, and the music underlining our adventure was Sigur Rós.

That was nearly ten years ago, but the incomparable Icelandic band has continued to echo in the background of my life.

Describing their music is nearly impossible, so I’ll defer to a couple sources who come close to capturing their art in words:

Known for its ethereal sound, frontman Jónsi Birgisson’s falsetto vocals, and the use of bowed guitar, the band’s music is also noticeable for its incorporation of classical and minimalist aesthetic elements. – Wikipedia

[Sigur Rós] …rightly claim to bring you the beautiful landscape of their homeland with their music. It’s impossible to fully justify it with words…” – Sigur Rós official website

In 2007, with the rock-umentary Heima, the band captured the beauty of their home country, traveling to remote locations in Iceland to play free concerts for the people. For an early Christmas gift that year, my mother-in-law sent us to Reykjavik for three days, and we spent a day driving from waterfalls to geysers, across rocky expanses and the continental divide — all while Sigur Rós swelled in the background.

Iceland 2007
Iceland, 2007. Frozen grass near Gullfoss waterfall; Geysir; the continental rift.

It was around that same time that my yoga practice was deepening, and suddenly, a band I’d been listening to for years on road-trips and while zoning out at the computer, became the most beautifully perfect soundtrack to my yoga practice.

So, you can imagine the decibel level of my squeals when John announced that Sigur Rós was playing on my birthday. In Brooklyn. And he bought us four tickets!

Now, I’m not sharing this story to brag about my awesome husband and all the traveling and birthday gifts I’ve been blessed with. Every time I fold my hands into Namaste I reflect on how incredibly lucky I am to have such blessings in my life. But what makes me insanely happy is sharing the good things I find in life, so that others can share in the joy. And, standing under the full moon with the crowd swaying, the bass vibrating my core, and an ocean of sound filling me up like a bliss-filled birthday balloon — well, that’s an experience everyone deserves in this lifetime.

Sigur Rós at Prospect Park - July 31, 2012
Sigur Rós at Prospect Park – July 31, 2012

The band did not disappoint, and while technically I drank some cocktails and went to a rock concert, I floated away that night on the same savasana cloud I’ve touched in many a deep vinyasa class. Music rakes the soul. Like a seamlessly sequenced vinyasa class, with loops of energy that whirl up and down then pause in vibration — music takes your heart and cracks it wide open. And, Sigur Rós shines a bright light inside, so that you glow from within and remember just how amazingly beautiful it is to be alive.

Raeanne Wright

Founder • Yoga Teacher, Web Designer

Raeanne Wright is the owner and creator of Yogatropic. A yoga instructor, web designer, and writer, she is happy to share her yoga musings, life lessons, and discoveries so that others may find a little peace and joy in their day.

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