Everything in nature consists of vibrations. The body is like an instrument, and it can be played by drawing out maximum harmony and resonance. This is one of the main principles of DO.OMYOGA, a practice that combines loud atmospheric Doom/Drone/Ambient/Avant-garde/Psychedelic music with yoga.
DO.OMYOGA holds regular sound healing ceremonies, usually accompanied by a very passive asana practice to open up the body to the receptivity of sound. Founder Kamellia Sara McKayed uses the body through movement and sound through listening to release blockages on a physical and subtle level. She started her practice when she suffered aches and pains in her hip beyond any medical diagnosis. One day, she had an ‘epiphany’ moment, and in that instant, she discovered yoga for the first time. That was the beginning of a path that changed all areas of her life in a physical, mental, and spiritual way.
“It all started in India, believe it or not,” Kamellia remembers. “I was there for three months, and by the end of that time, I was skeletal. I was so sick. And I finally made my way from South India up to the Himalayas, to foot of the Himalayas in Rishikesh, which is the Las Vegas of yoga. It’s where yoga was born, apparently. So there’s loads of yoga. I was there, and I was too sick to practice, and I was sitting in my room, feeling sorry for myself and I suddenly—At that stage of traveling, all the conditioning falls away. I think I had two outfits. I was throwing all my clothes away; I had forgotten about culture, interest, fashion, music, anything you’re interested in. And suddenly I just heard this familiar sound and my ear tuned in, and it was a guy playing Om, funnily enough. And I was like, ‘Wait a minute! I know this music! Om! I know this album.’ So he was a cool guy from America, and we had a little chat, and suddenly I thought, ‘You know what? That would be amazing to practice to.’ So I went into my room, I took out my mat, and I put on Advaitic Songs, and I had a self-practice to that album. And when I returned to London, I practiced every single morning to that album for three months.”
Kamellia’s first approach to yoga was long before she went to India, though. “I was having what I now know is called ‘Saturn return’ in astrology, but most people would know it as a turning-30 crisis. And I had this problem with my hip. So, I started practicing to feel better, but what I found has completely transformed my entire life,” she admits. “I ended up quitting my job of six years and jumping off a cliff — yoga sort of reformed old patterns of behavior and established new ones. So my lifestyle completely changed. I think there was an element of growing up, as well, where you start to slow down and stuff. Yoga and my party world got further and further apart until I had to pick one. And, also, my biggest learning from practicing is that ultimately you have the control,” Kamellia continues.
“I think a lot of us used to go around in life thinking things happened to us, but through practicing, I can see that it’s the other way around. You have the complete ability to control and respond to how you feel about what’s going on around you; it’s the other way around. So, yeah, I recognized that it was my life, and what did I want from my life? I went freelance, with fashion actually, which is my background. But during that time, I had a golden opportunity where I was completely free and not tied down to a house, relationship, or a full-time job, so that’s when I decided to travel to India to deepen my own self-practice. And I never planned to become a teacher. So, what happens is you learn all this amazing stuff, and you want to share it and also to retain what you’ve learned and to keep developing it. And teaching really was the next step. I know what it has done for me and my life, and I just want everybody to feel the same in their own lives and get that control back.”
DO.OMYOGA is a very immersive and deeply connecting Yoga practice. The equal focus is placed on Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Philosophy, Mantra, and Music using ‘Nada Yoga’ for a holistic practice. “I trained in Ashtanga Vinyasa,” Kamellia explains. “Ashtanga is a system, and it is a sequence, but actually, what I mean through ashtanga is it’s an eight-limbed path. So the asana is just one of those limbs. You have the Yama, you’ve got your social and moral observances, and you’ve got your personal observation and your self-study. Then the asana comes into it, then the pranayama and you move all through the limbs. So it’s all breaking down of conditioning, basically, to reach your innermost core and your true self. The music is just as important as the movement. They go hand in hand. Going back to nada yoga, it’s using the music as a tool for meditation as much as the movement is a tool for meditation.”
The practice is a result, serves as a moving meditation as well as a deep listening meditation encouraging deep introspection. “There’s people doing similar things, but I actually don’t use just doom metal,” Kamellia specifies. “I use anything that’s of a certain vibration and that vibration is doom. That’s what’s quite exciting. People come because of the music that they know they would like, but I also have people come that would be skeptical of the music or not really understand it. But then they find it has the same effect on them and they come as regulars because they love it. So I never want to be pinhole into any genre. Yes, there’s an underpinning of doom, but it’s about the vibration of what fits into doom. And I’ve really developed it through what’s known as nada yoga, which is, again, an ancient Indian system of yoga where higher states of consciousness are reached through music and sound. And that’s how I feel that doom works. It has become a very deep listening meditation.”
DO.OMYOGA is also a platform to explore creative expression through connection and regularly collaborates with Musicians, Visual Artists, Photographers. The next live session will take place in London with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))), on Nov.22.
According to Kamellia, the intensity of the music acts as a driving force invigorating strength, yet at the same time compliments the pace of the practice and can aid releasing tension and help sustain postures for longer through its emotive nature.
“Giving people the independence and self-reliance, the strength that I have found through yoga is the most important thing I would like to achieve. And, the inner connection to themselves because when you find that connection, you find you’re connected to everyone and everything in existence, and it’s the most beautiful place you can ever be. So, ultimately, I hope they can find through yoga inner peace.”