Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vancouver - the real high

Last weekend was Canada's first Wanderlust festival in Whistler - a festival marrying yoga, music, smiles, fluorescent spandex, sunshine, sweat and the great outdoors. Real highs on steroids.

During a lecture at Wanderlust I was reminded of a sailboat I noticed in a marina called "The Real High". I thought it was a clever name for a boat. Not pretty, but clever.

At this lecture, Terry McBride, founder of both Network Records and Yyoga, made an apt connection between yoga and music. Dopamine is the key ingredient to their success. Dopamine is the high that makes us play that song over-and-over until you can't stand it. And it's also that magical high that yoga gives you - a real natural high.

Vancouver's mountains, ocean and fresh air is enough to give Vancouverites a little hit of it every day. Running the seawall in Vancouver you see these dopamine junkies sweating it out with their headphones blaring their favorite songs, pushing harder every day to touch that high...checking out the other sweaty junkies along the way...

I also see the dopamine high in the eyes of someone on the London tube station as they fly towards their big meeting, caffeinated, ready to knock-em dead in that meeting...followed by the high of friends with beer spilling out the pubs, and listening to the next big band at the local pub. Every city must have their own combination of highs that make the culture tick and buzz. But Vancouver is special in that we seem to be striving for real healthy highs. Being surrounded by nature is convincing enough that there must be real highs out there that aren't pure adrenaline and over-stimulation from fabricates sources. But maybe there are higher pure highs?

This bring me to another interesting point - the soundtrack in many yoga classes these days seems to be key to the success of a class. A teacher's class is as good as their soundtrack. Like the music at a bar while you dance. The lyrics and familiar songs arriving right in your moment of euphoria brings you just that much deeper into it...or further away, for that matter.

Is the yoga high moving towards over-stimulation into the realm of fabricated highs? Away from the  high from within? Or like listening to music as you jog or ride the tube...just an innocent enhancement to life. And yoga.

And once you experience the dopamine rushes brought on by running, or dancing or singing to music....is it harder to feel good without it? Is the intensity of a yoga high with music addictive like drugs, making it harder to enjoy that flat level of happy normalcy?

I think we can all agree the high of yoga and music is safer than most stimulants one associates with addiction. And for that reason I think Vancouverites are on the right track. But it doesn't hurt to check ourselves...where are we going with that?

photo via lululemon