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The Intersection of Yoga and Music: An Interview with Tanya Hanna

Will you tell us about your work and your journey? 

My passion lies in using music to promote sound healing. As a pianist and vocalist, my repertoire draws inspiration from the classics, weaving themes of love, self-discovery, and compassion. These songs are designed to evoke joy, happiness,and inner peace. Through careful selection, my music choices change the frequency of the environment to one of harmony and balance.

My journey with music and yoga began in childhood with my parents. My close relationship with my father, who frequently took us to the ashram, allowed me to experience the ashram environment starting at the young age of eight. Every year for Easter, I would sing at the ashram’s Easter Service and my dad would play the piano. 

Later, I was reintroduced to the ashram by Paul Hanna, my husband who also loved yoga and spent his early teen years at the ashram. This renewed my love of the ashram and led me to complete my Teacher Training Course (TTC), marking the beginning of my yoga instruction journey. I further expanded my knowledge by obtaining the Advanced Teacher Training Course (ATTC) certification, and also delved into Ayurvedic studies, meditation, as well as various yoga styles (osteo, trauma, chair, recovery, yoga nidra).

Today, I am a yoga instructor based in Nassau. In a testament to the growing acceptance of yoga across The Bahamas, I was recently chosen by The Bahamas National Parks and Beaches Fitness Program to lead yoga sessions for their events. The future holds even more exciting possibilities as I am soon launching a yoga TV program on "The Bahamas at Sunrise" morning show, a national and cable program reaching viewers across the Bahamas. This initiative embodies my passion for integrating music and yoga and features a yoga music video filmed at the iconic Summit New York City skyscraper.

What inspired you to pursue a career in music? 

Music is deeply ingrained in my heritage. My parents, both musicians themselves, nurtured my love for music by teaching me to sing from the young age of three. This passion extends back five generations in our family, from my grandparents to my grandchildren.  My grandmother, Florence Woods, graced the stage at Wesley Methodist Church on Blue Hill Road for an impressive 70 years.

Were there any pivotal moments or key influences that guided you?  

My love for music began with my father's influence, but truly blossomed when I immersed myself in the vibrant New York City jazz scene. There, at a memorable dinner concert on Bleecker Street, I had the unforgettable experience of meeting the legendary Sarah Vaughan. Her backstage encouragement was a defining moment.

Still, I've always been drawn to health and fitness. While I loved dance, yoga offered a perfect blend of movement and exercise, becoming a natural extension of my passion.

What aspects of your work are currently exciting or fascinating to you the most?  

One of the most exciting aspects of my work right now is exploring the intersection of music and yoga in building vibrant community events. I'm developing a concept for daytime gatherings in small parks, where we can start with an all-levels yoga class, followed by a healthy breakfast and engaging games for children. The afternoon would transition into a fun dance competition for both parents and kids, culminating in a heartwarming concert before the day concludes.

Tanya Hanna in her community with students and their teachers at Windsor School in Albany. She taught them yoga and gave a mindful and meditation workshop.

What message do you hope to convey through your music? 

My music aims to be a guiding light to self-discovery. Through it, I hope to inspire people to look within for answers, to find peace and balance through practices like meditation and mindfulness. Ultimately, it's about unity – a sense of connection with ourselves and the world around us.

In what ways do you think music can impact or enhance the spiritual experience?

Music changes our frequency, creates peace and balance, and brings us in tune with nature.

What motivated you to visit the ashram?  

Initially, my dad motivated me to visit. Now, the profound peace I find here keeps me coming back.

Has your time at the ashram influenced your music or creative process in any way?  

Yes! The ashram's influence has led me to create songs that are calming yet powerful, joyful and full of peace, like "Get Away from the Daily Grind." This song, co-written with my husband, invites listeners to come see what life is really all about by visiting the ashram.

Do you have any memorable experiences fom your time at the ashram that you'd like to share?  

One truly special experience was holding my husband's memorial service at the ashram. It was his final wish to perform a concert there, and though he couldn't in person, the ashram provided a beautiful space to celebrate his life with music. It also brought the largest group of Bahamians to the ashram to date, which was something we'd always hoped to do – share our love for this place with our friends in Nassau.

Tanya's late husband, Paul Hanna.

What draws you back to the ashram each time you visit?  

The peace and tranquility of the ashram are what truly draw me back. I also cherish the love I receive from everyone there, including the Chaitanyas, Karma Yogis and the Swamis. Plus the wide variety of international lectures are a constant source of inspiration. You can always count on learning something new at satsang. 

Tanya Hanna is a Bahamian music icon as well as a producer, songwriter, musician, and vocalist. She has toured in the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong. Tanya has performed with top R&B artist Jeffrey Osbourne, as well as Grammy winners Jeff Haynes, Gary Haase, Roger Ryan, Stan Getz, and Chick and Gail Corea. A recipient of many awards, She also a wellness advocate and is actively involved in her local community.

Upcoming Courses

Yoga Vacation Program
August 31 — September 1, 2024
Tanya Hanna

Join us in The Bahamas this Labor Day Weekend and leave the stresses and responsibilities of daily life behind. Soothe your soul with beloved Bahamian musicians and friends of the ashram, Tanya Hanna and accompanists!

 

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