Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed (1942-2013)

"Life is like Sanskrit read to a pony."  -Lou Reed (1942-2013)

L ou Reed, a man who needs no introduction, moved on today. I've since been thinking about his friends and family, especially those whose friendships with him may have been complicated, unresolved... When people finally go, you have no option but to make peace.
Anyway, perhaps the yoga community does not know the extent to which Lou Reed was invested in his Tai Chi practice, incorporating it into his live shows, composing music for the practice. The following is excerpted from a piece done for The in which the writer interviewed Reed about his dedication to the martial art. I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read that to the interviewer's ears, Reed's Tai Chi accompaniments "seemed different and a bit odd."

That's just as it should be.


American musician Lou Reed attends a Tai Chi session led by his personal teacher Master Ren Guan Yi at the Sydney Opera House forecourt on June 7, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Members of the public were invited to take part in the free event as part of the Lou Reed-curated Vivid LIVE festival.
(June 6, 2010 - Source: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images AsiaPac)

"Lou has been studying martial arts since the 1980s. First he was studying Eagle Claw and Wu/Hao Style Tai Chi with Sifu Leung Shum. In 2002, after Sifu Leung retired, through word of mouth, he found Master Ren Guangyi, who is a grand champion and most prominent disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, the 19th generation of Chen Family and a lineage holder of Chen Style Tai Chi. Chen Style is the origin of all modern Tai Chi styles. It is the most revered and complete of all Tai Chi styles. Tai Chi’s philosophical and medical roots dated back over 2,000 years and it was created by legendary Chen Wangting (1600 – 1680) about 400 years ago in Chen Village (Chenjiagou), Hernan, China. It encompasses spiritual enrichment, body nurturing and martial arts applications. It is a healing art as well as a powerful combat/self-defense martial art. Lou fell in love with it when he saw Master Ren demonstrate it and has devoted himself to it since.

But Lou’s Tai Chi accomplishments are beyond the form study... In April 2007, he completed Hudson River Wind Meditations, his first record of ambient music for Tai Chi and meditation. When I first listened to it, it seemed different and a bit odd. Once I settled down and focused on my practice, it has an amazing calming effect and is very spiritual. In July 2010, Reed, Master Ren, guitarist Sarth Calhoun and director/producer Scott Richman released Power and Serenity: The Art of Master Ren GuangYi - a 70-minute Chen Style Tai Chi instructional DVD featuring six new music tracks composed and performed by Reed and Calhoun. After eight years of study with Master Ren, Lou Reed's health shines. Now he is energetic and healthy. His eyes radiate with brilliance. At age 68, he is busier than ever with shows and exhibitions around the world nonstop.  He thinks that every hospital and clinic should offer Tai Chi classes to fundamentally change people’s health.

According to him, Tai Chi has benefits in every conceivable way. He thinks that is the best thing “you can do for yourself.”  Why? Tai Chi can cultivate and nourish the vital energy Qi which is essential for life. To raise the awareness of Tai Chi, he has been passionately promoting Tai Chi and Master Ren tirelessly since 2003. He has invited Master Ren to perform on stage with his band. He even made personal introduction to Master Ren and Tai Chi. They have been touring together on more than 150 shows including a Hal Willner produced Halloween performance-art extravaganza devoted to Edgar Allan Poe (Los Angeles), the 2006 Winter Olympic Games Opening (Torino, Italy), the David Letterman Show, Carnegie Hall (New York), and Vivid Live. He also narrated Master Ren’s teaching video Chen Taijiquan (Tai Chi) Lao Jia Yi Lu & Straight Sword.

“Unfortunately, young people (in this country) do not understand Tai Chi,” Lou lamented.

The article can be read in full at:

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