I have been a musician & yogi most of my adult life. My love for music and yoga is an inseparable, forever part of my life and soul purpose.
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johann_kI taught myself yoga, from a little pocket book, on a Mediterranean island. It was 1989, after 2 years in the national service, and several student years mostly spent searching for a cause to believe in. I already tried songwriting and some standard avenues of artistic expression, but none had the kind of meaning I was looking for.

In 1990 my first 9-5 employment, as a music store manager, settled me in Stellenbosch. Over the next 20 years a lifestyle as entrepreneurial music producer, events producer and yoga teacher/student involved a mix of freestyle living and business, hard work in music retail, owning a recording company, all kinds of creative productions, teaching around 15 yoga classes per week, year in, year out.

Biography Yoga Johann Kotze A substantial artistic output and 10’s of 1000’s of inspired yoga students was the upshot and the experience and expertise led to my Essentials of Effective Yoga book that I published as Five Keys to Well-being (Essentials of Effective Yoga) in 2006. A brief stint teaching corporate well-being resulted.

After years of the physical limitations local label owner, producer and collaborative performer I discovered home studio music production a huge pleasure, creating sound as diverse as I please, and selling it online.

My interest in niche markets and personal networking and authenticity as a way of living keeps evolving. My family and I relocated in 2011 to the village of Muizenberg, on the edge of the city. An at home music & yoga studio on the beachfront lets me pursue my passion for soul surfing, creativity and community. Here I am blessed and privelaged to be immersed in my vocations of teaching yoga and to work creatively with music as a medium of light consciousness.

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A biographical essay

Beauty surrounds me where I live. My music and yoga studio across from Muizenberg beach overlooks False Bay. The sun rises over the mountains, in the distance, over the ocean. The most popular Cape Town surf spot is right in front of our apartment. Muizenberg mountain is approximately in the middle of the peninsula range, between Table Mountain and Cape Point.

A very different community from where I grew up lives here. As a child I did not bother much to conform to the orthodox society of Worcester, where I remember childhood as mostly listening to a lot of LP’s, reading, cycling and kicking balls, playing in the outdoors with friends. Or playing on my own, that was great. I was not sure how to make all this work as a career, the stuff I liked was very different to how most people seemed to make a living (dying for a living wasn’t attractive to me). That feels like 1 000 years ago, yoga so much amplified what I wanted to do with my life, and gave me the means to do it.

River Ganges, India, Johann Kotze

Some 25 years later I deepened my yoga experience in the foothills of northern India, above the banks of the holy Ganges. After 25 years of yoga practice my life started to make even more sense.

All the things I got into, learned, and learned from in yoga started to come together. The crucial point where I realised that even though I studied yoga and meditation and yogic philosophy non-stop since living on a beach on the island of Crete in 1989 it felt as if the universe pointed the way for me to be my better future self.

I’m surrounded by the bustle of family and home businesses, and as distracting as this can be, we consume less resources allows integrated, holistic living. More and more people are paradigm shifting towards informal work away from the office. Looking for meaning and healthier lifestyles is morphing with out-of -the-box work modes and turning the world inside out – the standard system of school, bank, shop, office, career, everything we know, continuous, yet is changing.

Johann Kotze MeditationI’m excited by how much yoga has meant to me in these processes. When I think back to formally qualifying as a Sivananda yoga teacher 1996, studying yoga while working in a shop selling CD’s and teaching classes and managing bands and recording artists, freelancing in music journalism to help break several successful new acts and album releases I mostly remember it as a lot of work. There was some media exposure, newspaper and magazine articles, radio and television appearances, but it felt too busy.

I was only to happy to let all that go in 2003 for full-time yoga teaching. The previous decade of teaching in rented rooms and halls gave way to new skills; I had my own studio and continued to hone my style at the University of Stellenbosch gymnasium, one of the largest and leading gyms and sports institutes in the country, teaching classes of up to 80 persons. The High Rustenberg Hydro Spa was another great source of skills development, and the experiences of working with a massive quantity of diverse bodies and personalities helped me prepare my self-published book, the Five Keys to Well-being, in 2006.

“Being” became the name of my yoga studio and style of yoga, which included a well-being center and a festival of well-being. A brief time doing corporate workshops followed, with a highlight an invitation to speak in the House of Assembly in Cape Town, to present a well-being week for Members of Parliament. A few articles on and by me followed in national newspapers and magazines, plus a few radio spots.

That also amounted to much of a rat race business and my love of and passion for creating music did not, go away. My first AppleMac changed my life. I started to record my own acoustic music digitally and discovered the joys of an easy to operate home music studio. I switched to electronic music and Being Ambient Music was born in 2007. It quickly became more than a hobby. “While it is a challenge at times to have twin passions of yoga and music it makes no sense for me to choose or prefer one when above the other. The music is so much part of my being, and yoga is my being itself”.

How exactly it will work out I don’t know, but I see myself teach yoga the rest of my life, it gives my lifestyle and creativity wings. At present, living and working next to the ocean allows me occasionally to paddle out for a surf, to be inspired, relax and keep fit. I try to keep things simple; though it does not always work out that way. Which is probably true for most people. It helps me understand that everything, including well-being, health and spirituality, has its up and downs.

With music and yoga I can always work out something to ease out the challenge, and share my insights and techniques, knowing that my efforts are meaningful because as I evolve my well-being every day, that it serves others well. And I know of no magic as potent as an open mind and heart to bridge the gap between bliss and pain, the ordinary and extraordinary, as a surrender to conscious awareness. This is a process that excites me.

Johann,
Muizenberg, Cape Town,
December, 2014