February's Coveted Stone: Amethyst
Desiree Dawson is a Vancouver based singer-songwriter, yoga teacher, and sound healing facilitator. She won CBC’s Searchlight Competition in 2016; a competition for Canada’s undiscovered musical talent. Des is known for her soulful folk sound but is extraordinarily versatile in her style; from stripped down ukulele to electronic dance. Desiree’s music has made it on to CBC Music’s top 100 songs of 2016 and 2018. She continues to pursue her music career alongside other practices of healing with sound and movement.
Q: Music can be an extraordinary healing force. How has music helped heal you or bring calm into your life?
A: Sound waves and frequencies have the power to move so much energy through us and within us. Music is a tool that I use when I need to dance some things out or in, when I need to sleep, celebrate, release anger or to just chill in a peaceful state. It’s also such a powerful connector and brings community together so powerfully, so it brings a lot into my life!
Q: You guide a class called Shapes and Sounds, which combines sounds and movement for a restorative type of yoga. When did this practice and teaching first begin for you?
A: I’ve always loved physical movement based classes and sweating and have been practicing yoga since I was in high school. I’ve always loved the feeling of moving my body, sweating, releasing energy. The beauty of being mindful and looking within in order to connect authentically with myself and the world around me happened a bit out of high school. Really taking more time to understand that Yoga meant to unite. I took my teacher training at Karma Teachers in Vancouver and right away started facilitating all different styles of movement based classes and yoga. I eventually became very drawn to the slower paced practices which focus on going within and taking inventory of our emotional, spiritual, physical responses and breathing through it. Yin and Restorative Yoga are the two classes that Shapes And Sounds was inspired by. It got its name because we make Shapes with our bodies and Sounds with the breath as well as being enveloped in live music, crystal singing bowls and more.
Q: How did you start blending meditation and music?
A: The same release I feel from yoga is similar to how I feel about the feeling music brings to my life, so I figured... Why not combine them to bring the ultimate powerfully soothing experience to my communities. At first I would just sing one song at the end of class or at the beginning but then I started making the live music a larger part of the class.
Q: What do you want people to feel when they leave your sound meditation class?
A: I want them to have autonomy and feel like they can leave the space centred in their truth. I hope they have allowed stress and tension to be released and to feel more connected to themselves and the world around them!
Q: What centres you? And if you find yourself destabilized, what do you do?
A: Singing centres me and being alone centres me. I need a lot of alone time to charge up and to get clear on what’s coming up within me and then I get another wave of feeling centred when I'm with close friends laughing and connecting. Some of my fav ways to re-stabilize are:
Meditation, breathing, listening to music, singing, spending time with loved ones, walking or going in the sauna.
Q: When did you start playing music and singing? Was it familial influence or more instinctual for you?
A: I’ve been singing since I was a baby and did musical theatre throughout high school. No musicians that I know of in my family but my family has always loved music and it was always playing when I was growing up.
Q: What aspects of songwriting do you love most?
A: Storytelling and spending time with others getting inspired.
Q: What are ways that you demonstrate care and appreciation for others?
A: Listening, learning and loving them through all the ups and downs.
Q: How do you stay present in today's busy and digitally focused age?
A: It's a lot of work for me to stay present and not be caught up in the next thing. I just try to remind myself how much better I feel when I unplug and spend time with friends, fam, and alone just creating.
Q: How do you support your loved ones through times of difficulty?
A: I support my loved ones through song and creating together. I support my loved ones by creating an open space for them to share what’s on their heart. I love being there for my loved ones through difficult times and the brighter times. I feel honoured when my loved ones feel comfortable going to all the uncomfy places within themselves or within this wild life, and invite me to be by their side through it. I love laughing with loved ones through hard times too!