The Yamas and Niyamas of touring: a light-hearted look at applying yogic guidelines to life on the road.


Ahimsa or Non-violence

Get enough people to lift heavy cases: there are no prizes for slipped discs. Do not destroy yourself in the hotel bar (well, not on a regular basis). Maintain your gear and label the hell out of everything; it makes fault-finding a damn sight easier and you will love yourself for it on the days when you have not adhered to the previous point.

Satya or Truthfulness

When you mess up, hold your hands up: nobody likes the person whose fault it never is. Confess, apologise, correct it and move on.

Asteya or Non-stealing

Do not take another roadie’s tools/tape/beer without asking. Actually just don’t take their beer full stop.

Brahmacharya or Sexual continence

Keep it in your pants.

Aparigraha or Non-grasping

Thou shalt not aggressively undercut the going roadie/musician/dancer/supply company rate in order to get a gig, thereby lowering the bar and making life harder for all the other roadies/musicians/dancers/supply companies. You know who you are. 


Saucha or Cleanliness

Thankfully most of us seem to have grasped this one now (or maybe I’ve just been on very civilised tours lately….) In brief: no pooing on the bus, regular showering/use of deodorant/laundry submission, and tidy up after yourself in catering. Run your cables neatly, keep your empties somewhere sensible and USE THE BIN. Yes I know it’s all the way over there.

Santosha or Contentment

We all have days when we’re feeling a bit jaded. Sometimes there are legitimate problems to discuss, and we all have a little moan sometimes – I’m just as guilty as the next person. But seriously, a lot of people would give their right arm to do what we do, so let’s keep a lid on the whinging. If we can’t be positive then let’s at least be quiet.

Svadhaya or Self-study

Traditionally this would encompass meditation, self-inquiry and so forth. For these purposes I think we can break it down to asking ourselves the question: “am I being an arse?”

Tapas or Discipline

Halfway through the tour it’s easy to get a bit complacent. The shows are going well and hopefully you’re all getting along and having a laugh as well as doing your job. Be on your guard! This is when sloppiness sets in and silly mistakes happen; this is when we need to kick our own butts and be just as diligent as we were before the first show/big London gig/the one where you couldn’t get into catering because it was full of one million DVD crew.

Ashwara-pranidhana or Surrender to the divine

We’re a lucky bunch so enjoy it! Remember why you got into the game in the first place, it’s easy to forget sometimes. I know it’s only rock and roll…. but I like it!

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