Pop Focus: Transcendental Meditation with the Beach Boys

The Beatles get credit for introducing Transcendental Meditation to the masses, but they weren't the only pop band to cross their legs and say "om."

The Beach Boys were right along with the Fab Four when it came to embracing the practice.

Mike Love -- along with Donovan -- was with the Fab Four when they visited India in 1968 to study with TM's founder the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The rest of the Beach Boys -- with varying degrees of enthusiasm -- also took up TM and the band mentions the practice in a number of songs, including the manic "Transcendental Meditation" off the Friends LP and the calmer "T.M. Song," which if the B-side to 1976's "Rock and Roll Music" single.

The group (or at least Love, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine) even recorded an L.P. at Maharishi International University in 1978, dubbing the result The M.I.U. Album. Hardly anyone liked it.

Back in the 1960s, taking up meditation or yoga was seen as eccentric and far out. The Beatles were even taken to task by William F. Buckley and others because they felt the band was leading youngsters astray from Christianity with these pagan practices.

Today, of course, everyone has a yoga mat and numerous medical journals have published studies showing that the radical practice of sitting down and breathing deeply for 20 minutes twice a day can lower your stress level and protect you from heart attacks.

I've not been through any T.M. trainings or prescribed a mantra, but I do meditate on occasion and wish I did it more often.

Here's a look at those Far East gurus, the Beach Boys: