A Yoga Play List : How Music Impacts a Yoga Class

Music - an art for itself - Headphones and music notes / musical notation system

The Music of Yoga:

According to archaeologists, we have been enjoying music in some form for at least 50,000 years.   Music is used as a form of expression, an emotional outlet and in celebrations.  It is a way of connecting communities or individual contemplation.  It can energize or soothe. It’s dynamic.

When selecting the music to accompany a yoga class, instructors need to pay careful attention ensuring that their choices will complement the direction of the class.   How many words are used? What is the rhythm of the song?  Does it change? Do the crescendos in the song match both the movement and energy in the class?   If there are words, do they add to the atmosphere or distract from it? If the words are distracting, is there an instrumental version of the same song?

Prior to the world of iPods, music in yoga class was limited to yoga cds designed to take an individual from the first flow to the final Savasana. However; today the music in a class allows each instructor to express their own style and individuality.

Music with a Purpose

When developing your yoga play list, be conscious of what part of the practice will be occurring when the song is played.  Allow the music, to help guide your class practice.  It should become an integral part of your practice and not just background noise.

Sometimes, you may opt for no music and allow the rhythm of the class to come to light.  In these times, the sound of breath and the shifting of bodies becomes the soundtrack to the yoga class.    Enjoy these silent moments and try to incorporate a few in every class.

Silence is also encouraged during moments of detailed instruction (for example an advanced flow class).  In these classes, use music during the periods when the rapid transitions lessen. Empowering beats are a wonderful addition to a yoga class, especially during times where the poses will require an energy infusion.  This is particularly important in a longer or challenging class.

Develop consistency in Savasana and in your class.  Use your music as a way to announce to both yourself and the class that now they will be coming to a rest.  A familiar soothing song is a perfect way to both start and end your practice.

Links to Some Dynamic Yoga Playlists:

The Play Lists should be as unique as you are; here are some that I found inspiring.

Portishead, MIA and the Police: Erica LeiBrandt’s Play List

Traditional Yoga Play List: Designed for Power Yoga

Contemporary Vinyasa Flow List 

Hatha Yoga Play List


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