I started playing music in my yoga classes for a very practical and necessary reason: teaching in elementary schools, there were constant noises and distractions.
I needed some background, ambient music as a kind of white noise to help create a peaceful environment. The music made a space where it was then possible to hear our breath and listen within.
I’ve also been a dancer all of my life and found inspiration in music before I could walk (so say my folks). My parents were the last of the true hippies; live music and soulful blues were always playing in our house. Music meant connection, celebration, family, artistic expression, and love—a catalyst to explore movement and an avenue to dive into emotions. Throughout my life, music has been with me like a b.f.f.
Music has supported me, held me, and carried me through the highs and lows. I married a musician and then was even a DJ for a brief period of time when I lived in Los Angeles. (DJ Humble in the house!)
As I became more immersed in the world of yoga, I found myself drawn to teachers that played music. For me, it was heaven. Melody somehow spread out the safe place to move deeper into myself, connecting with that infinite source of love.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect and love classes that have no music. Listening to the symphony of breath is magical.
During meditation and breathing exercises, silence is obviously preferable. I don’t think my mentor has ever once played music in her yoga class and she probably never will.
However, some of my other favorite teachers embrace music and even use live music in their classes. If it’s done right, it’s not distracting. In fact, quite the opposite. Music can be another tool, acting like breath or focus, to help people become more interested in their yoga and drop into their body. Played at the right time, it can tickle the subconscious and bring about higher awareness.
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
~ Victor Hugo
Some songs are for the quiet moments of sweet relaxation.
Some songs are for firing up the flow and stirring the soul.
And, some are for connecting with a good vibration that brings about that contagious feeling of love, which, as you know, is the yoga.
Here is the list of some of my all time favorite songs for yoga:
Love Is My Religion – Ziggy Marley
So Badly & Blue Whale Cries – Colamiles
A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
Naked as We Came – Iron and Wine
Your Eyes In The Candlelight – Micheal Whalen
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Ed: Catherine Monkman
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