15 All-Time Best Songs for Yoga. ~ Michele Bickley

Via Michele Bickley
on Oct 26, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

earphones music

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:

Adi Mantra – Sada Sat Kaur

Underwater Love – Smoke City

Breathe – Alexi Murdoch

Love Is My Religion – Ziggy Marley

He Ma Durga – Donna De Lory

So Badly & Blue Whale Cries – Colamiles

Nahma Shivaya – Krishna Das

Somehow – Citizen Cope

Love Holding Love – Wah!

Lokah Samastah -Sharon Gannon

Be Here Now – Ray LaMontagne

A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

Naked as We Came – Iron and Wine

Simple – KD Lang

Your Eyes In The Candlelight – Micheal Whalen

2/1 – Brian Eno



Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.

Ed: Cat Beekmans

{Photo: Flickr.}


About Michele Bickley

Michele Bickley is a yogini on a mission to make yoga accessible to real people.  She survived her youth as a dancer, living in Southern California for more than a decade.  Gratefully, it was there she discovered how yoga can tap into the sunlight of the spirit.  She created the Yoga for the Classroom DVD, positively reviewed by Yoga Journal. In 2002, Michele co-founded Muv Dance and Yoga, an innovative arts organization that brought Yoga and Dance to hundreds of LA public schools, creating spaces for children to shine. She currently lives in Ellicott City, Merry-land where she is a local community activist and yoga teacher at GoGo Guru.  Michele experiences daily inspiration from her 2 sparkling children and her musician husband, Colamiles.


9 Responses to “15 All-Time Best Songs for Yoga. ~ Michele Bickley”

  1. Justine says:

    I remember one night in your class when I had a personal thing going on in my periphery. I wasn’t thinking about it during practice, but maybe my subconscious was chewing on it. I was in child’s pose, and “All of Me”, started up on your playlist, and for a moment, I saw my situation and how petty I was being, and the true nature of my relationship broke open my heart in a moment. And I had to stay in child’s pose for the sweet release of a few tears. It was an amazing moment…the song was perfectly timed, because we had already worked the tension out of our bodies. Always love your song choices! They do speak to my heart and add that opening and connection to my practice. I should say depending on the day, because some days I’m either so drawn inward to my breath, I hardly notice the music

  2. Justine says:

    Or I can be so in my head struggling too much to get my body on board to practice, and I don’t really hear the music those days, because I haven’t really dropped into my practice. So the music is a great way for me to gauge and observe myself. Love it! And love you, too! Keep these great articles coming!

  3. Michele says:

    Thanks, Justine. Glad the music works for you. I love it too. Music can be so subjective and music in a yoga class can be a controversial topic. However, I've experienced many more advantages than not, so for now – I'm going with it.

  4. Justine says:

    A while ago, I was taking yoga at a gym. And the gym added piped in music to add a nice vibe throughout the hallways. I could hear both the music in yoga class plus the incongruent backround music. That was the only time music drove me a little nuts during practice. But I can understand how it could be contraversial. Silence is nice, too…especially practicing alone. But I love how music connects community classes. Mixing it up with a little of both to keep things interesting is good for those of us who love variety is probably best!

  5. I love making yoga playlists. I post everyday and share them on my blog. My playlists are uplifting, melodic and chill. http://www.kyndlekuchera.com Stop by and say Hi! 😀 Peace & Love Brothas and Sistahs <3

  6. Sarah says:

    Great compilation of yoga music. Iron & Wine is amazing. And of course krishna Das goes without saying. When I feel more in the flow I def like Thievery Corp as it gets me bouncing. If you can find it, I highly suggest a CD called Selene Songs from Dubtribe. Very deep and spacey and I love it for my slow practices. Helps me go deep into my practice.

  7. Falco says:

    Thank you:)You introduced me some really nice musician and beautiful songs…ThankYOU for posting this….:)All the best
    Falco il Principe Libertad

  8. I put on all kinds of freaky music when practicing at home. When teaching, I generally stick to this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C5qfMfhjZk

  9. Guest says:

    I am enjoying the music on your playlists! There are a lot of songs out of my comfort zone for my yoga practice but I love the music nonetheless and I found some real gems. Thanks for sharing.