Music During Yoga Class; to Play or Not to Play?

anissa

Playing music during a Yoga class may seem like an easy decision for a teacher but including music can be a controversial subject.  Some yogis believe that to really practice the art of ‘pratyahara’ or the withdrawal of the senses one must practice in silence.  Others feel that playing modern music makes the practice just another form of physical exercise.

As a yoga student, I have practiced both with and without music. I have had teachers who play everything from Bob Dylan to Krishna Das.  I always have found that music helps me to get out of my head and into the practice.  It seems to occupy my busy ‘monkey mind’ so that I can rid myself of all the pesky ‘to do’ lists that interfere with my ability to stay in the moment and focus on the class.  As a yoga teacher, I almost always play music in my flow classes.  I choose my playlists carefully and hope that they reflect a feeling, a mood or an intention.   Often, playlists that yoga teachers use are highly personal and may echo the flow of class they are teaching or the theme they have chosen.   The music can act as a window into the personality and identity of the teacher and may be his or her way of further connecting with their students.

We often come to the mat to escape the relentless noise of our hectic lives; the music played must be chosen with care.  I generally like to avoid too much popular music and stick to alternative tracks that flow with the asana.  The lyrics are less important than the feeling the song evokes.    Often a song from our childhood can bring us back to a specific moment in time and heighten our awareness.  For me, music, movement and emotion are connected;  it makes sense to play music during a yoga class.  The rhythm of the song is paired with that of the breath and of the asana.

I often have students ask me for the names of the songs I play or for a particular playlist.  Below, I have listed some of my favourites.  Some are used at the beginning of class to come into the practice or at the end during savasana; others are used to help us flow with our breath.  These are my essential tunes for any yogi. Enjoy.

Written by: Anissa Hersh: Buddha Rider yoga teacher and lover of music

Essential Tunes for Your Yoga Playlist

  • With This Love– Peter Gabriel- Passion- Music  for the last Temptation of Christ
  • Policy of Truth (Capitol Mix)-Depeche Mode
  • I Can’t Make You Love Me– Bon Iver
  • Blue Moon– Beck
  • Devil May Cry– The Weekend
  • Ong Namo– Snatam Kaur or The Love Keys
  • Boadicea (remastered 2009)- Enya
  • Spirit Bird– Xavier Rudd
  • In The Waiting Line– Zero 7
  • Magic– Coldplay
  • Oh Father– Sia
  • Breath In Breath Out– Mat Kearney
  • Ships in the Night– Mat Kearney
  • So Alive– Blueprint
  • It’s no Good– Depeche Mode
  • Your Ghost– Greg Laswell
  • The Mother We Share– Churches
  • Offering chant- Lama Gyurme & Jean Phillip Rykiel
  • Svadhishtana– Osel
  • Kashi Vishwanath Gange– Krishna Das
  • Light at the end of the Tunnel– Kerry Muzzey
  • Dirty Paws– Of Monsters and Men
  • How Deep is Your Love– The Rapture
  • Use Somebody– Scala & Kolacny Brothers
  • Say Something( Acoustic)- Tyler Ward
  • Ya Rayah- Rachid Taha
  • Beyond This Moment- Patrick O’Hearn
  • Glory Box –Portishead
  • Out of Time- Liz Story
  • Pages of My Letters- Keri Noble

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