Music and yoga - a controversial topic. I fall on the side of LOVING music during asana practice. To me, music is like an anchor to the present moment, a means for my mind and body to stay rooted in place, in the right here, right now. Music sets a tone, a mood, and creates a vibrational energy that I love matching with my own.
Many teachers and students fall on the opposite side of the coin, preferring to have a silent practice so they can find quiet and stillness. Don't get me wrong, I love this too- with the right teacher and the right internal mood. Many times, when I'm taking a non-musical class, I will still find the music in the room...the breath of my fellow yogis, the hum of a fan blowing, the gentle swoosh of air as bodies flow. That is also beautiful and magical.
When I teach, I try to craft the optimal environment to support a yogi's practice. My desire is to create a sacred space where people can come and be themselves. I plan my playlists carefully and attempt to match the playlist with the overall energy of the community for a given class. Sometimes I sense that people want a more energetic practice, so I'll play some 80's tunes. Sometimes I feel a more meditative practice, so I'll focus on slow rhythmic music. I think about the swell and flow of a vinyasa class and attempt to match the music to the right poses. I find it helpful in creating a class to start with the music. Even with careful planning, sometimes I'll make mistakes or misjudge a room - but for the most part, I feel that music is a part of the practice, a way to celebrate the present moment.
Many people, myself being one of the many, find meditation through music and movement, dance, yoga, or simple chanting. For me, music is one of the greatest parts of life, and I choose to practice and teach with music. But don't be surprised if during class, I turn off the music for a bit, to cherish the quiet sound of rain on the roof, of the pranayama coming from beautiful yogis, or to focus on the thump thump of your heart in your chest....
Some of my favorite playlists:
I'd love to hear your thoughts on music. Yes, no? Maybe? Comments below are LOVED:)