Does Music Have a Place in Yoga Class?
There appears to be an unspoken debate about using music in yoga class. Sometimes classes are accompanied by soothing melodies, devotional chanting, or even all out of rock. Other classes lean towards no music at all. It's gotten me to wondering -- is there a version that's best? Or, like most things in yoga, does it simply come down to what feels right for you?
In my own teaching I have covered all sides of the spectrum. When I started teaching, music always accompanied my words. I found that music helped to calm my new-to-teaching-nerves. It created an anchor that I could draw inspiration from to structure a class and inspire my students. Plus, some of my favorite teachers use music woven masterfully into their classes so I thought it seemed like a great idea to follow suit.
And yet, after a few years of teaching and, frankly, listening to my small selection of mixes over and over and over, I decided I needed a bit of a musical break. I'd like to say I was inspired by the desire to move towards stillness but, really, I was just tired of all my songs. I'm not a DJ and I didn't want to be one. So I turned the iPod off and just taught.
And then an interesting thing happened.
I found that, for me, turning off the music helped me to focus on the energy of the room and the rhythm of my students' breath. It allowed me to feel more in sync with my students and it felt like they were able to reach a depth of stillness that I hadn't seen before. And so it stuck.
Has this experience caused me to swear off all music in yoga? Definitely not. Sometimes it feels like the room (or maybe me) could use a bit of a musical lift and so I pull my iPod out. I also love live chanting so I weave that into the beginning and end of class as often as I can. I love going to yoga classes with music and without. So I guess I would say I am firmly planted somewhere... in the middle.
For those days that you lean more towards the musical side, visit our monthly playlists for inspiration or check out this Jivamukti sequence set to a downloadable musical track.