Yoga classes come in many different styles, approaches and intensity levels. Although widely viewed as a practice that is best done in silence (and with respect to those that prefer to do so!), from the very beginning of my teaching journey I realised the powerful ways that music can make the class more enjoyable for everyone. A well curated playlists can elevate the session in a way that might not be possible otherwise. The key to getting it right is to pair the right music genre with the intention of the class. When this happens, the overall experience is enhanced in a couple of ways that might be surprising to you
Changing the Tone of the Class
The audio component of any yoga class is something I take very seriously. I first realised its power when I was out in the bush, reflecting on the way that sound compliments the way we interact with our natural surroundings. With this in mind, I always play a different mix of song types during a single class, as I’ve realised that it is a good way to direct the tone and energy of the class in as gentle a way as possible. I start with slow and relaxed music, moving to faster beats if it’s a difficult vinyasa flow or a BARRE session, before taking things down a notch towards the end. This creates a natural flow, while giving me room to add some creative expression into the sessions too.
Helping with Staying Present
Our minds can be very fickle, but I’ve always found that music has a stronger effect on keeping me present and in the moment. Often, clients say this to me too. I got to see first hand that this was the case when I introduced mini meditations into a few of my classes, with positive feedback and results in comparison to running these meditations “live” without any sound accompaniment. Staying present is at the core of what a good yoga practice will teach us. A little bit of extra help to do so (even if just with a few instrumental tracks you can bank on) can go a long way towards building a sustainable practice.
Tapping Into and Opening Up Emotions
Moving to the right beat creates an ability to amplify the way we connect with our emotions during a yoga class. Aside from helping you to physically move your body, the right song can help your body reach a desired emotional state quicker than it might have been possible otherwise. Songs are great at striking a nostalgic chord with us, creating lines that can be related to, or simply offering a (very hard to explain rationally) instrumental section that feels like it touches your soul. The music-yoga pairing can do wonders in this regard, which in turn creates room for better emotional regulation over time too.
Dialling Up The Fun Factor
Aside from everything we’ve mentioned, music is renowned for dialling up the fun factor in my yoga class. The idea is for you to enjoy the experience, after all! Whether you’re stepping on the mat for the first time, or a seasoned yogi attempting to reconnect with your practice, adding music into the mix is a great way to drum up some additional motivation to keep going. What’s life without us creating as much joy for ourselves as possible, after all? With the right tracks in tow, the yoga experience can be enhanced and elevated to a point where you may even start to get more excited about the prospect of your next class as soon as you step off the mat this week.