Renowned for its mental health benefits, yoga is a great exercise for learning how to unwind.
You can definitely introduce some music into your yoga routine, it may even enhance its beneficial effects and help you unwind.
Some songs are better than others for a successful yoga lesson. In this article Superprof gives you the low down and even reveals the perfect yoga playlist!
The Benefits of a Yoga Session with Music
There is no harm in listening to music during your yoga class. In fact, I recommend it, and always do it when taking yoga classes near me.
If you do yoga at home, you will have the advantage of being able to choose your own music, finding a soft and relaxing playlists online (YouTube, radio, etc.) or even composing your own personalised playlist!
In prenatal yoga or simple breathing exercises, it is generally accepted that sound, which is a propagation of mechanical waves, improves the flow of body movements. But there are also a lot of other benefits...
The music enhances the feeling of relaxation and comfort induced by the practice of asana and the effects of yoga, in general:
- Sounds improves body movements.
- Music makes it easier to clear your mind, thus making it easier to meditate at the end of the session, when doing the corpse pose (or savasana), one of the more popular poses in yoga.
- Well chosen music can improve the calming, relaxing and soothing effects of yoga. Scroll down to find the Superprof playlist.
- An article, entitled Why Music in Yoga Matters, written by Derek Berres weighs up the pros and cons of combining music and Yoga; "Knowing what music to play and when to play it can elevate your classes to another level."
- Yoga calms the whirlwind of thoughts in our head and music based on sound vibrations of wood's glass can help you immerse yourself in a state of meditation and relaxation.
Find out what are the best clothes to wear to yoga too!
Music for Yoga Practice
Vibrations, harmonies and positive energies, music softens manners and can play a positive role in relaxing both body and mind.
Mathilde, a dynamic yoga teacher on Superprof, was very surprised when she arrived in the United States and discovered that yoga sessions were carried out to music, sometimes even pop or hip hop music.
At first, I was shocked. I quickly put aside my shock because actually I quickly found that it was...really cool. Now, I like to practice yoga to music - not all the time, not every time, but I think it's part of the atmosphere, it encourages movement and letting go.
She lists her favourite songs to listen to during a yoga session:
- Bonobo, The North Borders. Producer, composer and DJ on the British scene, Bonobo is part of the famous label Ninja Tune,
- Garth Stevenson, Flying. Originally from Brooklyn, this bass player and composer of film music was raised in the mountains of western Canada, where he drew inspiration for his albums, which includes Flying, a track honouring a trip to Antarctica that changed his life.
- Stevin McNamara, Om Guitar. This South African musician describes himself on his website as a specialist in acoustic guitar "dedicated to yoga, movement, contemplation, meditation, heart, mind and soul!"
Learn about all the yoga equipment you need for a class!
Which artists work well with yoga?
As Delphine, a yoga teacher offering yoga near me and blogger based on the French Riviera, explains, there are no rules when it comes to the music you can use.
From Mozart to Justin Bieber, through Coldplay. Everything works. Whatever you want to listen, and whatever will go with your flow.
Pretty straightforward , right?
You can find artists whose music is compatible with yoga exercises on the Internet (YouTube) or via smartphone apps like Spotify or Deezer. Learn which apps are best for practicing yoga.
On Spotify, just type in 'yoga music' in the search bar and you'll find all sorts of playlists, like:
- Yoga Music concentration (12 tracks),
- Mindful Healing Sounds,
- Calm Spa and Yoga Music (12 tracks)
- or Yoga Remedy with 28 tracks.
Womens Health published their top 19 songs used by Yoga instructors to create a welcoming environment and get everyone in the right head space for doing yoga, which included:
- East forest, 10 Laws,
- Angus & Julia Stone, Paper Aeroplane,
- Lapsley, Station,
- Dirty Gold, California Sunrise,
- Radiohead, Separator.
Chants in Sanskrit (traditional Indian language) are very exotic and conducive to creating a relaxing atmosphere. Try for example the Hare Krishna song or the Mantras for Life album produced by singer Deva Premal.
Some playlists recommended by Superprof:
Many contemporary artists practice Yoga.
This is the case of Moby who practices a lot of dynamic yoga and who created a free 4h playlist, enough to last several online yoga classes and still not get sick of it! You can download it for free via WeTransfer or stream it via Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music or Deezer.
Marie Claire online has concocted a playlist of 20 songs to help you reach a state of complete zen. Perfect for a quick yoga session in the morning before starting the day or in the evening before getting tucked up in bed.
Discover the best yoga instructors to follow on social media.
At What Point Should You Listen to Music during Yoga?
In this day and age, unless you live in the desert, silence does not exist. We are constantly being stimulated, and sometimes disturbed, by the sounds that surround us.
During a yoga class, you will have to learn how to handle silence. If you are a beginner, it is possible that you will not be able to control your thoughts, which may take over and prevent you from fully enjoying the benefits of stretching and letting go triggered by yoga exercises. So music can help you by creating a soothing atmosphere and releasing your emotions.
For other people, silence can be a welcome break from the day that has just unfolded and prepare them perfectly for the relaxation session.
Superprof's top tip:
If you can concentrate on your body and your breathing, without thinking of anything else, you can keep doing your yoga without music. If you feel like your mind is drifting and running through your day at work, the kids, or the errands you've forgotten to do, music can help you focus better and tune into your emotions.
People who are used to meditation or concentration can reap all the benefits by practicing yoga in total silence (think of the great Buddhist monks). As your yoga sessions progress, you may not feel the need to listen to music. Development in your yoga abilities is likely. There is no specific answer on whether to use music or not, it's a personal matter!
If you practice yoga in a school, the option of playing music during a class is up to the instructor. If there is none, nothing is stopping you from asking them to or bringing your iPod and a speaker!
During a group yoga class, having music can interfere with the teacher giving instructions on how to perform the different asana. However, alone at home or with a Superprof instructor, feel free to try some music and see what effect it has.
During the final relaxation section, it's best not to listen to any music. As Delphine, a certified Yoga Alliance teacher with more than 200 hours of experience in Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga, explains on her blog:
I always try to pick my music carefully. I always play instrumentals or sanskrit chants during Savasana (deep relaxation time at the end of class).
Personally, I tested a yoga session playing natural music (flowing water, sounds of nature, waterfalls, ...) and this kind of harmonious melody can help you reach the final state of well-being . But be warned, you might end up falling asleep!
Looking to start yoga? Find the perfect yoga class.