Traditionally, no music other than the sacred sound of chanting or flute playing was tolerated during a yoga practice. Yoga playlists were certainly not sought after, as secular music did not have a place in this ancient method of self-discovery.
Today there are countless songs, CDs and soundtracks made specifically for the enhancement of a yoga practice, and as the popularity of yoga increases, the range of music played in classes broadens.
In some styles of yoga, music is still not played in class, however it is increasingly more common to hear uplifting tunes that awaken the spirit no matter the genre. While some say this is a distraction, others say this is an integral part of the practice, as music can be a pleasant compliment. Music invokes passion, reflection, empathy and satisfaction, which are some of the same familiar feelings that arise when we practice yoga.
The following are examples of some of my favorite inspiring songs, and a look at how they can be used as perfect accompaniments to enhance the experience and benefits of certain poses.
“Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons
Discover your soul awakening passion as you practice Warrior I and II. Feel totally grounded, rooted and powerful as your hands reach out into the beauty that surrounds you.
“Rise” by Eddie Vedder
Stand tall in Tree Pose, letting your arms rise toward the sky. Focus on your third eye and feel your spirit lift to a lofty height. Trust in your ability to rise above negativity and disappointment.
“Love to Be Loved” by Peter Gabriel
Heart opening poses such as Camel and Bow can have a big impact on your ability to love and be loved. Free your heart, and love yourself. Celebrate the love you give and be open to receive love from others.
“I Am That I Am” by Peter Tosh
Challenging poses that are a constant struggle to master can sometimes rob us of our self-esteem. It’s okay to be exactly as you are as long as you are giving your best. Resist the temptation to compare yourself with others, and instead recognize your own qualities.
“I Shall Be Released” by Jack Johnson
Toward the end of your practice come into a deep hip opener such as Pigeon Pose and find the release you need, letting go of the type of emotional heaviness that can settle into your hips. Take a moment to reflect upon your life, and feel released from whatever is weighing you down.
“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
Flushed, refreshed and rejuvenated from your practice, let your last pose be about soaking in blissful post yoga sensations and appreciate how good you feel.