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Music and Yoga

by Marianne Navada

The breath together with music provide the rhythm of a modern yoga class. There’s power in music: it energizes, motivates, brings out emotions, helps us concentrate, and sets the mood. A word of caution, music can also distract, and that’s why it’s important to choose the appropriate songs and deliver them at the right time. Although music taste can be subjective, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a yoga playlist that taps into most sensibilities.

3 Tips


Aside from having a specific playlist for a class, it’s a sound idea to organize music into categories based on the anatomy of your yoga glass.

  • Grounding: music that help focus inward.
  • Salutations or Warm Up: Especially in a vinyasa flow, increase the energy with more upbeat music.
  • Balancing and Calming: Music for peak poses, balancing, and seated poses. Usually less upbeat that salutation music, but can have a bit more energy than grounding ones.
  • Savasana: music that let’s the mind drift and let go. It can be calming or taps into the emotions.

Mix It Up

Don’t be afraid to mix up your music.

  • Traditional mantras and Sanskrit hymns.
  • Contemporary songs
  • Instrumental

Turn the Music Off

Ironic as it may sound, highlighting music’s impact means knowing when to turn it off.

  • Settling in: try turning on music after you have asked students to activate their ujjayi breath. This allows the class to actually hear their breathing and for the teacher to introduce themselves or make any announcements without distraction.
  • Gradually lower or turn off music after a pose that gets the heart rate up, or if you want students to pause, reflect, and connect with how they are feeling.


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