Mixing Top Yoga Tunes

Have you ever noticed that the kind of music played in a yoga class makes a big difference? There are teachers that play very mellow, mostly instrumental music that is suitable for any generation of people. Some classes have a variety of mixes, with special requests from students. Vinyasa yoga classes or Power classes may have fast paced almost dance like sounds, a big favorite by students who like to get into a groove and maybe even dance in a yoga class. At classes in L.A. you can even find hard core rap music. On the other side of the spectrum, traditional Ashtanga Yoga the music is typically the sound of Ujayii breathing in the room. I have an appreciation for all of it and think it all has its values and place in a yoga class. Sometimes deciding what music to play depends on how the energy feels in the room at the beginning of class. Maybe an upbeat rhythm is needed, grounding sounds, peaceful relaxing vibes, rock till you drop or just “whatever” combo of music to get a person out of their own thoughts.

Yesterday, I was teaching and one person said will you play that c.d from 3 months ago that you played the first class you taught. I stared back at her with a blank look and took a guess. At the end I asked her if she liked the cd’s I choose and she looked at me bewildered and in completely content place, as if to say, “music? Oh yeah, sure the music was great.” I could tell by her demeanor that mixing the top yoga tunes was just what she needed. Part of being a Yoga Instructor is being a DJ with a ear for what is compelling. For those of you who saw my Facebook Posts, I got to see Dave Matthews and Sting play live for free last month and there were so many thousands of people attending, they stopped letting people in. It was unbelievably powerful and amazing to experience that concert!

There are so many thousands that go to Joshua Tree every year for Shakti Fest, Bhakti Fest and other places like Wanderlust for the big gathering of live talented musicians, healers and teachers. If we can create even a fraction of that sensation in yoga classes, then we are really channeling something significant. It really is fun to play with the effects of different songs throughout different parts of yoga classes. I have gotten some “stink eye” as Sean Corne would say on occasion for music that was too loud or eccentric. No offense to those friends who gave me your personal collection of favorites to play in class. Thanks anyway, lol. Some of them worked. (wink).

What I have really seen work in classes whether you are teaching or taking them is a combination of soul stirring music by Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Donna de Lory, and any of Shiva Rae’s sound tracks. The yoga music takes everyone into the bhav “mood” including the Yoga Teachers, who also need to get beyond their thoughts into the timeless teaching zone. Of course, some teachers play their own kirtan in class, often at yoga studios or festivals. That’s a blessing unto itself, and a rock out like no other! I like Anugama for chill out vibes and any graceful sitar sounds like Sri Ravi Shankar. The most popular meditation music I have had requested is Eckhart Tole “Music for Meditation” and Sanctuary “Om”. If you have selections you would like to share, I would love to hear what your crowd is into. East coast, west coast, south or north, people respond to talented musicians who have captured it on soundtrack.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes on music:

“Without music life would be a mistake.” -Friedrich Nietzsche.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”- Bob Marley

” Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything”- Plato


Kam Singh, MA, RYT


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