Updated: Apr 23, 2019
For me it's a personal choice and opinion, and as with #life, in classes as a teacher, you can't and won't always please everyone and be to everyone's taste. Music is very #emotive, it can take us back to and remind us of certain places, times, people. Some that may invoke #feelings of #joy, #happiness and good vibes, others may have the complete opposite effect.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I have cried in #savasana on hearing a particular song that really stirred emotion in me. On the occasion I am referring to it wasn't that the #song was necessarily bringing back memories, it was more that I was having a bit of a rough time generally, had just made it through a practice and felt this great wash of emotion come over me on listening to the words of "let it go." It seemed really poignant to me in that moment. (Yes OK, I am referring to a James Bay song here- what can I say the guy caught me in a moment)!
The amazing part that I remember about that class was as I silently (or attempted to) blubbered to myself laying there on my mat, the #teacher came over and touched my shoulders and #massaged my head. Just having that gentle #touch and contact from another #human was exactly what I needed. She didn't know why I was crying, maybe she didn't even see that I was, but something made her approach me and with no words offer me the #comfort that I needed. That was a truly wonderful moment for me.
Since becoming a qualified teacher I've had mixed reaction to my music- some other people and teachers have told me that it was too upbeat or nontraditional and wasn't appropriate, and I shouldn't play anything but some gentle #chanting in the background. Other teachers I've discussed this with #love to use music, and I've also had positive responses to the playlists I make from students.
I think that I am careful and considerate with my music choices- light and #relaxed at the beginning, getting a little more upbeat as the class and energy rises, and finally something relaxing and often deep for saavasana.
I have to be honest it would be easier to buy a "music for yoga" CD and just stick this on in a class, as creating playlists is more often than not a very time consuming process- especially at the beginning of your teaching career. But for me it's worth it. I see Yoga as hugely #expressive and #creative- and music is also the same, just in a different format.
The one major downfall of creating playlists and using applications such as Spotify, Soundcloud or Amazon Music and playing them through a Bluetooth speaker as I do in a class is that you can often run into some technical blips- which I have to admit I have on a few occasions- including when teaching a class this week. But hey ho, I'm human, I can only control this to the best of my ability and for me I just make light of the situation, and hope people can understand that.
I think music can do wonders in #relaxing people both on and off the mat, and not only in their savasana but during the class. For example, having some nice beats in the background might take away the thoughts and fears of breathing too loudly, making any involuntary grunts and groans, and of course the sound (and therefore embarrassment) of any, ahem, back end kinda noises. I think you know what I'm getting at.
For me personally, at the beginning and end of class I can find the thoughts creeping in- what's maybe happened that week, what I have to do over the next few days, did I lock the back door, what can I have for lunch (you get the picture). Music is something that can bring the #awareness and #focus back to the present moment; in the room, on our mat- much like the breath and the sound of the teachers voice can. Studies have also suggested that the sound of music can create and aid focus and concentration more than silence can.
Yoga or being a Yoga teacher isn't something that I just tap into for those times when I am actually teaching, it's part of me and who I am. I want people to see a more #personal side to me, and music is also part of me and who I am, so for me to share that in my classes seems a natural choice. Maybe it goes against "traditional" teachings of Yoga to even contemplate practising to music, and I have to admit I would describe some of my song selections as Yoga Dub, but for me I think (or at least hope) they work within the context of my classes.
Yes I use more #traditional style music, I use chants and #mantras but I also use what I feel reflects me and my #personality as a teacher and my teaching style. Will that change over time, and will I maybe one day look back and cringe at my song choices- maybe, but then that's part of the journey!
Are you a teacher or student who loves/hates music in classes? Let me know your thoughts!
I will be sharing some of my top songs and artists in another blog soon, so watch this space! I will also be working on my #playlists and sharing those with you in the future. So whether you practice at home or are a teacher who wants a #funky playlist with none of the work of making it- I got your back!
But for now I leave you with the wise words of B.K.S Iyengar-
"Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life."
Until next time...