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How to: Make a Yoga Music Playlist

August 3, 2010

There are many discussions among yoga teachers about playing music in yoga class.

I have a few classes every week at my studio with music. These classes are called “silent classes” . These “silent classes” are not silent at all. But, as the teacher I am the silent one.  I practice along with the students which is not typical for me.  (And I am not a believer of playing music during a class where the teacher is constantly instructing too hard to hear- too distracting)

During the “silent classes”, I lead by calling the postures  at the beginning and again at the end of the posture. The music carries the energy along beautifully. Originally, purpose of this class was so that I might practice on a regular basis while teaching full-time. These silent classes are only for very experienced students that I have practiced with and are very well acclimated to the heat.Most students love these classes, and make a point to come them. For yoga teacher this type of class is such a blessing. Although there is always one eye on the students,  the opportunity to practice with them is golden. Many students have expressed their joy and practicing with their teacher; The flaws in our own practice seems to comfort them, and our successes inspire them.

The music I play in my yoga class varies depending on what part of the class we are in  as well as the energy that I’m trying to create. I generally know who’s coming to class before class time so I’m able to plan my classes accordingly.  You might say that sequencing yoga music is just as important as sequencing yoga postures.

There are a few key things to remember when creating a playlist for a yoga class, they are very similar to what you remember when you are designing a sequence of asanas.

How long is your class?  Who are the people who are coming? How old are they?  These questions are important because you don’t want to choose music that’s completely inappropriate.  I choose all kinds of music. I generally start with slow or quiet meditative music. During the first part of class when I’m warming up everyone, the music is slower sweeter and inward. As the class builds, the music builds, so at this point I might play hip-hop if it’s appropriate, or a 70s rock tune, or really exciting kirtan. Generally, the extended part of class  or the peak part of class gets more upbeat music. Then of course the class winds down the music winds down also.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Here is the secret to making a playlist for yoga class:

Timing. You cannot go off on a tangent during class if you are playing planned music. You must keep the pace of the class moving and matching the music that you’ve chosen. How do you choose the music you ask? The length of the song is key. When you’re creating your play list you need to sequence the songs by style but also by the length of the song. This is where iTunes is invaluable. As you create the playlist you can watch the time of the songs add up, and you know when you have a total of  minutes you need of music. Look at the music and divide it up into beginning middle and end, then look at how long the songs actually are. See how your songs are sequenced and how long the sequence is, move the songs around, or if a song just doesn’t work choose a completely different song whose time fits better into your sequence of music. You don’t have to have your asanas completely planned out, but if you choose to fly by the seat of your pants, it’s a real bummer when you’re in the middle of a deeply inward posture and Jay Z  starts, but he’s certainly a helper during a long warrior sequence! See what I mean? It’s not that hard. It just takes a little thought and planning.

So if you’ve ever been curious about trying music  in your yoga class give it a shot! I think you will be very pleased at how it can be a fun change of pace!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sha permalink
    August 3, 2010 12:53 pm

    how bout a sample playlist yogadarling

  2. August 3, 2010 2:19 pm

    Thank you for this. I have had so many questions about music.. All of the classes I go to have no music. I like music and my YT and I use to practice with music when we were alone.

    I just didnt know how to go about making the playlist. so Thank you again.

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