When it comes to teaching meditation classes and leading guided meditation, music can make or break your class. Music is an important part of creating a great experience for your students, and it’s something that if done correctly can add ambiance to your classes.
Just think about a time when you were taking a class and the music just didn’t fit, or was too loud, or even had distracting lyrics, it probably made your whole practice feel off. However, when music is used masterfully it can enhance your classes and add depth to your meditation experience.
Although some believe that meditation should be strictly taught without any background music, I personally always opt for music that fits the tone of my meditation class in order to set the scene. I use background ambient music in all of my recorded guided meditations on my podcast, so I guess you could say when it comes to meditation playlists I am all in.
Creating a masterful and powerful playlists is not something that comes naturally to all, so I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and created five meditation playlists that you can share with your yoga students. Also, in case you wanted to take a crack at breaking your own meditation playlist, below are a few elements for creating an unforgettable meditation playlist.
Make sure your playlist fits the tone of your class.
I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure your music fits the tone of your class.
Listen to all of the songs, all the way through and be sure there aren’t any sudden musical surprises, loud tones, or even random bits of language that can pull someone out of their practice. Think about how you want your students to feel as they’re practicing and pick songs that fit.
Want your students to feel uplifted? Pick songs that have a steady and uplifting beat to energetically stimulate your students. Or is you’re opting for a relaxation class in the evening, choose music that is slow, melodic, and matches a soft ambiance. Think about every element of your meditation, how you want your students to feel, how much you will be talking, and the theme of your class and choose songs that match that.
Decide if you want music with lyrics or no lyrics.
This one is a bit of a toss up and there are many people out there who feel strongly about if you should use songs with words or not when creating a meditation playlist. If you are leading a guided meditation where you are speaking a lot, I would avoid music with a lot of lyrics as it may be hard for student to hear you. However, there are many artists that have wonderful meditation music, such as Beautiful Chorus which I share below.
If you’re teaching a class where there will be a lot of silence, or self-guidance music with lyrics can be a nice touch, but use them sparklingly. If you’re worried about words being distracting, stick to music that is solely melodic ambient music so that your students aren’t pulled out of the practice by listening to the lyrics of the song.
Think about the order of your music.
One of the tips I teach my students when we dive into playlist curation is that the order of the songs matter.
When you are creating a playlist you want to choose songs that fit the class. Think about when you will be speaking and avoid lyric heavy or overly stimulating songs that will detract from the sound of your voice.
Consider when you might want slow and quiet songs during relaxation times, or perhaps when you want songs that are more activating when students are left to meditate on their own. Each song should be placed in your playlist with intention and purpose to fit the class.
75 Minute Relax and Restore - This playlist is one that I created for my Yoga for You students and has 75 minutes (plus 15 extra minutes of ambient music for before and after class) for a relaxing and restoring class. This playlist is perfect for those evening and relaxation meditation classes.
Meditation and Yoga Nidra Music - This playlists has no lyrics, and is filled with ambient and melodic music that is appropriate for any type of meditation or yoga nidra class. I use this playlist on a lot of my yoga retreats when I am leading a group meditation, and want my students to focus on the words I am speaking, and not the music.
Yoga Beat - If you’re looking for something uplifting and more activating than the first two playlists, you’ll enjoy this one. It is all soft-beat, low-fi background music by artist such as Sol Rising and East Forest. This is a favorite of mine if I’m weaving meditation with movement, or I’m teaching in the morning and I want my sleepy students to feel activated and awake.
Heart Chakra Music - This is always a personal favorite of my students and if one of my most requested playlists from my meditation and yoga students. This playlist contains a balance of songs without lyrics and with lyrics that speak to self-love and includes vocal harmonies and musical tones that are in the range that activates the heart chakra.
Beautiful Chorus/Resonance Music - Although this is technically an album and not a playlist, Beautiful Chorus is easily one of my favorite artists to use when creating meditation playlists. Their 34 minute album Resonance Meditation is perfect for any meditation class, just play it from start to finish and you have a masterful crafted meditation soundtrack.