It's about that time.
Yoga Mat? CHECK.
Extra blocks and straps? CHECK.
Your favorite candle, crystal, or oils to get you into that teaching zone? CHECK!
You load up on supplies and good vibes, and you are ready to go pour into your students with an epic class.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Where is your music, Yogi?
While no class is complete without the right materials and props, never forget the power in your playlist. Using yoga music in your classes will completely transform your teaching.
While you may come across the occasional purist view that believes you should only perform yoga in silence, using music is not about watering down an ancient practice.
There are many far-reaching and well-documented benefits to your students.
How Yoga Music Can Transform Your Teaching
Easing Into Class
It would be a beautiful thing if everyone strolled into yoga class from a peaceful forest or beach setting in a state of total relaxation, completely ready to settle into their practice.
As a teacher, though, you know this isn't the case unless you're running a retreat. Many students are rushing in from work, trying to shake off traffic, and are chit-chatting in the hallway while you attempt to get everyone signed in on time.
Music can help you bridge the gap between a hectic day and a therapeutic practice.
Whether you teach an upbeat flow or a gentle class, already having the right music playing as students walk in will set the tone for your time together.
Drown Out the World
While some teachers are blessed to teach in a secluded studio far removed from background noise, most do not have this luxury.
Students come to your yoga classes to escape the outside world and find their Zen. It's challenging to do this with sounds from the street, neighboring businesses, or other classes seeping into their practice.
Adding music to your flow will help your students stay fully present in your class, and they will be eager to come back for your next one.
Yoga Music for Classes Helps You Stay on Track
There's a lot of moving parts when you're leading a practice.
You are focused on proper cueing, remembering sequences, adjusting students for safety, regulating room temperature, and any number of other variables depending on your style and studio.
Having a playlist is a fantastic way to help you stay on track. The more you teach with your playlist, the more you will begin associating certain parts of class with specific songs and verses.
This will be a huge help when the unexpected pops up or you lose your train of thought.
You won't be the only one who benefits.
The music playing will help your students stay focused on their own practice.
If you must pause your instruction to grab a prop or offer extra assistance to one student, the rest of the class won’t even notice.
The Perfect Pair for Your Brain
Music and yoga both have positive biological effects on the brain, which is why they make an excellent team.
When we practice yoga, the feel-good chemical called dopamine is released.
It also shows up when we listen to music.
On the other end of the spectrum, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced whether you're singing in the shower or sliding into a down dog.
If you've ever heard a student say that they come to class to "clear their head," this healthy manipulation of brain chemicals is what they are talking about and don't even realize it.
People are constantly hunting for ways to influence these chemicals, and the choices do not always have the best side effects.
As a yoga teacher who uses music, you can help your students increase well-being and decrease stress in an all-natural way.
The Flow State
Another reason that yoga and music are so well aligned is that they both can lead to a state of "flow."
While the term is used regularly in yoga to describe a sequence of postures, it is also applied to the feeling best described as being "in the zone."
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dives into this topic in his best-selling book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. When you achieve this state, you are fully absorbed in what you are doing to the point where distractions seem to cease altogether. You enjoy your task so much that you feel like you could do it all day (Csikszentmihalyi 2008).
Both music and yoga are mentioned frequently throughout the book.
As one of the eight limbs of yoga is Dharana, meaning "concentration," you can help your students attain the flow state through your practice and playlist that go hand in hand.
You Set the Tone
Any yogi will tell you that the types of classes out there are endless. With your playlist choice, you get to determine the pace of the one you teach.
When choosing your music, it's essential to select a playlist that matches your sequencing. Slow, soothing rhythms may not fit a powerful Vinyasa.
Fast, bumping beats can disrupt your students' savasana.
It is best to find a music source where you can pick from several options, especially since you will want the freedom to use different music for different styles.
The Struggle is Real
Despite the plethora of reasons to utilize yoga music for classes, many teachers find it challenging to implement with confidence.
While there are several streaming options, many come with ads that would ruin a yoga practice.
Choosing to pay for a subscription can remove ads, but teachers are still not supposed to use this music in any public format repeatedly.
Imagine your students rave about how excellent your playlist is and how they wish they could take your same class at home, but you're not permitted to use the music on your YouTube channel.
Royalty-Free Yoga Music eliminates this frustration and allows you and your students to enjoy your playlists with ease.