Music & Yoga
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
I was part of an article about Music & Yoga in the Yoga Magazin NL 06/2017. Together with four other well known teachers we shared our favourite playlists and our point of view on the use of music in a Yoga class. Here my full interview and the Spotify-link to one of my favourite playlists for practice Questions: 1 Which song is most special, and why? That question is a bit like asking me, which of my (non-existing) children I like the most. But of this specific list I would say "Heal" by Tom Odell. I believe it is an ode to our practice. To me that is the point of all Yogic practice; a tool to heal our emotional and physical pain, consciously or unconsciously. 2 How important is music for you, during a practice? As a very emotional person, music has a great effect on me. During the practice it can enhance my movement or my rhythm of breath. It can relax my nervous system, touch me emotionally or remind me of some of the teachings in the Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita... even if its a Pop-song! Shouldn't we hear things like "I'm only human" (Rag'n'Bone Man) again and again? There is the message. 3 Do you prefer instrumental songs or with lyrics, and why? I couldn't generalise it like that, as it keeps changing.
Like in the practice sometimes a certain Asana will bring you more than another one, just because it's what you need at that moment. Same with the music or the style of class I teach. But the right instrumental song can be hypnotic and you might dive deep into the zone. Of course there is always the discussion about Pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses. But that takes a lot of practice and experience and will ALWAYS be difficult in a groups class anyway. Teachers also like to mention the danger that students would sing along with popular english lyrics. At our Svaha studio our students will also sing along to Krishna Das or Devi Primal.
Relax people, remember: singing brings you closer to God.
4 What is the best way for new yoga teachers to select music? These days I see a lot of the newbies simply copying other teachers. That will never work. Yes, you can be inspired but you have to find your own connection to music and you should have a reason why you use certain songs. You can not blare an "Abba"song through the speakers, feeling hilarious or rebellious. It doesn't make sense. Choosing my music is part of my class planning, so please: put in the work!!! But I believe if you are connected and authentic and yourself, what works for you will work for others too. 5 How important in silence, too? It is the motherload, of course. Not being able to hide behind music is raw and confronting. But this obsession with the perfect silent surrounding makes me laugh a bit. Please stop the world, I'm trying to sit in silence, haha. I teach some classes above the Kalverstraat, the busiest shopping street in Amsterdam. Good luck there to find perfect silence there. Or not letting students come in late to class? Why? Let's see if the others actually can manage to keep their eyes closed while things are happening around them. We aren't supposed to sit in surrounding silence (though its very, very helpful), we are supposed to become silent in the midst of the chaos and noise of the world. Spotify- link: https://open.spotify.com/user/3n6ulhxmklrkekgcqz8xvr4ia/playlist/2BfrWR48y0rfBCkklImoq4