“Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.” Beethoven
See, even Beethoven knew what’s up- music can be spiritual!
However, despite what the classical OG of music says, I’ve seen a ton of debate in the yoga community over whether or not it’s “acceptable” to play music when teaching yoga.
Kundalini Yoga teachers aren’t supposed to play anything but music approved by their organization and some yoga studios like Y-7 in NYC focus mostly on Hip-Hop music- quite the contrast.
I can remember auditioning to teach my first class after a 9-month teacher training and being told that nobody was going to come to my class if I played music- it crushed me.
Music was my life!
I had just left a ten-year career at MTV producing music shows to live in the suburbs and have babies and was very much looking forward to combining my old love with my new love of yoga.
Luckily I didn’t take the critique to heart because my playlists, and hopefully my top-notch teaching skills, had my classes packed in no time.
I consistently got asked for music recommendations from other teachers and my students loved making requests for next week’s playlist.
Music was actually something that connected me even MORE to teaching yoga.
Not all teachers agree.
Karl Erb, a San Francisco-based Iyengar instructor said “If music doesn’t serve the principles of focus and concentration, it shouldn’t be used,”
But what if it’s actually the music that helps you focus and turn inward by getting lost in the movement and the beat instead of focusing on the hot girl in the very short shorts in the next row, or the man profusely sweating all over your mat?
The scientific community in the West has validated through research that music greatly affects and enhances our learning.
One team of doctors at Stanford even showed that music actually engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, not causing a distraction as one might think.
I wouldn’t advise you to start playing Megadeath in your classes, but I’ve played everything from Krishna Das in my slow flow classes to Das-EFX in my Friday night Hip-Hop flow class and there are people who love both.
I want to hear from you- YAY or NAY to playing music in your classes? Go join the discussion HERE.
Oh, and just so you’ve got the whole picture of my practice- I consider what I do on my mat exercise- my “yoga” is my 20 minutes of daily morning meditation- and that I do in silence. ; )
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