The perfect yoga playlist
Do you play music while you practice yoga? It's common today for instructors to use music during their yoga classes, especially for more of an upbeat flow. However, there are also those who believe that playing music while practicing is not 'traditional', and that as yogis we should be focussed on our breath rather than the pop song that matches perfectly with the timing of our vinyasa. Personally, I like to practice both ways. If I'm feeling really distracted or I'm practicing in a room with other people, I like to use my wireless headphones and throw on a playlist. On the other hand, sometimes really focussing on my breath (or maybe the sounds of nature) can be unbelievably powerful. When I teach I usually put on music, but there have been times when I've felt like music just wasn't quite 'right' for the type of class I was teaching or the atmosphere in the room.
I used to be quite the music nerd. I read Pitchfork religiously, went to concerts every month, and was always eager to buy a new album that no one had heard of. I think my love for music comes from my Dad, who exposed me to the best of the best since birth and still continues to quiz me on 70's rock music. Although my obsession with music has mellowed over the years, I still love discovering new songs and creating playlists that fit a particular mood. I was introduced to Spotify when I completed my yoga teacher training and after that I was hooked. I've spent hours creating all kinds of playlists for different classes: Vinyasa Flow, Power Yoga, Restorative, etc. Of course I also have my own personal playlists such as 'Sunday Morning' and 'Latin Beats', but I'm getting off-track.
So how do I create a playlist for yoga?
Well, I really love the 'Discover Weekly' option on Spotify which suggests music based on songs you've already saved. I usually put it on while I cook or clean and then save any songs I like to a hidden playlist called 'Song Bank'. At a later time I go back to all of these songs in the 'bank' and start putting them together into a playlist. Since most of the classes I teach are 60 minutes, I usually I aim to create a playlist that's about that length. When I add a song to a playlist, I delete it from the 'Song Bank' so I don't end up adding the same song into multiple playlists. Each person's taste in music is unique so I know I'll never satisfy every student in my class, but I do try to choose songs that will appeal to the majority of people.
These are the 'criteria' that I use for each type of playlist:
Yin Yoga: Mostly slow, acoustic songs.
Restorative Yoga: Wordless songs; mostly piano and 'spa' type music.
Power Yoga: Upbeat electronic and pop songs.
Vinyasa Flow: 10 minutes of slow songs, 30 minutes of upbeat songs, then gradually returning to slow songs for the last 10-15 minutes.
Speciality Classes (Prenatal, Mom & Baby, etc): I use one of my Vinyasa or Restorative playlists depending on the energy level.
What is your favourite yoga jam? Comment below!