Many years ago, before I was a teacher, I took a class at my local studio with a teacher I’ll never forget. Her class was good (I think) but that’s not what I remember.
What sticks in my mind was that about halfway through the class the song “Paper Planes” by the rapper M.I.A started to play through the speakers. You know the song, “All I wanna do is (gun shots) and take your money.” Don’t get me wrong, I love that song and if we were at the club I would be the first on the dance floor. But alas we were not.
If you’re going to play music (and in many lineages music is a no-no that distracts from the intense focus and concentration we should be practicing) make sure that it enhances rather than distracts from the experience.
Here are few helpful tips for crafting a yoga playlist that everyone will love:
1. Set the Pace
Think about the BPM (beats per minute) or tempo of each song and build your list accordingly.
Start off slower for warm-ups and build up to a faster pace for Sun Salutations. Take it back down again at the end for seated poses and Savasana.
2. Mix it Up!
You might love country music, but guaranteed not everyone in your class feels the same. After that fifth Blake Shelton song the country-haters will be seriously cranky.
Make sure you choose music from different genres so there’s something for everyone.
3. Be Mindful of Lyrics
Too many words can be distracting, so stick to songs with few, or even no, lyrics. If your songs do have words, choose ones that are appropriate for yoga.
That doesn’t mean you should only play “yoga music.” Songs like Bjork’s “All is Full of Love” or Matisyahu’s “I Will Be Light” are just two examples of awesome songs with beautiful messages.
4. Control the Volume
If you've chosen to play music in your class, make sure people can actually hear it. Your music shouldn't be so loud it drowns out your instruction, but if it’s too low it just sounds like background noise or elevator music.
5. Change is Good!
Update your playlist often. Get a subscription to Spotify or other music service so you can check out other playlists and get recommendations for new music based on stuff you like.
Experiment and have fun!