13 Feb The Power of Music in a Yoga Class
Some people love practicing yoga to music, others find it a distraction. Find out the reasons why I play music in class and see my current Yoga class playlist.
I always fill my yoga class with music that I believe enhances students journey through their practice. Calm, instrumental music for the centering at the beginning of class; uplifting music with a bit of pace for the sun salutations and thought provoking music for the close of class.
I am a firm believer that music has the capability to affect people’s mood and I understand the importance of a yoga class being a whole body experience – mental as well as physical.
So what does music do to our bodies?
- Firstly, it reduces our perception of how hard we are working by about 10 percent during low-to-moderate intensity activity.
- Secondly, music can have a profound influence on mood, potentially elevating the positive aspects of mood, such as vigor, excitement and happiness, and reducing depression, tension, fatigue, anger and confusion.
- Thirdly, music can be used to set the pace — sprinters often use fast paced music to help them run quicker.
- Finally, music can be used to overcome fatigue and control one’s emotions around times of stress.
There have been many studies that have been carried out to test the power of music on our moods which prove the effect our thought patterns.
- Studies done in the early 1990s in America concluded music “significantly” lowered the heart rates and calmed and regulated the blood pressures and respiration rates of patients who had undergone surgery.
- In 2007, a study in Germany found that music therapy helped improve motor skills in patients recovering from strokes. Other studies have found that music therapy can boost the immune system, improve mental focus, help control pain, create a feeling of well-being and greatly reduce anxiety of patients awaiting surgery.
- Music therapy was recently found to reduce psychological stress in a study of 236 pregnant women, according to researchers from the College of Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. Women in the study who listened to pre-recorded CDs of soothing music for 30 minutes daily showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety and depression, said researcher Chung-Hey Chen, who is now based at the National Cheng Kung University.
My students may not be recovering from Strokes or be heavily pregnant, but these show that music can affect the way we think and feel, even if it is only subtle.
Putting it into your practice
So now you know the science and the evidence behind using music to change your mood, maybe next time you are at a yoga class you will pay more attention to the music being played and think about how it changes the way you feel.
My Yoga Playlist
Here is my current yoga playlist for when I am teaching a class or practicing at home:
10 Laws – East Forest
Breathe – ALex Murdoch
Cmf – Caspian
I – Benn Jordan
Halving The Compass – Helios
Old Skin – Olafur Arnalds
Little Bird – Agnus & Julia Stone
Light – Dr Toast
Blacklight – Helios
Shine – Alexi Murdoch
Hey Now – London Grammar
Broken – S. Carey
Teardrop – Massive Attack
Angels – The XX
Nothing It Can – Helios
Hope Valley Hill
Echo – Helen Jane Long