Creating a Yoga Playlist

Adi McCasland
Our Yoga Collective
2 min readAug 15, 2020

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Music can make or break the experience for your students

The power of music is indisputable. It elicits emotion, hurls us back in time, and moves us forward to a beat. Music has both an ergogenic effect and the ability to calm us as we relax into the serenity of a soft, slow sound. Music is often used to enhance our experiences, and as yoga grows increasingly popular in the Western world, we are seeing a rise of its use in the practice space. Undeniably, there is value in offering a rhythmic backdrop to our movement, but there is an art to including that. Crafting a playlist that complements an asana practice, rather than distracts takes finesse. With that, we’ve compiled six tips to help you add music in a way that fosters the mind-body connection your students are craving.

1) Start slow. Build up (but not too much). End slow. Offer silence. Just as it’s important to ease into movement, it’s important to ease into a beat.

2) Match the energy of the music to the energy of the class. If you’re teaching a soft style (think restorative or gentle flow), let your music be soft. If you’re teaching a strong style (think power vinyasa), let your music be energizing.

3) Make sure your music isn’t too energizing. If we ask our students to sync breath and movement, and we’re matching movement to the music, we want to make sure that the beat isn’t too fast. Nobody wants to hyperventilate on the mat.

4) Avoid the Top 40. Often, students are coming to class to pause the outside world. Don’t bring the music they were just listening on the drive over into the practice space.

5) Be conscious of lyrics. Avoid songs with derogatory phrases, oppressive themes, and excessive profanity. Curse words are often skillfully used in music, but if every other word is an F-bomb, it’s probably not the best choice for your playlist.

6) Include some instrumental-only songs. DJ Drez and East Forest create beautiful music specifically for yogis.

Bonus tip: Avoid a hard pause. If you need to change songs or stop the music for savasana, fade it out. Dramatic changes in sound are jarring.

Originally published at https://ouryogacollective.org on August 15, 2020.

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Adi McCasland
Our Yoga Collective

teacher | storyteller | bourbon drinker | lover of dogs & words