How Important is Music in a Yoga Class? – 4/6 Gayle Nerva

Ah Music. Is music good or bad in a yoga class? Sound affects our brain and causes us to feel all kinds of emotion, depending on the genre, the frequency of the sound, the key of the song, the type of instruments, the beat, tempo..etc. Sound can distract the mind, but it can also elevate the spirit. Sometimes, I find music may be a little distracting in a yoga class, this is when the songs are too recognisable; a pop song or a classic top 40s track for instance. I’d start wanting to give my attention to the song, and the lyrics, wanting to sing along and completely losing the attention to the teacher and the class. But other times I rather enjoy pop music in a class, for instance, in a Core class or a power flow class. As long as the music isn’t too loud and the teacher has a commanding voice and tone, so they don’t get drowned out by the music. I’m afraid that my personal choices in music may not favor with my students, “what if they don’t like this singer? what if they don’t like this genre of music?” “Is this song going to trigger a negative memory for them?” “Is this instrument or singer’s tone going to irritate their practice?”

Music can set the mood for the class, and personally, I appreciate when the teacher takes this into consideration and plans a playlist specific to the class. However, planning a playlist requires you to sit and listen to each song and curate it such that there is a beginning, middle and end.. taking the students on a journey through the power of sound. It can be time consuming but I think the students would appreciate your thoughtfulness. Music can also distract our mind from fatigue and tiredness during our asana practice, an upbeat song could energise our movements, and give us motivation to keep moving with vigour and strength. Soothing sounds can aid us in our Savasana, and Pranayama as well.

There’s also beauty in simplicity, and choosing to go with the sound of “silence” (haha) Having no music also lets us really be really present and aware with the environment, the sound of our breaths, the echo of the room, or perhaps if the class is set in an outdoor setting, the musical sounds of nature.. all play a part in our auditory stimulation of our practice.

So, Music or No music? What’s your preference?