Sarah Fretwell

Yoga, Movement, Mobility, Wellness

Yoga and music: match made in heaven?


There's a lot of stigma attached to modern yoga, especially from traditionalists, some of whom maintain that music in a yoga class is a distraction. When I first started practising yoga, I remember practising on Yogaglo with Elena Brower and Kathryn Budig, neither of which played any sort of music in their classes.

I also remember taking classes during my training, and discovering that music could lift me up to my highest potential while I held a pose, making me feel that I was truly embodying the pose rather than 'doing' it.

I now practise yoga with music all the time, and one of my favourite things to do is to make a great playlist that is tailored to the class I'm teaching. I highly recommend that you try it out - before your home practice, just compile on Spotify or whatever music platform you're using, a (roughly) 12 song playlist (for a one hour class) made up of your favourite tunes.

Some tips are to start off with slow, low-tempo, soft and preferably a wordless song for your meditation. Then, thinking about starting to move some more in your warm-up, choose two to three slow but more rhythmic songs with a beat. For sun salutations, if you're doing them, you want some music that really gets you flowing, faster-tempo, upbeat and uplifting songs that will make you want to move.

For the standing postures, think about empowering songs that can help you lift higher, embody the pose more, go that little bit further in your pose.

Moving into the lunar section of the class, which might include backbends, hip openers and seated poses, you want to start slowing the music down, and adding a bit more soul. There can still be a beat, but try and make it a slow beat, as the lunar section of yoga is all about calming down, slowing the heart-rate, introspection and longer held poses.

Finally, savasana. Here, choose a tune that has no beat. This is important, because you want to allow yourself to completely zone-out and sink into your mat without any distractions. Anything that has a slightly hypnotic chant to it, or mellow classical music will work. Just make sure that it allows you to totally relax, as Savasana is a pose of total relaxation and surrender.