Does music help you get into your flow, or does it turn up the volume of your busy monkey mind?
Teachers are split when it comes to offering music during classes. Some teachers always teach with music while others are adamantly opposed to using music. And of course there’s a third group – the classic yoga teacher answer… it depends!
As a teacher, I personally love using music as a tool to set the energy of my class. I design each playlist based on the intent of my yoga class. Some of my playlists are soft and slow for a meditative or gentle yoga class. Other playlists are upbeat and increase the energy for a strong vinyasa class.
However, some teachers and students get very distracted by music. They will bob their head to the beat of the music or sing the lyrics. This obviously takes them out of their practice and out of their body.
Therefore, if you choose to use music in your class, you’ll want to follow a few important guidelines.
Rules for using music in your yoga class
Choose Unpopular Songs
Music can elicit a very powerful emotional response. You may love listening to Adele’s deep, passionate voice but one of your students may have gotten their heart broken to one of her songs. Hearing a song that evokes a negative or positive emotion will take them out of their yoga practice and into the memories of the song.
“You never know someone else’s journey – choose songs wisely to minimize emotional responses and memories.”
No Lyrics During Savasana
During savasana or other periods of meditation, we practice pratyhara, or withdrawal of the senses. It’s very hard to ignore the lyrics of a song, especially if it’s a popular song. Play instrumental songs or chanting during savasana to help your students withdraw their senses and go deeper in their meditation.
Don’t Rely On Music
Technical issues will happen! There will inevitably come a day when the speakers don’t work or your phone will die before class. You can’t always control the technical issues in your class so learn to be flexible. Be okay teaching a class without music. Cue participants to listen to their breath, or journey deeper inside. Never rely on your music to teach the class.
Choose Songs With Minimal Lyrics
Similar to number two, lyrics can be distracting for your students during class, but they can also be distracting for the teacher. Have you ever shouted over your music so you can be heard? If the music or lyrics are too loud, they will compete with the teacher’s voice making him/her hard to hear. Be very aware of the volume of your lyrics is you do choose to use them in class. If you teach seniors, NEVER use lyrics in your yoga class since they have a really hard time distinguishing your voice from the lyrics.
Use Music As A Tool, Not Your Entire Class
Music is ONE tool in your yoga class, not the entire class. People go to ‘da club when they want to jam out to music. People go to yoga class when they want to take a personal inward journey. As a yoga teacher, you have a lot of different tools in your toolbox to give your class a positive experience. Use ALL the tools in your toolbox like lighting, verbal cues, voice projection, sequencing, etc. to give your students a positive experience.
Always spend more time developing your sequence than your playlist!!
Music can be a powerful motivator or a huge distraction. Choosing the right music and playing it at the right time can change the energy in your class. As a teacher, it’s your job to control the energy of the class so make sure to choose your music appropriately.
If you want to use music in your class then I suggest looking up a couple different playlists and musicians. Next week, I’ll share one of my favorite playlists and artists! This week, challenge yourself and move outside your comfort zone. If you always teach with music, try a silent class. If you never teach with music, try playing a few songs. Be flexible and adaptable with your classes!
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