music for your practice
Although a yoga practice is not about the music, as householder yogis- most of us agree that music has the power to transport the emotional and physical aspects of our practice. I always take it as a heartfelt compliment when a student comes up after class to ask about a particular song. So often in my personal practice a song comes on that I just feel- dropping me deeper in to my body, moving with the tempo, breathing -and often- plopping me right down in front of some heavy feels.
When I first started teaching I spent so much time pain-painstakingly creating playlists that it was taking up almost as much time as planning my classes. I wanted to take students on a 1.25 hour journey with my music and let me tell you- I became a wee bit possessive. ;) I don't sit down and bang out my playlists like I used to. Now, my playlists often evolve naturally over the course of weeks and are strung together in the context of my own personal practices. Below, I share a story of why I decided to make my playlists public and how as a yoga teacher, you can start making your playlists confidently, efficiently and with ease!
I wanted to take students on a 1.25 hour journey with my music and let me tell you- I became a wee bit possessive.
A couple summers ago I was attending a yoga festival and had one of those really spiritual moments during a song I was unfamiliar with. At the end of the chanting I had tears streaming down my face as did so many around me. We had all been cracked wide open. The speaker, shewhomustnotbenamed, asked if anyone in the audience had any questions about the Kundalini practice we had just done- and she made her way to the back of the tent where one woman had her hand raised. The microphone was handed to her and she said "I don't know about any of the rest of you but wow, I just, wow, what was that song?" Yasss! I want to know the song too I thought.
"I don't know about any of the rest of you but wow- I just-wow. What was that song?" Yasss! I want to know the song too I thought.
Shewhomustnotbenamed responded "Wow, of the hundreds of people in this tent I chose you and you are going to waste your question asking what the name of that song was?" I felt a little part of myself sink as I watched the instructor skip away as the girl sat back down. What was that I thought as I silently packed the contents of my heart back into my chest and sealed the entry.
Fast forward to where I am now. A teacher with a huge, awesome library of playlists that I have spent SO LONG creating. Guess what is also in there? THAT song, Ek Ong Car by Satnam Kaur. And it's still sooo good and still gets me in the feels every time.
So back to how I used to fiercely guard my playlists because I thought I had some creative ownership over ordering things nicely. I was enjoying an early morning class at my studio after having taught in the same studio the night before. The teacher was having all sorts of problems getting her music to connect and to my ab.so.lute. horror started playing MY playlist from the night before (my phone, which was downstairs in my bag was still connected to the system). Literally the vrittis were on fire. People came up to her after class to compliment it and a repressed Veruca Salt inside of me was silently demanding recognition.
To admit this now is still painfully embarrassing. But I think it is important, for my growth as a teacher, to be brutally honest about my downfalls. I am airing out my dirty laundry because (a) I am human but) more importantly I KNOW I am not alone in this. Did we write the lyrics? No. Did we play the notes? No. What DID we do? We wove together the creative work of others. Did we invent the yoga poses? No. We wove together the creative work of others. To make a playlist is to make a yoga sequence. See what I am getting at here?
I ripped the proverbial band-aid off. I cleaned up the organization of my Spotify account with the love and attention that I gift to a dear friend.
And it felt so bleeping good.
My favorite yoga tunes by some of the most incredible artists out there are available for any yogi searching for a little background music to inspire practice.
How to organize now, so you can make bomb-ass playlists in under 15 minutes.