Music For Yoga

Yoga is a deep and beautiful world. The movement, breathing, and focus of hatha yoga is an unfolding journey of infinite depth. I have practiced many different styles of yoga and have been lucky enough to travel to quite a few yoga centers and study with different great teachers. On any given day, I follow the simple guideline to practice the style that my body needs most in the moment. 

I love listening to music while practicing yoga. Music affects the body and mind just as much as yoga does, so why not combine the two? For flow yoga, there are more great options becoming available all the time - tracks with a good flowing beat and not so many words. For this style of flow, you really ought to check out Byron Metcalf. I am huge fan of his work. He is an amazing drummer with a shamanic edge. You can flow to his stuff: www.byronmetcalf.com 

For the gentler styles of yoga: Therapeutic, Restorative, Yin, and Gentle, it can be harder to find the right music due to the simple fact that most music is too busy to accompany these styles. Sometimes a teacher will turn to new age music. While there are many fine composers in this category, it somehow seems inevitable that any extended period of calmness will be intruded upon by an overly busy flute, which is really not what I want to hear while hanging out in Resting Butterfly Pose. Ironically, it seems like there is an onus that composers in the new age genre place on themselves to prove that they are "real" musicians, and this results in music that, although voiced with "calming" instruments, ends up hyperactive. That said, there are a few stars from this genre. I could listen to Anugama's Shamanic Journey album for hours on end (and have!). 

An interesting alternative is the ambient music genre. The ethos in ambient is different, and is home to some incredibly innovative sounds and textures. The biggest issue with playing pieces from ambient for a yoga practice is that for some unknown reason, many ambient musicians have a love affair with dissonance. Similar to the intruding flute in new age pieces, almost any calm and beautiful section of an ambient piece is going to be interrupted by some dissonant tone that sounds like twisted metal banging out a flat 5th. Artistically, that can be a really interesting statement to make, but not really appropriate for yoga. 

Probably the best and most lauded composer in this genre, and a personal favorite of mine, is Brian Eno. Music for Airports is a great starting place if you are new to his work but all of his albums are brilliant. You can also try any of the tracks from my albums Slow Wave Journey or Angels In The Atmosphere, which were recorded purposefully with yoga and meditation in mind.

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