Do you prefer doing yoga to silence or to music?
At gyms, community centers, and other non-studio settings, most teachers play soft, instrumental, unidentifiable New Age-y music throughout the class. At Iyengar, Ashtanga, and most serious studios, music is not a component. (Some flow teachers such as Shiva Rea do emphasize music in their sequences. Apparently, Rea might have six to a dozen “helpers” marching around to assist students, but she holds tight the deejay mantle and picks particular songs for particular sequences.)
The first yoga class I took was at a university gym. My teacher played music (although she never did so at her own studio). She said that in a loud, distracting gym setting, the music creates a mental focus for students. It helps them to concentrate on the yoga in the room, rather than on whatever’s happening outside.
I can think of only one Iyengar teacher who uses music to accompany asanas. That’s Ramanand Patel, and he uses a live vocalist, Mukesh Desai. But that’s a rare collaboration and only one type of workshop that he teachers.
In a community class that I will teach soon, I am debating about whether to play music or not. What’s your take on yoga with music? If you give music a thumbs up, what type of music do you prefer? Classical, jazz, Indian instruments, whale sounds?
If you give music (muzak?) a thumbs down, why?
Labels such as Windham Hill have long produced yoga CDs like this 1998 release, featuring the usual “smooth jazz” suspects, including, yikes, Yanni!
Other recommendations, please.