Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Yoga & Music

by Jano Galindo
Having the right music in your yoga class is essential to the overall experience. As a practitioner, you may not be aware of how much consideration your instructor has put into their musical selections. When all the elements come together there should be a blend of great instruction and music that enhances the transformations that occur in your practice.

The Music in your practice is best related to the breath. Your breathing should have a pattern and a rhythm. This is the best way to keep the thoughts in your mind occupied on the breath. Your job would be to keep these patterns and rhythms consistent throughout your practice. Music is an unseen, intangible element. It draws its force from the atmosphere and is translated in notes, harmonies, vibrations and rhythms. When composed with the intention of healing, it has the properties to touch the highest aspects of the self. It is a sub-conscious direct connection to the soul or atman and it is here where there's healing power. It's here where you have mental, emotional, physical and spiritual transformation. These experiences take place only in the present moment. The beauty of music is that it's designed to immerse you completely in the present and no where else.

When instructing a yoga class my first intention is to create a sequence that challenges you and takes you to a place within yourself that allows change and shift. 

The music selections that I use in my classes have been fine tuned to enhance these shifts and changes. It is moving, inspiring, elemental, atmospheric, rhythmic and full of love. Just like the sequence of postures, the music has a beginning that creates an atmosphere. The song selections create more of a soundscape with natural sounds and less rhythm. This allows you to begin the journey within. All the students that come into the practice are coming from so many different places. The beginning selection of music and postures is designed to bring everyone together, set a personal intention and create a group energy.

As the pace of the class goes from the introduction into moving the body to generate heat and prepare for the flow of the practice, the music has to accommodate these changes. There is percussive rhythms introduced, the tempo is still moderate allowing for a build and there is more context to the melodies and harmonies. I tend to keep to the idea of textural soundscapes and interlude type of instrumentals here. The ultimate focus is to keep the students in a inward exploration.

The intention of the instructor is revealed towards the building and peak of the class, it is essential that the selections do not distract or take anything away from the ultimate goal of union between the breath, body and mind. This is where I find it the most challenging in having the appropriate selections. This is when the instructor has more liberty in song selection, and it can either make or break the class. As in most things in life, less is more. Your tempos can build but you should consider avoiding house or techno type tempos. I tend to keep my choice of songs more in the lounge or chill categories, where you can find steady tempo beats that don't rush but still allow for a great push. If your class has a peak, there should be a peak song as well. This does not imply a peak tempo, but a song that goes with whichever intention there is for the class. For example if I am teaching a balancing sequence as a peak, I don't want to have song selections that may be distracting, but steady and consistent with little to no vocals.

In closing your practice with cool down postures, the idea would be to allow for the attention to re-focus towards the inside. The final postures and songs should be set with the intention of achieving the ultimate experience in savasana. If you think of all your posture and song selections as a preparation for savasana, your experience with putting together a playlist will have a clearer intention and serve a greater purpose. The final song for savasana is the most crucial. In the end you have to trust that your song selections are not going to betray you but enhance and allow for a deeper experience in the asana. 

I have about 10 or so songs that I have come trust, check some of them out here:

Savasana Playlist 
Om Prana by Rara Avis
Featured on the album Beneath the Radar 

Sol. by Ishq.
Featured on the album Orchid

Shiva's Flute by Shaman's Dream
Featured on the Yang mix Bom Shiva 

Claire de Lune by The Philadelphia Orchestra

To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra

Vishranti by Dave Eggar Quartet 

Awakening by Benjy Wertheimer and Michael Mandrell
Featured on the album Anjali 

Lotus Heart by Desert Dwellers
Featured on the album DownTemple Dub: Waves  

Cave Dwellings by Liquid Bloom
Featured on the Yang mix Prabuddhah Beat

Shanti (Peace Out) by MC Yogi
Featured on the album Elephant Power 

Learn more about Jano Galindo, including his teaching schedule, at janogalindo.com/

1 comment:

  1. Amazing post by an amazing leader in our yoga community, representing Chula Vista and always doing us proud. Jano is always inspiring in his teachings, classes, knowledge, practice as well as being putting together a music playlist that motivates, inspires but never distracts. Love my teacher!