How to Create a Perfect Yoga Playlist

yoga class

Making the perfect yoga music playlist can be a challenging part of being an instructor as the yoga playlist can have a significant effect on the pace, tempo, and enjoyment of your class. Finding the right Yogi songs to incorporate into your yoga playlist can help you create the ideal musical pairing with your class to make the music flow smoothly with the movements and enhance the practice. Creating the perfect yoga playlist requires more effort than simply adding songs to a playlist.

By taking the time to think through all of the different factors that will affect the effectiveness of your playlist before creating it and by following simple steps to test how well it is working, you can find a simple process to follow that allows you to create a motivating yoga playlist that pairs well with the yoga sequence you will be following in your class.

What to Consider Before Creating a Yoga Playlist

Audience

It is important to consider your audience when creating a yoga playlist. What type of individuals are in the class you are planning the playlist for? Is there a certain style of music that you think they will be more responsive to? A young audience may be looking for something more modern and upbeat than a more mature audience. Tailor your playlist accordingly.

Time of Day

The time of day when you teach your class should guide what types of music you compile for the playlist. Students taking your class will likely be looking for a different environment first thing in the morning then they will in the evening.

Class Style and Pace

Your song choices should be governed in large part by the class style and pace of the class. If you are teaching a restorative yoga class, then it may be best to have a slower tempo playlist that fosters a calming environment. If you are teaching a power flow class, then you will likely want a playlist that is different and aligns more closely with the style and pace of the class.

Environment

Many individuals do not take into consideration their environment when creating their yoga playlist, which can present issues. If you are teaching in a private studio you may create a different playlist then if you are teaching in a corporate gym.

Class Length

Your yoga playlist should be designed to fit within the class length and match the different phases of your class. If you are teaching a 90-minute class, for example, you will have more time to fill with various music, which can allow greater freedom. However, if you are limited to sixty minutes, then you will need to be more selective to pare down your playlist to fit within the class length.

Mood

Another consideration to keep in mind before you begin compiling your playlist is what mood you are trying to create and the time of year in which you are planning to teach it. Teaching a class in summer may warrant a different playlist than in winter. In addition, you may be looking to foster a particular mood within your class. If that is the case, it is important to pinpoint what the mood is before compiling your yoga playlist so that you can ensure your selections are creating the type of environment you are looking for.

Words Versus Instrumentals

Every yoga instructor creates a different classroom environment when they teach and different students respond accordingly. Do you want the songs you select to have words or do you want to include only instrumental songs in your playlist? Some individuals find words during practicing yoga to be distracting and promote the mind wandering, while others find it allows them to focus and adds to the effectiveness of the playlist. Some instructors find that a mix of instrumental music and songs with words is the right balance.

Song Length

When creating your yoga playlist, always be conscientious of the song length you are choosing and make sure it aligns well with how long the poses will be held during the class and the overall class length. If a song is too long, it can feel like it is dragging on. However, if your class has poses with longer holds, then switching songs mid-pose can be disruptive.

Silence

As a yoga instructor, you will need to determine whether or not you would like to incorporate silence into your class. Silence can be powerful when practicing yoga and can offer a welcome change from the music of the playlist.

With these considerations in mind, it is time to explore the steps of how to create a yoga playlist to ensure it is effective.

1. Start with Your Yoga Sequence

Before you start generating your yoga playlist, it is important to have your yoga sequence planned out. Go through your yoga sequence and take note of:

  • How many segments there are in the class
  • The transition periods in the sequence
  • What tempo music would pair well with them
  • Whether you want to incorporate any breaks or silence into the playlist

2. Tailor the Music to the Mood

As you start selecting music for your yoga playlist, be sure that it fits with the mood you want to foster in the yoga class and the style and pace of the class. Do you want your class to be calm and restorative? Would it be more fitting for it to be energetic and upbeat? The music you select for your class should complement the yoga sequence and foster a continuous, cohesive mood during the class.

3. Select Your Music Platform

As a part of the planning process for your yoga playlist, it is important to determine what music platform you will use so that you can compile your playlist appropriately. You may be creating a playlist using music you have downloaded directly to your phone or you may be relying on a streaming service to create your ideal yoga playlist. If using a streaming service, keep in mind that it often requires a monthly membership, generally with a small fee, to play music without commercial interruptions. Additionally, some streaming services allow users with memberships to download playlists that can be listened to in offline mode—without cellular service or wireless connection.

4. Test Your Yoga Playlist

Once you have compiled the songs you would like to include on your yoga playlist in the order you would like them to be played, it is vital practice your yoga sequence with the playlist. This will allow you to see where there are breaks in the flow of the music or where the songs selected don’t foster the mood you are looking for. As you go through your sequence, you can adjust as needed until the music aligns with the yoga sequence and creates a cohesive playlist that enhances the practice.

Benefits of Music During Yoga Practice

There are many benefits to having music incorporated during yoga practice.

  • Music can mask other sounds that may be distracting. Depending on the environment in which you are teaching, there can be a substantial amount of external noise that can permeate into your classroom and distract from your practice. Your playlist can control the tempo, pace, and environment fostered within the class and reduce external distractions.
     
  • Music can help guide the tempo and movements of the class. Music has the ability to foster a sense of peace and well-being in individuals and provide a framework to move their body in a way that mirrors the music. If you have designed an effective yoga playlist, it can help to guide the tempo of the class and the movements of the participants in the class so that the entire class is moving together in a way that is smooth and controlled, while also mirroring the music.
     
  • Music can help foster an effective, peaceful environment. The right yoga playlist can help to create a classroom environment that fosters peace, serenity, and focus throughout the yoga practice. The outside world is full of stress and responsibilities that weigh on individuals every single day. When they enter a yoga class, it is important to draw the focus away from these elements of life and shift that focus to their movements, breath, and environment.

Creating an effective yoga playlist that complements your yoga sequence can be a challenging task, but with the right preparation and planning, it is possible to create a yoga playlist that enhances your practice.


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This article was written as a combined effort of the editors for Chopra.com and the Chopra Centered Lifestyle community. The editors take advantage of the wisdom and knowledge at the Chopra Center through access to Master Educators, Program Developers, and Speakers, and bring you the healing wisdom in a simple, online format. Want to submit content for the editors to consider? Visit our content submission guidelines .Read more