Creating A “Feel Good” Yoga Playlist
Music and motion are intricately intertwined. The benefits of listening to music are quite well known. The right music can reduce blood pressure, cause the release of dopamine (the feel-good transmitter in the brain) and can improve muscle function. Sound familiar? When looking at music through the lens of Yoga, we find an important relationship with connections at the cellular level. It’s only natural to pair one with the other.
In most Yoga classes the teacher will play a pre-made list of songs that harmonize with the theme of the class. An appropriately themed Yoga playlist can enhance the warmth and feel of any class. Many students like to move with the beat of the music, or get lost in the vibrations during a restorative class. Music can help the Yogi drop out of the thinking mind, and surrender to the class.
Whether you’re a Yogi or a yoga teacher, you may want to have a piggy bank of songs that you can practice to. Easy right? That’s what I thought when I set out to find music for my classes that I teach. I wanted one for yin and one for flow. Wow, was that easier said than done. I can’t tell you how many hours I scrolled and searched through Spotify to find the perfect Yoga playlist. After several attempts, I realized there wasn’t one that suited my needs as a teacher and also resonated with my style and personal preference. So, I decided to create my own.
I’ve learned a lot through this process, including ways of making it much easier. These tips have helped me make three playlists for every theme of Yoga I teach, and a few playlists for my personal practice. This is what I would like to share with you! If you like, I’ve also provided a My Vinyasa Practice Exclusive Yoga Flow Playlist at the end of this post.
Happy Creating & Enjoy!
Step 1. Create 3 Playlists In Spotify
Make three playlists and label them as follows-
- “New Music Slow”- slow, vibration-y music, maybe with chanting (instrumentals)
- “New Music Fast”- vibrant, engaging music, faster maybe with words (popular songs)
- “New Music Fun”- different & outside your comfort zone (I recommend Chill-Hop!)
The reason behind step one is to keep the new music you are finding separated by the style. This will make the actual creation of the playlist MUCH easier!
Step 2. Search For Your Music & Skip To The Midpoint of The Song
When searching for Yoga music on Spotify, you will come upon a lot of different options. Most are playlists created by other users like you and I. If you happen to find a playlist that resonates with you, congrats! You can skip the rest of these steps. If not, then you will probably pick and choose songs from the many that are available. Ask yourself if you prefer songs with lyrics, or without and if you are okay with expletive music. If not, make sure you screen your songs before adding them to your list. What I do is listen to the first 20 seconds, then skip to the middle of the song. If I like it, I will save it to the appropriate playlist I created in step one. Don’t worry, there will be an extra step later on to listen to the whole song. This helps us save time in the beginning, and create a large bank of songs for future use.
(I would add 15-20 songs to each playlist then move onto step 3)
Step 3. Decide The Theme of Your Playlist
Is it Yin? Restorative? Vinyasa? Power? For Kids? Or Seniors?
Identifying the theme of the playlist is just as important as identifying the theme of your Yoga class. You want your music choices to reflect the atmosphere of the class you’ve created for your students or yourself. Keep in mind, when creating a playlist for seniors or students who are hearing impaired, you will want to stick with medium frequencies that aren’t overpowering. You will also want to refrain from using songs with lyrics, as it might distract your students from the sound of your voice. Just as we do while teaching, it’s important to play to your audience.
Step 4. Time To Make The Playlist
Yoga playlists for Yin & Restorative classes can use slow and steady songs in any order. You may choose your favorite song for last, and use it for Savasana. If this is the type of playlist you want, create a new playlist and name it appropriately. Then, go to your “New Slow Music” playlist and add 10-12 songs to it. Once finished, skip through the songs and add up how many minutes they total. This will ensure your playlist is long enough to last an entire class.
Yoga playlists for faster types of Yoga like Vinyasa and Power are trickier to assemble and require more work. If this is the type of playlist you want, create a new playlist and name it appropriately. As we add songs to this playlist, we want to mimic the components of a flow type class. Those components are-
- Setting the breath
- Warm Up
- Flow to Peak
- Cool Down
- Backbends & Inversions
To do this we use the following template as a guideline
- 10-15 minutes of “New Music Slow”
- 25-30 minutes of “New Music Fast” & “New Music Fun”
- 15-25 minutes of “New Music Slow”
*Make sure the song you choose for Savasana is long enough to make it through the entire duration of the pose. That way there’s no distractions when the music switches.
Step 5. Lastly, Listen & Practice at Home
The final step involves listening to the whole playlist during my personal practice. This allows me to listen to the entirety of the songs and adjust the order if I need to. Keep in mind these playlists should flow, and the songs should transition softly. If you are a Yoga teacher, practice your sequence to the playlist for the best feel.
My Vinyasa Practice Exclusive Yoga Playlist
Keep in mind these songs are meant to be played in order
- Bridges- Koresma
- Late Blossom- Hai Le
- To the Sun- Sol Rising
- Inspiration Drive- DJ Taz Rashid
- One Day They’ll Know- Pretty Lights
- Episodes- Mishegas
- Attente- Beauvois
- Star Dwellers- Dreamers Delight
- Sugar Drop 77- DJ Drez
- Chihiro- Yoste
- An Ending, a Beginning- Dustin O’Halloran