I know it has been a while since I’ve written anything about cool yoga music. To explain the absence, I’ve gone through a bout of angst and upheaval as I’ve questioned the music I play during yoga classes. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and yes, I know this will probably be a surprise for some of you, but I’ve had a change of heart about my yoga class playlists.
No, I’m still not going to play harpy new age music; rather, I’m opting for a peaceful musical accompaniment that will allow my students to relax, let go, and simply be.
I’ll be playing more music without vocals, and when the songs do have lyrics, I’m avoiding songs that may conjure up feelings that shouldn’t be conjured on the yoga mat. Instead, I want to foster the ability for students to get out of their heads and stay mindful of their body and breath.
Has this been easy? Hell no. I’m struggling to find the right mix of music that isn’t too blaring or too airy-fairy, and I still want to include upbeat music during the portions of class with moving standing flows. I’ve been pulling out a lot of my favorite jazz CDs, and the awesome Twitter yoga community helped me out with some of the recommendations below. I’m opening up and expanding my musical horizons.
Opening Breath Meditation and Warm Up
“The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter” – William Ackerman from Windham Hill: The First Ten Years
Check out the fall foliage in this video, and then close your eyes like Will and get into the flow of the music and your body.
“Colors/Dance” – George Winston from Windham Hill: The First Ten Years
Back in the eighties when I was listening to groups like Wham! and Duran Duran, Windham Hill was working hard to put the new age music genre on the map by introducing new and talented artists. Each year they put out an album with their top picks of the year and in 1990 on their tenth anniversary they put out this 2-CD set of greatest hits. I went to this collection a few times for relaxing acoustic guitar and piano tunes.
Standing Asanas and Sun Salutations
“Someone Like You” – Aston
Please take a listen to the video of this cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” performed by a group of 20-something college Aussies by the name of Aston. These kids all studied at the Sydney Conservatory of Music and have created a debut album that is pretty phenomenal with classical covers of songs from Coldplay to Lady Gaga. You can download “Someone Like You” for FREE and check out the rest of the cuts from this album at bandcamp.com.
“Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu ” – Donna De Lory from Sanctuary
Check out this yogalicious live version of Donna performing at Bhakti Fest. This song translates to: “May all beings be happy and free. May all lives be a giving to this happiness, freedom for all, joy for all.” I gotta get myself to one of these Bhakti fests!
“Ganesha” – Wah! from the Yoga Revolution CD
The Yoga Revolution CD may just be one of my all-time favorite yoga CDs.
“Strength, Courage & Wisdom” – Indie.Arie from Acoustic Soul
Three words: strength, courage, wisdom. Lyrics that send a meaningful message will always have a place on my playlists.
“The Lantern” – Beats Antique from Tribal Derivations
I kind of jumped off into new musical horizons with this one. I found Beats Antiques through a Twitter recommendation. This is what you get when you mash-up Middle Eastern and belly dance music with hip-hop and electronic. I call it FWF (funky world fusion).
“Intro” – The xx from their debut album, xx
Another great rec. from my Twitter yoga peeps. The xx is the name of an indie rock band from the UK. If you think you’ve heard this song before, you probably have, because it has been featured in many television shows. This song had a cool vibe, and I’m thinking the sleek sounds of this band may make it to more of my yoga playlists.
Floor – Back Bends, Heart Openers, Hip Openers, Abdominals, and Twists
“Never Tear Us Apart” – Aston
I liked Aston so much that I had to throw in this super cool cover of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart.”
Another all-time favorite from Donna. I’ve used this song before and love the message.
“Twin Peaks Theme” – Angelo Badalamenti from the Twin Peaks soundtrack
I had a surreal Twin Peaks moment when I added this song to the playlist. I might be showing my age here, as I’m sure many of my younger students may never have heard of this cult-favorite TV series from the early nineties. I think this magical flowing theme is perfect for bringing a yoga class down into the final asanas that lead up to savasana.
“Be Here Now” – Ray LaMontagne – from the album Till The Sun Turns Back
This song will always be one of my all-time favorite savasana songs. After all the searching I did for the rest of the playlist, I had to pull out this trusty classic for the final relaxation pose.
“Afternoon Postlude Soliloquy” – Daniel Hecht from Windham Hill: The First Ten Years
I’m always in search of new (and old) sweet-sounding stuff, so please leave a comment below if you have suggestions or want to let me know what you think of my new musical styling.