Truthfully, I prefer to practice yoga sans music, but because I know this isn’t everyone’s preference, I do typically play music when I teach. Because yoga is about turning energy inward and working towards stilling the mind, I've personally found that music, especially the pop music that often ends up on yoga playlists, can be very distracting.
"Silence is the language of Om. We need silence to be able to reach our Self. Both internal and external silence are very important to feel the presence of that supreme love." –Amit Ray
That being said, I’ve found that in my classes it can beneficial to have some quiet, atmospheric music playing softly in the background—both for ambiance and to give students something to focus on when they find their minds starting to wander.
Over the past few months, I’ve been searching around Spotify, making my office sound like a spa, trying to find the best of the best of “Yoga Music”. There’s a whole slew of albums full of pan flutes and babbling brooks out there, but I wanted to see if I could find something a little less…cheesy?
These are my top picks thus far. All have been put to the test in my Monday night Candlelit Hatha Slow-Flow class and get my seal of approval. Are there any that I'm missing? Let me know!
My Favorite Albums for Yoga Teaching
Flying & Voyage by Garth Stevenson: Both albums are pure perfection, I could play him in every single class and never get tired of it.
Music to Die to & Music Meditations by East Forest: Really beautiful, peaceful music. What I love about these albums is that they include vocals, but in a very subtle way.
The Brooklyn Sessions by Nada Sadhana: This one's a little more upbeat but still very chill.
One River by Benjy Wertheimer: Every time I play this one in class people tell me how much they love it.
Electronic Flow by Sol Rising: A new favorite, I'm loving this album.
Prana Pulse by Shamans Dream: Also a little more on the upbeat side, but it arcs with the flow of a class very well (quiet in the beginning and end, more lively in the middle).
The Music of Only Breath by Jami Sieber: This one is Garth Stevenson-esque, cellos and peaceful instrumentals.
Om Sweet Om by Lisbeth Scott: This album reminds me of when I worked in a greenhouse in high school and we'd have Loreena McKennitt playing on repeat. Classic yoga music.
Yoga Meditations by Sayama: On the "Classic Yoga Music" side of things as well, with harmoniums, singing bowls, and sitars.
Gravity is Quiet by Dr. Toast: I'd call this one, "Modern Yoga Music". Upbeat but still good to create a mellow atmosphere.
Journey Home by Parijat: Some pleasant yoga guitars and flutes.
Long Ambients: Calm. Sleep. by Moby: Chill AF. For your quietest classes, you probably won't even notice that there's music on at all (in a good way).
The Man Who Died in His Boat by Grouper: Really lovely, quiet album with subtle vocals.
Reflection by Brian Eno: This album is essentially one 54 minute yoga song. Perfect.
Waters of Miriam by Josh Brill: Same comments as the Moby album really: Chill AF