In many times we would add a little “spice” to our practice by playing music along. So what is the actual benefit of music and how we can make use of music to aid our practice/teaching?
Studies on medicinal properties of music show that music can decrease anxiety and lower cortisol more effectively in patients about to undergo surgery than those who took anti-anxiety drugs. Music can also allow a person to enter a “flow state”, a term coined by the renowned psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”
Though different music can trigger different emotions, all are created based on certain structure and theory. For example, a piece of music can be segmented into groups of 8 beats; and in many pop music, energy increases during the first 4 beats, and decreases during the second 4 beats. This kind of scientific and logical structure can help keep us focused, and align or guide our mental or physical activities.
Below are some collection of my personal favorite playlist:
Our studios are always enclosed and relatively constrained space. Our mind and body would like to set free and be closer to nature during practice, even more so if we live in a concrete jungle environment. Making use of thematic sound can help to bring nature closer to our mind.
Imagine yoga in the rain, with calming crackling sound of raindrop falling onto leaves; or in the winter snow (in which we would never experience in this tropical island), with squeaky and crunchy sound of snow and occasional howling wind; or near a flowing river – stream burbles as it travels along its bed, bubbling over rocks and branches; or by the sea, with rhythmic sound of waves oozing onto the beach; or just simply with birds’ beautiful chirping (not the local signature aggravating “Ku-oo” call from Asian Koel).
Every chakra has a frequency it responds to. The sound, frequency, and vibration of musical notes and music reverberates through the body, thus easily facilitating the release of what is stuck. And “sound healing” is getting popular nowadays. There are many Chakra cleansing or awakening playlists out there: like this, this and this ;this playlist even has seed mantra chanting alongside music. It is also interesting to just toggle through the soundtrack to sense the different frequencies across, corresponding to different chakras.
[Building your own mix] It is very fun to prepare your own sequence for class and create mix accordingly. Unleash your creativity! I build this playlist for my advanced class – some light music for initiation and pranayama, gradual increment in bpm for warm-up and build-up to more powerful beat for intensive core and inversion workout, eventually a satisfying relaxation for cool-down.