My first real creative outlet as a child of 7 or so was taking piano lessons. In middle school I played percussion (xylophone and timpani were my favorite). Eventually as a teenager, sports and other pursuits took precedence of my time but my love for all sorts of music continued to grow and inspire me to no end. (In fact, I am now playing ukelele, some other percussive instruments, and singing in a newly formed group with my 2 close gal friends!)
When my best friend introduced me to the Icelandic band, Sigur Ros, about 7 years ago something changed. I had never before heard music with such emotional, spiritual, physical beauty. And at that time I was very much into my yoga practice. I was about to start my teacher training and I was figuring out what lots of things in life meant to me. I started playing Sigur Ros albums during my home practice and felt new sensations occur in all forms. And, so I knew that when I decided to teach my own classes I would play music and it would be different. I chose to center my classes not simply around New Age/Yoga tunes all the time. But around music from all over the world that inspire me and make me feel something. To me, music allows us to get out of our heads, to feel what we need to at that moment, to "tune in." And coordinating those vibes with body movement, plus the mental/spiritual movement in yoga can simply be transforming. From Sigur Ros, I've opened myself to playing all different artists, but they remain a key sound for my classes, and Iceland is one of my largest sources of inspiration. Which is why I'll be taking a group of yogis there this September on a Yoga retreat to experience it first hand. I'll have a post with how to sign up to come, but feel free to e-mail me if you have any immediate questions. :)
In the latest June issue of Yoga Journal magazine, there is an entire article talking of just this. It's titled "Let the Music Move You." I enjoyed this article because it allows for both points of view and gives some nice insight about music and yoga. I've had both sides of the coin brought up to me about music being played in my class. What it comes down to is the individual choices of each teacher, and I've found my voice and creative expression through music. Michael Franti of Spearhead says in the YJ article, "Music can enhance your practice or take you away from examining yourself. Which is why we practice. Music, at its best, helps us go deeper within ourselves....combining yoga with music can really open the doors to our hearts, which allows us to release more freely." Love that.
You may not always connect to the music played in a class. And my classes usually embrace some strange stuff at times. ;) I only hope that the tunes will help you all open yourselves and tune in to your mats in whichever way that may be for you.
Check out my old and new playlists to practice to at home, or get creative and make ones that speak to you!