I wonder if, in a post-Darwinian age of animal ethology (the study of animal minds), we simply know too much about animal emotions and intelligence to look millions of pigs and cows in the eye—animals raised with sincere affection and concern—and kill them.
People have a lot of opinions about music in a yoga class (and about everything else, but that’s a whole other piece).
Some people believe no music is the best method while others prefer only instrumental tunes accompanying their practice—some teachers just hit “shuffle” and see what the universe is mixing. To each his own right?
Music is a very personal thing and music in a yoga class is no different. A tune can sometimes drop us further in or pull us away from our focus entirely. In fact, I have actually had a woman walk out of my class suggesting that “western music doesn’t have a place in a yoga class”.
But in my opinion, it absolutely does. Especially in the wild west of yoga…
Yoga has changed a lot over the years. Initially, there were no standing postures. Most (all) asanas were performed seated. Then when the masters saw how sedentary us westerners were, they prescribed standing poses to invigorate the legs. These standing postures prepared our bodies for stillness in seated meditation and pranayama. Over the years, the practice has gone through many translations and many traditions, all to accommodate the changing lifestyles and personalities of the students interested in the practice.
Some people may even view this as a step away from the sacred lineage. But isn’t just meeting the student where they are? Isn’t this what we are practicing at the end of the day? Meeting ourselves with a sense of inquiry and observation instead of judgment?
One of my main goals as a yoga teacher is to inspire my students. A lot of us move through life “doing” without an opportunity to be with the intricacies of our bodies and minds. And I’ve got to tell ya, there’s a lot going on in these bodies we walk around with each day. I strive to inspire, but in order to inspire my students I have to be inspired as well. One of my main sources of inspiration is music. This is why I feel that it fits perfectly in the context of my classroom.
This playlist has some of my favorite tunes (right now) on it. There are some tunes without words, which allow you to drop into your own internal dialogue. Seeing the chitta chatter in all it’s glory! The word “inspire” can be simply defined: Breathe In (hopefully you’ll find that track especially invigorating). Crushed Ice is in the middle of the playlist to remind you to lighten up and have fun. Maybe Yearning by DJ Drez will tug on your heart strings as much as it did mine—vulnerability is a beautiful strength in asana.
Just as I don’t teach something that I haven’t practiced, I don’t play any playlist without having listened to it from beginning to end—dozens of times. I am still rocking this mix in class today and I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.
Iyengar “was in favor of people coming to yoga however they did.” One time Schumacher saw him lecture in Washington and heard an attendee say: I’m too busy with work and family and housework to get in a really substantive practice. “He said, ‘Why don’t you stand on one leg while you’re doing the rice?’”
Stop. Yoga time. Having a #shantimoment with @joyceel29 💗💗💗 (at Yoga Shanti NYC)
I always say, “Fold your blankets like your mom is watching you make your bed”