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| 27.08.2020

Do Yoga and Music Work Together? [+ Free Yoga Playlists]

Everyone loves music. And since you’re at TINT Magazine, we assume you also love yoga. But what about the combination of yoga and music? Music can not only help deepen your meditation practice but can also have a lot of benefits for your yoga practice. Let’s explore how that works – and how to create your own yoga playlists.

“While words go through your ears into your brain, music goes directly into your heart.”

– Young Ho Kim.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the topic of yoga and music. After a quick recap on the science behind yoga and music, you will find tips on how to find the best music for your yoga practice, where to find free yoga playlists and the best online classes for your yoga practice. If you want to know why music is important for us humans, and thus also in yoga, check out this article.

1. The Theory Behind Yoga and Music

Listening to music is associated with a number of health benefits, for instance reduction of anxiety and stress symptoms. Interestingly, we don’t exactly know why music is beneficial for humans. One of the reasons why we love music is that it helps people reach a “flow state” – an optimal state of being that is usually reserved for elite-level athletes and famous musicians. With music, everyone can reach it, and help bring their creativity to life. 

The word “flow” is often associated with Vinyasa yoga, where the cue “flow” is used by the teacher to help students focus on their breath and movements. Ready to focus on your breath? We offer you a number of Vinyasa classes on TINT, like the Himalaya Slow Vinyasa by Dong Gu Yeo, Embrace Softness by Alexandra Harfield, the Strength & Grace Yoga workshop by Barbra Noh or Mathieu Boldron’s Wild Flow

There is also the yoga of sound: Nada yoga. The Sanskrit word nada means “sound”, meaning nada yoga means – the yoga of sound. While there are no official categories of nada yoga, the concept can be separated, for instance, into mantras (spiritual words that are repeated during practice), chants (devotional music and songs), and sounds without mantras or chants.

Music, while highly emotional, is fundamentally based on logic. Modern songs are based on an 8-beat structure. The beats per minute (bpm) of modern songs are usually between 50bpm and 120bpm. Young Ho Kim, founder of Inside Flow, advises using a lower range of bpm for “soothing and relaxing” yoga classes, and a higher bpm rate for classes with “exciting energy”. 

2. How Can You Combine Yoga and Music?

Yoga and music are a beautiful combination. It has existed for centuries, yoga practice usually being associated with spiritual music and instruments such as a gong or string instruments. Mantras and chants have been associated with yoga for just as long. Today, the yoga style most deeply intertwined with music is Young Ho Kim’s Inside Flow

Inside Flow lets you “move with the music and embody the energy of the song”. To achieve this, Inside Flow uses music as a “catalyst”, helping yogis “unify mind, breath and movement”. This yoga style is rooted in Vinyasa yoga but has long since grown into its own, using modern music as a tool to help you achieve your yoga dreams.

Go with the Flow with our variety of Inside Flow classes on TINT, for example Stand Up or Supermarket Flowers by Young Ho Kim. Ready to become an Inside Flow Yoga Teacher yourself? With the Inside Flow Academy, you can become a yoga teacher from the comfort of your own home – on TINT.

Subscribe to TINT on YouTube to learn more about becoming an Inside Flow Yoga Teacher with the Inside Flow Academy.

Some yogis feel that music distracts them from their yoga practice, making it more difficult to focus on their breath. However, Young Ho Kim disagrees with this notion. In his opinion, “the right music at the right moment can enhance awareness of the present moment”.

Furthermore, Inside Flow recognizes music as the “gateway to your inner soul” – a “holy” and “universal” concept that helps “overcome language barriers” and can thus “connect people” in a way that other elements cannot. For Inside Flow, it is this combination of movement, breath and music that enables yogis to convey the message they want to spread even more clearly.

Young Ho Kim explains that since yoga aims to reach the hearts of the people practicing it through physical movement, using music in order to facilitate reaching this goal makes music a “powerful tool for yoga teachers”. 

However, music can be distracting to your yoga practice, if used incorrectly. Playing the wrong music in the wrong volume at the wrong moment can be a distraction, which is why you have to find the best yoga music for your yoga practice. But what is the best yoga music?

3. What’s the Best Yoga Music?

What this constitutes for the individual yogi is as unique as everything in your yoga practice. Some yogis may not like to listen to heavy metal during their practice. For others, chanting music makes it more difficult to concentrate on their inner voice. 

Before Inside Flow, combining hip hop with a vinyasa class was unthinkable to many yoga practitioners. And yet, nowadays, contemporary music of all genres has become accepted in the yoga community. Although some will argue that only spiritual music or no music can be used during yoga. 

Young Ho Kim’s Hip Hop Vinyasa Sweat on TINT combines hip hop with a vinyasa class. Photograph by TINT.

What this shows, is that preferences vary from yogi to yogi, and in the end, it’s all about reaching health and happiness in your own way. 

Furthermore, it’s physically impossible to be silent, since “noise is everywhere”. So why not use yoga and music to balance this noise? That is why for Young Ho Kim, it’s not important to ask whether or not to use music during yoga, but rather how to integrate music into your yoga class. Today, everything is possible in the realm of yoga – even listening to jazz during your meditation practice.

Music can also be great as a gateway to creative sequencing for your yoga class, which is also one of the foundations of Inside Flow

Curious about Inside Flow? Take a look at our Inside Flow classes, such as Alexey Gaevskij’s Stand Alone, Young Ho Kim’s Run for your Life or our Inside Flow Pillow Talk. Still in the Flow? Head over to the Inside Flow Academy Online Teacher Training to become an Inside Flow Teacher from the comfort of your own home and in your own time.

3.1. Does Every Kind of Music Fit Every Kind of Yoga?

That’s a question that divides yogis and yoginis everywhere. Most people agree that instrumental music fits yoga well. Mantra music and chant music are widely accepted, as well. However, this is where it gets complicated. Can you include pop music in your yoga practice? Hip hop music? Heavy metal, even? 

What is the best yoga music depends on a number of factors. Young Ho Kim feels that popular music reaches the most people. However, he also thinks that since “yoga is universal”, so is music for yoga: you can use any kind of music for your yoga class, as long as it touches your soul.

On the topic of Inside Flow, Young Ho Kim prefers popular music, since this music fits the “modern yoga class format” of Inside Flow that is meant to fit “modern people in the 21st century”. 

3.2. Where Can I Find the Best Online Yoga Classes With Music?

If googling yoga classes isn’t your thing (though that’s always an option!), why not read our article on the 15 best online yoga websites in 2020? You will surely find ideas on how to use music during a yoga class on these websites. Of course, YouTube is also a great option. If you like, visit TINT on YouTube to stay up-to-date with our content. 

We also offer you a number of online yoga classes with music on TINT, for example our Inside Flow classes, such as Crazy in Love by Young Ho Kim feat. Sol Rising, Ami Norton’s Hold You or Hie Kim’s Flower. Find the best online yoga classes with music – on TINT.

4. Where Can I Find the Right Yoga Playlist?

Now that you know more about the combination of yoga and music, you may be wondering: How can I find the right yoga playlist for myself? And how can I create my very own yoga playlist? Read on to know more.

4.1. Tips on Creating the Perfect Yoga Playlist

Do you want to create your own yoga playlist, but don’t know where to begin? Here are some ideas on how to make a yoga playlist that is uniquely you.

1. Use music that you like – music that touches your heart

More important than the kind of music you use is that you like it, and that it touches your heart and soul. This is also one of the cornerstones of Inside Flow: Near the end of the class, the Inside Flow Teacher talks about their choice of song, the story behind their choice and why this particular song means so much to them. That is called “Storytelling” and is one of the many small details that set Inside Flow apart from other styles of yoga. 

2. Use music that fits the 8-beat structure

Most modern songs fit an 8-beat structure making them highly intuitive for your students. Using an overly complicated song with a different structure makes it much more difficult for your students to follow your teaching. That is why it makes sense to stick to the basics, and choose a song of this format. 

3. Use music that has between 50bpm and 120bpm

Depending on the tempo and the theme of your class, use the beats per minute of a song to your advantage. Around 50bpm make the song rather slow, which can be great for a calming workout, or when sensing that your students are nervous or restless. Around 120bpm, on the other hand, make for a fast workout, and can be great to push your students in order to motivate them more, or when you feel that they need to burn off some energy.

4. Stay true to yourself

And the most important part of choosing your music: stay authentic. If you like hip hop music, use hip hop music for your class. If heavy metal is your passion, why not try something new and use it for your next yoga teaching? It may be difficult at first, since you will go in a bit of a different direction compared to other teachers, but staying true to yourself should be your number one priority. You’re great exactly as you are, and don’t have to conform to what other people think makes a yogi.

5. Keep legal considerations in mind

Lastly, keep in mind that there is a legal aspect to the usage of music for yoga, so use only royalty-free music for your yoga class. Did you know that Moby offers a 4-hour ambient music playlist for free? When looking for music to use, Spotify and Apple Music can be great sources of inspiration. Why not drop by our TINT Spotify Playlists some time? 

4.2. Free Yoga Playlists for You

For the end of this article, Ami Norton kindly shared some of her yoga playlists with you. Ami thinks that music can support every kind of yoga class. In her experience, some students will not even know that they are moving to a beat. The yoga class will just “feel good”, and really, that’s what matters most, isn’t it? 

Feeling good about yourself by being authentic is a liberating experience. Ami is a huge music enthusiast. When choosing her yoga playlists, Ami has a pool of songs she likes to use frequently, and she listens to a lot of music, in general. Her favorite genre is r&b, but she also listens to hip hop, house and other genres. 

Really, what’s most important to Ami is to stay true to herself. This is because in that way, she says, “you will attract the people that think like you”, and that helps you find harmony in life, as much as in yoga and music.

Stay tuned and connect with TINT on Spotify for more yoga playlists.

Now, we’d love to hear from you: What’s your favorite yoga playlist? Let us know: Connect with TINT on Instagram or find TINT on Facebook – and let us know what music means to your yoga practice – or show us your favorite yoga playlist!

Subscribe to TINT on YouTube and get to know our program, like Alexey Gaevskij’s Fearless Inside Flow Yoga Class.

As Young Ho Kim puts it, “through music, we can acknowledge that we’re all connected”. Stay tuned for more articles, connect with us at TINT – and let’s find our rhythm together.


Header Picture by TINT.

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