When I first started teaching Yoga and Pilates, the last thing I thought about was my music. For some teachers, Yoga music is essential to the flow and feel of their classes. Other teachers prefer background noise or no music at all. Once I became more comfortable sequencing classes, I knew I wanted to step up my music game.
Wow, is that easier said than done. I can't tell you how many hours I've scrolled and searched through Spotify to find the perfect Yoga playlist. After several attempts, I realized there wasn't one that suited my needs as a teacher and also resonated with my style and personal preference. So, I decided to create my own! Over the course of the next few months I will be releasing these playlists for you as well!
Check out the Winter Restorative Yoga Playlist here....
As I've moved into my second year of teaching I've created several playlists that I switch out depending on the class style and time of year. I have also found a few ways, through trial and error, to make this process easier. That's what I would like to share with you today!
1. Create 3 Playlists In Spotify
Make three playlists and label them as follows-
a. "New Music Slow"- slow, vibration-y music, maybe with chanting (instrumentals)
b. "New Music Fast"- vibrant, engaging music, faster maybe with words (popular songs)
c. "New Music Fun"- different & outside your comfort zone (I recommend Chill-Hop!)
The reason behind step one is to keep the new music you are finding separated by the style. This will make the actual creation of the playlist MUCH easier!
2. Search For Your Music & Skip To The Mid-Point of The Song
When searching for Yoga music in Spotify, you will come upon a lot of different options. Most are playlists created by other users like you and I. If you happen to find a playlist that resonates with you, congrats! You can skip the rest of these steps. If not, then you will probably pick and choose songs from the many that are available. Ask yourself if you prefer songs with lyrics, or without and if you are okay with expletive music. If not, make SURE you screen your songs before adding them to your list. What I do is listen to the first 20 seconds, then skip to the middle of the song. If I like it, I will save it to the appropriate playlist I created in step one. Don't worry, there will be an extra step later on to listen to the whole song. This helps us save time in the beginning, and create a large bank of songs for future use.
(I would add 15-20 songs to each playlist then move onto step 3)
3. Decide The Theme of Your Playlist
Is it Yin? Restorative? Vinyasa? Power? For kids? Or Seniors?
Identifying the theme of the playlist is really important. You want your music choices to reflect the atmosphere of the class you've created for your students. Keep in mind, when creating a playlist for seniors or students who are hearing impaired, you will want to stick with medium frequencies that aren't overpowering. You will also want to refrain from using songs with lyrics, as it might distract your students from the sound of your voice. Just as we do while teaching, it's important to play to your audience.
4. Time To Make The Playlist
Yoga playlists for Yin & Restorative classes can use slow and steady songs in any order. You may choose your favorite song for last, and use it for Savasana. If this is the type of playlist you want, create a new playlist and name it appropriately. Then, go to your "New Slow Music" playlist and add 10-12 songs to it. Once finished, skip through the songs and add up how many minutes they total. This will ensure your playlist is long enough to last an entire class.
Yoga playlists for faster types of Yoga like Vinyasa and Power are trickier to assemble and require more work. If this is the type of playlist you want, create a new playlist and name it appropriately. As we add songs to this playlist, we want to mimic the components of a flow type class. Those components are-
a. Setting the breath
b. Warm Up
c. Flow to Peak
d. Core Engagement
e. Cool Down
f. Backbends & Inversions
To do this we use the following template as a guideline
a. 8-15 minutes of "New Music Slow"
b. 25-30 minutes of "New Music Fast" & "New Music Fun"
c. 15-25 minutes of "New Music Slow"
*Make sure the song you choose for Savasana is long enough to make it through the entire duration of the pose. That way there's no distractions when the music switches.
5. Lastly, Listen & Practice at Home
The final step involves listening to the whole playlist in one sitting. I like to turn it on as I clean my house. This allows me to listen to the entirety of the songs and adjust the order if I need to. Keep in mind these playlists need to flow, and the songs should transition softly. If you are a Yoga teacher, practice your sequence to the playlist for the best feel.
Let me know what you think!