I like using music when I teach. It prevents a silence which can be intimidating, it can offer something to anchor the mind to when in a pose, especially when finding stillness, which can prevent the mind wandering right off onto your to-do list or what you’re having for dinner. As a teacher it also tells me how far along we are into the time we have, and whether I need to cue another strong pose or start bringing you down to a more relaxed state!
Several people have asked me about particular tracks on my playlists, so I thought I’d do a post about some of the artists and labels I really like, not just for yoga but also for more general relaxing and chilled moments.
Oka are an awesome band that a friend of mine saw busking in Brisbane back in the early 2000s. She bought a couple of their CDs to bring back as gifts, and I liked their music so much that I started following them and obtaining their other albums as well. Sadly, their frontman Stu Fergie (“DidgeriSTU”) passed away last year from Covid complications.
Cafe del Mar
The Ibizan bar which curated hundreds of compilation chillout albums. I first became aware of them in the late 1990s, but they’ve been around for over 40 years as a cafe-bar and a destination in Ibiza for sunsets and drinks. DJs and tracks from all over the world feature on these albums and lyrics could be in English, Spanish, French, or any other language.
Similarly, Putumayo isn’t an artist but a label, and they compile themed albums of music from all around the world. I love that they bring music to my attention that I would never hear otherwise.
Other stuff you might hear on my playlists
I’ve got a really broad range of music in my collection, and although I try to keep the sounds in class fairly neutral (please tell me if there’s something which has a negative effect for you), I do love to include songs I love to listen to as well as more ‘background’ sounds. Some things which appear I’ve known since childhood (Santana’s Albatross, for example, or The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd); some things I’ve heard on the radio (Jo Whiley, Stuart Maconie, and Lauren Laverne have all brought me great music over the years); I met one artist playing the harp in the Breton forest of Huelgoat and immediately had to buy his CD. Other sounds come from my youth, like tracks from Leftfield and Massive Attack.
Some tracks are chosen because they lift the energy, while others might be selected for their soothing or hypnotic qualities- you can get music that includes binaural beats, which can provoke a meditative state, so for the latter stages of a yoga practice or for a meditation practice, these are perfect.
In the end, I’m looking to create both a mood, and a pleasant experience. Let me know if you think I get it right!