Music, Spirituality, And Ambience
Yoga draws a large audience with its many appealing factors: the range of yoga difficulty makes it accessible to people of various skill levels, it can be more about meditation than exercise, and it can also help people who are looking to improve flexibility and manage joint pain.
Depending on what you’re looking to get out of yoga, music may be a perfect addition to your routine, especially if you want to add extra focus to your meditation practice. Although music isn’t right for everyone, the right kind of music can add extra ambience to your yoga session and create a more spiritual experience.
Music and Focus
There are a few essential steps to optimizing your use of music during a yoga session. First and foremost, don’t allow music to interrupt your flow; create a playlist that will last the duration of your yoga routine so you don’t have to worry about finding things to play while meditating. Make your playlist intentional; avoid Youtube videos and Pandora that will play ads every few minutes, as these are distracting and will break your focus. Lay your mat somewhere you won’t have to worry about outside noises interrupting the music and turn the volume up to whatever is comfortable for you; although note that having it too loud can be distracting as well.
Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music on the brain and learning, many of which suggest that music causes areas of the brain that are not otherwise engaged to light up through standard day-to-day activities. Listening to music while doing yoga gives the brain sounds to focus on, which can vary the traditional thinking patterns we engage in during meditation, and this can be helpful when trying to clear your head during yoga.
Public yoga classes often incorporate different music styles depending on the type of yoga being practiced (e.g. Bhakti Yoga), and on the culture of the community. Most often, the music selected is ambient music, which has the sole purpose of creating a certain environment when played. During a faster paced yoga class, the music selected may have more of a beat that keeps members moving, while more meditative classes incorporate slower tracks that range from nature sounds like birds chirping and rushing water, to classical music like Beethoven, Mozart and DeBussy.
Power of Ambience
If music adds the proper ambience to get you in the yoga zone, this may be enough to take your yoga routine to the next level. Being in an environment that tailors to your thoughts and emotions can motivate you to stretch a little further, hold a pose a little longer and push you closer to your goals than would be normal during a traditional yoga routine. Although perfecting your setting, music and ambience takes a little extra effort, the effects of an ideal space will be noticeable after your session.
At the end of your yoga session or class, most people do the Savasana pose, or corpse pose. This gives the body a chance to relax after the exercise, which is an important part of being aware of your body and appreciating the exercise you’ve completed. This is also a good time to consider your progress and how your body is feeling, and to feel whole after the exercise. Tracking your progress is key in working towards your goals, because it’s hard to get better when you don’t focus on your accomplishments.
Fortunately, in the age of smartphones, this can be as easy as making a quick note on your iPhone. In 2016, there were over 250,000 different health and fitness apps available, which means you can select from a wide variety of apps that will help you track your progress, some of which are dedicated strictly to yoga. Putting health on a digital platform has made health progress easier for the fitness community, and by tracking your progress on apps, you may be able to determine what music helps you make the most progress.
Music can be a powerful tool in fitness and meditation, and can help streamline your yoga flow. By setting up your surroundings and environment in a way that creates an ideal ambience, you’ll be able to focus more on the meditation aspect of yoga and vibe more with your routine in general. Music and ambient sound has long been a key to emphasizing spirituality, and allowing it to center your focus during yoga brings you one step closer to fulfilling your goals.
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