4 Tips for Building the Best Yoga Playlist Ever

I hear it allllllll the time...
"Your MUSIC is amazing!"
"Your playlists are the BEST!"
"How can I get that playlist?"
"Are you on Spotify?" (for the record, yes, follow me at daniellecosgroveyoga)

There is no doubt that music affects the way we act, the way we move, the way we think, it affects everything we do! My theory on that is pretty extensive, but in a nutshell, EVERYTHING comes down to a vibration, and frequencies affect frequencies. The particular vibration of a song causes all of your cells to vibrate a particular way and then your brain reacts accordingly.

I always use music in my yoga classes, but thats not to say I don't ever turn it off. Silence is also a vibration, and a very, very powerful one at that. Anyway, now that I got that disclaimer out of the way, here are some tips for my fellow yoga teachers to create AMAZING playlists that inspire and empower your teaching, and therefor your students.

  1. Consider the FLOW of Your Class: This applies to the entire class, but let's just pick on the beginning for a moment. All classes begin differently. Some classes start in complete stillness, some SUPER mellow, some relatively fast, some have a few flowy heart/chest/body openers and some have just a few specific movements.... every class starts a particular way. You, as the teacher, know how you want your class to begin. I recommend for total stillness either silence OR something really chill with no lyrics. So you may not PLAN OUT poses exactly, but you know the idea of how you want different portions of your class to go. Know the FLOW of your class. The tempo, style, depth, rhythm of your music should match whats happening in the FLOW of your class.
  2. Transitions Between Songs: I used to spend hours making playlists. I would look for the PERFECT transition from song to song. If you are teaching something like a mellow vinyasa flowy class, the music should transition simply and smoothly. Use the fading tool on your music player to achieve these transitions- mine is set at 12 seconds fade between songs. I don't ALWAYS use smooth transitions like that though- The music actually CAN make an ABRUPT and dramatic change, if that's what is happening in your class. For example, I have started a class in complete stillness and silence. And then, I brought them to a starting pose (downdog, or mountain) and BAM hit PLAY, tunes came on loud and clear, and movement began.
  3. Consider the Moments Where you Want to SPEAK: Personally, I don't plan out my entire class ahead of time. Whether you pre-plan or not doesn't matter... you know what points of class you are more inclined to speak during. For those times, plan to have a song with no lyrics. If you are trying to share something inspiring and profound with your students, if you really want it to land... cut out the lyrics of a song. Or even fade to silence. And then watch with your eyes how much better YOUR words land, when they aren't listening to the words of the song.
  4. Know What Lyrics are Coming Through the Speakers: I've been to plenty of classes where the music is so wildly inappropriate. The tempo seems GREAT, but then I catch the words and its talking about millionaires and sexy time on the beach. Listen, I love money AND the beach, but.... there are other things I'd rather be thinking about in my time on the mat. If you have a theme for your class, have a few songs that relate to that theme. Choose lyrics that inspire and uplift you. Lyrics that make you smile. Choose lyrics that are simple, non-abrasive, and logical. Try to avoid anything that might hit home or pull a heart string too hard, you don't want to poke someones sore spot too much. Also, steer away from songs that talk about boozin' it up on the yacht in the middle of the Caribbean.
    .....actually, that might make for a great guided meditation........ ;)


Hey, thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more tips coming soon to a blog near you.

Danielle Cosgrove