The Magic of Music and Yoga
Written by Vidivir Esplanada.
Music is the universal language of the soul. It has the ability to dig into the deepest corners of our minds and take us to another time and place. In many different cultures around the world, music is regarded as divine. The Om, for example, which has been chanted since the last 4000 years and has been passed on from generation to generation, carries a divine sound which is found in all of creation.
Music and yoga are both considered as parts of alternative medicine. Individually, the two possess extraordinary healing powers. It stands to reason then, that combining music and yoga together can create limitless possibilities of healing, transformation and peace.
Enhancing Yoga Experience with Music
Although yoga can be practiced in silence, its effects can be magnified if it is paired with nice, pleasant music. Here are a few ways on how music can enhance our yoga experience:
Music improves meditation. People used to believe that meditation can only be done in silence. However, no matter where we go, there will always be sound going on around. The moment we close our eyes to meditate, our minds tend to become more active which could give way to both positive and negative thoughts. This is where music becomes helpful. It calms our volatile thoughts and allows us to find stillness in the mind which is the goal of meditation.
Music creates a positive mood. In one way or another, all of us have experienced being instantly lifted out of a bad mood just by listening to a favorite song. Scientifically speaking, our brain's electrical signals are strengthened or weakened depending on our mood. Therefore, altering our brain's electrical waves through music can also influence our state of mind and health in general.
Music can stimulate memory. Memories, whether good or bad, give us the opportunity to evaluate ourselves. When we come to terms with our past self, only then can we achieve inner peace.
Music enhances movement. When practicing asana, some pose may feel difficult or challenging. Listening to music takes us to a place of grace and ease where yoga becomes more of a dance than just mere posture. Transitioning from one pose to the next feels really good and effortless when it is accompanied by beautiful music.
Choosing the Right Music for Yoga
Inevitably, not all types of music harbour the same relaxing benefits. Some music, particularly the loud ones, can be very distracting and potentially harmful. Choosing the right music for yoga can be tricky, but here are a few helpful suggestions to narrow down your list:
The Sound of Nature: You can never go wrong with natural music – the birds singing, river flowing, the sound of the waves, etc. Ancient Yogis visit the forests in the early morning to practice yoga and listen to the music played by nature. However, if you are living in the city, natural music may be hard to find. Luckily, there are people like Dan Gibson, a natural sound archivist, who took time to record the sounds of the natural world and released environmental soundscape albums. He also combined musical passages with his recordings that are now being used as a therapeutic tool for stress relief and meditation. Some of his works include Inner Sea and Sienna Sky.
Traditional Yoga Music: Traditional Yoga music stems from the Indian culture, where Yoga originated from. It uses traditional Indian instruments such as dholak, bansuri, dilruba, etc., incorporated with rhythmic mantra chanting. Some pretty good suggestions are music by Krishna Das and Putumayo.
Classical Music: Most classical music are orchestral, while some include keyboard and solo voice. This type of music provides a soothing melody to help quiet the minds of the listeners. Classical music offers a wide range of options which include famous composers like Mozart, Claude Debussy and Johann Sebastian Bach, just to name few.
Remember not to limit yourself with the suggestions above. Do not be afraid to experiment on other music genre such as reggae, acoustic and mellow pop. Create your own stress-relief mix or browse through a number of sample playlists from yoga instructors online.
I always like to think that music and yoga is the dream couple. Both provide effective healing and therapy for even the unseen and unexplained illnesses. Bringing these two together could create a powerful and fulfilling experience.
Vidivir Esplanada is a freelance blogger and regular contributor for FitMeIn.
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