Creating yoga playlists, can actually be a pretty big task (for me anyway) and I can’t say I enjoy it that much. I’m very picky about the music I use in classes and when I practise for myself. It can take me hours (sometimes in a few days) of finding songs, re-ordering and refining a playlist, before I let it loose in a class. I like upbeat and modern music, I’m not so much into traditional ‘yoga style’ music. I love it when I receive nice feedback from yogis about my playlists, as it means the time and effort has paid off!
So, because I find it very tricky I’ve made myself little rules and a methodical way to create a yoga playlist, to help the process along. I hope you find this useful, whether you’re a yoga teacher in the same boat as I, or just looking to create a playlist for a home yoga practise.
Rule number one, the biggest rule I have! Only include songs that I would happily listen to outside of a class. If I don’t like listening to it in everyday life, it doesn’t go in. Simple!
Music to roughly match your flow / style of teaching. I usually teach 45-60min vinyasa flow classes, so I make a new playlist every month which is an hour long. Classes I teach tend to build up slowly then into 15-20mins of strong, upbeat and creative practise and wind down slowly from the peak pose. The music ordering should reflect this.
Create a working playlist. Throughout the month if I hear a song I think would be suitable I add it in to a ‘Possible Yoga Songs’ playlist and I also add in any requests lovely yogis give me! Then, when it comes to sitting down and creating a playlist, I usually have around 2 hours worth of possible songs.
Going through the working playlist, the first thing do is remove the duds…. there will also be a few! I then go through and roughly arrange the order, mixing up instrumental songs and songs with vocals. Savasana songs are important to me, so I always spend too much time finding a good one.
Listen to it through. I usually do this whilst I walk in between classes or sat at my laptop doing admin. If I hear any jarring songs / transitions come up, I edit it.
Self practise to it. It’s good to feel how it would be, to practise to the music you’ve chosen. Again, things might need swapping out or re-ordering. Just like ‘Practise what you Teach’, ‘Practise to what you Play’.
My final sounding board is Rich :) If it gets through him, it’s ready for the public.
It’s now ready for a class! Even after this first class I might make amendments afterwards, as self practise and teaching a class have different timings so this will be highlighted. You might also find some songs have too many lyrics when you need to be giving more cues and instructions, so change the order. Generally after that first class of teaching with it, I’m happy and will use it for the rest of the month.
My yoga playlists are perfect for a full 60min vinyasa flow yoga class. For 45min classes I let it play until I begin to wind down the class in the last 10 min, when I will skip a few songs. Talking people down into Savasana, I pause the music so there is silence, less distraction and time for people to really switch off. I then play the Savasana song for 2-3mins, slowly turn down the volume to silence again and close the class :)
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Take away tips:
Play songs you like.
Mix up instrumental and songs with lyrics.
Create a ‘peak’ section of your playlist, just like you would plan a class / practise.
Be mindful of transitions between songs, melt them into one another.
Create a ‘working playlist’ to add songs to when you hear them.
Listen and practise to it yourself.
Have a few songs on hand to play at the beginning (when people are coming in) and after the class. I think this creates a less intimidating atmosphere than silence.